Regarded by some as the youngest nation in Europe, Kosovo is situated in the southeastern corner of the continent. In 2008, it claimed its independence from Serbia and the geopolitical tensions in the area might not make it appear at the very top of tourist destination lists. However, for those who are open-minded and adventurous enough, this is a nation that is ready to reward you with a spectacular experience and outstanding sights.
How to Reach Kosovo
Those living in European nations like Macedonia, Serbia, or Albania can take any of Europe’s intercontinental motorways. Many of the highways lead directly to Pristina, the capital city of Kosovo. For those coming from outside Europe and other countries of the globe, there are three main airports. These are the Gjakova Airport, Pristina International Airport, and the Batlava-Donja Penduha Airfield. Of all these airports, the Pristina International Airport is the biggest, and it receives almost 1.8 million passengers in a good year. It is also the only entry point for those traveling into Kosovo by air. Hence, you can book your flight from any part of the globe, and you will be in this beautiful nation in no time.
Top Attractions in Kosovo
There is a lot for you to see and do in the newest nation in Europe, and here are the top attractions whenever you find yourself there:
- Capital City of Pristina: From its unique Soviet-era structures to its vibrant people to its magnificent hotels, this is one city that will be a delight for all tourists. You can check out the numerous art centers while you sip some of the finest coffee on the continent. The people here love drinking slowly while having spirited conversations with friends and tourists. Take time to tour the old section of Pristina, where you will meet excited elders who will narrate their experience during the Soviet Union days. On your return, check out the Newborn Monument located in the heart of the city and take some photos. While in Pristina, make sure you visit the Bill Clinton Boulevard and check out the former American president’s waving statue. The statue was made to commemorate his efforts and assistance to the country when it was engaged in a brutal war with Serbia in 1999.
- Rugova Canyon: Some will be surprised to realize that there are canyons in Europe. Well, the Rugova Canyon in Kosovo is one of the biggest in all of Europe. It stretches for 25 km and plunges into a depth of as much as 1,000 meters. The canyon itself was formed by the Pec Bistrica River over time. You can commence your hiking in the canyon from the settlement of Peja. With towering mountains on all sides, this is one of the most memorable activities to engage in while in Kosovo.
- Sar Mountains: For those who love skiing on mountainous slopes but want to do so at the most affordable prices possible, this is the place for you. There is a modern ski resort here, and it is designed for all kinds of skiers. From a height of 2,200 meters, you can ski all day.
- Prizren Town: For those who have visited this beautiful town, it is probably the most photogenic place on the planet. It has a historic fortress located right at the top of a hill that looks upon the town, and everywhere you go in Prizren, you cannot help but notice the ornate mosques and churches that are sheer wonders of architecture. The Prizren Bistrica River is a dominant feature of the town, and along its banks, you can take some of the most gorgeous photos ever. If you have enough time, hike up the fortress and enjoy a spectacular view of the town. The place is also revered for its long-standing local arts, especially in jewels. Get some traditional souvenirs for your loved ones before you return to the river for a brisk walk to any of the restaurants to enjoy cultural dishes.
- The Marble Cave: This breathtaking cave is one of the least explored in Europe, so if you can visit, you will still be one of the few tourists who have been there. It has about two dozen lakes, and some go as much as ten meters in depth. It is a very majestic location not far from Pristina – you should check it out and assess the wonders of nature.
- Pec Patriarchate Monastery: This monastery of the Orthodox Church was constructed in the 13th century. If you are approaching the iconic Rugova Canyon, you will see it right before entering the area. It is so outstanding in its architecture and beauty that it is featured on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Visoki Decani Monastery: Lovers of monasteries and ancient religious buildings, you will surely love Kosovo. The Visoki Decani Monastery contains artifacts that date back to the 14th century. It is also recognized and promoted by UNESCO.
What to Eat in Kosovo
Food in Kosovo is excellent as you have many options of delicacies that burst into a thousand flavors in your mouth. Understandably, many dishes in Kosovo are influenced by Serbian and Albanian cultures. However, Kosovo also has its own typical native dishes.
That being said, one of the most popular dishes in Kosovo is flia. It is a kind of pancake covered with cream and is typically served with sour cream. Then there is pite, which is served with yogurt, honey, and filled with beef, cheese, or potatoes. There is also an abundance of dishes based on lamb, chicken, and beef, so you can be sure of getting some delicious kebabs on every street.
Hiking and Rock Climbing in Kosovo
Hike: Over 10% of Kosovo’s region is protected as a National Park. The Sharr Mountains are located in the nation’s southern territory, home to Brezovica’s ski resort and Sharr Mountain National Park. This region is a popular destination in the winters for skiers and has a lot to offer in the summer. It is an outstanding choice for hikers and nature lovers exploring its peak, paths, forests, and small lakes. The remoteness of the area helps travelers enjoy the environment in tranquility and peace. Don’t forget to carry your hiking accessories before taking the stroll.
Rock-climbing: You can easily find a group of rock-climbing enthusiasts in Mirusha waterfalls, Kosovo. Besides organizing rock-climbing excursions, they spend a lot of their time building safe climbing paths. You can join them, learn and then climb those breathtaking paths, which will surely keep your adrenaline pumping.
Staying Safe in Kosovo
Don’t get too involved into Kosovo’s politics, although ask as many questions (within reason) as you like. Locals are very open about their resentment of each other and are more than willing to tell you about it.
Don’t let the politics stop you from traveling to Kosovo; tensions have mounted in a few instances in the past few years, but almost all have been in the divided city of Mitrovica in the north of the nation. With a 10,000+ NATO peacekeeping force and an extensive global Police force, you are very protected from everything and the possibility of a full out war is very low with such international supervision. Even if one is to occur, all international travelers would be evacuated within a couple of days. You will most likely find peacekeeping volunteers from your own nation to help you if you want it. People in general, both Serbs and Albanians, are extremely friendly and courteous to tourists.
Don’t Forget to Try:
- Enjoy flia with a local family.
- Gist with the elders by the river banks.
- Visit any of the local tea shops and enjoy mountain tea.
- Attend any of the festivals and try out more dishes.
- Check out the Imperial Mosque located in Pristina.