In brief: Though small, Macedonia features plenty of inviting open spaces and reserves.
All over the Balkans, we have seen splendid, inviting terrain so we were not surprised that Macedonia enjoys its share of a natural world rich in diversity and beauty.
One site that thrilled us was Matka Canyon, an inviting park quite close to Skopje, amid whose cliffs we kayaked for hours. One highlight was a cave up on the cliffs, whose natural colors turned psychedelic because of the intense lighting placed within.
Later, we stayed for several days within Mavrovo National Park, whose wide open spaces are dotted with hillside towns.
We were able to do some hiking despite a spate of bad weather, and drove to see historic churches and enjoy other vistas – while looking out for the wildlife in the area.
But our home was Mavrovo town at the edge of its eponymous lake, created through damming some time ago, but nonetheless a wonderful natural resource. One sign of the lake creation was the roof and steeple of a submerged medieval church that seemed to be floating in the water like a boat.
(Also, for more pictures from Macedonia, CLICK HERE to view the slideshow at the end of the itinerary page.)