Skopje

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Skopje (Macedonian Cyrillic: Скопје) is the capital of Macedonia. It's home to around 750,000 people, a surprisingly large city.

Hitching in and around

Skopje has a ring road.

If your driver is going into Skopje but you wish to continue onward towards another direction, the ring road cannot be used to go around the city and then leave from a different exit. In the direction towards Kumanovo, for instance, cars are driving very fast and there are no bus stops or petrol stations where they can stop. It may well be faster to go into Skopje and then take a bus towards a recommended hitchhiking spot.

Hitchhiking out

North towards Serbia, East towards Bulgaria, South towards Greece (E75)

From the center of Skopje, get bus #2 (or any other bus that heads for Avtokomanda) eastwards all the way to the last stop. This is the the eastern edge of Skopje city proper, on the main road east before the turn off north towards Serbia.

It's around 5 km before the road splits into north (Belgrade, Sofia) and south (Greece), so have a sign saying which way you want to go. For north, I recommend a sign saying KU (in Latin, not Cyrillic since it's the way the car number plates work) for Kumanovo (the first city before the Sofia junction), and for south 'VE' for Veles - the first big city south (I went to Prilep very easy in march 2011 by using a 'VE' sign and then 'PP' from Veles to Prilep).

For hitchhiking to the north you can take a bus from the train station of Skopje to the direction of Kumanovo, and tell the bus driver to drop you at the pay-toll before Kumanovo. The bus is really cheap, and at the pay-toll you have a good chance to find a lift. If the bus driver doesn't understand English you can use the words "autostop" and "patarina", which means pay-toll. When you are at a pay-toll, also the coaches will stop to ask you if you want to go with them, but not for free. But be careful, a bus ticket from Skopje to Belgrade isn't more like 20 euro.

After the Serbian border the motorway from Macedonia turns into a normal road, but as it is the only road from Skopje to Belgrade, you have the same amount of traffic like on the motorway.

The E871 road towards Sofia splits off a few kilometers after Kumanovo. On Sundays, however, there are very few cars at the Kriva Palanka-Kyustendil border crossing‎, and from Skopje on Sundays it may well be faster to go up to Niš in Serbia and then back down into Bulgaria instead of choosing this crossing.

Sleeping

If you're in Skopje looking for a place to sleep, try Art Hostel. It is right on the river near the Vero mall, just east of the city center, it's 12 euro per night with breakfast and very friendly hospitable staff. If you take a taxi (it's 1 euro at most). If you don't mind burning the midnight oil, there's an all night game/internet cafe at the train station called "Insomnia gaming club". 40 dinars an hour. Exchange office can also be found, downstairs.