Beyond expectations: why Kosovo should be your next travel destination

With a fully deserved reputation of warm hospitality and rich cultural heritage, Kosovo is fast becoming a captivating new destination for travellers seeking authentic experiences.

Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the enchanting allure of this captivating land.


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Nestled in the heart of the Balkans, this enchanting land beckons travellers with its rich tapestry of traditions, breathtaking landscapes, and genuine welcome.

From the bustling streets of Pristina, the country’s dynamic capital, to the serene beauty of its rural villages and majestic mountains, Kosovo offers an unforgettable adventure for those eager to explore its hidden gems and immerse themselves in its unique spirit.

The aerial view of Prizreni city during daytime

Photo source: Unsplash

Whether you seek ancient ruins steeped in legend, lively markets brimming with local flavours, or simply the joy of connecting with friendly locals, Kosovo promises an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your soul.


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Why travellers love Kosovo

Kosovo exudes an effervescent youthful essence that’s palpable from the moment visitors step onto its soil. With a predominantly youthful populace, an exhilarating sense of dynamism and hopefulness envelops you instantly.

This vivacious vitality permeates the bustling cafés, the animated streets, and the flourishing arts and music scenes.

The Newborn monument in Pristina, Kosovo

Photo source: Facebook

Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the capital, Pristina, where the heartbeat of the nation thrums strongest amidst its prestigious universities and vibrant cultural hubs. This isn’t merely a characteristic noted in travel guides; it’s the very essence of the nation.

Travellers swiftly find themselves ensnared by this pulsating energy and vivacious atmosphere, often citing it as a primary reason for their return, yearning to once again immerse themselves in the spirited soul that defines Kosovo.


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What you need to know about Kosovo

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and remains a largely undiscovered tourist destination.

As a country waiting to be explored, Kosovo offers a safe environment for travellers, with sparse crowds and affordable prices, making its serene lakes and pristine trails even more accessible to those seeking an affordable retreat.

Kosovo is making its serene lakes and pristine trails accessible for an affordable price

Photo source: Unsplash

With the European Union’s long-awaited visa liberalisation now in effect, Kosovo’s gates have swung wide open to Europe, granting Kosovars the freedom to traverse its multifaceted landscapes while at the same time beckoning to curious airlines far and wide.

This newfound allure heralds a dawn of discovery for intrepid souls in search of authenticity and novelty. Even a brief sojourn of three to four days in Kosovo promises a tantalising glimpse of its myriad attractions.

View of the Pristina city - Prishtina University and church of Christ the Saviour

Photo source: Unsplash

As travellers alight at Pristina International Airport, they step into a world of possibilities, with seamless access to buses, taxis, and rental cars facilitating exploration far beyond the capital’s borders.

For wanderers, embarking on a road trip to Kosovo unveils a tapestry of adventures, offering not only flexibility but also the opportunity to weave through neighbouring lands en route.

Discover the beauty of Kosovo nature - the White Drin Waterfall

Photo source: Tripadvisor

And with the euro as the currency of choice, the mundane chore of currency exchange fades into oblivion, leaving room for the magic of discovery to take centre stage.


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What to see and do in Pristina

In Kosovo’s enchanting tapestry, the journey begins amidst the labyrinthine streets of Pristina, where time dances to the rhythm of whispered tales and bustling footsteps.

Here, the Soma Book Station beckons like a literary sanctuary, while Fehmi Agani Street, known fondly as ‘Kafet e Vogla’, weaves its spell of nostalgia and charm.

Pachanga rolls at the Soma Book Station in Pristina

Photo source: Tripadvisor

Pause along this storied path at Churchill, Beer Garden, Large, or Monroe, each a vignette of culture and camaraderie, where the essence of the city pulses through every sip and conversation.

The magic doesn’t end with the setting sun. As twilight paints the sky, Mother Theresa Boulevard comes alive, especially at Kafet e Rakisë, which is bustling from dusk till midnight.

In the evenings, Mother Theresa Boulevard comes alive; enjoy your drink at the Bon Vivant bar

Photo source: Tripadvisor

After the clock strikes twelve, venture into the nocturnal realm of Zona, Gate, or Duplex, where Pristina’s heartbeat quickens with the pulse of nightlife.

For those seeking a more secluded escape, Soma Slow Food and Hamar beckon with promises of culinary bliss.

Served breakfast table in Soma Slow Food in Pristina

Photo source: Tripadvisor

Nestled just eight kilometres from central Pristina, Hamar invites guests to a hilltop haven in Gërmia Park, offering panoramic vistas from Badovc Lake to the majestic mountains that cradle the country.

Here, traditional Albanian architecture meets delectable cuisine, inviting guests to savour the flavours of Kosovo amidst a setting of timeless beauty.

Panoramic view of Badovc Lake from the Hamari Agroturizëm restaurant

Photo source: Facebook

Alternatively, indulge in Mediterranean delights at Alula House in the Kalabria district of Pristina, or seek out unique souvenirs at Rezniqi 1985 and Dhé, where handmade ceramics and recycled glass treasures await.

