Page Type Page Type: Canyon
Activities Activities: Hiking, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Sign the Climber's Log


  At 2000m altitude, up in the Stogovo and Bistra mountains, Treska river streams downhill through steep valley till mt. Karadzica.
From here, river cuts through consecutive sequence of karstified limestone gorges toward the Skopje basin.
At the  very end of  its way through jagged mountains, and just before being dammed by hydroelectric plant,
vertical erosions of the Treska river have created another European masterpiece of nature -  the Matka canyon.

10 miles SW of Skopje, the Macedonian capital.
Canyon boundaries:  Skopje basin on the N, Osoj hill on the NW, Vodno on the E, the Suva Gora mountain on the SE

Geology, geomorphology
Treska canyon area is hard carst ground ground consisting of thick layers of
over one billion years old carbonate rocks and somewhat younger slate carbonate, rocky masses.
By morphogenetics, it is a breakthrough gorge.
Karstified limestone forms of particular interest  are mainly located at theVisoki Rid (High Hill) at  885m altitude.
- 10 caves, length ranging between 20 and 176 m, 2 vertical chasms with a depth up to 35 meters,
 caves Vrelo (The Spring), Krshtalna (The Baptistery), and Ubava (The Beautiful One) regarded as  most beautiful ones.
Some of the caves are illuminated, and visits led by an official guide.

Ecological value:
Protected nature reserve , featured on  CORINE biotopes database.
1000+ different plants - in average one out of five is either relic or endemic specie.
259 different butterrflie species.

Only eleven miles from Skopje, the capital,  Matka canyon is the most important rock-climbing center in Macedonia.
Climbing season: starting April, usually around Eastern - till November.  Detailed info on routes in English 

500 years ago, Matka canyon may have looked like the Shangri La of the Balkans.
14th  century monastieres, hidden either deep inside the canyon or on the top of the surrounding vertical cliffs
Nothing to hear but silence,  interrupted by monks mumbling mystical prayers.
Those days have gone, frescos rich macedonian ortodox monastieres are still there,
accessible by marked hiking trails.
Sv. Nikola Sisevski monastery, east side of the river on the verrttical cliff, great views.
Marked hiking trail cut into rock leads up there.
Sv. Andrea monastery, west side of the river at lake Matka, right next to the Matka hut.
Sv. Spas (Holy  Salvation) monastery, on 800 high top above the Matka lake and St. Andrea monastery
Sv.Troica (Holy Trinity)  monastery,  sharing location with Sv. Spas

Getting There

by plane:
Nearest intl airport is Skopje airport.

by car: from Skopje, drive westbound toward Tetovo, 
after 2 km or so turn left, following the "Matka" sign. 
It is an area with mainly Albanian population, thus the roads are posted in latin script.
Pass the man made recreational lake and drive through the Matka village,
pass the restaurants at the end of the village  and park at the end of paved road
(Youll see the iron fence and  white water kayaking venue on your left). 
Walk right uphill into the gorge, pass the hydroelectrical plant. After 20-30 minutes of footwork
youll find yourself infront of the Sv. Andrea monastery, and Matka hut right next to it.

by bus: 
Catch bus no. 60 at the terminal infront of the Holliday Inn hotel in Skopje. Takeoff at the last stop,
(iron fence and white water kayaking venue on your left, ice parlour on your right). At time of research,
bus service was available on weekdays only. On weekends and hollidays , bus drives till last suburb stop.
There you have to switch to van . Bus arrivals - van departures are harmonized thus no need for extra waiting.
Inside bus, buy ticket from the driver and spot the validating machine which is right behind the driver.



Nearest camping is at the Matka recreational lake, enroute from  Skopje to Matka canyon.
Nearest hut is located right in the Matka canyon, as mentioned in above chapters.
Hut owners:
SD Peoni
Smilevska bb
1060 Skopje
Telephone / Fax: (389 2) 341206