Matka Canyon – All You Need To Know BEFORE You Go [2024]

Matka Canyon - All you need to know before you go

Matka Canyon is a beautiful part of North Macedonia. It is located a few kilometres from Skopje and I think is a must for any visit to Skopje. It is such an enchanting place with steep cliffs overlooking a gorge filled with green tinged water. There are also ten caves and some can be explored. 20% of insects in Matka are unique to that area and cannot be found anywhere else, pretty cool right? Matka canyon was manmade in 1938 when a dam was built on the river Treska.

I visited Matka in mid October, the weather was perfect and very Autumnal; it wasn’t too cold and the orange leaves looked so pretty. It is a very popular place in Macedonia and was very busy. Thankfully I arrived late on Saturday and missed a lot of the crowd but Sunday was packed.

There is no entrance fee into Matka Canyon, it is completely free!

Visiting Skopje? Check out my post on the 13 BEST THINGS TO DO IN SKOPJE

Getting To Matka Canyon From Skopje

To get to Matka Canyon from Skopje you have two options; bus or taxi.

Bus To Matka Canyon

The number 60 bus takes you from Skopje to Matka. It is a 50 minute journey and leaves from Skopje bus station.

Getting a ticket is a little complicated so I will explain that now. As a tourist you need to get a Skopje bus card, the buses do not accept cash. You can buy this card from the bus station, the office is in a converted bus that I found really difficult to find. You then need to choose the number of journeys, each bus journey is 35MKD so you will just need to consider how often you will be using the buses. I wrote in more detail how to purchase this bus card here.

On busy days the bus does not go all the way to Matka Canyon because there is not much space for the bus to turn around. It stops about a 20 – 30 minute walk away but its mostly flat and you have a view of fields, mosques and mountains so it is a pleasant walk. If you or any of your group has mobility issues it would be probably worth your while to get a taxi, they are very affordable costing between 500 & 600 MKD. Also remember on your journey back it would be safer to just go back to the bus stop you got off just in case the bus doesn’t go all the way to the canyon.

Taxi To Matka Canyon

It can cost between 500 to 700 MKD to get to Matka Canyon from Skopje, one way. The final price will depend on your haggling skills.

There are plenty of taxi’s at Matka Canyon therefore getting a taxi back to Skopje is no problem.

Everything you need to know about visiting Matka Canyon

What To Do In Matka Canyon

There are some fun things to do in Matka Canyon such as hiking, boat trip, kayaking or exploring the caves.


There is a 6km round trip cliff edge walk you can do. It starts at the restaurant and you just follow the track. It offers beautiful views and any “dangerous” parts have a sturdy rail. The path is quite thin so I can imagine it would be frustrating on a busy day.

You can also do a 30 minute steep hike to St. Nikola Monastery.

Boat Trip + Cave Exploring

I highly recommend this doing this during your time in Matka Canyon. I went on the trip that includes a cave tour.

The boat journey took about 15 minutes to reach the cave, we walked up a few steep steps to the cave and had about 10 minutes exploring, The cave is called the bat cave and is home to a colony of bats. Although, I did not see any. The guide also pointed out Vrelo Cave, thought to be the deepest in the world with a depth of 330m. The boat trip costs 600 MKD per person.

The boat was so comfortable, it has cream leather seats, the driver had a really good playlist that lifted the mood. I don’t know about you but I have been on some really boring boat trips before where you feel sleepy afterwards. Not this one, the guy was so nice he even offered his jacket to my boyfriend who did not have one.


Kayaking is a fun way to explore Matka Canyon, allowing you to get closer and offering a different perspective than taking a boat ride.

You have the option of getting an individual kayak or a 2 seater, both are self guided. The duration is either 30 or 60 minutes. Renting a kayak at Matka Canyon will cost up to 500 MKD.

Where To Stay

There is only one hotel on the canyon Canyon Matka Hotel, I booked it last minute on for €50 per night, this included a bottle of wine and breakfast the next morning.

The room was clean and had a view of the lake. The hotel also has a restaurant over looking the canyon, they serve a variety of food and it is delicious. It is on the expensive side for Macedonia but it it truly worth it.

Where To Eat In Matka Canyon

There are a number of restaurants and stalls to grab a bite to eat. I had lunch in the Monastery Cave Restaurant, the interior is so nice you are literally dining in a cave but the food was not as nice. I ordered the chicken earthen pot but I gave most of it to a cat.

The restaurant in the hotel was so delicious. I ordered pork with pepper sauce and my boyfriend ordered chicken in a curry/ pistachio sauce. We also ordered dessert, a peanut moose on a biscuit base and a tiramisu. We also got breakfast there, I got the vegetarian and that was grilled aubergine, egg, mushrooms, peppers, cheese and bread.