Buy an original souvenir from Pristina at the Dhé store

Photo source: Facebook

Every corner in Pristina holds a story, every encounter a revelation, making it a journey not just of exploration, but of discovery and delight.


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What to drink and eat in Kosovo

At the heart of Kosovar culture lies a cherished tradition of hospitality that echoes through the ages from ancient Illyrian times.

This ethos is epitomised by the Albanian saying ‘bread, salt, and heart’, which expresses a deep-seated value placed on welcoming guests.

The front terrace of the restaurant SEN5ES in Pristina

Photo source: Tripadvisor

In Pristina, indulging in a macchiato is a must, whether at Mulliri i Vjetër in Edith Durham Square or in the tranquil courtyard of Lily’s Pejton.

Coffee isn’t just a beverage here; it’s a social ritual, with cafés such as Lavjerr’s serving as hubs for community and connection, welcoming remote workers and coffee enthusiasts alike.

In Kosovo, coffee isn't just a beverage; it's a social ritual

Photo source: Tripadvisor

In addition to coffee, mornings in Kosovo offer the delight of black tea paired with a simite bagel, a cherished Albanian treat.

Indulge in this culinary delight at Trosha (meaning ‘bread crumbs’ in English) on Rexhep Luci Street or at Mama Mantia on Xhorxh Bush Bulevar (George Bush Boulevard), where traditional mantia pies filled with cheese, meat, or spinach await your palate.

Traditional mantia pies filled with cheese and spinach from Mama Mantia in Pristina

Photo source: Instagram

Interestingly, black tea isn’t limited to mornings; it also graces evening gatherings, especially when guests are present, and is often accompanied by snacks such as sunflower seeds.

While exploring, be sure to try Kosovo’s culinary treasures. Traditional main courses include savoury pies filled with meat, cheese, and spinach, as well as peppers stuffed with a flavourful mixture of meat, rice, and vegetables.

Traditional main courses in Kosovo include savoury pies with different fillings

Photo source: Tripadvisor

Tava gore, a lamb-based dish, is another beloved local favourite. For those with a sweet tooth, indulge in baklava (a delectable filo pastry filled with chopped nuts) and sultjash (a creamy rice pudding).


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Events and festivals in Kosovo

You may know of notable Kosovar-Albanian figures, such as singers Dua Lipa and Rita Ora, who have gained global fame.

Lipa organises the Sunny Hill Festival annually in Gërmia Park in Pristina, drawing crowds of over 25,000 people. For its 2024 edition, the festival is moving to the village of Bërnica.

Sunny Hill Festival of 2022 in Pristina, organised by Dua Lipa

Photo source: Sunny Hill Festival

In Prizren, Kosovo’s second-largest city, don’t miss DokuFest, a renowned festival for documentaries and short films held annually in early August.

Experience lively evenings at Bar Aca and explore the Prizren Fortress for music events and unique film screenings.

Stay at Hotel Prizreni or other local accommodations, and don’t forget to shop for authentic filigree items at Filigran Shpk.

Prizren annually in August hold the DokuFest, a renowned festival for documentaries and short films

Photo source: DokuFest on Facebook

Another must-see event is Anibar in Peja, an annual summertime festival that offers an immersive experience for animation enthusiasts.

After festival hours, mingle at Exit Bar or the Jusuf Gërvalla Cinema. Explore Peja’s Old Bazaar and consider staying at Hotel Kulla e Zenel Beut for comfort and delicious food.

In Pristina, don’t miss the ten-day-long Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival in Skanderbeg Square, which draws diverse audiences of all ages. The festival is named after the renowned Kosovar tenor Rame Lahaj.

Ten day long Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival in Skanderbeg Square in Pristina

Photo source: Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival

Also explore cultural institutions such as the National Gallery of Kosovo and enjoy performances by the National Ballet and Theatre of Kosovo.

Experience Kosovo’s alternative music scene at Defy Them in the Bregu i Diellit district.


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Must-visit places in Kosovo

Nestled among Kosovo’s historical treasures, Ulpiana is an archaeological marvel of immense cultural and historical significance.

Located just a short distance from the southern outskirts of Pristina’s urban area, it offers a vivid journey from the modern world into antiquity.

Ulpiana is a cultural heritage monument in Kosovo

Photo source: Visit Kosovo

A discovery there last year garnered widespread attention from the media and archaeologists, further enhancing the site’s allure.

In 2023, an inscription linked to Emperor Justinian’s initiative to build Justiniana Secunda was unearthed in a large church on the site.

Though only partially uncovered for security reasons, this Latin inscription sheds light on the region’s history under Justinian’s rule, demonstrating the significant contribution of the ancestors of today’s Albanians to the rich cultural heritage of southeastern Europe.

Ulpiana Archaeological Park in Kosovo offers visitors a captivating journey into the past

Photo source: Ulpiana Archaeological Park on Facebook

Declared an archaeological park in 2016, Ulpiana spans an area of about three hectares and offers visitors a captivating journey into the past.

Its Roman baths, temple, and basilica, which is fortified with four towers, provide glimpses of ancient life. Covering a total of more than 30 hectares, the park is Kosovo’s only archaeological park.

