Monastery tour of Macedonia
DAY 1 – SKOPJE
Arrival at the Skopje’s airport. Transfer to your hotel . Short introductory tour of the area round your hotel – getting useful hints from your tour guide. Dinner at a local restaurant with live music. Overnight stay in Skopje.
DAY 2- SKOPJE
Morning sightseeing tour; A visit to the Church of Sveti Spas (Holy Salvation) built in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and famous for its iconastry dating from the early 19th century and also for housing the remains of the revolutionary Goce Delchev. The iconostasis was cut from walnut wood and created from 1819 to 1824 by three of the most famous wood carvers of the time. Afterwards what follows is a visit to the Cathedral of St Clement of Ohrid in the centre of Skopje and then the Monastery of St Pantelejmon (in the village of Gorno Nerezi), which was built in the 12th century and represents an important monument from the Byzantine period. Lunch in the restaurant next to the church of St Pantelejmon. After lunch a visit to the Marko’s Monastery. Dinner in a local restaurant with live folk music.
DAY 3 – MAVROVO – OHRID
After a relaxed breakfast – a drive west to Mavrovo (1 hr). A walking tour of Mavrovo, which represents one of the most attractive tourist centres in Macedonia. After that a visit to the Monastery of Sveti Jovan Bigorski (St John the Baptist), which dates from the 18th and 19th centuries and underwent a reconstruction in the 20th century. It is the most beautiful monastery in this region. Some free time for a snack- before leaving for Ohrid (1½ hrs) . Dinner and overnight stay in Ohrid (B,D).
DAY 4 – OHRID
A free day for a sightseeing tour or a tour chosen by you.
DAY 5 – OHRID
Morning sightseeing tour – The tour starts in front of the statue of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, and it continues to the Lower gate, the National Museum of Ohrid, the Church of St Sophia, the Roman amphitheatre, the Upper gate, St Clement’s Church of the Holy Mother of God Most Glorious (Sveta Bogorodica Perivleptos), The Icon Gallery, Tsar Samoil’s fortress, Plaoshnik, and it ends in a walk through Ohrid’s marketplace. Free time for a walk or shopping in the Old Ohrid Bazaar. Overnight stay in Ohrid (B,D)
DAY 6 – OHRID – PRILEP
After breakfast – a visit to the beautiful and popular Monastery of St Naum with new inns built in the last decade that make up the Hotel of Sveti Naum. The original church of the Holy Archangels was built in the early 10th century by St Naum and later it housed the tomb and relics of St Naum himself but today its remains are buried beneath the present 16th-century church. The source of the River Crn Drim which feeds the lake is nearby. After a short walking tour we will have lunch at one of the many restaurants with a lovely view of the lake. Your late afternoon drive to Bitola will take 1 hr, including a short stop on Galichica – where you will have a view of the two lakes – Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. Dinner and overnight stay in Prilep. (B,D)
DAY 7- PRILEP
City tour in the morning, a walk through the Old Prilep Bazaar, a visit to some of the small stores, and seeing the Clock Tower which is towering over the old town. After this walk we will visit the Fortress Towers of Marko, which stand on the hill above Prilep and then climb north to the Monastery of Treskavec which is a magnificent old complex considered to be built in the 13th century, and renovated in the 14th century during the time of the king Milutin. It has a very interesting position, that is, it is located below the highest peak called Zlatovrv (Golden peak) and between some huge rocks. Dinner and overnight stay in Prilep (B.D).
DAY 8 – PRILEP – STRUMICA – BEROVO
After a relaxed breakfast – a drive west to Berovo and a sightseeing tour of Strumica; A visit to the cultural and historic places of interest in the town of Strumica and its surroundings. A visit to the the monastery complex Vodocha which is located in the village of Vodocha. The legend about the etymology of the name of this place is linked to the day when in 1014 AD Tsar Samoil’s army was defeated by the army of the Byzantine Emperor Vasilij II and 15,000 Macedonian soldiers had their eyes gouged out afterwards. Because of this, the village got the name Vodocha (ochi = eyes). What follows next is a visit to the Monastery of the Holy Mother of God – Eleusa which is a convent now and is situated in the next village of Veljusa. The monastery church is significant because of its architectural layout, the 11th century frescoes, the preserved fragments of the mosaic floor, and the authentic marble iconostasis. After that, a drive to Berovo. Dinner and overnight stay in Berovo (B.D).
DAY 9 – BEROVO – PROBISHTIP-KRIVA PALANKA – SKOPJE
In the morning – a drive to Probishtip and a visit to the Lesnovo Monastery - St Gavril Lesnovski; The Monastery is dedicated to the holy hermit Gavril of Lesnovo. The present–day church was erected in 1340/41 by the feudal lord Tyrant Oliver. Most of the fresco painting was done by several artists in 1346-1347 and in 1349. After that a drive to Kriva Palanka, lunch at a local restaurant in Ginovci. After lunch a visit to the Monastery of St Joakim Osogovski in Kriva Palanka founded by Joakim the monk, a disciple of Ivan Rilski who lived in the 11th-12th century. The present-day monastery complex consists of two monastery churches, the older one dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Sveta Bogorodica), and the new church of the mid-19th century is dedicated to St Joakim Osogovski himself. After that, a drive to Skopje. Dinner and overnight stay in Skopje (B.D).
DAY 10 – SKOPJE
After breakfast, an all-day tour of Matka (the Canyon Matka covers an area of around 5.000 ha and is located 15 km south-west of Skopje) and a visit to the Monastery Church of St. Andreja. Andreja, the younger son of King Volkashin, erected the monastery in 1388/89, with later additions in the 16th century. The fresco paintings are the work of the well-known painter Metropolitan Jovan and the Monk Gregory. From the rich iconographic program, with its voluminous figures, the most distinct are the portrayals of the Holy Warrios and the scenes from Christ’s Passion. Lunch in the restaurant at Matka. After lunch, a drive to your hotel in Skopje. Free afternoon. Dinner at a local restaurant. (B,L).
DAY 11 – SKOPJE
Depending on the flight schedule, there is an option of visiting the Old Skopje Bazaar and the new market place. Transfer to the airport. (B).