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EXPLORING SMALL VILLAGES

The Reka and Mavrovo area features several small villages of interest, all of them worth taking a look at if you’re in the area and would like to witness life at least partially frozen in time. Two particular favourites are Nikiforovo, a tiny settlement of less than 100 houses used mostly as holiday homes by the locals and with a permanent population of about 10 people. Nikiforovo is in a great location on the eastern edge of Lake Mavrovo and also features a recommended hostel for budget accommodation. The other village that’s worth exploring is Janče, a tiny place on the main road north out of Debar, famed for its rare Macedonian Muslim population—the so-called Torbeš—and featuring a couple of notable mosques and the fine, if somewhat isolated, Hotel Tutto for travellers looking to get away from it all and explore the local wild nature. Also recommended are the two villages of Galičnik and Lazaropole, home to small populations of Mijaks, a local ethnographic group acclaimed for their magnificent woodcarving skills and colourful clothing.

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