Complete Guide to Matka Canyon (September 2019)

Vrelo Cave

By far the most visited cave is Vrelo.

This cave is big (it extends 193 meters) and has two small lakes and a couple of large pits inside. Covering the cave are epic dripstone pillars, stalactites, and stalagmites.

Boats are the only way to reach the caves.

But they drop you off for a short hike, on the well-lit path, through the cave.

A boat trip to Vrelo cave cost 400 Denars (USD $7.20) and takes 2 hours.

Hike to Saint Nicholas Monastery

Of course, water adventures aren’t the only thing to do at Matka Canyon. Numerous hiking trails take you through the lush scenery.

The most popular hiking trails are the ones that take you to the monasteries. Many of the hikes are easy, but some can test your metal. Like the hike to Saint Nicholas Monastery (Sveti Nikola).

The 30 minutes hike can feel much longer thanks to the steep path and hard climb. But the juice is worth the squeeze.

There’s a variety of trails that cater to all different skill sets. Treksa Canyon is a good place to start your trek. And is the center of Alpine Hiking in Northern Macedonia.

More Churches and Monasteries

Matka Canyon’s major man-made attractions are the churches and monasteries. Many of them date back to the 1300s. The two most popular are the monasteries of St. Andrews and Saint Nicholas.

But there are also The Holy Virgin Monastery, Holy Salvation, and Holy Trinity Sveta Nedela, Sveti Spas, Sveti Jovan Zlatousti.

Some of these are on the water, but others require hiking and a certain fitness level.

If you want to knock out three churches into one hike, then take the Severno Sedilo trail. Which takes you past St. Nedela, St. Spas, and St. Trinity.

Hit the Hiking Trails

As you approach the Matka Dam, you will see a map that outlines all the hiking trails in Matka Canyon with a variety of options.

There are both short and long and easy and hard hikes.

One of the best hikes is from the Matka Canyon Restaurant to Matka Gorge.

During peak season, it’s crowded, but the hike gives you access to scenic views, awesome photo opportunities, and wonderful nature.

Visit the Other Caves

10 caves grace the shores of Matka Canyon (though not all of them are open to the public).

I’ve heard that Krshtalna and Ubava are almost on par with Vrelo Cave, but I haven’t visited them.

The size varies from by cave. The smallest caves around 20 meters and the longest ones over 175 meters. Matka Canyon Cave’s are hailed as the most beautiful in Eastern Europe.

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