Matka Canyon is a canyon located west of central Skopje, Macedonia. Covering roughly 5,000 hectares, Matka is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in Macedonia and is home to several medieval monasteries. The Matka Lake within the Matka Canyon is the oldest artificial lake in the country.
Explore The Things To Do At Matka Canyon
1. Hike to the St. Nikola Monastery
First thing to do at Matka Canyon is to hike. Don’t take this easily, but do it if you want some action. The steep path through the woods and bushes will take about 30 minutes and when you arrived at the top you will be pretty exhausted. However, the views are stunning from above. Bring water, you will need it for sure.
2. Rent A Kayak
The most adventurous way to see the canyon from the water is in a kayak. You can rent them by the hour. There are single and double ones. Paddling on the lake is pretty easy, there is basically no current. This will be a nice thing to do at Matka Canyon and surely one of the best things.
3. Boat Trip on Lake Matka
Best thing to do at Matka Canyon is to take a boat trip to enjoy this beautiful place from the water. Boat trips are about 30 minutes and cost 200 Denar per person (€3,30). There are two places where you can take a boat trip. The first one you will walk up to is not so busy as the second one. You can take a boat trip closest to the dam and the entrance of Matka Canyon and basically enjoy a private trip. There is also a 1 hour boat trip, but these are group tours.
4. Caves Tour
To get to the caves you will need to take one of the Matka Canyon boat tours that take about 2 hours in total. You will get to the entrance of the cave by boat and then it is a short walk through the caves where you can see lots of stalagmites, stalactites, dripstone pillars and deep holes. There is a walkway through the caves and some parts are colourful illuminated. Cave tours are guided for your safety, and it's a nice thing to do on your Matka Canyon tour.
5. Rent A Boat House For A Day
There are a handful boat houses on the shores of Matka Lake. Some hidden behind the bushes, but the cool thing is that these boat houses are for rent. You can only get to them by boat and they go around for $50 a day including transport and a kayak. If you have more time in Skopje, it would be really nice to include this on your Matka Canyon tour.
6. Hiking Matka Canyon
For those keen on hiking in Matka Canyon, there is a trail that goes all the way to the end of canyon. You will pass medieval churches and monasteries on your way. The trail is an elevated path on the side of the canyon. Hiking Matka Canyon is a real adventure, be aware that the trail is 10 kilometers long and hiking it all the way and back takes around 5-6 hours. Make sure you are fit enough to do it on your Matka Canyon tour.
How to Get Tickets?
The entrance to Matka Canyon tour is free. You are allowed to access all the area of the canyon without paying any fees. However, you need to spend money on renting a boat, renting a kayak, do the caves tour, and eat or drink. Bring enough cash as there is no ATM in the area.
How To Get Around?
The Matka Canyon tour can be done by hiking and walking around, you will find beautiful scenery around you. You can also rent a kayak and paddle by yourself in the lake or rent a boat to explore the canyon.
What Should I Wear?
Wear comfortable hiking shoes and comfortable clothes that'll allow you to move freely. If you plan to swim, bring swimmingsuit, towels, and change of clothes. Don't forget to bring insect repellant and sunscreen to protect your skin.
Best Time to Visit
Matka Canyon tour can be done at any time of the year. For hiking and biking, spring and autumn are the best time to visit with stunning leaf colour in the likes of Matka Canyon in the latter. If you want to swim, summer has the best temperature for it.
Will I Need a Guide?
You will not need a guide to hike and walk around the canyon. Your Matka Canyon boat tour and cave tour include a guide.
How To Get There?
main bus station building, next to the petrol station. There’s a row of numbered signs (not in numerical order) and number 60 is about half way up the row. You can buy tickets, which cost 75 denar each way, on-board the bus. The bus takes 45-60 minutes depending on traffic and stops. If you are not comfortable to travel by bus, you can always get a taxi. The price for one way is more or less 500 denar / 8EUR. If you'd like to explore the land during your travel to you can go with a car or rent a car. Distance between Skopje downtown and canyon Matka is 12 km.
You can do a tour at the visitor centre at designated times. There are picnic spots so you can bring your own food. Swimming in Matka Lake is possible, but water is pretty chilled.