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news 10 Jun 13

Natural Beauty Surrounds Artificial Lake Matka

Matka may be the oldest man-made lake in Macedonia, but there is nothing artificial about the natural beauty.

Douglas E. Morris
BIRN
Belgrade

Only around 15 km from the heart of Skopje, if you are looking for a scenic weekend trip, filled with rustic local food in stunning natural settings, along with a vibrant, fun atmosphere during the day, and peace and serenity at night, then look no further than Matka Canyon.

At Matka Canyon you will find the impressive Vrelo underwater cave – one of the world's deepest – reached by well used wooden boats for only 5 euro a person, a challenging 6km long hiking trail cut through the sheer cliffs along the lake, ancient monasteries, an Olympic training site for white water kayaking that you can try your hand at, as well as cave diving, rock climbing, and much more.

Along with all of this outdoorsy activity, the Matka restaurant, situated along the shore of the lake offers a savory local cuisine.

Rustic in its charm, there are 80 seats inside, and more than 400 on their terrace overlooking the lake.

Here you can savor authentic homemade Macedonian delicacies.

During the day, this spot gets rather crowded, but it is easy to escape it all by hiking the trail, grabbing a kayak and heading out into the lake, or taking the hour long boat tour to the caves.

If you want to remain while all the day trippers have done, above the restaurant is the Hotel Matka.

Nestled next to the lake, right up against the cliffs and next to an orthodox church, Hotel Matka is a peaceful respite from urbanity. It offers a panoramic terrace free wifi, modern flat-screen TVs, and all the serenity you can soak up.

They only have 6 rooms, so book well in advance.

If you are looking for natural beauty, rustic charm, and a chance to get away from it all, look no further than Matka Canyon, either as a day trip from Skopje, or a weekend away from Pristina.

Douglas E Morris is a travel writer currently living in Pristina who has had twelve books published by four different publishers. For more information about his books visit www.BestofItalyGuide.com, https://sites.google.com/site/madeeasytravelguidestoitaly/, and https://sites.google.com/site/expatguidebrusselsandbelgium/home?pli=1

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