Matka Canyon boat ride on the breathtaking Treska River

Early in the morning (yes, somehow it’s always early in the morning!), we had breakfast, said goodbye to the local cat, and met up with Simon. We were all heading to Tirana, so he joined our little party. And it’s a good thing he did because he gave us some nice suggestions on the way! One of them was going on a Matka Canyon boat ride.

The road there wasn’t very pleasant (I was sharing the backseat with Simon and one of our backpacks) and we got a bit lost because we took a wrong turn. However, it was worth it.

The sights were absolutely beautiful! Just look at the video I found:


house seen on the matka canyon boat ride

The Matka Canyon boat ride

We waited a while to get on a motorboat which took us to the wonderful Vrelo Cave in the Matka Canyon and back. On the way, one can see rustic homes, nice rocky landscapes and lots and lots of butterflies.

Matka Canyon
Kanyon Matka is located in the western part of central Skope, which covers a surface of approximately 5.000 ha. It’s one of the most popular outdoor destinations in North Macedonia.
Address: 1000 Village Matka, North Macedonia | See on map

Matka Canyon boat ride vs. canoe
The Matka Canyon boat ride ride, including the visit inside the Vrelo Cave, lasts about one hour. The alternative is renting a canoe, but it will take you much longer to go to the Cave and back.


Fun on the Treska River

It wasn’t a long ride, but it was really hot and we needed to rest a bit afterward. So we looked for a spot to get our feet in the cold mountain river water. Those of us who weren’t driving also enjoyed some cold beer. (My doing, I put the cans in the thermal isolation bag with some ice.)

The locals and perhaps better-informed tourists came to the river as one would go to the swimming pool. They even had some areas of the river which were used as water-slides. And, being so hot outside, it became quite crowded.


Hike to Church St. Nikola

The hike leads to the other side of the canyon. Boats can take you on a 10-minute ride back.

Church of St. Nikola
Address: Canyon Matka, Dolna Matka, North Macedonia | See on map


Leaving Matka Canyon

It was an adventure to get the car out and head for Tirana: there were cars parked randomly, cars wanting to go both ways in spaces which allowed only one car at a time, people who had just abandoned and parked their cars in the middle of the commotion… and nobody to direct traffic.

At one point an older guy got out of the car and started directing the traffic and he got helped by others, including Tim. They were all running around and hectically moving their hands while yelling haidi, haidi!

But we did it! And, sometime around lunchtime, we were at Ohrid Lake, a lovely stop on our way to Albania.


Matka Canyon: Motorboat ride, canoeing or hiking?

What would you choose and why?
Share your choice in a comment!


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Discover more places in North Macedonia
Free Skopje walking tour with the entertaining Miha
Millennium Cross hike and Mount Vodno’s stunning vista 
Kantina Restaurant Skopje
Lagadin, the best place to stay at Lake Ohrid
A delightful day trip to Ohrid
A day trip by bus to Bitola

2 Thoughts to “Matka Canyon boat ride on the breathtaking Treska River”

  1. Those pictures are beautiful – and I have to vote canoeing! I think it’s amazing relaxing but also a fantastic work out. Just an all around soothing experience.

  2. Nothing feels as refreshing as water that has rushed down from the mountain 🙂 I truly envy you, this is amazing.

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