Macedonia : Safety by City
Macedonia is one of the ex-Yugoslav territories that are now independent yet have the same interesting, east-European vibe to them and the friendliest, warmest people.
Now called North Macedonia, it is a landlocked country in the Balkans, sharing its borders with Serbia to the north, Albania to the west, Bulgaria to the east, and Greece to the south.
Though it boasts rich cultural and historical remnants and monuments, it is also very rich in nature and is actually a natural paradise of mountains, lakes and rivers.
It has a great tourist attraction, the Ohrid lake, where young people love to spend their summers, amidst the friendly people of this country.
Warnings & Dangers in Macedonia
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Macedonia is a generally safe country. You may encounter some petty crime on the streets because its people aren't really rich, but if you keep your belongings wisely by your side, you won't have any problems.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Transportation in Macedonia is mainly safe. As in any other country, cab drivers could take advantage of an unprepared tourist, scamming him into paying the ride way too much.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Even though pickpocketing and small thefts are some of the most common crimes you can encounter in Macedonia, they are most common in big cities like Skopje, or other famous tourist destinations in Macedonia and even there they are rare compared to other bigger European capitals.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH
Unfortunately, Macedonia has such geographical features that allow for the frequent occurrence of many natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, torrents, landslides, droughts, etc. However, floods here are probably the most dangerous: in the summer of 2016, a large flash flood occurred in the Skopje region causing 23 deaths and huge damage.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Even though crimes against tourists remain a problem in Macedonia, mugging is not an issue and rarely happens towards tourists, and more commonly as a result of organized crime gangs.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There is a moderate risk of terrorists trying to carry out attacks in North Macedonia, though in the recent past there haven't been any such attacks. Still, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Scams do happen in Macedonia, but mostly only the typical ones, in the form of overpricing in bars, or by the street vendors. Drink spiking is also an issue in night clubs.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Even though Macedonia is as safe as can be for women travelers, they should be aware of the dangers of roaming alone in a strange city. Just like pretty much anywhere, they should avoid walking alone down empty or poorly lit streets, walking past groups of people that behave or look strange or getting into conversations with unknown people that might seem strangely friendly.
So... How Safe Is Macedonia Really?
Macedonia is, overall a safe country to visit.
Though it has its dangers like natural hazards and some organized crime on the streets, the chances of it affecting tourists are very slim.
Like in most countries, you should watch out for scammers, plan everything ahead, negotiate all fees in advance, double-check everything you hear from vendors on the streets and be careful when making friendships with unknown “friendly” locals trying to help you with anything: they might try to steal something from you or charge for their help.
And again, just like anywhere – if you’re an inexperienced traveler, you might encounter minor incidents such as pickpocketing, smaller thefts or vendors might try to trick you while selling something.
Also, pay attention in night clubs or bars for people trying to spike your drink (not common, but has been reported) and in poorly lit streets and areas, or upon seeing strange activities on the streets since Macedonia has had occurrences of organized crime incidents.
If you’re spending your summers in Ohrid, be careful at the beach after sunsets because it’s where petty thefts often happen.
If you see such a situation, just stay away from the place where it’s happening and call the police – they’re very helpful.
How Does Macedonia Compare?
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- Visas - Most countries do not need a visa in order to enter North Macedonia for any stays shorter than 90 days. Make sure that your visa is valid for at least 3 months from the date of arrival. If you're not sure whether your country needs a visa to enter Macedonia, contact your local Macedonian embassy for further information.
- Currency - Makedonski denar is the official currency in Macedonia. You should avoid exchanging money on the street or any unofficial money exchange offices. You will find the best exchange rate in the official banks. Another option can be withdrawing money from local ATM's using your debit or credit card.
- Weather - The Republic of Macedonia has a mildly continental climate which covers the biggest area of the country. It is characterized with relatively cold and humid winters and very warm and dry summers. Since the winters are pretty cold, the springs that come after are usually colder than the falls.
- Airports - Skopje International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in the country of Macedonia, located in Petrovec, a smallish village or, rather, a neighborhood in North Macedonia.
- Travel Insurance - As in any other country or city, travelers going to Macedonia are highly advised to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical issues but also theft and loss of personal items.
Macedonia Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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9 Reviews on Macedonia
Much safer than 55
I don’t agree that Macedonia has high danger of natural disasters – not higher than any of the neighbouring countries for sure. The Mediterranean in general is an area prone to earthquakes and the flooding in 2016 is very exceptional (it only happened in 2016).
Taxi scams and pickpockets are also very limited (much less then in other tourist destinations). Avoid getting into “unofficial taxis” and you will be fine. Pickpocketing is present only around Skopje main square and old bazaar. The rest of the country is very safe (most people leave their mobile phones and wallets on the tables while having coffee outside and nothing ever happens).
Visited Macedonia and it is one of the safest countries I have ever been to with such friendly people highly recommend especially Ohrid lake.
The Republic of Macedonia- the pearl of the Balkans is one of the safest place I’ve ever been in my life and surely one of the safest countries in Europe. Safety index 55?!?! Highly disputable, I would say easily at least 85 as I don’t see any particular issue all over the country and especially in the capital Skopje.
Don’t go to Kosovo for a trip, return to Macedonia and then try to go to Serbia, as they often point blank just refuse entry if you have an illegal ‘Kosovo’ stamp in your passport.
I drove through Macedonia on my way from Greece to Hungary on a road trip with the family, and honestly and I was so surprised by how beautiful nature is there. Great views!
The name of the country is North Macedonia not Macedonia.
It’s Macedonia and always will be.
Our recent visit to Macedonia -June 2022
We had a great time in Macedonia. We chose it specifically because it wasnt a typical tourist trap although no doubt it is becoming one as more people start to discover it. Its people were extremely friendly and accommodating. Food and accommodation was less than 1/4 of the price in Australia eg we fed four of us on pizzas for around $6 Aus (warning their family size feeds around six people).
Accommodation is more than reasonable and we were never approached as tourists except when getting off the bus and people with lodgings would ask politely if we were interested in staying at their place.
Their ancient ruins were fantastic to visit with old Roman sites and churches.
In terms of safety, my wife and kids wondered around without me on numerous occasions and never felt threatened and never encountered would be ‘pickpocketers’.
Skopje and Lake Ohrid were my favorite but have been told that Bitola is another place that is also beautiful.
Overall, although we did bump into a number of tourists it is still alot better than a majority of the places we visited in Europe. Only advice is if you can, hire a car but a taxi is still quite cheap. And also avoid their hottest months as it can get to 40 degrees quite easily.
55 for Macedonia? More like 85
Macedonia is one of the safest countries in Europe. Because you don’t know how safe Yugoslavia is, you should know that the food is yummy, the people are awesome, and has a very nice government. He will always care for his people, no matter the consequences. I think Macedonia is safer than Croatia.