Ulpiana Archaeological Park covers a total of more than 30 hectares

Photo source: Ulpiana Archaeological Park on Facebook

Another must-visit destination in Kosovo is the Ethnological Museum, also known as Emin Gjiku.

This museum serves as a cornerstone of cultural heritage, meticulously preserving Kosovo’s rich past and urban identity since its opening in 2006. It stands as a poignant reminder of the country’s historical roots and draws visitors from near and far.

Indulge in Kosovo's cultural heritage in the Ethnological Museum

Photo source: Tripadvisor

After exploring the museum’s exhibits, be sure to indulge in a culinary journey at Tiffany, a traditional Albanian restaurant nearby that offers authentic flavours and a warm ambience.

Yet another worthwhile destination in Kosovo is the Bear Sanctuary established by the Four Paws charity. This sanctuary provides a safe haven for 20 brown bears rescued from captivity in Kosovo and Albania.

Visit twenty rescued brown bears in the Bear Sanctuary in Kosovo

Photo source: Tripadvisor

While visiting, consider also exploring Badovc Lake, where you can spend the night at Shpija e Liqenit.


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Hidden gems to visit in Kosovo

Despite its small size, Kosovo boasts a rich array of attractions that appeal to various interests.

The UNESCO-listed monasteries and churches, including Deçan, Pejë, Graçanicë, and Prizren, showcase the region’s historical and cultural significance.

Furthermore, Kosovo is home to numerous mosques, such as the Sinan Pasha Mosque in Prizren, the Çarshi Mosque, and the Jashar Pasha Mosque in Pristina. These sites are not only architectural marvels but also hold great religious and historical importance.

One of Prizren's architectural marvels - Sinan Pasha Mosque

Photo source: Unsplash

Gadime Cave, with its stunning crystallised stalagmites and stalactites, offers visitors a unique underground experience.

Situated in the municipality of Lipjan, visitors to the cave can explore the fascinating world beneath the surface and marvel at nature’s creations.

Marble Cave also called Gadime Cave, offers visitors a unique underground experience

Photo source: Visit Kosovo

Another notable cave, Radavc Cave, presents a geological wonder that dates back millions of years.

Discovered in 1968 and sometimes also referred to as the Sleeping Beauty Cave, it offers insights into Kosovo’s ancient geological history and serves as a testament to the region’s natural beauty.

Radavc Cave presents a geological wonder of Kosovo that dates back millions of years

Photo source: Visit Kosovo

Visitors seeking to explore Radavc Cave will pass by the majestic White Drin Waterfall, adding to the scenic journey.

The White Drin Waterfall is one of Kosovo's most spectacular waterfalls

Photo source: Visit Kosovo

Along the way, they’ll also encounter a cluster of restaurants, with Ujëvara e Drinit standing out for its trout, a renowned local specialty. Here you can indulge in delicious cuisine while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.


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The most scenic part of Kosovo

Mountains are integral to Kosovo’s geography. Located in the heart of the Balkans, Kosovo boasts expansive plains bordered by more than 50 peaks exceeding 2000 metres.

This rugged terrain offers abundant opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, horse riding, and skiing.

Although Kosovo is a landlocked country with no border along the sea, its natural wonders – including the renowned Mirusha Waterfalls and captivating Fierza Reservoir – nevertheless attract swimmers and nature enthusiasts.

Mirusha Canyon and its renowned Mirusha Waterfalls

Photo source: Visit Kosovo

Kosovo has numerous hiking destinations, including Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park, the Sharr Mountains, and the Kopaonik Mountains, with trails such as Peaks of the Balkans, the High Scardus Trail, and Via Dinarica drawing adventurers from around the world.

Kosovo’s highest peak, Gjeravica (2630 metres), majestically overlooks the Bjeshkët e Nemuna range. Hiking clubs such as the Kosovo Hiking Club and the Prishtina Alpine Club facilitate exploration of these picturesque landscapes.

Sharr Mountains lies in the South-East of Kosovo

Photo source: Tripadvisor

Bjeshkët e Nemuna, also known as the Albanian Alps, hold a timeless allure for hikers seeking tranquillity amidst nature’s splendour.

Destinations such as Drelaj Lake, also known as Liqenati, further enhance the region’s charm and add to the appeal of Kosovo’s diverse landscapes and outdoor adventures.

Albanian Alps hold a timeless allure for hikers in Kosovo

Photo source: Unsplash

In addition to conventional accommodations, travellers can experience authentic mountain living by staying at locally owned properties.

Situated in a tranquil setting just a nine-minute walk from the Bogë Ski Centre, Bujtina e Gjyshes (Grandma’s Cottage) provides a rustic retreat equipped with solar panels.

Alternatively, visitors can explore dining options such as Guri i Kuq or indulge in luxury experiences at Hotel Belushi, which offers spa amenities, including saunas and salt rooms.

Hotel Belushi offers spa amenities, including saunas and salt rooms

Photo source: Belushi Grand hotel


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Cover photo source: Unsplash
Text by Alberina Haxhijaj

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