Vodno is our favorite recreational spot when we are in Skopje. It is a small mountain (more like a big hill) risen above and overlooking the city. It has always been a top destination for the people of Skopje, especially in the weekends, but since the construction of the gondola lift in 2011 Vodno became the top destination for both locals and tourists. The lift starts at Middle Vodno and ends at the Millennium Cross. The route is 1,750 m (5741 ft) long, with the ride lasting 6–8 minutes. You can get to Middle Vodno by bus, take a taxi, or hike starting from the base of the mountain.

There are dozens of routes and trails that lead to Krstovar, the highest peak (1066 m/3477 ft), which is also the end of the cable car line. There is a huge metal cross on the top, built in 2002, called the Millennium Cross, which is one of the biggest Christian monuments in the world. There is a small store in the base of the cross, kid’s playground right next to it, and the traditional mountaineer’s lodge, the oldest built object on Krstovar, is just next to the gondola lift.

When the kids were still very little, we used the cable car almost every day. They were two and a half years old when they climbed to the top by foot for the first time. In recent years, we often choose to go to the top by taking the route from the opposite side of the mountain, the one starting at the village of Gorno Sonje. It’s located on the south side of Vodno mountain, about 10 km (6 mi) from the center of Skopje. The route starts at an altitude of 730 m (2395 ft) which makes it much easier than the regular hiking route from Middle Vodno. Also, it’s on the sunny side of the mountain and the track leads through a beautiful dense evergreen forest. The short film below was shot this February, on a beautiful sunny winter day. The kids enjoyed the tour as much as we did, with extra motivation in the fact that they were promised snacks once we reach the top. Well, a promise is a promise – they got their snacks and we got much less whining. We’d like to think of it as a reasonable compromise, don’t you?

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