Things to Do in Krusevo: Small but Mighty

North Macedonia

Published on 10 May 2023

We went into the small grocery shop to grab the essentials: water, crisps and a bottle of local wine. While paying at the till, I asked the cashier if she knew the time of the bus from Krusevo into Skopje (our next leg of our journey). She said she wasn’t sure. You know, fair enough, it’s always worth asking the question though. Next thing I know, she pulls out her phone, calls the bus company, and books us on to the next bus to Skopje on Monday! Thank you very much, you absolute super star. The kindness of people we meet while travelling will never cease to amaze me.

Krusevo (Kruševo) has legendary status in North Macedonia. In 1903, Krusevo fought and defeated the ruling Ottomans in an organised rebellion known as the Ilinden Uprising.  The Republic of Krusevo was established, and then existed for ten days before the Ottomans took the city back. The ferocity and bravery of this heroic feat is commemorated each year on 2nd August: North Macedonia’s Republic Day.

Krusevo is a small mountain town absolutely brimming with retro quirks and authenticity. Old stone houses have wooden garage doors hanging off their hinges while a classic Mini rusts inside. More opulent houses stand tall, proudly displaying their intricately painted facades. Tobacco leaves are strung up under wooden shelters to dry. Dark purple plums ripen in the trees. Brightly coloured tractors are left parked up on side streets.

things to do in krusevo

Corner shop

mustard coloured Beetle in a garage, things to do in krusevo

Old stone house

Yet to be discovered by foreign tourists, Krusevo is a town full of history, pride and beauty: you will likely be the only non-local. Take a trip up into the mountains to breathe the fresh air and experience real life in North Macedonia away from the cities. You could easily fill one day exploring this beauty, and many people visit as a day trip from Skopje, but I would recommend staying for at least one night.

Find all our recommendations on top things to do in Krusevo in this guide.

How to Get to Krusevo

The closest airport to Krusevo is Ohrid (OHD), however, I could not find any direct bus connections from here. So, it would be easier to fly into Skopje International Airport (SKP) and get a bus from here. There are at least three buses each day to Krusevo from Skopje: 7:45, 15:45, 16:45.

We went by bus from Bitola, but there is also a direct connection to Prilep. There are no trains up into the mountains to get to Krusevo.

The bus from Bitola to Krusevo leaves from Bitola bus station at 12:20 each day and costs 240 MKD for the hour journey. You can buy your ticket in advance at the bus station using cash or card.

The bus from Krusevo to Skopje leaves at 07:00 each morning except Mondays when there is no bus. It takes about two and a half, maybe three hours to reach Skopje and costs 600 MKD, payable on the bus in cash.

What is marked as the ‘bus station’ in Krusevo, is no longer a bus station as such. It is permanently locked with a sign in the door suggesting you book tickets online at a website that it provides: the website doesn’t exist, hence the anecdote at the start of this post! This location is, however, still where the bus will pick you up and drop you off.

I used Balkan Viator for most of our bus info around the country.

Be Amazed by the Ilinden Monument

Also known as Makedonium, the design of this monument is bizarre: an abstract spomenik structure, classic of Yugoslavia, it really is ‘out there’ and not in keeping with the rest of the town. But because it is so unusual, it makes it all the more interesting to see in person. Inside, there are stained glass windows and abstract shapes in the walls. There is a small entrance fee of 60 MKD to be paid in cash.

Opened in 1974, the memorial commemorates those who fought during the Ilinden Uprising and the struggle for freedom during WW2.

Ilinden Monument spomenik

Ilinden monument or spaceship?

Ilinden Monument

Take me to your leader

Stained Glass Window, Ilinden Monument

Stained glass interior

Ilinden Monument Interior

Abstract wall decoration

Take a Scenic Stroll around Krusevo Lake

After you have explored the Ilinden Monument, follow the path behind the monument through some woodland and down to Krusevo Lake. It is a tranquil spot, surrounded by rolling hills, where you could sit for a picnic or just wander round the lake before heading back into town.

Krusevo Lake

Fancy a dip?

Krusevo's Intricate Building Facade

Ornate facade decoration

Find all the Gritty Details in Krusevo’s Streets

Whether it be the rusting cars with flat tyres that have been hanging around for a long time, or the wooden gates that are all a bit wonky, or the exposed brickwork in the architecture; they all contribute to giving this town its character! We spent a whole day exploring every nook and cranny of this unapologetically authentic town.

Rusting Retro Cars, Krusevo

Rusty old Beetle

I spy a beautiful door

Local barbers

Drying Tobacco Leaves, Krusevo

Tabacco leaves drying out

Be Astounded by the Phenomenal Lokum at Tagas Balkan

Honestly, the best lokum (Turkish delight type sweet) we have tried. Nothing fancy, no myriad of flavours to choose from. Your options are nuts or no nuts. The texture is what makes it so special. How is it so soft?! Buy yourself a box and thank me later.

Tagas Balkan Lokum


Watch the Republic Day Parade

If you are lucky enough to be in Krusevo over Republic Day (2nd August), you are in for a treat! There is a parade of people on horseback through the streets up to the Ilinden monument and then there is partying til dawn.

Republic Day Parade, Krusevo

Here they come

Horses of the Republic Day Parade, Krusevo

Learning the ropes

Make Friends with the Locals

We make friends with all the stray dogs across the Balkans. This area of the world seems to really care for their strays and it is so wholesome to see. We met some of the cutest stray dogs up in the streets furthest away from town.

The custest wee doggos

Have you been to Krusevo? Is there anything else you would add?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or questions.

Thanks for reading!

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