Index


Introduction



In the Republic of Macedonia (called Northern Macedonia in 2019), the climate is cold in winter and hot in summer. The continentality of the climate is due to the fact that the country has no outlet to the sea, and in addition, it is separated from the Adriatic and the Aegean Sea by mountain ranges. The major cities are located at an altitude higher than sea level, often in valleys, which enhance the cold in winter (because cold air stagnation on the ground) as well as the summer heat. The Balkan Peninsula is exposed to cold waves from the north or east, and Macedonia is no exception. The north-west wind that blows in the Vardar river valley is called Vardarec, an equivalent to the Bora, maybe a little less violent.
In the far south-east, we find an area located south of the mountain ranges that separate the country from the sea, where there are cities like Gevgelija and Valandovo, as well as Lake Dojran. Here, the climate is milder, almost Mediterranean.
In mountainous areas, in particular the Shar mountains in the north-west and the Baba mountains in the south-west, both exceeding 2,500 meters (8,200 feet), the climate is naturally colder, with heavy snowfalls in winter and afternoon thunderstorms in summer. In general, at a given altitude, the temperatures in winter are similar to those of the Alps.
Precipitation is not abundant in the valleys, where it amounts to about 500 millimeters (20 inches) per year, while it becomes a bit more abundant with increasing altitude. In general, the two rainiest seasons are late spring and autumn, while winter and summer are relatively dry.

Winter in Macedonia is generally cold, although the temperature varies with altitude. The average temperature in January is slightly above freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) at the lowest altitudes. The winter weather is not always stable: there are calm periods, when cold air clings to the soil, alternating with mild days, when warm air masses from the Mediterranean manage to penetrate the country, but also periods of intense cold due to outbreaks of air masses from Russia, which are able to lower the temperature to around -20 °C (-4 °F).

Summer is hot in the valleys located at lower altitudes (eg in Skopje), where average maximum temperatures are around 31 °C (89 °F). The temperature range is wide and moisture is not high, so nights are usually cool, but the days can be scorching, with peaks of 40 °C (104 °F). Sunshine is frequent, and the rains are relatively rare, occurring in the form of thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Skopje

Skopje

In Skopje, the capital, which is located in the north, at 250 meters (800 ft) above sea level, the average temperature ranges from 0 °C (32 °F) in January to 22.5 °C (72 °F) in July and August. Here are the average temperatures.
Skopje - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-4-225101416161272-2
Max (°C)481419242931322620125
Min (°F)252836415057616154453628
Max (°F)394657667584889079685441

In Skopje, precipitation does not reach 500 mm (20 in) per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Skopje - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)303040404555403535504550485
Prec.(in)1.21.21.61.61.82.21.61.41.421.8219.1
Days109101011107667911106

The sun in Macedonia often shines in summer, while it is not very frequent in winter. Here are the average sunshine hours per day.
Skopje - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours34578910108643

Best Time



The best time to visit the Republic of Macedonia is from May to September. In Skopje and the other cities located in the lowlands, the months of July and August (and sometimes the second half of June) can be really hot, so you may prefer May, June and September. September is usually a pleasant month, sunny and with little rain.

What to pack



In winter: bring warm clothes, such as a sweater or fleece, a down jacket, a hat, gloves and a scarf, and a raincoat or umbrella.
In summer: bring light clothes, a T-shirt, but also long pants, a light jacket and a sweatshirt for the evening, and an umbrella.

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