Matka Things to Do

  • Cable Car to Millenium Cross
    Cable Car to Millenium Cross
    by Pijlmans
  • Marking of the trail
    Marking of the trail
    by Pijlmans
  • Hike to Matka
    Hike to Matka
    by Pijlmans

Most Recent Things to Do in Matka

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    Hike from Mount Vodno (Skopje) to Lake Matka

    by Pijlmans Written Sep 17, 2011

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    Marking of the trail
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    The reason that we did not do this hike before is that we were told that especially the end of the hike, when you reach Lake Matka, is badly marked. Therefore the general advice is not to try this hike without a local guide. In retrospect, I think that when you have a good look at the map, in combination with the sparse marking of the trail, it should be possible to do it without a guide, but you may go wrong here or there...

    This year however (2011), I bought an outdoor GPS and downloaded a track describing this hike from internet. Almost foolproof and no local guide needed!

    We went by car to the parking at Middle Vodno (Sredno Vodo), which is halfway the top of the mountain. Then, we took the new cable car lift to the top of Mount Vodno and the Millenium Cross.

    Alternatively, you can walk all the way to the top, from the foot of the mountain or from Middle Vodno, but that adds a pretty steep ascent to this hike! Some of the last parts are rather steep downhill, so high shoes and walking sticks are recommended.

    From the top of Mount Vodno the hike is only downhill, so it is not too hard on your condition. The scenery and the trail are both pretty diverse, the views of the Matka Canyon are amazing.

    When you arrive at the bridge over the Treska river, you have to go left to visit the lake. There are several churches around the lake, as well as a bar/restaurant for well-deserved refreshments!

    There is a mini-bus going back to Skopje, but you can also arrange for a cab of course. The buses stop near the bridge.

    The hike from the Millenium Cross to the bridge at Matka is about 11-12 km long and took us 4 hours including breaks. From the bridge to Lake Matka behind the dam is an additional 1.5 km.

    You can look at the GPS track and download it via the link below.

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    Vrelo Cave at Lake Matka

    by Pijlmans Updated Aug 28, 2011

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    Vrelo Cave
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    You can visit a cave at Lake Matka. To get to the cave, you have to take a boat for about 4 km upstream from the dam. It takes 30 minutes to get to the cave by boat.

    You will find these boats at St Andrea, located just after the dam that is responsible for the artificial lake.

    The cave is very spacious, with a small lake inside. Unfortunately, there is almost no opportunity to wander around. You enter the cave by stairs to a small plateau. There you can have a look around, but you are not allowed to leave the plateau. After a few minutes you've more or less seen everything you can see.

    The guide could not tell any facts about the cave, not even in Macedonian, as he was just there to navigate the boat.

    Summarized: The 30 minute trip by boat over the lake is very entertaining, nice views. The cave is OK, but nothing special if you have seen caves before.

    Price (2011); 300 MKD, about 5 euros.

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  • walking around

    by merak Updated Oct 20, 2010

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    a view of Matka lake
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    You have got down the bus and walked up until Sv. Andrea and the cafes. Right hand the ways go straight up to Sv Nikola, Helena and Bogorodica. Think about your shoes being good enough or not to do this trails. The left way follows the Treska canyon. This is breathtaking, romantically beautyful, etc.
    But don't expect to see more churches or monasteries at that level. There's just the landscape. I don't know where it finally would have taken you, but after more than 10 km you reach a mining site of Skopje Cement and the path breaks.
    So only walk the path as long as you enjoy the way and want to spend time for it, thinking about walking the same path back.

    If you take a path below the end bus stop, it will be easier.

    Very good to breath pure mountain air and rest from Skopjes pollution.

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    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Hike along Lake Matka

    by Pijlmans Updated Nov 23, 2008

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    Trail in the cliffs seen from the boat
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    You can walk along Lake Matka. At some places, you will be walking high on the cliffs on a very small trail, so this walk is certainly not suitable for people with vertigo. See the pictures!

    Theoretically, it should be possible to walk all the way along the lake, but we were told that the trail is getting bad after about 6 km (when starting from St Andrea). Allegedly, after about 9 km a new dam is being build in the Treska river, and people told us that we would likely be send back anyways from there.

    So we took a boat from St Andrea, 6 km up the river. These boats normally take you to a cave that is about 6 km up the river, but the generator of the cave was out of order, so we could not visit the cave.

    A bit futher upstream from the cave we got onto the shore and walked back to St Andrea.

    The boat was 250 Denars (about 4 euro) per person, including a transfer across the lake and back after our hike, to the trail that leads up to St Nikola.

    If you want to start the hike at St Andrea (instead of taking the boat first), just walk past the huge carabiner that is attached to the rocks.

