Bitola, North Macedonia

In southwestern North Macedonia the Balkan city of Bitola is too often overlooked by travellers dazzled by nearby Lake Ohrid. Yet this historic city buzzes with a calendar of cultural events and a thriving café scene while nature is just on its doorstep.

Where?

Bitola, Macedonia

Why now?

Backed by the Baba Mountain, Bitola is North Macedonia's second-largest city. Remaining virtually unknown, this place makes for a pretty ideal city break - particularly if you're not one for crowd surfing to collect your daily paper. Spend mornings strolling along Širok Sokak (Wide Street) to find your daily espresso fix and with a side order of people-watching.

Better yet, some of North Macedonia's most spectacular nature is right on its doorstep. Hike the neighbouring Pelister National Park or take an hour's drive to Ohrid. One of Europe's oldest towns, it's flanked by a glassy lake that begs you to grab a kayak and make some ripples.

Don't miss

Get acquainted with Bitola past and present at the Museum of Bitola or Magaza, a former storehouse turned art gallery in Magnolia Square which hosts exhibitions, concerts and cultural events throughout the year.

Where to stay

Set in the centre of town and hitting the spot when it comes to cosy-yet-chic style is N95.

Where to go for dinner

GT Lounge Bar is known for rustling up the best pizza in the city.

And for a drink…

Head to the no-frills Bar Carsija on a Friday night to enjoy a beer with locals.

Who to take with you

Take your coffee-loving friend; they'll have no qualms in participating in a café crawl.

When to go

To see the city at its best, visit between May and September.

Essentials to pack

So you're a coffee-on-the-go type? Take this Jil Sander leather flask case.

How to get there

There are direct flights from London's Luton Airport to Skopje International Airport.

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Ohrid, North Macedonia