Matka Canyon and Vrelo Cave: Macedonia’s Natural Wonders


One of the important and popular sightseeing spots in Macedonia is Matka Canyon. The touristic canyon in Macedonia, which stands out with its natural beauties, offers a wonderful view.

Matka Canyon is actually a dam lake. It took its present form due to the dam built in the 1930s. It is a region with extremely enjoyable activities. Matka Canyon is a sightseeing point that will not regret a trip to Skopje.

Hiking and Swimming in Matka Canyon

You have the opportunity to take a long walk for 6 kilometers along the canyon rim. The end of the road is difficult and there are no railings. You may have difficulty towards sunset. Of course this is for adventure lovers. Even if you reach half of the road, it may be enough. There are several churches and monasteries from the Middle Ages in the canyon. Especially by walking inland, you can see wonderful views and historical church ruins. One of these churches is located at the canyon entrance. There are also caves around the canyon, but the most famous one is Vrelo Cave, which is visited by boat tours.

Makedonya Matka Kanyonu Gorulecek Yerler
Makedonya Matka Kanyonu Kiliseleri

People swim here too. The water is not clear but it is suitable for swimming. Although it does not seem appropriate for a tourist to swim here due to the limited time, it is not impossible. By the way, the corn in the mobile corn vendors is great.

Canoe Rental in Matka Canyon

Among the activities to be done in Matka Canyon is renting a canoe. You can rent a canoe for one person or two people and take a half-hour or one-hour trip. If you don’t know how to paddle, you can just hang out, if you do, you can go a few hundred meters and come back according to the time you rented. It is quite enjoyable. However, the canoes can get wet due to the waves created by the passing boats or the water pouring into the canoe as you paddle. When you get up from the canoe, there is a possibility that your butt is soaked with water.

Makedonya Matka Kanyonu Kano Kiralama
Matka Canyon Canoe Rental
Makedonya Matka Kanyonu Kano Gezisi
Matka Canyon - Things to Do

We rented a canoe for two people, the one in front stayed dry, but the one behind continued with a wet butt. 🙂 Canoe rental for half an hour is 200 DEN, one hour is 400 DEN. A half hour trip is enough. The attendant notes your departure time and delivers the canoe to you. If you find it very enjoyable, you can extend it to an hour. He already takes the payment on the way back.

Makedonya Matka Kanyonu Gezi Notlari
Makedonya Matka Kanyonu Gezi Rotasi

Boat Rental / Boat Tour in Matka Canyon

Renting a boat is also a nice activity to do in Matka Canyon. There are several boat tour alternatives. We preferred the one with a cave tour. There is a cave at the last point where the boat tour goes and they drop you off here and give you 15-20 minutes. You visit the cave and come back. That much time is enough. Then you get on the boat and start your way back. This journey takes about an hour in total.

Makedonya Matka Kanyonu Tekne Kiralama
Makedonya Matka Kanyonu Yapilacak Seyler

Vrelo Cave

The canyon that the boats visit is called Vrelo Cave. It is one of the deepest underground water caves in the world. Vrelo Cave, the most popular cave in the region, can be visited in 10-15 minutes. Since it is cool inside, take clothes if you have any.

Makedonya Matka Kanyonu Vrelo Magarasi Gezisi
Makedonya Matka Kanyonu Vrelo Magarasi Gezi Yerleri

How much is the entrance fee to Matka Canyon?

Entrance to Matka Canyon is free of charge, you can sightsee around without any charge.

Where is Matka Canyon and how to get there?

Matka Canyon is 15 km from the center of Skopje. The distance between Ohrid and Matka Canyon is 45 km. It is possible to reach by bus from Skopje. You can take bus number 60 from the intercity bus terminal and return with the same line. At the terminal, you need to buy a card for the trip and you need to load a round-trip balance into it, just like our Istanbulkart. You can tell the place where you bought the card that you are going to Matka Canyon and get an idea of how much you need to top up. Share the loaded amount with the staff on the bus and guarantee your return.

Makedonya Matka Kanyonu Tekne Turlari

After about 45 minutes – 1 hour from Skopje, you can reach Matka Canyon and after a 1 km road you can see Matka Canyon. Make sure you know the return time and departure point of the bus, and plan well in advance to be at the departure point before the return time.

If you are coming with your private car, you can drive to the canyon. However, if you are not in a hurry for time, you can park your car somewhere far from the entrance. The reason for choosing this option is that the roads are narrow and if you come to the canyon during the peak season, you may be confronted with oncoming vehicles and your exit may be delayed. We went as far as Matka Canyon and parked on the side of the road and there was no charge. If you want to take a taxi, it makes sense, especially for groups of a few people.