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Macedonia Country Information
Macedonia is an ancient country in search of a modern identity. After a civil war in 1991, today Macedonia can claim to be the most peaceful republic to emerge from the former Yugoslavia, and visitors here get to experience one of the safest and most beguiling countries in all of Europe.

Macedonia is a paradise for hikers, bikers, skiers and climbers, as over 80 percent of the land is mountainous and forested. Its abundant lakes and unpolluted rivers also attract fishermen, while Roman ruins and religious art invite culture buffs looking to see a different, fresher face to ancient Europe.

The capital is Skopje, a really enjoyable microcosm of Macedonia's many charms. There are plenty of historical relics, medieval fortresses and a bustling Ottoman-style bazaar. After dark, Skopje's celebrated nightlife comes into its own with great live music and clubs.

Macedonia's prime attraction is Lake Ohrid, on the south-east border with Albania. This is Europe's deepest lake and one of the oldest in the world. Between mid-July and late August the Ohrid Summer Festival takes place, and this is the best time to experience Macedonian music, food and people in all their glory.

The Basics
Time: Local time is UTC/GMT +1 (changes to GMT +2 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).

Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts (50Hz). European round pin attachment plugs and Schuko plugs are in use.

Money: The unit of currency is the Macedonian Denar (MKD), divided into 100 deni. Travellers cheques in dollars and euros are easy to change. Credit and debit cards are not widely accepted.

Language: Macedonian is the official language. English, French and German are spoken quite widely.

Travel Health: Medical and health care facilities are good in Skopje and large cities. Medical insurance, with provision for emergency repatriation, is strongly advised. Avoid drinking tap water unless it has been boiled or filtered. Pharmacies are well supplied.

Tipping: Tips of 10 percent of the bill are expected by waiters unless a service charge has already been added to the bill.

Safety Information: Macedonia is a relatively safe country to visit. Petty crime and pick pocketing can occur; be especially cautious at the large market in Skopje.

Local Customs: Avoid discussing Macedonian politics: touchy subjects include relations with its neighbours and the Balkan war.

Communications: The international dialling code for Macedonia is +389. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Internet access is widespread and there are Internet cafes all over the country. The central post office in Skopje is open from 7am to 7.30pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 2pm on Sundays. There is good cell phone coverage and roaming agreements are in place with major international operators.

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Visa and Entry Information

  • Entry requirements for Americans: United States citizens must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after date of departure. No visa is required for stays of up to 3 months.
  • Entry requirements for UK nationals: British nationals must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after date of departure. No visa is required for stays of up to 3 months.
  • Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after date of departure. No visa is required for stays of up to 3 months.
  • Entry requirements for Australians: Australians must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after date of departure. No visa is required for stays of up to 3 months.
  • Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after date of departure. A visa is required.
  • Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after date of departure. No visa is required for stays of up to 3 months.
  • Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after date of departure. No visa is required for stays of up to 3 months.

Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.

Weather and Climate in Macedonia
Macedonia has a largely Continental climate with long and dry summers, and mild and rainy winters, with occasional heavy snowfall in the mountains. The coldest months are January and February. Although Macedonia is a year-round destination, May to October is the optimum time to visit.

Airports in Macedonia

Skopje Alexander the Great International Airport (SKP)

  • Location: The airport is located 20km (12 miles) 30 minutes drive from the city centre.
  • Time: Local time is UTC/GMT +1 hours
  • Contacts: Tel: +389 (0)91 148-300
  • Getting to the city: Taxis are readily available.
  • Car rental: Car rental agencies are available and companies include Europcar and Hertz.
  • Facilities: Facilities include a post office, bureau de change, auto exchange machine, restaurants, cafeterias, bars, VIP lounge, duty free shop, newsagent/tobacconist, gift shop, car rental, taxi service/rank, first aid facility and a business centre.
  • Parking: Limited short-term parking is available.
  • Departure Tax: None

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Driving Information

Drinking and driving:
If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05 per cent or more, severe penalties include fine, imprisonment and / or suspension of driving licence.

Driving licence:
Minimum age at which a UK licence holder may drive a temporarily imported car and / or motorcycle (exceeding 125cc) 18.

Fines:
On-the-spot. An official receipt should be obtained. Police can impound a vehicle that is wrongly parked and can detain a vehicle with worn tyres.

Fuel:
Leaded; Super petrol (96 octane) and unleaded petrol (95 & 98 octane), diesel, Euro diesel and LPG is available. Petrol in a can permitted. Credit cards are accepted at some filling stations, check with your card issuer for usage in Macedonia before travel. Usually payment can only be made in local currency.

Driving Distances:
Please click here http://www.viamichelin.com/ for driving distances


Lights:
Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory, on the spot fine for none compliance.

Motorcycles:
Use of dipped headlights during the day compulsory. Wearing of crash helmets is compulsory for both driver and passenger.

Motor Insurance:
Third-party compulsory. Green Card recognised.

Passengers / Children in cars:
A child under 12 is not permitted to travel in the front seats of a vehicle.

Seat belts:
Compulsory for front / rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Speed limits:
Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles with or without trailers: In built-up areas 31 mph (50 km/h), outside built- up areas 49 mph (80 km/h) but 68 mph (110 km/h) on dual carriageways and
80mph (130km/h) motorways. Drivers who have held their licence for less than two years must not exceed 37 mph (60km/h) outside built up areas / 49 mph (80 km/h) on dual carriageways and 62 mph (100 km/h) on motorways. They are also prohibited to drive between the hours of 2300 and 0500, unless there is a person older than 25 with a full and valid driving licence in the vehicle.

Compulsory equipment:

  • Spare bulb set
  • First aid kit
  • Warning triangle – two if towing a trailer. Not required for two wheeled vehicles.
  • Snow chains - must be carried to use with all year tyres from 15 Nov to 15 Mar or winter tyres must be fitted on all wheels.

Other rules / requirements:

A person visibly under the influence of alcohol is not permitted to travel in a vehicle as a front seat passenger.

The authorities at the frontier must certify any visible damage to a vehicle entering Macedonia and a certificate obtained; this must be produced when leaving. A certificate must also be obtained if the damage occurs whilst in Macedonia.

Spiked tyres are prohibited.

A GPS based navigation system which has maps indicating the location of fixed speed cameras must have the ‘fixed speed camera PoI (Points of Interest)’ function
deactivated.

The use of radar detectors is prohibited.

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