Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
You may be asked to present proof of travel insurance at the Macedonian border and you could be refused entry if you can’t prove that you’re insured. Remember to read the small print in your policy and make sure it covers everything you’re planning to do.
If you’re travelling to the Republic of Macedonia for dental or medical treatment, you need to make sure your travel insurance will cover you in case of any complications that might occur.
We advise you to take normal precautions.
Latest Travel Alert
Macedonia is currently very politically unstable and street protests regularly take place, although they are usually quite peaceful. Visitors to the country should exercise caution and should especially avoid any street protests.
The Republic of Macedonia is a welcoming, visitor-friendly and relatively inexpensive country. The capital city is Skopje where many people will be happy to try to converse in English.
Irish citizens do not require visas to enter the Republic of Macedonia. Visitors to the Republic of Macedonia should register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival as failure to do so risks a fine. Registration happens automatically when checking in at hotels etc.
The official currency of the Republic of Macedonia is the Denar. Credit and debit cards are accepted in larger outlets. Visitors should exchange currency only at banks or official exchange offices. Alternatively, use ATMs in bank, hotel or airport lobbies to withdraw funds in the local currency.
The Republic of Macedonia has four distinct seasons. Summer temperatures can rise above 40 degrees whereas winters can be very cold, with temperatures often as low as minus 20, sometimes with heavy and prolonged snowfalls.
Visitors to the Republic of Macedonia are encouraged to register with the Irish Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, which is accredited to the Republic of Macedonia.
Because there is no resident Irish Embassy in the Republic of Macedonia, we are limited in the help as can offer you in an emergency situation. However, if you need assistance, please contact the Irish Embassy in Bucharest.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
Emergency contact details
You can contact the emergency services in the Republic of Macedonia by dialling:
- 192 for police.
- 193 for fire brigade.
- 194 for ambulance.
Our tips for Safe Travels:
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
- Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Most visits to the Republic of Macedonia are trouble-free and attacks on foreigners are extremely rare.
Nevertheless, visitors to the Republic of Macedonia are advised to take normal personal and security precautions, particularly at night.
- Valuables and other items such as spare jewellery, passports, driving licences, credit/debit cards and excess cash should be secured in a hotel safe.
- For identification purposes, visitors should carry a copy of their passport at all times (bring a few spare photocopies of the personal details page).
- Pickpockets and bag snatchers often operate in crowded areas.
Exercise particular caution if travelling to areas bordering Kosovo or Serbia. Apart from designated border crossings, these areas are restricted and travel permission must be obtained from the police. In some remote areas there may be a continuing threat from land mines or unexploded ordnance.
The border between the Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo can be subject to closure to traffic at short notice. Kosovo entry/exit stamps in passports can lead to additional scrutiny checks at Macedonian or other local borders.
Border areas should generally be avoided while the migrant crisis is ongoing (spring 2016).
Local laws and customs
Local laws and customs
It is obligatory upon arrival to declare large amounts of foreign currency (in excess of €2,000 equivalent). Failure to do so could result in detention and/or forfeiture of funds.
While Irish citizens do not require visas to enter the Republic of Macedonia, un-accompanied minors not in possession of letters of consent from parents or guardians risk refusal of entry.
Driving and transport
Public transport in Skopje and throughout the Republic of Macedonia is not as well as developed as elsewhere and motorways are few and far between. Rail, bus and taxis are, however, relatively inexpensive.
Some Macedonians drive erratically and at excessive speeds and vehicles are not always fully roadworthy. Serious road traffic accidents regularly occur. Visitors entering the Republic of Macedonia by road should ensure that they have adequate insurance cover. Insurance companies or brokers should be consulted in advance about this, if necessary.
Key points for driving in the Republic of Macedonia:
- Irish and international driving licences are valid.
- The quality of road surfaces in the Republic of Macedonia can be uneven. Travel by road in remoter areas should be restricted to primary routes, and daylight hours.
- In the event of an accident involving another vehicle, await police permission before moving your own vehicle.
- It is obligatory when driving to use side lights/dipped headlights.
- In winter, drivers should ensure that vehicles are prepared for extreme weather conditions, including fitting mandatory winter tyres.
While the water supply in the Republic of Macedonia is not known to be contaminated, use of bottled or filtered water is recommended as a safer option.
Inoculations are generally not needed but visitors with existing medical conditions or illnesses should seek specific advice in advance from their GPs.
We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.
Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.
Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.
Your policy should cover:
- All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
- Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.
- 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
- Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
- Lost and stolen possessions.
- Cancellation and curtailment.
- Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).
Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.