Driving advice for every country in Europe

From required documents to European breakdown cover and vehicle accessories, find all the up-to-date driving laws and advice for every country in Europe in our travel guides.

Driving in North Macedonia

North Macedonia
Population: 2.1m
Area: 25,713 square kilometres
Currency: North Macedonian Denar - MKD
With its mountainous backdrops and impressive national parks, North Macedonia might just surprise you with its stunning scenery. Its historic capital, Skopje, is also a must-see and easily reached by a network of highways.

But if you’re planning a road trip to North Macedonia, it’s essential you’re fully prepared ahead of time as driving there has many differences to the UK. 

To make your trip to the Balkans as safe and effortless as possible, we’ve put together a guide to everything you need to know before you go, from required documents to rules of the road.  

Driving a rented vehicle? Jump to the advice for driving a hire car in North Macedonia section.

RAC European Breakdown Cover (Basic and Comprehensive) provides a wide range of benefits should you breakdown in North Macedonia to ensure you stay safe. 

To supplement this, RAC also offers travel insurance. Cover will include medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings, among many other benefits.

FREE car health check*

FREE car health check*

For a limited time, get FREE car health check with European breakdown cover.

FREE car health check*

Things to take when driving in North Macedonia

rac macedonia

Documents for driving in North Macedonia

If you're driving in North Macedonia your checklist requirements are:

  • A valid, full UK driving licence
  • A GB sticker (North Macedonia isn’t a member of the EU, so you’ll need one even if your car has EU number plates that show a circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background)
  • Your motor insurance certificate
  • V5 registration document or hire car paperwork

Driving in North Macedonia packing checklist

Aside from the documents above, there are some legally-required items you must bring with you to drive in North Macedonia.

Unless your headlights can be adjusted, it's a legal requirement to carry headlamp converters (stickers for your headlights when driving on the right, so your lights don't dazzle motorists coming the other way).

A warning triangle is also compulsory to carry in vehicles in case of a breakdown.

It's also recommended to have:

  • Spare bulbs for your car's external lights
  • A fire extinguisher 
  • A first-aid kit
  • A reflective jacket
  • A tow rope
  • Winter tyres or snow chains if you're travelling between 15 November and 15 March
  • A Green Card (this is no longer a requirement, but it could be useful to back-up your insurance documents and show you've got the minimum legal level of cover. To find out more, contact your insurance company)

You can pick up all the car kit you need from RAC Shop.

Rules of the road in North Macedonia

  • Wear a crash helmet if you're riding a moped or motorcycle
  • Use dipped headlights while driving in the daytime as well as at night
  • If you're taking your own car to North Macedonia and the bodywork is damaged, it's wise to get a police report confirming the damage when you enter the country. Otherwise, the police will query this with you when you leave
  • If you’re travelling near the border with Kosovo, stick to primary roads and daylight hours only
  • In North Macedonia, you drive on the right and overtake on the left. If there's no yellow diamond sign, you must give way to any cars coming from the right
  • In built-up areas you should only use your horn in an emergency. Outside built-up areas, use your horn to let the car in front know you intend to overtake
  • If you’re involved in any sort of collision, you should wait until the police arrive
  • You might have to pay motorway tolls, depending on where you travel within North Macedonia - these can be paid in cash or by credit card
  • It's illegal to carry any radar detection equipment, whether or not it's switched on
  • If you're caught committing a motoring offence while driving through North Macedonia, you could be given an on-the-spot fine of up to €500 (euros are widely accepted here). Fines must be paid at a post office or bank and are reduced by 50% if paid within 8 days
  • Seat belts should be worn in all seats where a belt is available
  • Children under the age of 2 can travel in the front seat if they’re placed in a child restraint adapted to their size. Children under 5 must be placed in a child seat in the rear of the vehicle
  • The drink-drive limit in North Macedonia is 0.05%. For professional drivers and drivers with less than 2 years’ experience, it’s even lower, at 0.009%. Police can test any driver suspected of being over the limit

North Macedonian speed limits

Speed limits vary across North Macedonia, and are lower for newly qualified drivers, so always check the signs for maximum speeds. In urban areas, the limit is usually 50km/h unless otherwise signposted and 80km/h-110km/h outside these areas. On motorways, the limit is 130km/h

If you have a GPS navigation system that shows you where any fixed speed cameras are, you must deactivate this function

Other things you should know when driving in North Macedonia

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  • Unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG are readily available throughout North Macedonia. Payment is generally made in cash, although some petrol stations will accept credit cards
  • Parking can be limited in built-up areas, with restricted zones signposted. Wheel clamps are only used in zone parking areas in Skopje, and vehicles parked illegally will be towed away

In an emergency

112 - Here's a really important bit of knowledge; you can dial 112 from anywhere in Europe and an operator will connect you to an emergency service in the country you're visiting.

Operators can answer your call in their native language, English or French.

Breaking down in North Macedonia

RAC offers great-value, flexible RAC European breakdown cover tailored to meet your needs. We also offer comprehensive travel insurance, including cover for medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings.

