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When you leave Skopje, head for Tetovo. Before you reach the highway, turn left (unfortunately, there wasn't a road sign when I last visited, so it's perhaps best to ask the locals). When you cross the steel bridge, follow the road for another 2 km (the road is not wide and in a poor state, winding through a village). Turn left again and follow the road to a parking space (you can't miss it, it's the only one I think).
Written Feb 19, 2010
The easiest way to get to the lake is to leave Skopje towards Ohrid and right after entering the highway take the first exit. Be careful, the sign "Matka Canyon" is placed after the exit (which is actually a common problem here), so don't hit the speed once on the highway. Follow the further signs and you will end up at the dam. During the weekend the road along the canyon will be full of cars, so police might take action in organising the parking. Follow their instructions and once the car is parked continue walking in the same direction.
Written Aug 3, 2008
Lake Matka is about 30 min by car from the center of Skopje.
Bus 60 is going directly to Matka, but is rather unfrequent. Bus tickets are about 50 Denar (less than 1 euro).
A more frequent option is to take bus 2 to Saraj (Capaj in Macedonian) and take a taxi from there for approximately 150 Denar (about 2.5 euro). Bus 2 stops e.g. close to the Bit Bazaar in Skopje.
Of course you can also take a taxi from the center of Skopje, that should be about 400-500 Denar (7 euros).
In my Matka Travelogue I also describe how to get to Matka from the last stop of bus 12 (Ezero Treska), but this includes a hike to the lake.
To go back to Skopje, take bus 60 or a taxi. A few minibuses (vans) go back to Saraj (Caraj) at the end of the day. At the time of writing at 17.20 h and 18.45 h. From Saraj you can take bus 2 back to the center of Skopje.
The link below takes you to the website of the bus company, including timetables.
Updated Jul 18, 2008
The 60 is the bus to Matka. But, as a big city bus, it only goes Zhelezhnicka stanica-Holiday Inn- Partizanski Odredi- Saray-Matka at the following times (september 2007):
7.00; 13.40; 15.30 and the way back from Matka at 5.50; 7.45; 14.30; 16.20 But as I took the last one, it went to a garage to take fuel and I had to catch another one to the centre.
At other times, take N° 2 to Saray (Bit Pazar last post of Bus stop-Partizanski Odredi-Saray).
At the end station, cross the street and take the yellow mini bus which will take you to gorna Matka (go- and- return tickets). Schedule september 07: 6.20; 7.15; 10.00; 10.50; 11.40; 12.00; 15.50; 17.00; 18.15; 18.55; 19.45; 20.45; 21.15 return from Matka: 6.30; 7.25; 10.20; 11.10; 12.10; 17.10; 18.45; 20.00; 21.05; 22.00
Be aware that there is Dolna (lower) and Gorna (upper) Matka, about 2 km distant! The lake whith Sv. Andrea is at the very end.
Updated Sep 24, 2007
The easiest way to get TO Matka is to drive and park on the side of the road near the dam. Once there you can walk alongside the Treska river to the dam and then up to the lake itself. It's a gentle walk, so no worries.
Once there you can often rent a boat to go out on the lake. Here's a picture of the one we took in 1999.
Written Nov 26, 2002
The path up to the lake follows along the Treska river. There are sometimes kayak races there. People swim also, but unfortunately, the water is rather polluted:(
Updated Jun 30, 2003