Macedonia sits along a transitional zone between a continental and Mediterranean weather, which sees hot summers and moderately cold winters with snow in the mountains. Three separate climate zones are found here, temperate Mediterranean along the Strumica and Varda river valleys and in Gevgelija, Strumica and Valandovo. The Radovis and Dojran regions are mountainous with cold summers and freezing winters in high altitude, but it’s mildly Continental in the rest of the country. Contrasting and changing weather are the norm.
The Black Sea influences the plains, while the mountains in the north and south influence the continental climate, blocking cold and hot winds respectively. The country has four distinct seasons, but spring is often short, while summer sees highs up to 104°F. Winters are primarily moderate, but can become very cold, with January temperatures dropping well below 33°F. Rainfall is the heaviest in the east and west, especially in spring and fall, with Skopje getting the brunt of it with 64 rainy days a year. August is the driest month across the country.
Heavy snowfall in the mountains begin in November, with snow on the slopes staying until April and occasionally into May, which is good news for skiers. In high elevations, summer snow is not uncommon and spring in the mountains is chilly but spectacular. The diverse weather patterns in Macedonia result in one of the richest environments in Europe for flora and fauna.
Best Time to Visit Macedonia
Unless you’re dreaming of heading to the ski hills, the best time to visit Macedonia is between May and September, when the weather is at its mildest and most stable, with warm to hot days, cool nights and little rainfall. High season is July through August, with tourists busy in Ohrid and around the lakes. January and February are best for winter sports, while the shoulder seasons are best for outdoor activities. Prices don’t change much over the seasons, but many hotels, tours and activities are closed October through May.