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“I visited one of the least popular holiday destinations in Europe – it was breathtaking”

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Ohrid and Skopje are just two of the most beautiful places to visit in North Macedonia, one of the least visited countries in Europe despite its geographical location and climate.

Ohrid Old Town is a UNESCO site (Getty Images)

Some of the most popular places in Europe are starting to seem too crowded.

Over the past year, residents have battled excessive tourism, including Venice is preparing to introduce a tourist tax to reduce the number of visitors and Manchester by imposing a tax on people staying in hotels and Airbnbs in the city.

Sometimes heading off to one of the most beautiful places on the continent can leave you feeling like you’re stuck like a sweaty sardine in a tin can. If you want a little more respite and like the idea of ​​seeing a major destination in its more authentic state, then North Macedonia may be the place for you.

This small Balkan country may have made headlines four years ago when a quarter-century-old dispute with Greece over its name was finally resolved, the nation formerly known as Macedonia adding “North” to the beginning of its name.

Lake Ohrid in the country is one of the biggest attractions (Getty Images)

Today, it is the third least visited country in Europe after the microstate of Liechtenstein and Moldova, welcoming around 1.1 million tourists a year, far fewer than most of the continent’s major destinations. However, it is an incredibly beautiful country and is also extremely good value for money. So why does it receive so few visitors?

Given that it’s on the same peninsula where other, much more famous tourist hotspots like Croatia, Montenegro and Greece are located, its relative lack of oomph compared to other vacation spots is perhaps surprising. Especially when all its intriguing monuments are taken into account.

It has a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the charming lakeside town of Ohrid, which is notable for its whitewashed Ottoman-era houses and Romanesque churches dating from the 9th century or earlier.

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