Matka Canyon is a very popular place for tourists who visit Macedonia and Skopje as well as for local people especially in very hot days because there is usually a few degrees less than in centre of Skopje and nature there is amazing.
The Matka Lake in the Matka canyon is the oldest artificial lake in the country. Canyon with sides 1000m high and step notches of over 250m was created by vertical erosions of the Treska River during the long history. You can find very rare and endemic species of plants and animals in the valley and especially number of various kinds of butterfly species. 84 of them can be found only there and nowhere else on the Balkans. There are remains of many ancient settlements and fortresses and a lot of well preserved medieval churches and monasteries as well.
It’s close to the center of Skopje so local buses go as a part of city. In Matka Canyon you can spend the whole day, because there are many things to do.
I went with my friend around noon because it was heavy rain in the morning. We went to the bus station and took bus number 60. A one-way ticket costs 35 DEN and the journey took 45 minutes.
The bus ends at the parking lot and from there it’s about 5-10 minutes’ walk to the church of St. Andrea and restaurants. This place is like the center of the valley. Here you can begin walking along canyon on the sidewalk on the reef or rent a boat or canoe.
We wanted to go on a trip through canyon by boat. Price per person is 400DEN. Because we were only two persons, we had to wait for other people who will join us, otherwise the price would be more expensive.
In about 20 minutes 2 girls from Norway and 1 Turkish boy came, so we could start our journey. Boat trip to the cave took about 25 minutes and we enjoyed that a lot. The surrounding is really beautiful. There is turquoise water, green trees and on some sections there was interesting mist above the water.
Then we came to Vrelo cave and our driver took us inside. Vrelo Cave has many stalactites including a large one in the middle of the cave and there are two lakes at the end of the cave. The smaller lake is 8 meters length and 15 meters in depth and the larger lake is 35 meters length, and 18 meters in depth. You can see a lot of bats on the walls of cave and listen their noise. The exact depth of the cave is still unknown, but some people consider that it could be the deepest underwater cave in the world.
After the tour in the cave we went back 25 minutes to the port. The whole trip takes about an hour and I highly recommend this trip all people who visit the Matka valley.
What can you do in Matka Canyon?
1 Hour boat tour to the Vrelo cave: For 400 DEN, you can go through the canyon by boat and visit Vrelo cave, one of the deepest caves in the world.
Rent a canoe: You can rent canoe, sail and enjoy the peace and quiet of the canyon. The price depends on how much hours you will spend on the water.
Hiking to Church of St. Nikola: The Church St. Nikola is located on the other side of the canyon. From the port you can take boat which will bring you to the other side of canyon for 30DEN. Then you will hike to the church steeply for about 10-15 minutes.
Walk around the canyon: Around canyon there is narrow trail and you can walk for hours there. You can see the entire canyon from above. This path starts behind the restaurants on the beginning of canyon.