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    Monastery of St Nikola Shishevski at Lake Matka

    by Pijlmans Updated Aug 24, 2008

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    St Nikola
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    The Monastery of St Nikola Shishovski (or St Nicholas Shishevski) is located high on the cliffs above Lake Matka. It is not exactly known when the church was built, likely somewhere near the 14th century when it was first mentioned. Allegedly it was abandoned in the 18th century.

    The high location is spectacular and gives you a wonderful view of Lake Matka and the Monastery of St Andrea (St Andrew) below. Most pictures in guides and postcards of the lake and St Andrew are taken from this place.

    The church is on the opposite site of the Matka Canyon from the Church of St Andrew, the Monastery of St Bogorodica, the Church of St Spas and the Church of St Nedela.

    See the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

    When we arrived there, the church was locked. It seems that people are making effort to make something nice of this wonderful spot, since wooden picnic huts are build and there are toilets at this remote site.

    It can only be reached by a steep hike, starting from the beginning of Lake Matka. Near the restaurant (and close to the bus stop), take the blue bridge over the river and go left. The trail is marked with red and yellow stripes and spots. It takes about 1-1.30h to reach St Nikola from here, and it is a steep walk.

    Alternatively, you can cross the lake with a boat at St Andrea and walk very steeply uphill to St Nikola. This climb is about 180 m and takes you about 20-30 min. Make sure you have good shoes. When you take this trail down from St Nikola, you can either scream to the other site of the lake (St Andrea) to be picked up by boat, or use the gong that is attached to a tree.

    You can find more information about this hike, complete with pictures, in my Matka Traveloques, see the link below.

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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Monument for mountaineers and hiking trail

    by Pijlmans Updated Aug 24, 2008

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    Monument for mountaineers
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    Close to the Church of St Andrea, there is a huge carabiner hanging from the rocks to commemorate climber(s) that died in an accident.

    Behind the monument, a trail starts that goes along river Treska for over 9 km, all the way to where a new dam in the river is built at this moment. At least the first 6 km of this trail are good enough to hike, I did not go further than that. Not suitable for persons with severe vertigo (see the picture)!

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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    Dam at Lake Matka

    by Pijlmans Updated Jun 18, 2008

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    Dam at Lake Matka
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    This dam in the Treska Valley is responsible for the artificial Lake Matka.

    Behind the dam there is the Church of St Andrea, a restaurant and the Matka Mountaineering club.

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    Hiking trails at Lake Matka

    by Pijlmans Updated Jun 18, 2008

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    Marked hiking trails
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    At the Church of St Andrea, also the Matka Mountaineering Club can be found. You can also stay here overnight, see http://www.mkdmount.org/ for more information.

    From this location it is possible to start several hikes, as well as to do some serious climbing.

    There are marked hikes. An attempt to translation from the signs at the picture:

    - (unreadable) 1327 - 240 min
    - Osoj peak 1368 - 210 min
    - Jama Srt - 120 min
    - Mountain house Jasen - 150 min
    - Bayrak peak 1010 - 150 min
    - Marko's Gates (blue trail) - 20 min
    - Matkin Dol (Torture valley with some small caves, yellow trail) - 40 min
    - North Sedlo (red trail) - 20 min
    - Gragor (red trail) - 60 min
    - Monastery St Nedela (red trail) - 80 min
    - St Spas (red trail) - 95 min
    - Monastery St Troica (red trail) - 95 min

    I walked the red trail the other way around, i.e. from St Spas to St Andrea. The last part, from St Nedela to St Andrea, was very steep and it is maybe easier to walk this part uphill than downhill. So you might want to start this trial form here, at St Andrea.

    Also see the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

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    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Church of St Andrea at Lake Matka

    by Pijlmans Updated Jun 18, 2008

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    St Andrea seen from St Nikola
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    The Church of St Andrea (St Andrew) is located close to the dam that is responsible for the artificial lake.

    The church, dedicated to St Andrea, was built in the 14th century (1388/89) by Andrea, second son of King Volkashin and brother of the later King Marko.

    Pay some extra attention to the frescoes: The faces and postures of the depicted saints are very realistic, and perspective is added, distinguishing them from from frescoes in other churches built at that time.

    Close to the church of St Andrea is a bar/restaurant and the mountaineering club Matka. Try to imagine how high above the river the church must have been before the dam was built and the lake was formed. Allegedly it used to be 20 m above the river!

    The best and most spectacular view at St Andrea undoubtedly is from the Monastery of St Nikola, high on the cliffs on the other side of the lake. You can take a boat to the other site of the lake and walk steeply uphill to St Nikola. From St Nikola, a trial leads back to the blue bridge at the beginning of the Matka Canyon, see the link below to my Travelogues as well.

    Another trail that starts at the site of St Andrea is the steep uphill trail marked in red to the ruins of the Church of St Nedela, Marko’s City, St Spas and subsequently to the Monastery of St Bogorodica, which is close to the river Treska again.

