Terminal Drop-Off Charge

From 1 November 2021, a £5 charge will apply for vehicles dropping off passengers at the designated drop-off zones, located directly outside the terminals. Discounts and exemptions will apply. Free drop-off will be available at the Long Stay car parks.

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Changes to entering the UK using EU ID cards

From 1 October 2021, most EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will need to use a valid passport to travel to the UK. ID cards will no longer be accepted as a valid travel document to enter the UK, though some exemptions will apply. 

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  • Overview

    North Macedonia is an ancient country in search of a modern identity. Since the end of the civil war in 1991, North 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. North 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. North Macedonia's prime attraction is Lake Ohrid, on the southeast border with Albania. This is one of Europe's deepest lakes 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 North Macedonian music, food and people in all their glory.

    The capital is Skopje, a really enjoyable microcosm of North 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. Mavrovo, 40 miles (60km) east of Skopje, is an excellent though hugely underrated ski resort in a wonderfully scenic mountain location. Bitoli, the country's second largest city, is known for its cafe culture and Ottoman heritage. Getting around in North Macedonia is relatively easy, with fairly well maintained roads plied by public buses, and reasonably good value car hire available. The trains are clean, cheap and slow, which is a good thing as the scenery en route to destinations can be magnificent. For the moment North Macedonia is still an off-the-beaten-track travel destination, but with its unbeatable mix of wilderness, culture, and famously friendly people, this destination is primed to become the next big thing on the European visitor's map. For those who like to explore countries relatively 'undiscovered' by tourists, Macedonia is ideal.

    North Macedonia is still very much uncharted territory for contemporary travellers, but it is well worth the trip. Most travellers will start their visit in Skopje, the historic capital of the country. Since 2014, North Macedonia's ruling party has undertaken a massive urban rejuvenation project in the Skopje. As a result, travellers will encounter soaring Italian-style colonnades and massive neoclassical buildings that tower over the streets. There are also public areas dominated by massive sculptures such as the Millennium Cross. This project was controversial and earned Skopje an unwanted association with kitsch. However, that doesn't mean that Skopje isn't a treasure trove of genuine historical and architectural wonder.

    Visitors should head over to Skopje's Turkish Bazaar Here, they'll find a 15th century stone bridge and the Kale Fortress that dates back to the 5th century. From here travellers can take in much of Skopje's sights and sounds, such as corner cafes where locals play chess and drink coffee, or wander through some of Skopje's outstanding contemporary art exhibits.

    However, outside of the city is where North Macedonia's real value is to be found. The town of Ohrid, next to Lake Ohrid, should be first on the list. Lake Ohrid is mesmerising, with glassy, blue waters that stand as a portal to one of Europe's deepest lakes. The lake and its town are a great summer destination for swimming and relaxing, or sauntering through the town's cobbled streets and sampling some truly delicious local cuisine. The summer crowds can be numerous, although mass tourism has not yet taken over. Travellers should ensure that they book accommodation well in advance.

    The mountains and forests demand attention as well. Pelister Park has been a national park in Macedonia for since 1948, and is home to myriad wildlife such as wolves, bear, trout and deer. The park covers 66 square miles (171 sq km) and boasts enormous mountains, many of which are well over 1,200 miles (2000m) tall. From Pelister Park, travellers should be sure to visit Golem Grad (Big Island), a historic place of peace for victorious rulers to engage in contemplation. Visitors should just be careful to avoid the snakes, which are the true rulers of the island.

    North Macedonia is indeed great for those with a taste for adventure.

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    English Pronounciation

    North Macedonia has a largely continental climate, although the south and east of the country are quite Mediterranean. Generally, summers are long and dry, and winters are mild and rainy, with occasional heavy snowfall in the mountains. It can get surprisingly hot in summer, between May and August, with temperatures on the plains sometimes reaching as high as 104°F (40°C). The warmest month is July, with an average temperature of 72°F (22°C). Winters are fairly cold and snowfall is common. The coldest month is January, with an average temperature of 33°F (0°C). Rainfall is abundant, particularly in the short spring and autumn, with October being the wettest month, and August the driest. Visitors should note that the climate does vary according to region and geographical features.

