Popova Shapka is the biggest touristic destination on Shar Planina (Planina in Macedonian language means mountain). The length of Shar Planina’s massif is 80 km and covers seven peaks with an altitude above 2,000 m. This mountain is calm and wild at the same time, and because of this is probably one of the most beautiful places in Macedonia.
To get to Shapka, the road will first guide you through the city of Tetovo, that is the nearest city to the mountain, and from there you will slowly drive up through the villages and suddenly in front of you a breathtaking beauty and untouched nature. Macedonia is a country where you can find hidden natural beauty behind every corner, since it’s a small country it is very easy to reach some of these hidden places in a short time by car or bus.
Let’s now tell you one interesting legend about the name of Popova Shapka, that in english means “the hat of the priest”. The legend says that in the past there was a priest that lost his hat and nobody could found it, but in the end some people started to say that the hat was on the peak of the mountain, because the peak was looking like a hat.
During our stay at Popova Shapka we had an unforgettable cat-ski experience and definitelly we want to tell you our impressions.
Exploring the “snow queen”, going through inaccessible places, panoramic views of huge peaks, where the whiteness of the snow merges with the blue of the sky, and on the other side the rays of the sun warm your face and fill you with energy. Right there, far away from the chaos and the noise of the city, you will feel the importance of the nature, the mountain makes you feel special. You feel its power and you finally understand how little you are in front of that mountain. It’s better to experience that feeling that will bring you back to the roots and remind you that in the nature you are just a small and powerless creature. The cat-ski was going up through deep snow and for a moment you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere but suddenly in front of you will appear a pine forest or some small village.
Our guides were wonderful people who grew up on that mountain and they knew it literally everything about Shar Planina. They show us also one mountain chalet where they are producing cheese, and it is very nice to visit that part of the mountain in summer. We strongly believe that it is nice, this mountain is beautiful in every season you go. We told you it is something special, but you must see and feel to believe.
A unique feature of the Shar Planina are “the eyes of Shar Planina”, the numerous glacial lakes of the mountain made through the centuries. The highest peak of Shar Planina is the Titov Vrv (2.747 m), and there are two more peaks with smaller height, Small Turk (2.702 m) and Bacardan (2.700 m). From Popova Shapka or Jelak there are several paths for climbing the top. The shortest and the heaviest is the one that directly climbs to Ceripashina.
The trip through the untouched part of Shar Planina showed us that this place can satisfy all the tastes – doesn’t matter if you love skiing, snowboarding, hiking or simply sit and meditate surrounded by nature.