|Monday, 26 March 2012 06:24|
Unfortunately, only few, mainly regional airlines, fly to Skopje and Ohrid airports. Besides the Macedonian Airlines, also Austrian, Croatian, Czech and Turkish Airlines, as well as Alitalia, Malev, Adria, JAT, German wings and Air Bulgaria have their regular flights to Skopje. There are no regularly scheduled domestic flights. However, there are occasional flights between Ohrid and Skopje. Timetables and other info is available at http://www.airports.com.mk/. In winter days fog can close the airport in Skopje for several days in a row. Alternative in these cases is Ohrid Airport, or Sofia and Thessalonica.
All the main internal railroad services are operating normally, with links from Skopje to Kumanovo in the north, to Stip and Kocani in the east, to Veles and Gevgelija in the south, to Kicevo in the west, and to Prilep and Bitola in the southwest.
Trains in Macedonia are usually not the best way to get around, with buses providing faster, more frequent services although they are slightly more expensive than the train. Using trains in Macedonia also means you'll have to use Skopje's horrible train station. The Skopje-Veles-Prilep-Bitola train is highly recommended for those who enjoy travelling around, as it passes through magnificent landscapes - first through the Vardar Gorge, and then through untouched nature.
The bus network in Macedonia is well developed with frequent services from Skopje to everywhere in the country. Since recently Skopje Central Bus station has a relatively good webpage where one can obtain the necessary information. Check http://www.sas.com.mk/en/index.php . Local companies have regular lines to Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden. Some travel agencies also provide regular transport to Greece.
Skopje's taxis are regulated by the city council. The starting fee is 50 MKD, which is valid for the first two kilometers; after that you pay an additional 20 MKD per kilometer. The rates are the same at night, and waiting is charged at 300 MKD. Make sure the meter is running before you begin your trip. Taxis can be taken directly from the street but phoning (or having the restaurant or hotel call one for you) is an option, too; most of the operators speak English. Dial +389-2 in front of the five-digit numbers of the taxi company. Taxi numbers start with 151, and the last two digits of the number start from 50 and finish with 99.
Most of the main car rental agencies haveoffices in Skopje. Driving around Macedonia is relatively fast and easy. It has good roads, Western-standard road infrastructure, reasonable signposting in both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets, and petrol is slightly less inexpensive than in Western Europe. Bringing a detailed map is always a good idea, and make sure you have cash at hand to pay for the paytoll, usually 30-40 MKD. Between Tetovo and Skopje you will have to pay a number of times, on the way to the airport just once. Car rental in Macedonia is inexpensive and reliable. Note – many car rentals do not allow their cars to travel to Bulgaria.
Skopje's public transport system is composed entirely of old buses. The red ones are mainly state-owned public transport buses while the white ones are private buses, which are slightly cheaper. Day and evening services run approximately from 05:00 to 23:00 with a limited service throughout the night on all of the major routes. Tickets are based on a zone system, with the city centre as zone 1. A ticket within zone 1 on a JSP bus costs 35 MKD if bought on the bus or 30 MKD if bought in a kiosk. You can travel even cheaper by buying a 10-ride card for 230den. The price for the same trip in a private bus is 25 MKD, with tickets sold only on the bus. There is no public transport information centre, though the kiosks at the end of the lines have the time schedules posted. For more information see the state public transport company JSP's website at www.jsp.com.mk.