Many expatriates working in Pristina, Kosovo take the bus to Skopje over the weekends to recharge their batteries, visit some nice cafes, and eat at McDonalds. Buses run nearly a dozen times per day (beginning in Pristina at 5:30 AM with the last bus leaving Skopje at 5:30 PM) and the journey takes about 2 hours, depending on the border.
Unlike the accompanying picture, the buses tend to be quite nice, clean, and with plenty of space. Additionally, the Skopje bus station is centrally located and is quite convenient to downtown (a taxi should cost no more than 70 dinar from the bus station to downtown).
Bus fare should run about 5 Euro each way.
International buses to Skopje arrive in an enormous bus station hidden underneath the train station, about a kilometre from the centre of Skopje.
Buses to Sofia take around 4 hours, depending on the border procedures. We had to all get off the bus and get out all our bags from the baggage compartment, ready for inspection...it was bitterly cold, they made us all wait there for about a quarter of an hour, but nobody checked any bags at all. Don't know what that was all about.
Buses north to Prishtina leave fairly regularly in the morning, and take a couple of hours. The border is fairly quick and easy to cross at the moment, although whether that will change once the border changes from UNMIK to Kosovan police, I don't know. At the moment, you are still stamped as crossing into UNMIK, not the Republic of Kosovo. Those planning a day trip to Prishtina should get the earliest bus possible, as the last one back to Skopje leaves at 3pm.
I'm told there is a nightbus over to Tirana too, leaving at something like 7 or 8 in the evening.
People at Hostel Hostel generally know lots of info about buses...
There is a new company offering cheap and reliable transport between Skopje and Sofia with prices starting around 10 EUR round-trip. Buses go every Friday and Monday. Leaving in Skopje near Holiday Inn Hotel and in Sofia near the bus station.
The bus situation in Skopje is a little confusing, but here's a rough guide:
1. If you are coming in from another city in Macedonia, you will almost certainly be dropped off at the New Intercity Bus Station next to the modern train station.
2. Buses to Tetovo go from a car park like bus station across the Old Stone Bridge and underneath the Kale on the north side of the river.
3. International buses usually go from the car park in front of the Holiday Inn on the south bank of the river.
The main bus station (1.) is actually pretty big and busy. You can buy tickets, exchange money, pick up a burek, etc. The other two are barely recognisable as bus stations, and more like dusty parking lots.
However the bus station is quite clear...small and cosy at the same time and as other cities trying to avoid pickpockets and burglars before you enter to the plattform an employee ask for your ticket..if you dont get it you cant enter there...its a good point !
Although the language is cirilic after passing by Bulgaria you know very well the charachters and its easy to translate ..i have to say something there are the two characters on the screens latin and cirilic so its not so hard as Bulgaria or Serbia !!
So usefull staff on desks helped me so well to take my schedule to Ohrid and after my bus....its really informative the station and its not possible to be confused there....believe me a small one station but very well organized !!
As I said on my Sofia page i took a cheap coach through Sjopje... it was almost empty, just 10 people and it was a damp and grey morning and so much cloudy to take good pics... the road was amazing going up hills and after going down amidst the mountains and the forest... so much beautifull...the most gorgeous part was after pass the Makedonan border where the road followed a small spring sprinkled by some small towns.
The worst part was the makedonian border where the cops open my backpack for the first time on that trip!! *** !! it doesnt happen nothing but it was so annoyed and bored and wasting time for nothing ... stupids
After 1 and a half hour more i got Skopje ..so hard to located oneselfwith lonely planet guide....read on my tourist trap tip !!
There is no public or shuttle bus to the airport (shame!) Taxi drivers charge 20 euro or 1000 denars for the ride from the city center. For budget travellers there is other solution:
Cross the bridge from Holliday Inn hotel to the city bus "terminal" (red buses). Take a bus 52 or 53 to Petrovec (40 denars). One bus per hour or so. In Petrovec get off and turn left (ask people for "aerodrome" if necessary). Cross the highway - you will see airport ahead - it is about 2 km walk from Petrovec so allow plenty of time... Going from the airport turn right leaving terminal....
The city has plentiful buses. What can be amusing [or frustrating] is that there are two sets -- the official city ones and the private ones. They can do some funny dances trying to beat each other to a bus stop! Also the routes where the city has competition are much cheaper than the other routes.
With time tables and prices!
Website of the bus company: