Strumica, beyond the carnival glory

Many people are attracted to visit the Strumica Carnival every year before the beginning of the spring. A mask and costume parade with thousands of modern and traditional masks is the event of the year. It’s a common misconception that all the things to do in Strumica revolve around the carnival. We’ll prove it wrong.

Strumica is called the Macedonian Rio de Janeiro.

Strumica is a small city in the south east of Macedonia touching the border with Bulgaria and Greece.

What can one see and do there beyond the carnival glamour and late night parties?

Strumica city park at night

Veljusa village

Only ten-minute drive away from the city center is the mountain village of Veljusa.

There you can see the locals doing their everyday tasks, from working on the field and feeding animals to the live demo of how the homemade Ajvar (“eye-var”, a type of relish, made principally from red bell peppers, eggplant and chili pepper) is produced.

Ajvar making

Old houses with wooden balconies are used for tobacco drying as well.

Old House in Veljusa with dry tobacco

And on the top of a high rock the monastery of the Holy Mother of God is standing.

The Monastery

Dating back from the 11th century, the monastery is well preserved and there is a green, silent, and relaxing garden around it. The international community of nuns living there is always willing to explain the history of the monastery and the village.

The peace and calmness one could feel there is awarded with great views to the whole Strumica valley towards the Bulgarian border.

View from the monastery

Kolesino Falls

And towards the Bulgarian border, we can admire another magnificent creation of mother nature called the Kolesino Falls. The waterfall is only 19 meters high with a lot of positive energy around it.

The fresh air from the surrounding wood makes your lungs feel it is a holiday. Even in the hot summer around the waterfall, you can refresh yourself and while cooling down you can use one of the very well preserved picnic spots and have a tasty brunch among nature.

In this place everything is tasty” – says an older hiker taking his next bite from the homemade cheese and fresh tasty tomato.

Kolesino Waterfall

The region is pretty famous with the chestnut trees. So if you are there in Autumn don’t miss to taste the chestnut cooked or grilled.

Chestnut Kolesino Waterfall

But wait keep that chestnut thought or taste in mind because this is not all. The visit of the Kolesino Falls was only the warm-up for your body and senses. You should make that additional 20 minutes drive from Kolesino Falls and visit the nearby Smolarе Falls. 

Smolare Falls

Welcome to the tallest waterfall in Macedonia, 39,5 meters and surrounded by 100 years old beech trees. To reach it you should wake up the sporting nature in you and climb those 300 steps made by natural materials. The reward would be a refreshing water spray from the waterfall as it collides with the rocks and the astonishing view. The picnic option is available here as well. So if you bring any food you will enjoy it among the virgin nature.

Smolare Falls

Food and drinks in Strumitsa

The day should have gone by with you visiting these beauties of the region. The nightlife in the city of Strumica is about to begin. You did a lot today, so it is time to enjoy the local restaurants with tasty fresh food. Don’t miss taking a bite from the BBQ there – it will stay in your memories for a long time and it will make you want to come back. That fresh tomato will give you a tasty lecture on how a real tomato taste should be. The wines from Macedonia are always welcome to enrich your culinary experience.

Fresh tomato and a bottle of local wine

We hope we gave some ideas and woke up your curiosity for this small but big-hearted city and its surroundings. Feel free to go off the beaten track and find out some more, because there is more to be discovered and we will leave that opportunity unspoiled for you only.

Strumica can actually offer plenty of things to do for all nature-lovers, hikers, shopping-maniacs, people who want to immerse themselves in the local culture. The city is totally off the beaten path so this is one more reason to visit it.

Here are some more suggestions for you: a visit to Matka canyon, a tour to Tikves region wineries, and an itinerary in North Macedonia.

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