Welcome again in my so-called “from A to B” section where I will advise you on the best (or not?) ways of traveling between capitals. I will also share with you guys my adventures like: buying a ticket, looking for a toilet…etc. This time we are looking at connections between Sofia (Bulgaria) and Skopje, a vibrant city in Macedonia.I know that train is a possible option, but it is not a direct one (you have to change at Nic, and it takes 10h, so no thanks), so I simply took a bus. Four-wheeler leaves from the terminal north of the city center. You can get there by underground, bus: 78, 213, 404 and tram: 3 and 12. Public transport costs 1.60 lev for one single ride. Taxi is a good option too, as you should pay just 5 lev from the city center. Once you are around, please don’t head to the big fancy, glassy new terminal, that’s not the one you are looking for. The bus station you need is located just across the street 100 meters away from the other terminal, I mentioned, on a right hand side. It looks like a square with little shops and travel agencies all around with the bus stands in the center. I have chosen to go with Matpu. It is also possible that it is the only company that provides this service right now (march 2017). Bus will depart from the stand just next to the Matpu office, from where you got your ticket. The whole journey was a quiet pleasant experience. Bus did accommodate me in a confi chair, and there was a fast wifi available to use (but just on Bulgarian side…fair enough), so I was streaming youtube all the way till border. Also there was not many passengers in, so I could claim 2 sits to stretch. Toilet was there as well. The ticket can be paid by cash and by card at Matpu office. I paid 30 lev, a fair price for a journey between 2 countries. Three departures at: 9.30, 16.00 and 19.00 are the part of a daily schedule that is valid everyday. Please note that there may be other company that serves this route, but I can’t be definitely sure, as there was no info to be found online. Once you purchase your ticket, maybe in case, use a toilet on the side (0.60 lev), as the bus will stop only once by the loo, and the one in the vehicle may be either unavailable or not-existing. The journey takes around 5.45 h, but you will get to Skopje around 14.00, as of a time change (if you are taking 9.30 bus like me).
The border crossing might be a bit annoying. It is probably due to the fact that you are leaving a Schengen now. Your passport will be checked twice by Bulgarian and Macedonian side. Border control will do the same with your bag, it will be search twice, so maybe don’t try to smuggle anything 😉 Sniffing dogs are at the border too. After 30 mins, you will get back to the bus, and you will head off to Skopje. You will arrive at the main bus terminal that is located east of the city center. One you’re out, you will get attacked by taxi drivers offering their service. Take it if you are tired, they will charge you a fair price. The capital is very small, so I just walked to my accommodation. It took me 15 minutes to get to the main square in the center. So that’s it, you reached your destination…congratz, now leave your bag and go to explore the city!