Just outside Skopje, high atop Vodno Mountain stands the Millennium Cross. An iconic landmark, funded by the Macedonian Orthodox Church, it celebrates 2000 years of Christianity in Macedonia and is a “must see” destination when visiting Skopje.
Getting to the cross can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be since there are several different ways to get there…
First you can hike..several trails, marked for difficulty, begin at the base of the mountain and travel through the forest. The difficulty is based on the incline, which can be as much as 30 degrees in spots. The hike from the bottom to the halway point is fairly easy though and offers some outstanding views of the valley and the city.
Around the halfway point, there is a cable car station that will carry you to the top for a minimal fee of about 2 euros round trip..Unfortunately, the systems was under maintenance on our trip so we completed the journey by foot…Since we had started the hike at the beginning, this brought our distance walked to about 8km by the time we reached the top.
The scenery in early spring and the views made the trip well worthwhile.
At the top, there is a restaurant and snack bar, a covered patio with tables and chairs and several rows of benches where you can sit, relax (and rest) and enjoy the views before starting your way back down..
The hike back down to the halfway point was easier than the hike up but I would recommend checking to see if the cable car is running before making the hike..just in case. The round trip hike from the bottom takes a while and covers about 10 km.
As I said, there is an easier way… If you are just interested in seeing the cross, it is possible to take on of the many double-decker buses to the halfway point and then cable car to the top.
A word of caution though…the buses require a transit card which start at 150 denar, again about 2 euros, per person. The card can be purchased from the driver and are good for 2 boardings. They can also be purchased and recharged for 35 denar a trip at bus stations and certain convenience stores.
Which ever route you decide to take, make sure you bring water and comfortable clothing and shoes. It can be chilly at the top with the wind blowing. I would also recommend buying the bus pass, even if you decide to hike both ways like we did.. Just in case 🙂