NOTE: The first part of my visit to Skopje can be found here.
The “Old Bazaar” and the fresh food market “Bit Pazaar”
As you cross the river, you enter the Old Bazaar area. A lively section of the city dotted with countless gold, silver and diverse jewelry shops, cafes, shisha lounges, food and snack stands, and all sorts of shops. If you are in for a borek or a kebab, this is the best place in the city to get one.
At the far end of the Old Bazaar you will find the very lively Skopje fresh food market. Hundreds of stalls selling every vegetable, fruit, nut, and meat your cravings could long for.
Something worth noting, most of the Old Bazaar closes when the sun goes down. If you are planning to experience this area in its full glory, make sure you are there early in the morning when the bustling activity is at its height.
North Macedonian beer
One of the heavy hitter beers not only in North Macedonia but in the whole Balkan region, calls Skopje its home, and goes by the name of Skopsco. Its hometown rival answer to the name “Zlaten Dab”, and I must say, as much as I have enjoyed drinking Skopsco throughout the Balkans, Zlaten Dab had my preference on this visit. A very crisp and light lager, they type of beer that just doesn’t fill you up. If you like the lighter beers, this one deserves your attention.
Late night doners and a very peculiar burger joint
Two noteworthy food joints that you might want to keep in mind are Hamza Doner and the oddly named “Burger Slut”. Hamza Doner is one of the few places in Skopje that is open 24 hours a day, every day except for Sunday’s. They are a franchise so you’ll be able to see spread across the city; believe you me, you will want to know where the one near to you is given the very limited options for late night meals. As for “Burger Slut”, the burgers are some of the best in town, and their menu is truly mind boggling. They offer both take away and sit down meals in their quite cozy seating area beneath street level. Outside of the name, there’s nothing slutty about it.
Supermarkets and stores in Skopje, opening and closing hours
Skopje didn’t give me the impression that it has a wide variety of late night options. Stores will start winding down from 20:00 and pretty much all shops and supermarkets will be closed by 22:00. After that time, you might find a few shops here and there, but don’t count on it. The last option will be gas stations, but they are usually a bit of a walk from the center of Skopje.
The largest supermarket chain in Skopje is called Vero. They are not ubiquitous by any stretch of the imagination, in fact, coming from Pristina, which had a supermarkets at seemingly every corner, the lack of food shops in a city which is much bigger came as a bit of surprise. Right behind the riverfront restaurant area, you will find the Jumbo Vero Center, which as you might expect, has a Vero Supermarket inside, as well as a ton of other shops; it’s a proper open air mall.
Skopje has a licensed Crypto Exchange (Uber cool!)
Something that truly caught my attention in a very very positive way was to find a licensed crypto exchange, “Coin Prime”. It’s located in the lower level of the Jumbo Vero Center, to the left of the Vero Supermaket (if you are standing in front of the entrance).
You can cash in pretty much every major crypto currency out there for a very reasonable fee.
Getting a SIM card in North Macedonia…(NOT a happy ending to this story)
As much as one strives to be positive about the places you visit, there are a couple of things that inevitably will be big let downs…and they should also be shared…. The SIM card situation in North Macedonia is unfortunately one of those topics.
I have spent all morning trying to get a SIM card given no major European telecom provider has North Macedonian coverage as part of your “bundle”. I thought this was going to be a 5 minute thing…but it wasn’t. Turns out that in order to get a SIM card here, you HAVE TO TURN IN YOUR PASSPORT INFORMATION!!! At first I though they were kidding, but after trying it with 3 different providers…this is unfortunately the case at this time. This is a total shame…mind you…not even Cuba has this requirement…so to have to deal with this is in Europe, is a MAJOR DOWNER about a country that has so much to offer. If you really think about it, this is a major infringement of your privacy…having someone tracking every click you make…does that sound fair? I hope that in the future, North Macedonia aligns with the rest of the European privacy rights…
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