We arrive in rush hour to be greeted by honking horns, the smell of belching fumes and gargantuan concrete towers lining our approach. Armed with just a tiny scrap of paper, inscribed with a telephone number and address, we find a cab and jump in feeling anxious. We have no idea where our Skopje accommodation is or how long it should take. Thankfully Tina has indicated that it should be no more than 150 Den (£2).
Twenty minutes later we pull up to Jack’s Bar in a quiet residential area. We abandon our bags unceremoniously on a residential corner and call our host. Non-descript concrete towers block the skyline giving little indication of the treasures within. A beaming Sophia appears to greet us and chatting away happily in English leads us into a simple hallway.
First impressions can be deceiving
It may be sparse (perhaps it could even be accused of being cold) but don’t let this put you off. As you enter the apartment on the sixth floor, you are in for a treat. Gleaming parquet floors contrast with solid, dark wood cupboards which would not be out of place in a Balinese workshop.
A tour of the apartment
There’s a large dining area leading to an open plan lounge with commanding views of the surrounding area. From this vantage point, the Mavrovo National Park is visible in the distance as is the shining beacon of the Millenium Cross perched atop Mount Vodno.
The bedroom is spacious with enough wardrobe space for several case-loads and there’s plenty more in the lounge. It houses a double and a single bed making it ideal for a small group of friends or a couple with a young child. As I am travelling with my dad, we simply move the single bed into the spacious lounge area to provide more privacy for us.
The lounge seats five, a further three stools, a sofa bed and seating for six at the dining table. There’s definitely enough room for a get together with friends if you happen to have any in the city. The living space is incredibly spacious which more than makes up for the bijou kitchen leading to a small enclosed balcony.
The personal touches
What I love are the small personal touches decorating the apartment – an African drum, Buddhist reliefs, and an antique clock (see if you can spot them in the photos!). All combine to create a space that is both inviting and intriguing. I find myself wondering about the stories behind each piece, what motivated Tina to purchase it and how it ended up here.
The icing on the cake has to be the location of this apartment. Tucked away in a quiet residential street, it is mere minutes to a busy thoroughfare with supermarkets, restaurants, and bars. Of course, Jack’s Bar is immediately underneath (although thankfully I never heard a peep from it!) but get your walking shoes on and head straight through the tunnel opposite the entrance to Macedonia Square.
At 18,500 square metres, it is the biggest in Macedonia and packs a stomach wrenching punch. Its crowning glory is the magnificent fountain of Alexander the Great, as mesmerising by day as it is at night. During daylight, the fountains dance in time to classical music whilst at night dramatic lighting combines to deliver a masterpiece of a performance.
All the other major sites are within walking distance making this the perfect abode for your break in Skopje.
Other facilities nearby
In case you need any amenities, there is a small shop which stays open until late through the tunnel opposite (don’t worry it is a more an arch than a tunnel if any solo ladies were getting concerned!) or a Tinex supermarket on the same street.
I love this property for traditional touches combined with personal mementoes from the host and would highly recommend this Airbnb for your stay. The only slight negative is that the lift is somewhat noisy and may disturb light sleepers. I always recommend travelling with earplugs however and with these you should be fine.
How to book
If you want to book and have yet to register with Airbnb, use this link to bag £25 off your first stay. You can then go ahead and book through Airbnb if you prefer to book through an intermediary. Alternatively, you can book the apartment directly with Tina on Facebook.
The apartment costs £31 per night in October and could sleep four people comfortably (two in the double, one on the single bed and one on the pull out chair in the dining room.)
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Have your say
Maybe you have visited Skopje and have advice on things to do and see. I would love to hear from you.