There are 346 registered caves in Macedonia - a heaven for adventurers and high-adrenaline lovers. Due to inaccessible routes and non-exploration, only four caves are under state protection as natural rarities: Gorna Slatinska, Mlecnik, Ubavica (Kicevo), and Pesna. All remaining caves are a challenge for explorers.
Caves are found in Macedonia's karst areas, which are primarily located in the country's central and western parts. These areas cover approximately 9.6 percent of Macedonia's territory. Research so far has identified 346 caves, although their number is believed to be between 400 and 500. The caves of Ubavica, Slatinski Izvor, Bela Voda, Alilica, and Dona Duka are among the biggest and most significant ones. Some caves have underground rivers, waterfalls, and small lakes, while most of them abound in stalactites, stalagmites, pillars, drapers, and corals. The caves are home to a variety of interesting fauna, such as crabs, spiders, bats, and various insects, which are accustomed to life in the dark and food shortage. Fossil remains of the extinct Pleistocene fauna, such as cave bears and sword tigers, are found, too.
Located right under the Solunska Glava peak in southwestern Macedonia , this is one of the deepest caves in the Balkans at a 450m depth. It maintains the same vertical pattern in the first 200 meters, after which it expands into a large chamber with arcs as high as 50m. This is the highest cave chamber in the Balkans. It features extraordinary ornaments of green ice and stalagmites of up to 2m height.
This longest horizontal speleological object in Macedonia is located in the vicinity of Demir Kapija in southern Macedonia , 80km north of the Greek border. It is 955m long with a stunningly beautiful lake at the end of the cave.
Slatinski Izvori (Slatino Springs)
Difficult to access, this is one of the most beautiful and best preserved caves located in the immediate vicinity of Slatino Village in western Macedonia . Very poorly explored.
An accessible cave that is frequented by alpinists. It is located near Patiska Reka Village , some 30km southwest of Skopje , in the foothills of Mt. Jakupica . Famous speleologist Petar Jovanovic discovered it between the two world wars. Stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, slivers, and pillars adorn the cave, whose canals form labyrinths. Walking through them is not recommended without a guide and special equipment.
Located in western Macedonia , near Makedonski Brod and River Treska, it has a magnificent arched entrance. It has been used as a shelter in times of war and crisis. It has easy access and is open to visitors.
Found near the Kumanovo village of Krapa . According to a legend recorded by folk tales' collector Marko Cepenkov, the water gushing out of this cave's springs has healing powers.
Tourists and adventurers who are interested can visit any of these caves with an expert guide. Skopje 's Peoni Speleological Association organizes cave visits and speleological training, the latter of which costs 500 denars a year and covers speleo-alpinism, rock climbing with a rope, and basic alpinism.