Štip

Štip

Štip is the largest city in Eastern Macedonia with about 52,000 people. It is an important educational, cultural, and economic center.

Understand

Štip is a very pleasant city that gets fewer tourists than the west, which makes the people nicer and more willing to help than the people in the western part of the country.

Smoking is prohibited in all nightclubs and bars (kafana's). Cigarettes and alcohol can be sold to individuals aged 18 and over.

As in all other cities in Macedonia, if you are not a Macedonian citizen, you need to check in with the local police station when you arrive and leave.

Get in

By Bus

By car

By car from the north (Skopje), the main regional road circumvents Štip, but any of the several clearly marked exits will take you downtown. From the south: the main Strumica-Štip road enters through the Bregalnica canyon in the south and goes directly to downtown. There are many local roads entering from the east and west.

By train

The train station in Štip is no longer used for commercial rail journeys, but only for freight trains.

By plane

By sport airplane: Štip is served by the largest sport airport in Eastern Macedonia, accommodating single and twin-engine aircraft. The third international airport in Macedonia, to be located in Štip, is still in the initial building stages (the first phase is planned to be for cargo only).

Get around

The best ways to get around are by foot or by taxi, though there is a municipal bus fleet which connects the center with the outlying of Babi, Senjak, Prebeg, Makedonka, Kezhovica, etc.

Travel arrangements can be made through travel agencies in the center of town.

See

Further afield

Do

Events

Buy

Eat

Stip is known throughout Macedonia for the local dish called Pastremajlija. It is a pizza-like crust, in a long canoe shape topped with chicken or pork meat, eaten with hot pepper or pepper flakes on top. It is available at nearly every restaurant in Stip, and at the annual Pastremajlija festival in late September.

There are many great restaurants that serve traditional Macedonian food, as well as many Pizza-restaurants (Italian style, as opposed to American Pizza-parlors). Every restaurant is famous for some specific dish, so try to order that one in particular.

Drink

There are dozens upon dozens of bistros/bars aka kafani all over the city, on every corner. They serve all types of alcohol at a cheap price and food with it as well. Drinking coffee is a social event which often lasts for hours, with very little coffee or alcohol actually consumed. It is not considered rude to sit a table and order very little for several hours, as it would be in many western cities.

As with the rest of Macedonia, being intoxicated in public is frowned upon.

Night Life

There are several large disco-techs, including Mystic, Angels, and Ice, which play pop and dance music. Jazz Art Club is the local rock club featuring live bands all year round.

Sleep

All hotels could probably be classified as 3 stars, though there is no official rating system. Oaza and Garni are right in the center, while Izgrev is about 10 minute drive from the center (or 30 mins walk). Garni is a boutique hotel with few rooms, but held to high standards.

Stay safe

Štip is probably one of the safest cities in Macedonia, and definitely much safer than all the major cities in the western and central part. Violent crime and murders are almost non-existent, and property crimes are very rare. Foreigners are welcomed and looked upon as a curiosity as Štip is not advertised or developed as a tourist destination, despite having a lot to offer.

There are several night clubs in Štip, and they are all much safer than any western counterpart (no metal detectors anywhere). Keeping a low profile is recommended as not to tempt the local macho mentality. Aggressive courting of girls is not recommended as this can be seen as encroachment and cause physical conflict.

The Roma (Gypsy) population of Štip is mostly living far bellow the overall poverty level, and although their shanty towns (spread around several areas of the city, mostly in the north) are very picturesque and exotic for the tourist to behold, avoid giving them gifts or money, as that will make you a target for more panhandling and possibly a (non-violent) property crime. Do not be fooled by the looks of the Roma children beggars, for most of them that is their full-time job, and no one is dying of hunger or cold in Štip.

The police is sometimes helpful if approached politely, but beware that the socialist heritage where the police was very brutal and was mostly used to keep an eye on the population, instead of maintaining law and order, is still very much alive. Ask a younger person for directions, as most youngster speak passable English, and only deal with the police when you have to, taking good care not to offend them in any way.

As pretty much anywhere else, do not accept offers from strangers; do not enter in business deals with unknown people, even if the offer is most tempting; do not go to secluded or dark places at night or abandoned places during the day, and exercise good judgement that you would in other poor countries like Mexico or Central America.

Do not be alarmed if glasses are shattered by being slammed on the ground as this is a cultural thing, especially when one male individual is intoxicated and there is live music. This practice is quite common for males of all ages, and is the same in all the surrounding countries like Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania.

Don't carry too much cash on you and do not flash/show it (there is no need, there are plenty of 24/7 ATMs around the city). Try to dress like the locals. Too much differentiation might attract unwanted attention, which, while usually harmless, can be very annoying at the end. Lock your valuable in the hotel safe or hide them well. Keep your electronics and cameras in bags for most of the time while taking picture/videos around.

At the end, exercise a common sense that you would exercise in rural Alabama or West Virginia, for example, and you will be fine and have a great time!

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 26, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.