Prilep Macedonia Travel Guide

Prilep is a natural stop along the route of a tour of Macedonia. Although it is the fourth largest city in Macedonia, the city center is quite small and commercial. Prilep’s real charm can be found in the quiet residential areas and in the outlying trails above the city. We were surprised to discover many neighborhoods full of fairly large, single family homes which is an uncommon sight in much of Europe. It was nice to see people tending to gardens, enjoying their yards, and sitting with their families on patios.

Downtown Prilep is quite commercial with lots of shops, cafes, and vendors.

Upon our arrival, one of the first things we observed was all the tobacco drying alongside the streets. There is almost a sweet, earthy smell to the city. Many of the world’s largest cigarette corporations get their high-quality tobacco from this region. The climate is perfect for growing it here.

Since we missed out on Pelister National Park, we were excited to explore the Marko’s Towers, or Markovi Kuli, and do some independent hiking.

Marko’s Towers

Prilep holds the record for one of the best landscape views in Macedonia.

Marko’s Towers lies to the northwest to the city of Prilep. Located on a 590 foot hill, the fortress ruins are from the era of medieval Prince Marko Mrnjačević. It dates back from the 13th and 14th century and remains are in decent condition.

Observers can see that the walls are about one meter thick and are held together by limestone mortar. According to historical documents, the fortress was defended by about 40 soldiers. Exploring this rugged area and appreciating the views from the top is truly the highlight of the city.

Hiking Tips for Markos Towers

The highlight and main attraction in Prilep is Markos Towers. Hiking to the top is a must!

The Towers can be reached from the north or south side. The easier route is marked with the red and white markers along a white gravel trail. Making your way down off the marked trail is a lot more challenging. The entire trip will take about two hours, depending how fast you move.

St. Archangel Michael Monastery

Located near the nearby village of Varoš, St. Michael Monastery and church is another site to explore by foot or by car. The church was believed to be constructed during the late 1100s. Be sure to explore the basement of the church, which feels more like an underground cave, to see the 12th century frescoes.

Local legend has it that King Marko built the church with stolen funds, resulting in a curse on the church. Admission to the church is free, but signs ask to refrain from taking photos to respect the monks and nuns who still reside here.

Accommodations in Prilep

We stayed at Markos Towers Apartments which cost about $32 US dollars a night. The unit sits at the base of the Markos Towers fortress, but is far from the city center and bus station. The walk from the center to the unit took approximately 30-35 minutes. We stayed for three nights, but two nights is probably sufficient.

It is important to note that we stayed during the dry summer months and we experienced long hours without water in our unit. Everyday the city shut off the water supply from about 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and again from midnight to 5 a.m.

Best Dining in Prilep

Del Posto is considered one of the best, trendiest restaurants in the city. After checking around, it is probably your best bet for a good meal in Prilep. Generally, we found that Macedonia serves up a pretty good, hearty pizza. We appreciate that restaurants are not skimping on ingredients!

The pizza at Del Posto was also very tasty and fulling. They serve up nice pasta dishes for around $4-5 US dollars. However, drinks are expensive for Macedonian standards (and ours). The local menu has more options than the English version, so if you see photos of dishes you like online, be sure to bring a photo.

Macedonia Itinerary

We were limited in our exploration around Prilep as we only traveled by foot. If you have any suggestions or local travel tips to share, please feel free to share them in the comment section below. 

2 thoughts on “Prilep Macedonia Travel Guide”

  1. Hi guys, first of all thanks for the article about Prilep, it’s nice and informative. Given that it seems to have been only a short stop on your way to Tikvesh region (or Ohrid), it’s understandable that you probably didn’t have enough time to explore the area. Anyway, being Prilep born and raised, let me mention some of the things you may have missed.

    First of all, Prilep has a great Tobacco Museum, part of the Tobacco Institute, one of the few in Europe. It has a great guide, which you need to call beforehand and arrange a visit with. But then, he can take you on a long journey featuring fascinating and sometime funny stories about some of the thousands of unique artifacts displayed in the Museum (he also knows quite a lot about all kinds of tobacco and opium seeds and other weeds). Part of the Prilep Museum is the uniqie Gallery of Icons in the centre, which is small, but definitely worth a visit. As it is next to the oldest church in the centre featuring some World Heritage wood carving, the area can make an afternoon well spent.

    Then, the area around Prilep is great for hiking all year round. There are a few nicely marked trails that you can take, which can offer you some breathtaking views and, depending on the season, opportunities to pick great variety of mushrooms or local tea herbs. Many of the peaks hide some really extraordinary rock formations, as well, so Prilep is becoming a popular destination for rock climbing, bouldering, or cross-country running. For these sorts of things, there are a couple of well-informed and highly trained mountain guides in the town who can arrange some multi-day trips with camping under mountain peaks.

    The mountains in the area also hide one of the greatest monasteries of Macedonia – Treskavec. It’s a 12th century medieval complex build right under the 1450m high peak of Zlatovrv, with original 14th century dining room and one monk, who lives there by himself throughout the year. Though there is a regular road that can take you to the monastery, the 3.5-hour hike beginning from under Marko’s Towers hill is a totally different experience, even mystical, I’d say. By the way, I don’t want to nitpick, but under the St. Archangel Michael Monastry title there is a photo of St. Naum’s Monastery near Ohrid lake instead.

    Finally, Prilep’s famous for the local BBQ, which is best in some of the shabby BBQ joints near the local vegetable market. There are a number of restaurants that serve really nice BBQ (pljeskavica, ribs, home-made sausages, you name it), and one my favourite is Alavantija, which is situated some 6 kilometres in the north-east, near the Prilep lake. It’s a family enterprise that has a majestic view on the surrounding scenery…

    I wouldn’t go on writing about Prilep’s night life (used to be really varied and exciting, now not so much), but I can mention that it hosts a 3-4 day jazz fesival in August, and a nice theatre fesival in June.

    Sorry for the long comment, guys, but I was inspired by your blog and videos, and I had to write something. Hope you will visit Macedonia again.

    Best,
    Dime

    1. Dime,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to add your great local knowledge to the post. It was thorough and valuable! We always want to encourage “those in the know” to add their tips and insight to our posts to help other travelers get the most from their trip.

      You are correct. We were slightly limited in our exploring as we traveled by bus and by foot around the city. We did not have a rental car.

      However, other travelers will find your post very useful!

      We hope to return to Macedonia again in 2018. Maybe we’ll see you there. We feel like we’ve heard of this BBQ twice now, and I think we missed out!

      Thanks again for contributing to our post. -Audrey

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