Travel Guide: Canyon Matka - A hidden gem in the world • Iva Says

Last modified: July 3, 2018

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. It covers around 5,000 hectares, and the oldest artificial lake in Macedonia, Matka, is located within it. At the canyon, there are hiking trails, kayaking, and caves for exploration.

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Canyon Matka - Exploring the Balkans - Travel Guide and Tips by Iva Says
Canyon Matka Travel Guide

One of the top attractions for visitors at Matka is the Vrelo Cave. The cave has many stalactites, with one specific cave 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.

There are two other caves, around the vicinity of Vrelo, that are being worked on. 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.  The river is an ideal spot for kayaking, which attracts a lot of visitors during the summertime. It even hosts kayaking competitions.

Bonus: Download our FREE Canyon Matka Travel Guide that will help you plan your next adventurous trip.  The guide has all the information on how to get there, what to explore, and other useful information.

 

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

The "Pine Cone" stalactite with purple lighting for the bats in cave Vrelo at Canynon Matka, Saraj Macedonia.
The “Pine Cone” stalactite in 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.

Travel tip: The temperatures are high in the summer so bring water to stay hydrated and food because there are not many restaurants/snack shop options at the canyon.

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