    North Macedonia is a year-round destination, but the summer months, between May and August, are the peak tourist season and the optimum time to visit. At this time the popular lake areas and cities such as Ohrid and Mavrovo (known for its mountain biking opportunities) can get crowded. November to April is the least popular period for travel to North Macedonia, with the exception of the ski season in January and February, which sees visitors flock to the slopes in Mavrovo, Pelister, Krushevo and Popova Sapka. Spring and autumn can also be very pleasant although visitors should expect rain.

    Skopje Alexander the Great International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 9 miles (14km) and a 30-minute drive from the city centre.
    Time: Local time is UTC/GMT +1 hours
    Getting to the city: Taxis are readily available and charge about €20 for the 30-minute drive to the city centre.
    Car Rental: Car rental agencies are available and companies include Europcar and Hertz.
    Airport Taxis: There are a number of taxis available as travellers exit the terminal building.
    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, first-aid facility and a business centre.
    Parking Limited short-term parking is available.
    Money:

    The unit of currency is the Macedonian Denar (MKD), divided into 100 deni. Dollars and euros are easy to change. Credit and debit cards are easily used at most hotels and are increasingly accepted elsewhere.

    Language:

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

    Electricity:

    Electrical current is 230 volts (50Hz). European round pin attachment plugs and Schuko plugs are in use.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals: US citizens must have a passport that is valid for a minimum of 90 days from their arrival date in Macedonia. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

    UK nationals: British citizens must have a passport that is valid for a minimum of 90 days from their arrival date in Macedonia. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

    CA nationals: Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for a minimum of 90 days from their arrival date in Macedonia. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

    AU nationals: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for a minimum of 90 days from their arrival date in Macedonia. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

    ZA nationals: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for a minimum of 90 days from their arrival date in Macedonia. A visa is required.

    IR nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for a minimum of 90 days from their arrival date in Macedonia. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

    NZ nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for a minimum of 90 days from their arrival date in Macedonia. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    It is recommended that foreign passengers to North Macedonia hold return or onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country. Once in North Macedonia, foreign visitors must register with the local police in the town where they are staying within 24 hours of arriving, unless they're staying in a hotel. If that is the case, they will automatically be registered. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    There are no specific health risks for North Macedonia and travel is usually free of problems from a health perspective. Hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended and it is also advised that visitors be up to date with their vaccinations for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and tetanus-diphtheria.

    Travellers should avoid drinking tap water unless it has been boiled or filtered, and a rabies vaccination may be recommended for those who may have contact with wild animals while in North Macedonia.

    Medical and healthcare facilities are good in Skopje and other large cities, and pharmacies are generally well supplied. However, comprehensive medical insurance, with provision for emergency repatriation, is still strongly advised. It is also almost always better that travellers take any prescription medication they may need with them when they travel, along with a signed and dated letter from their doctor detailing what the medication is and why they need it.

    Tipping:

    Waiters expect tips of 10 percent of the bill unless a service charge has already been added to the bill. Restaurants are generally the only service where tips are expected.

    Safety Information:

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

    Local Customs:

    Locals tend to be curious of other cultures and visitors shouldn't be surprised if they are asked questions that seem inappropriate, such as how much money they make, or what their house looks like. Most locals communicate in a polite but direct way, and view time in a loose sense, meaning it's usually never rude to be late in social situations. Same-sex relationships aren't illegal, but North Macedonians are not especially open about the issue.

    Communications:

    The international dialling code for North Macedonia is +389. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Travellers can purchase local SIM cards for unlocked phones; WiFi is widespread.

    Duty Free:

    Visitors to North Macedonia may import 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco, one litre of spirits and two litres of wine. The import of arms and ammunition is prohibited.

    Useful Contacts:

    North Macedonia Tourism: www.macedonia-timeless.com/eng

    Macedonia Embassies:

    Macedonian Embassy, Washington DC: +1 202 667 0501.

    Macedonian Embassy, London (also responsible for Ireland): +44 020 7976 0535.

    Macedonian Embassy, Ottawa: +1 613 234 3882.

    Macedonian Embassy, Canberra: +61 2 6282 6220.

    Foreign Embassies in Macedonia :

    United States Embassy, Skopje: +389 2 3102 000.

    UK Embassy, Skopje: +389 2 3299 299.

    Canadian Embassy, Skopje: +389 2 3225 630.

    Australian Consulate, Skopje: +389 2 3061 114.

    Macedonia Emergency Numbers : 192 (police), 194 (public ambulance), 196 (roadside assistance)
    Macedonia