Despite being one of the most southern countries in Europe geographically, Macedonia with its configuration and climate conditions, offers numerous possibilities for winter tourism. Winter recreation activities are in high gear on many mountainous parts of Macedonia with seasonal weather conditions setting an excellent stage for traditional winter pursuits.
The mountain slopes, the mountain bike and hiking trails, the roads leading up and down the mountains, around lakes… all transform into top winter routes when the powder snow falls at the higher elevations.
In the higher mountains, the snow cover remains from November till April. The thickness of the snow cover varies. In the high mountains like Bistra and Sara, the snow thickness is above 2 meters. From Popova Sapka to Mavrovo to Pelister, Krusevo and Kozuf, recreational centers, winter activities are in motion, highlighting the full potential of Macedonia’s winter tourism product.
During the snow covered winter months, Macedonia’s ski hills buzz with activity as outdoor snow enthusiasts, gather to experience some of the best ski, snowboard, cross country and snowshoe runs and trails available in our country.
Popova Sapka, on the Sara massive which runs for 80 km along the borders with Kosovo and Albania and is 12 km wide, is one of the most attractive winter sports centers in Macedonia. It attracts devotees of winter sports from all over Europe with its altitude of 1875m above sea level and favorable snow. For years, Popova Sapka has hosted the International Alpine Skiing Tournament called Sara Mountain Cup.
Mavrovo, on Bistra Mountain in the west of the country, attracts tourists during all seasons, but is epsecially attractive in winter when it is all covered with deep snow. There are tracks for beginners, advanced and top competitors in the alpine and Nordic categories.
The average snow cover is 1m which makes skiing and all other winter joys possible from November to April.
Bistra has preserved the lengthy tradition of organizing the Mavrovo Memorial Tournament in Ski Runs.
Mount Pelister, close to Bitola near the border with Greece, is valuable because of its unique flora on its slopes, due to which it has been declared a National Park. The greatest area is covered by the woods of “molika” native autochthonous five needle-shaped leaves of a pine tree, which is the special decoration and value of Pelister.
Due to its extraordinary beauty, Pelister is a favorite place for winter tourism. It has excellent slopes for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. Pelister is characterized by the variety of its different climatic conditions. On the peaks one can see shining snow until July, while in the ravines; snow is preserved throughout the year awaiting the “new snowfalls”.
Krusevo, located on mount Busava in the centre of Macedonia, is also one of Macedonia’s prime winter sports destinations owing to its high elevation of 1300 meters. The ski terrains are located in the vicinity of the city and the chair lift departures from the very city centre. The pistes are at 1400 m altitude.It is a well-known tourist place with a mild and favorable climate which enables tourists to have a pleasant stay, both during winter and summer season.
Kozuf is an extremely specific mountain that stands apart from other mountains in Macedonia because it is the first natural barrier in Macedonia, directly exposed to the influences of the Mediterranean and continental climate waves from the Aegean Sea. It is hard to put into words the complete joy of winter snow cover, the challenge that comes from the pure nature and insatiable need to absorb it with all your senses. From November to April, due to the northerly exposure, the entire ski center on Kozuf is under a constant snow quality, allowing the snow lovers enjoy in all winter sports and games.
The end of the summer season doesn’t mean that holidays are over; many destinations in Macedonia are preparing to welcome the tourists during the winter period.