Is Macedonia Safe to Visit?
Before travelling, it’s always good to be prepared and know what to expect when you touch down. Often we arrive at airports and train stations, which tend to be the places where many scams happen, suddenly dealing with various unknown situations. This can be very unsettling if you’re unsure what you’re letting yourself in for.
There are sorts of things to consider when it comes to safety, from natural disasters to petty crime to major scams. Don’t be easy prey by knowing everything you can know before you go.
Is Macedonia safe?
If you’re planning a Balkans trip and wondering ‘is Macedonia safe to visit’ then find out everything you need to know about this exciting country right here.
Safety in Macedonia
Macedonia is one of the safest countries in the world, you’ll be pleased to know. There’s actually very little to worry about regarding safety in Macedonia. Troubles of the past are long behind them and what you’ll find is a vibrant and peaceful country just waiting to be explored.
However, just like any country, it’s always good to be aware of any issues and put into practice basic safety tips. Here are some things to be aware of when it comes to travelling in Macedonia.
Macedonia Saftey Tips
What does safety mean exactly? This is safety for yourself, as well as for your valuables and belongings. While some of these tips might be considered common sense, they can be easy to overlook in a country as safe as Macedonia.
In fact, it’s very easy to get a little complacent and overconfident in one of the safest countries in Europe. But that’s never a good idea, so here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when you travel Macedonia.
● Pickpocketing – Like many countries in Europe, the biggest problem, when it comes to crime, that you’ll have to deal with is the occasional pickpocketer or bag-snatcher, so be aware of your belongings. This advice should be particularly and strictly followed in tourist areas like Skopje city centre and the Old Town.
In order to avoid pickpocketing, consider using a theft-proof bag that hides the seams and zips. Or, simply, keep a tight hold of your handbag at all times and never keep anything in your back pocket. Keep your phone, wallet, everything in your front pockets and keep a hand on them.
● Avoid the northern border with Kosovo due to cases of civil unrest. Similarly, avoid large political gatherings and demonstrations.
This is very unlikely to bother you, and you probably have no plans to wander along the border, but breakouts of civil unrest in the form of aggressive protests can happen in Macedonia. But don’t worry, you’ll know about them and they’re easy to simply ignore.
● If you do need help then you can contact the police (telephone 192) or the ambulance service (telephone 194). You can also contact your local embassy for advice.
It’s always a good idea to have the local police and ambulance numbers, as well as the embassy phone number and address, saved in your phone before you visit anywhere.
● You can swim in most lakes and rivers in Macedonia, but the rivers Vardar and Treska and Lake Treska are not suitable for swimming. Avoid those three, and the rest are perfectly safe.
● Watch out for wild animals in Macedonia’s various national parks. There, you can easily run into bears. Make sure you keep to the marked paths at all times, and without exception. Also, keep an eye out for stray animals when driving.
The last thing you’d want ruining your trip to Macedonia is to hit a roaming animal, so have your wits about you if you decide to drive a rental car across the beautiful landscape of Macedonia.
● Water is safe to drink from the tap in Macedonia. Don’t let anyone scare you into thinking otherwise. It’s perfectly safe, so save some money on bottled water and fill up your bottle from the tap.
Travel insurance in North Macedonia
● If you get swarmed by a group of children asking you for money, hold on to your belongings as this a common distraction technique. Head into the nearest cafe or shop
● Credit card fraud is becoming more common so try to only use your card for large purchases in reputable businesses and otherwise stick to cash
● You won’t find any unlicensed taxis or huge taxi scams in Macedonia but there are a few things to watch out for:
Overcharging – make sure the meter is on and check online fare estimators before setting off
Tourist spots – avoid jumping in taxis waiting at tourist spots as you’re more likely to get ripped of
Know your route- – just to make sure your driver isn’t taking you around a bit to drive up the fare
License number – if you do encounter any issues, take a picture of the driver’s license
number to report them.
Is Macedonia Safe for Solo Travelers?
Absolutely safe, but take extra care at night in certain areas and stick to well-lit, busier spots as you would in all cities. The Vardar riverbank is one of the more dodgier areas at night so best to avoid if you’re travelling alone.
Safety Tips for Driving in Macedonia
If you’re embarking on an epic Macedonia road trip, and want to avoid using taxis or public transport, then bear these safety tips in mind.
● Between November – February, there can be extremely thick fog which can dramatically reduce visibility so always check weather conditions before setting off
● People drive on the right in Macedonia
● There are frequent accidents on the road and areas around Skopje can be particularly congested so always keep alert and adhere to speed limits. Limits are: 130 km/h on highways, 110 km/h on roads reserved for motor vehicles, 90 km/h on other roads, and 50 km/h on roads in built-up areas
● Sidelights/Dipped lights must be on at all times including in the day, fines are administered for anyone breaking the rules. Similarly, passengers who aren’t wearing a seatbelt or are found using a mobile phone while driving will be fined
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