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Balkan butterflies and mountain wildlife

We visit the unspoilt countryside of North Macedonia in the company of butterfly expert Martin Hrouzek, this time heading higher into the mountains in search of the diversity of butterflies and interesting plant life

The newly-renamed Republic of North Macedonia is a small country, the same size as Belgium, in the heart of the Balkans. Its varied landscapes and position at the crossroads of the Balkans combine with traditional rural life to create the right ingredients for abundant and diverse wildlife. Almost one third of the country is still covered with traditionally sheep-grazed steppe.

The landscapes themselves are reason enough to visit, but this is one of Europe’s best destinations for those interested in butterflies: the country boasts over 200 species of butterflies, a staggering diversity for a country of this size. We will explore some of the best butterfly habitats in search of the country’s flagship species, as well as enjoying many of the other wildlife and floral treats on offer. We will spend most of our time in the south and west of this small country, where several spectacular and diverse mountain ranges are found.

This tour is timed to coincide with the peaking summer season, with the low-lying areas already drenched by summer heat but when the mountains should still be fresh and full of the high altitude nectar-rich plants that support the more unusual montane butterflies.

The fine mixture of habitats ensures that you will have a rewarding and easy going holiday: whichever direction we go, there should be a new species for us to see.

Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.

Yellow-banded Skipper on a yarrow, Macedonia
purple Iris sintenesii flower, Macedonia
Ascalaphus libelluloides sitting on grass, Macedonia