Driving a hire car in North Macedonia

Not all of the information in the guide above will be relevant to those looking to rent a hire car in North Macedonia.

Though it might be a good idea to read through everything anyway, here are the most important things to know for drivers of rental vehicles:

Rental information

  • The minimum age to hire a car is 21
  • You need a full, valid UK driving licence and usually a second proof of ID (passport)
  • Some car rental companies ask that you have held your licence for a minimum term of 2 years
  • Some companies require you to use a credit card for deposit
  • You may not be able to drive outside of North Macedonia unless planned in advance - check with your hire company first
  • Make sure you get car hire excess insurance before your trip to protect yourself from unexpected costs. It's almost always cheaper to do this with a separate insurer and in advance

Hire car driving tips

  • North Macedonians drive on the right and overtake on the left - the opposite to the UK
  • Speed limits vary across North Macedonia, and are lower for newly qualified drivers, so always check the signs for maximum speeds. In urban areas, the limit is usually 50km/h unless otherwise signposted and 80km/h-110km/h outside these areas. On motorways, the limit is 130km/h
  • Dial 112 in an emergency
  • It’s compulsory to wear seat belts in the front and rear seats
  • The blood alcohol content limit for drivers of private vehicles is 0.05%. That's lower than the 0.08% in England Wales and Northern Ireland, but the same as Scotland.

Car hire excess cover

Protect yourself from unexpected excess costs when hiring a car.

Car hire excess cover
Car hire excess cover

Driving in North Macedonia FAQs

  • Is it safe to drive in North Macedonia?

    Yes, most roads in North Macedonia are in pretty good condition. On minor roads, however, the surface may be poor quality, and you’ll need to watch out for horse-drawn carts, livestock and pedestrians. Mountain roads are narrow, unmarked and missing guardrails, so it’s best to avoid them at night and in bad weather.

    As with driving in any foreign country, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the law to ensure you stay safe on the roads.

  • Can you drive in North Macedonia with a UK licence?

    Yes. You can legally drive in North Macedonia with a full and valid UK driving licence. In addition to this, International Driving Permits are recognised but not required.

  • Can you drive in Skopje?

    Yes, North Macedonia’s capital city is a charming place to visit, although it can get busy with commuter traffic around 8am and 4pm. There are also parking restrictions in place throughout the city, while political rallies sometimes occur so check ahead and avoid these areas.

  • Do I need a green card to drive in North Macedonia?

    If you do not have a green card valid for North Macedonia, you will have to purchase insurance at the border, the price of which depends on your vehicle.

    You should be able to get a green card from your insurance provider that covers North Macedonia, along with any other country you plan to visit.

  • What side of the road do they drive on in North Macedonia?

    Like the vast majority of European countries, motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road in North Macedonia.

  • Do I need a GB/UK sticker for North Macedonia?

    You will need to display a UK sticker on the rear of your car. GB stickers have been discontinued.

  • Can I drive my car in North Macedonia?

    Yes, although before driving your car to North Macedonia it’s important you follow all legal requirements to ensure you are safe on the roads, including having sufficient insurance cover legally recognised in North Macedonia.

    You should also ensure you have all the required items needed for your journey in North Macedonia (such as a warning triangle and reflective jacket) as well as for any other country you’re planning to drive through.

  • How do I drive to North Macedonia?

    Getting to North Macedonia by car from the UK isn’t the quickest journey in the world, but you can take in some wonderful scenery along the way. Firstly, you’ll need to take your car across the Channel to Calais on either a ferry from Dover or the Eurotunnel from Folkestone.

    Once you’re in Calais, drive down through France, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Serbia before crossing the border into North Macedonia. The drive from Calais to Skopje takes around 23 hours non-stop.

  • What age can you start driving in North Macedonia?

    To legally drive in North Macedonia, you must be 18 years or older and in possession of a full valid driving licence.

  • Are there toll roads in North Macedonia?

    Yes, as in much of continental Europe you will be charged to use the motorways in North Macedonia. Take a ticket at the beginning of the toll road then pay at the toll gates when you exit.

    Tolls can be paid in cash with Macedonian denars or euros, or with a credit card.

  • Do I need winter tyres to drive in North Macedonia?

    From 15 November to 15 March, all vehicles must be equipped with winter tyres that have a minimum tread depth of 4mm. Summer tyres may be used if you carry snow chains, but vehicles equipped with chains must not exceed 50km/h.

    The use of spiked tyres is not permitted in North Macedonia.

FREE car health check*

FREE car health check*

For a limited time, get FREE car health check with European breakdown cover.

FREE car health check*

UK Government travel advice

See up-to-date travel advice

Information in this guide is subject to change

British Embassy Skopje

Todor Aleksandrov No.165
Skopje 1000
North Macedonia

Email [email protected]

Telephone +389 (2) 3299 299

Fax +389 (2) 2 3179 726

*Ends 13/12/23. 9am. Bookings subject to garage availability.

*Ends 13/12/23. 9am. Bookings subject to garage availability.