On our second afternoon in Skopje, we stopped for lunch in the Old Bazaar, joined by Simon, one of the Germans we met during the free Skopje walking tour. We ate some delicious food: Tim and I chose Kebapchinya, Ana decided to get the ubiquitous Shopska salad, and Simon chose the baked beans. Over lunch, somehow we suddenly decided to go together on a Millennium Cross hike.
We also talked about a lot of other things and discovered that we had a lot of things in common. Tim and Simon had actually gone to the same university, though they finished in slightly different years. Simon is a Political Science teacher, and my background is in the same field. Thus, we had really long and captivating conversations on interesting subjects.
What is the Millennium Cross?
The Millennium Cross is a 66-meter tall cross located on the Vodno Mountain in Skopje, North Macedonia. It was built to commemorate 2,000 years of Christianity in the region and was completed in 2002. The cross is illuminated at night and can be seen from many parts of Skopje.
It’s a popular tourist attraction and is often used as a symbol of the city, so it’s no wonder many travelers want to hike to the Millennium Cross.
How to get to Vodno Mountain
To get to Vodno Mountain, you can take a bus or taxi from Skopje. The mountain is located just outside of the city, and the trip should take about 20 minutes by car.
You can also take the cable car from the city center to the top of the mountain, which offers stunning views of Skopje and the surrounding area.
Once you are at the top of the mountain, you can follow the trails for a Millennium Cross hike or head to other points of interest.
Millenium Cross hike or cable car?
Since we were getting along quite well and we had finished eating and drinking, we decided to keep at it during a Millennium Cross hike, on Mount Vodno. Upon reaching the cable car, I chose to grab this opportunity because of an old knee injury that was acting up. They, however, went for the climb with the shortest and hardest route out of the three possible ones.
After our hike to the Millennium Cross, we planned to go on foot to the village of Gorno Nerezi on the way down, so I got a one-way ticket.
The Millennium Cross was built as a memorial to celebrate 2.000 years of Christianity not only in North Macedonia but also in the rest of the world. The Cross is 66 meters tall. Krstovar (1,066 m) is the highest peak of Mount Vodno and also where the Millennium Cross was built.
The Millennium Cross cable car is operational from Tuesday through Sunday. Remains closed on the last Tuesday of each month. Round-trip tickets are priced at 120 MKD.
Finding the trail to Gorno Nerezi
On top of Mount Vodno, I went to a small shop and asked about the trail leading to Gorno Nerezi. The clerk quickly put me in touch with a friend of his, who was just about to go back to Skopje, on foot. He led and I followed on the plateau, then into the forest. After walking together for a long time, I was a bit worried about being alone with a stranger. So I started to make some conversation and it turned out he was one of the owners of Kantina Restaurant Skopje. Small world!
We made our way back to the shop, and I waited around for my friends. I was hoping to remember the signs the guy showed me, as the mountain trails around Skopje are unmarked. I found a rock to sit on and admired the view until the nearby ants got the best of me.
After the other three arrived, we stayed to have a drink, and they then followed my lead to the correct path. The trip down was a lot smoother than expected and, by sunset, we ended up in Gorno Nerezi.
Dinner in Gorno Nerezi
Gorno Nerezi is a village located in the municipality of St. David, in Skopje, North Macedonia. It’s known for its medieval monastery, the Church of St. Panteleimon, which was built in the 12th century and is a popular tourist attraction. The church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered to be one of the most important examples of Byzantine art in the country.
We were hoping to get to visit the Church of Saint Panteleimon, but it was already closed at that hour. It was quite late and we were starving again, so we stopped for dinner at the Macedonian Village Resort. When it was almost dark outside, a band came onto the terrace and started singing some covers of Leonard Cohen.
Listening to a Civil Wars-ish Dance me to the end of love while eating a delicious dessert on a warm summer night, in the company of one of my best friends and other interesting people. When it was time to go, we took a taxi to return to the hostel. However, Gorno Nerezi is located just outside of Skopje and is also easily accessible by public transportation.
What more could one ask for to feel happy after the Millennium Cross hike?
Our last day in Skopje was perfect!
The Church of St. Panteleimon is a quaint Byzantine church constructed in the 12th century, situated within a monastery complex. Its location is 1010 Gorno Nerezi, North Macedonia, and can be reached by telephone at +389-2308-1255.
At the Macedonian Village Resort, guests have the choice of dining at three different restaurants, among which we selected the Macedonian Tavern. I highly recommend visiting this tavern, especially after completing the Millennium Cross hike. It operates from 08:00 to 00:00 from Sunday to Thursday, and extends its hours until 01:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. The resort is located in Gorno Nerezi, North Macedonia, and can be reached by phone at +389-2307-7600.
Who wrote about this Millennium Cross hike
Mirela Letailleur, a seasoned travel aficionado hailing from Romania, now resides in the picturesque Southern region of France. The vast expanse of her explorations has birthed The Travel Bunny, a travel blog that’s become a wellspring of savvy for those seeking to traverse Europe on a budget. With an eye for the unique and the beautiful, Mirela crafts comprehensive, free travel guides that unravel the treasures of the continent. Her expertise shines brightly when it comes to unveiling the quaint charms and hidden trails of Europe, making her a trusted local travel expert. Her knack for solving travel glitches with aplomb only adds to her appeal, saving her readers time and stress as they venture through foreign lands.
One of Mirela’s standout guides centers around the Millennium Cross hike starting from Skopje, North Macedonia. Her intimate knowledge of the trail, coupled with a genuine passion for the region’s culture and history, positions her as the internet’s foremost advisor on this particular adventure. Through her engaging narrative and practical tips, she effortlessly guides her readers through the preparatory steps, the hike itself, and the rewarding Macedonian Tavern experience that awaits at the finish. Whether it’s the Millennium Cross hike or the myriad other European explorations she’s chronicled, Mirela Letailleur is the go-to guru for earnest travelers seeking authentic, budget-friendly adventures.
Read more about Skopje after the Millennium Cross Hike
Skopje, our first stop in fascinating North Macedonia
Skopje walking tour with the entertaining Miha
Kantina Restaurant Skopje – Why you must eat here