    See the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

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    Ruins of the Church of St Nedela at Lake Matka

    by Pijlmans Updated Jun 18, 2008

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    Ruins of St Nedela
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    On one of the highest cliffs above Lake Matka, are the ruins of St Nedela (St Sunday).

    Although the church is without roof, you can still burn candles here, and even write something in the log that is hidden in a metal case.

    Some of the frescoes are still (barely) visible.

    There are more ruins at this site, from Marko’s City, such as those of an old fortress.

    Hidden below the church, there is a small wooden hut with a stunning view over the valley, where you can have a picnic.

    See the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

    You can get here from two starting points: Monastery of St Bogorodica (via the Church of St Spas) or from the Monastery of St Andrea. Follow the link below to my Travelogues for more information.

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    Markov Grad, Marko's City at Lake Matka

    by Pijlmans Updated Jun 18, 2008

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    Marko's City
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    Close to the Church of St Spas and the Church of St Nedela, there are the ruins of Markov Grad (Marko's City).

    The ruins on the pictures must have been of a fortress, judging from the thick walls,

    Besides these ruins of the fortress, the only other remnants we could find were those at the Church of St Nedela.

    See the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

    This place is located high above Lake Matka and can only be reached by foot. See my Travelogues at the link below for more information.

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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    Church of St Spas at Lake Matka

    by Pijlmans Updated Jun 18, 2008

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    Church of St Spas
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    The Church of St Spas (Holy Salvation) was built in the 14th century, and renovated in 1968, as can be seen from the inscription above the entrance.

    Next to the church are the ruins of St Gorgija (St George). The Church of St Troica should also be close to St Spas, however, we somehow missed it.

    The church is at a remote location and can only be reached by a hike. See the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

    You can start this marked hike from the Monastery of St Bogorodica, before the dam of Lake Matka. It will take about 60-90 minutes, depending on your fitness and if you find the right way at once. The route is badly marked, and we lost the trail at a certain point. As soon as you don't frequently see the marks anymore and/or if you reach a small village (like we did), you went wrong and have to go back! Two kids from the village joined us and showed an alternative, unmarked trail.

    The next marks, from St Spas to St Nedela and steeply downhill to St Andrea, are easier to find than the beginning of the trail.

    Alternatively, you can take the steep uphill trail from the Monastery of St Andrea (at the lake, after the dam) to the ruins of St Nedela and walk downhill to St Spas, and subsequently to St Bogorodica.

    See my Travelogues at the link below for more information

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    Monastery of St Bogorodica at Lake Matka

    by Pijlmans Updated Jun 18, 2008

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    Monastery of St Bogorodica
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    The Monastery of Bogorodica (Holy Mother of God) is close to Lake Matka, before the dam and above restaurant Pestera.

    See the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

    The inns of the monastery are not open to the public.

    Above the entrance of the church is written: "By the will of the father, the son and the holy ghost and the divine temple of the Mother of God came Lady Milica. She found this church unroofed, built a roof for it, painted its frescoes and built a wall around it. Mention, Lord, that this took place in 1497.

    From the Monastery of St Bogorodica, you can continue walking uphill to the churches of St Spas (60 min), the ruins of St Nedela (90 min) and St Andrea (140 min). St Andrea (St Andrew) can also be reached by walking towards (and past) the dam from the restaurant. Also see my Travelogues at the link below.

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    Monastery of Sveti Nikola

    by alex240975 Written Jul 21, 2007

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    This 1 1/2 hour walk is worth the effort and a good opportunity for a one day trip to leave Skopje city behind you
    When landed in Matka (either by car, bus no. 60 or taxi - 600 MKD), cross the Treska river over the bridge at the end of the wildwater channel and follow the path heading against the flow direction of the river. Soon it will get steeper turing to the east. After approx. 3/4 hours you will see the monastery of Sveti Nikola that will be reached within the next 15 minutes. There you can have a rest an enjoy the view down to manmade matke lake and monastery of Sveti Bogorodica, that is normally overcrowded with people on summer weekends. The way down to the lake is steep but after some exciting 1/2 hour you have reached the shore. There you have to make yourself beeing seen from the other side of the lake - where someone will come and pick you up with a boat and give you a lift to Bogorodice monastery (approx. 2-3 €).
    Back at the end of wild water channel there is the nice traditional restorant Pestera, where you can enjoy a mixed plate with barbecued meat.

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    Swimming and Recreation!?

    by einstein0 Updated Jul 12, 2005

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    SRC Matka

    At first Weekend of July 05, the artificial Lake was filled up with Treska waters. Its probably the most beautiful location for swimming and recreation around Skopje.
    An adjacent camping area is rounding up the pleasure - ground.

    !There is just one Problem: The lake is a cesspool. I wouldn't even put a toe into it. Or would you like to swimm between the ugly frogs? The Treska River is used as the sewage by people, living aside. I would recommend to use the SRC as a water treatment plant in the near future...

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Matka Things to Do

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