A red bus driving down the street in Skopje, North Macedonia.
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Getting around North Macedonia

Maysie Dee

Contributing writer

North Macedonia is very easy to navigate, because the country is small, and the roads are in fairly good condition. Fortunately, you can easily traverse from one end to another in 1.5-3.00 hours, depending on how you choose to travel.

Although there’s a small airport in Ohrid (south of the country), please take note: there are no domestic flights within Macedonia.

You’ll find the most direct and more frequent road travel options are for routes in the western part of the country. Although there’s plenty to see in eastern and southern Macedonia, the travel options are fewer, unless you hire a driver or rent a car (more on this below). 

The main ways to get around are:

  • Bus

  • Train

  • Taxi

  • Private Transfer

The roads in Macedonia are, in general, a bit better than those you’ll find in other Balkan states, although once you get off the main roadways, conditions tend to deteriorate. Also, the main roadways have tollbooths along the way, so that adds into costs if you’re driving yourself or have hired a driver.

Note: If you hire a driver, toll fees should be included in the quote for a ride, and you won’t be expected to have change for tolls. 

Buses in Macedonia

Macedonia has an organized bus system that’s easy to use. With plenty of buses heading to cities and towns in the country, choosing a bus ride is efficient and economical. The tickets range from 2-12 EUR for most trips.

Buses from one city to another in Macedonia run many times per day, although some routes see less traffic, with only a handful of options daily. It’s easy to get a bus ticket, even on the day of travel. You can pay for tickets with either cash or credit/debit cards at the bus station in any Macedonian city.

Some tourists feel better about getting the tickets in advance, in which case, a trip to the local bus station the day before should be sufficient to guarantee you a seat. Presently, there doesn’t seem to be a way to book Macedonian bus tickets online. Below, we’ll list the main cities in Macedonia and cover their bus infrastructures:


Skopje’s Center Bus Terminal is located about 2.5 km from the city center.The terminal is a busy central hub for both domestic and international bus departures and arrivals, and is full of action every day. In the bus terminal you’ll find an ATM, coffee shop, toilets, snack kiosks, and luggage storage. 

If you’re arriving to Skopje from the airport, the airport shuttle stops at the Center Bus Terminal, along with other stops in the city.

If you’re traveling to out-of-the-way places in Macedonia, you may have to take more than one bus or a circuitous route to get there. The bus system is extensive, and you can probably find a suitable route (if not, there are other options we’ve listed below).

Skopje’s municipal buses

Skopje is quite walkable, and the city also has a municipal bus system. To use the buses, you’ll need to buy a bus card and load it with credit, as it Is not possible to pay on the bus (a one-way ride costs around .60 EUR). You can buy a card (approx .45 EUR) at the Center Bus Terminal (main bus station), or at bus kiosks scattered around the city. 


Intercity buses run their routes from Skopje to Ohrid many times per day, so you’ll have no problem finding one that suits your schedule. To reach other cities from Ohrid, you’ll find buses, but there will be fewer options on timings.

The Ohrid bus station is located over one kilometre outside the town center, so, although it’s an easy walk, if you have luggage you’ll probably want to catch a taxi outside the bus terminal.

 Veles – The Veles bus station is a short 10-minute walk from the downtown city center.

Prilep – The Prilep bus station is centrally located, about a 5-10 minute walk from downtown.

Tetovo – The Tetovo bus terminal is about a 5-minute taxi ride from the city center.

Bitola – The Bitola bus terminal is located 2.3 kilometres from the city center, so you may need a taxi to reach the center.

Gevgelija – The Gevgelija bus terminal is about a 3-minute ride or a short walk to the city center.

Trains in Macedonia

There are train services to many cities within Macedonia, and the trains are comfortable and inexpensive. They do, however, run at a much slower pace than either the buses or than traveling by car. If you’re not in a hurry and want to relax and take in the scenery as you travel, a comfortable train ride could be the perfect choice. 

You can get tickets at the train station where your travel originates, but the routes are not always complete, for example:

Want to take the train from Skopje to Ohrid? Well, you can’t, exactly. You can take a train from Skopje to Bitola (around 6 EUR/one way), that takes about 3 hours. Then you’ll have to take a short bus ride to Ohrid, (3-4 EUR) with buses running every hour. Not exactly direct, but you’ll get there!

Taxis and minivans

Local taxis are available throughout Macedonia for trips within a city or town. They can also be hired for a longer trip to another city. Fares are usually about 1 EUR for the minimum 2 km ride.

Example: Current prices for a ride from Skopje-Ohrid are between 100-130 EUR/one way, and will take about 2.5 hours.

Some towns and cities in Macedonia might have small minivan transport from one area of town to another, or from one town to another. Example: In Ohrid town center, you can catch a minivan to another village on the lake, such as Struga. Or, in the same area of town, you can hail a private taxi to another town.

Ask your accommodation to show you the area where minivans congregate, or ask any local shopkeeper who will gladly point you in the right direction.

Private transfers

My favorite way to travel long distances in Macedonia is by private transfer. I love being picked up at my hotel or apartment rental and turning over the navigation to a competent driver. Private transfers are not that expensive in Macedonia, and drivers are courteous, friendly, and have tons of local info from an “insiders” perspective.

Your best way to find a good driver is by asking your accommodation host to recommend someone. If that doesn’t pan out, you can try this driving service that also has a great record for comfortable transfers within the country. The rates for a private driver vary, and could even be less than hiring a taxi; it just depends on the driver.

There are also numerous tour companies that offer first-class treatment as they carry you in comfort from one place to another, including some sightseeing along the way. For example, this 7-hour tour, is a transfer from Skopje-Ohrid, with a stop in Bitola and the fascinating archaeological site there, Heraclea Lyncestis.

You’ll also find that most drivers are willing to drive you across the border to neighboring countries (Albania, Greece, Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria and Montenegro, although Montenegro does not share a border with Macedonia). Many drivers are also happy to take you on an extended tour of the region or to schedule another transfer with you when you’re ready to leave Macedonia.

Renting a car

If you don’t mind figuring out the roadways and driving styles in a new country, you can easily rent a car and have the freedom to explore Macedonia on your own terms. You must be at least 25 years old to rent a car, and the rates are quite reasonable by European standards. Expect to pay about 50 Euros/day including insurance.

Do be aware that Macedonian drivers like to drive fast and pass on every type of road/curve imaginable – so drive with caution, have good GPS to get you where you’re going, and enjoy!

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Maysie Dee

Author - Maysie Dee

Maysie Dee is a freelance writer, content editor, and recipe creator. She and her husband have travelled across the world for decades as natural product consultants, collecting stories along the way.

Last Updated 17 May 2024

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