How To Get From Sofia To Skopje (& Skope To Sofia)

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Post author Daniel

Written by our local expert Daniel

Originally from Macedonia, Daniel is a total budget travel junkie. Having visited over 35 countries, Dan knows a thing or two about traveling Macedonia and the Balkans on the cheap.

This detailed transportation guide tells you how to get from Skopje to Sofia and how to travel from Sofia to Skopje.

If culture and history are your things, you’ll find some fantastic cities within close proximity to one another in and around the Balkans. Two such cities are Sofia in Bulgaria and Skopje in North Macedonia. Both are capital cities and have some seriously impressive historical muscles to flex!

Sofia is Bulgaria’s historic and beautiful capital city. Sitting at the foot of the huge Vitosha mountain, the city has nods to countless empires and historical eras. You’ll find archeology belonging to the Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, and even from Soviet times. Some churches date back to around the 4th century, and there are far too many spots to check out within the space of one break. You also get the modern-day fun associated with any capital city, such as shopping, gastronomy, and nightlife.

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However, Skopje is a great option if you want to venture future. This is just over the border and the capital of North Macedonia. You’ll find very few cities that have nods to history as far back as Skopje does, with Neolithic settlement remaining evident back to 4000BC! Despite that, Skopje has a modern feel, too, so you’re getting the best of both worlds.

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How To Get From Sofia To Skopje & Skopje To Sofia

Skopje in Macedonia_ St. Clement Of Ohrid
St. Clement Of Ohrid

There are two main ways to get from Sofia to Skopje and back again – by car or bus. However, either way, you will be crossing a land border, so you will need to have all the necessary paperwork with you to avoid delay or being unable to cross.

You will need your passport and necessary visa information for your country of origin. If you’re driving, you’ll need all parts of your driving license (international) and your car insurance paperwork. Remember to check on your consulate’s website before you travel to check if you need to apply for a visa before you travel or anything else you might need.

As we’re living in pandemic times, you will also need to check what you need to enter both Bulgaria and North Macedonia regarding tests or vaccination proof.

Driving From Sofia To Skopje & Skope To Sofia By Car

If you choose to drive between Sofia and Skopje, then back again, the one-way journey will take around 3 hours and 40 minutes, depending on traffic and any queues at the border. Roads are modern and easy to follow. You’ll follow the A2 highway and travel for around 245km. You’ll also follow the same route back from Skopje to Sofia.


Sofia To Skopje Bus & Catching The Skope To Sofia Bus

3 Days In Bulgaria - National theatre Ivan Vazov, Sofia, Bulgaria

Your other option is to take the bus to sit back and relax, enjoying the scenery!

Two bus providers travel between the two cities in both directions – Kaleia and Matpu.

Kaleia runs twice daily and takes 5 hours from Sofia to Skopje. You’ll leave for Sofia Central Bus Station and arrive at Skopje Central Bus Station. You can purchase tickets online or at the station; the same information applies when traveling back to Skopje from Sofia.

Matpu also runs twice daily and takes a little longer from Sofia to Skopje, at 5 hours and 40 minutes. The journey is the same back in the opposite direction, with the same bus stations. Again, you can purchase tickets online or in person at the bus station.

So, now that you know how to get from Skope To Sofia and from Sofia to Skopje, we wish you safe travels. 

Comments (8)

  1. Thanks for this post. It’s really neat, helpful. Keep up your good work, I’ll be around here a lot more!

  2. Hello,

    my friend and I would like to travel from Sofia to Skopje on the 2nd March and come back on 3rd March.
    Is there any time table? What is the cost? How can we buy tickets online?
    I’ll wait for your reply,
    Tommaso Campanella

  3. I’m trying to get to Sofia from Sarajevo via bus. I’ve yet to find any route that doesn’t include a long trek to Belgrade. Is it possible to build a ground itinerary that doesn’t require me to go north to Belgrade or south to Skopje? Thanks.

  4. Hi SJ, great article. I am planning to travel Sofia – Skopje by bus in winter, on 24 December 2023. I have only found 1 bus route that takes ~8h through the “book bus tickets” link. Do Kaleia and Matpu still run during that time? Would you know if there are faster buses? How frequent are the buses? Have not been able to find much info on buses in December.
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Thank you. I also so not see any other options. My guess is that due to the time of the year that services a heavily limited. You could also go in person and check when you arrive to see if they release more options.

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