About Canyon Matka
I had the chance to visit Canyon Matka last year, and it is a truly sensational place. The canyon is located in Macedonia, near Skopje. It covers around 5,000 hectares, and holds the oldest artificial lake in Macedonia – Lake Matka.
There are many things to do in Matka Canyon. Around the canyon, there are hiking trails, centuries old churches and caves for exploration, kayaking, and boat trips around the lake.
One of the top attractions for visitors at Matka is Cave Vrelo. The cave is a deep underwater and above ground cave that has many stalactites, with one specific stalagmite known as the “Pine Cone” due to its shape. Officially there are 10 caves around the canyon, but only Cave Vrelo is open to the public. Find out here how to get to Vrelo Cave Matka, and what to expect from the cave tour.
There are two other caves, around the vicinity of Vrelo, that are being worked on – one of them is the Krshtalna cave. Hopefully, in the near future, they will be open to the public as well, but as of now, they are only open to the science and government community.
Tourists can visit the cave with a boat ride that lasts about an hour, or rent kayaks and self-explore it.
There is also a river, Treska, that runs from the Matka dam and into the Kozjak Lake. The river is an ideal spot for competitive kayaking, which attracts a lot of visitors during the summer. Several kayaking competitions take place on the Treska River throughout the year.
For those that love alpine climbing, hiking, photography, and historical landmarks, there are numerous hiking trails, churches, and monasteries to visit around the area.
Going to Cave Vrelo
Cave Vrelo is the only cave in Canyon Matka open to tourists. Vrelo is only accessible by water via a boat or kayak. Visitors can rent a kayak for a self-guided tour around Canyon Matka (single or double) for 30/60 minutes at prices ranging from 150 MKD to 500MKD.
Visitors that want a more relaxed trip to cave Vrelo and a guided tour, a boat ride is available for the price of 400 MKD per person. The boat ride is about an hour long (round-trip). The tour guide shows the way to the cave and brief history of the cave, insects, diving explorations, and much more.
By the Matka dam, there is a visitor’s information area, a restaurant, and a resting spot. Visitors will find the boating and kayaking rentals here.
For those visiting Skopje or other parts of Macedonia, I would recommend spending at last half a day, if not the whole day, at Matka. The best time is in spring and early fall, due to high temperatures and a high volume of visitors during the summer days. However, Matka Canyon can still be visited in the winter if weather permits it.