Kosovo has become popular with foreign tourists and for good reason – its pristine natural gems and friendly people create the perfect conditions for an unforgettable trip on the Balkan Peninsula. Here is Culture Trip’s selection of the best things to Do in Kosovo, Europe’s Newest Country.
As you roam around Pristina, the Gracanica Monastery is a UNESCO heritage site that you cannot miss. Externally, this site, inspired by Serbian architecture as such, is complemented by tomb-shaped structures.
Internally, there is a usage of original paintings, treasures, and Byzantine decorations. Tragically, the original paintings and treasures were destroyed by a fire but were soon compensated with similar versions.
The Kosovo Museum is inspired by Austro-Hungarian architecture, which focuses on archaeology, ethnography, and natural science.
The gallery features paintings and relics from the Dardanian, Romanian, and Illyrian eras. Later on, the museum displayed artifacts from the Kosovan liberation war. The most important museum of Kosovo and was created in 1949. It focuses on three particular subjects of ethnography, archaeology, and natural science, and they also started collecting paintings and relics for its exhibit. Artifacts that represent the struggles of the people of Kosovo in the liberation war were also gathered. Monuments and artifacts express mostly ancient archaeology and some are examples of ethnography. It also has a refined structure of the building.
In the Bear Sanctuary, you finally have a chance to witness these creatures other than seeing them on TV. This 16-hectare area serves as a lifetime habitat for bears previously kept as pets and restaurant bears.
In fact, Kosovo banned the private ownership of bears since they were trapped in poor traps and used as restaurant attractions. As of now, there are 20 bears and counting in this sanctuary.
The picturesque town of Prizren
The best things to Do in Kosovo: With its fortress perched on a hill over the town, beautiful mosques and churches, and the lazy Prizren Bistrica River curving between the red-roofed houses, Prizren is a photogenic old-time town. A 30-minute walk will take you on top of the fortress from where you can admire the best panorama of Prizren and its surroundings. Prizren is famous for its jewelry and bridal fashion boutiques, so don’t miss taking a look at the local artists’ creations. When you are tired of walking, have a seat at one of the riverside benches and enjoy the view or head to one of the restaurants to taste the local cuisine.
While Pristina is the largest city in Kosovo, many people consider Prizren to be its capital of culture. Situated in the Sharr Mountains’ foothills and near the border of both Albania and Macedonia, Prizren is an ancient town chock-full with historical sites.
Its history goes back to early Roman times, and there are numerous influences from the Middle Ages and the Ottoman Period as well. Prizren is an “undiscovered tourist treasure” unlike many others in the Balkans. Its Old Town is dotted with Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, has a restored 16th-century Old Stone Bridge, and is home to the UNESCO-listed Our Lady of Ljeviš Church. The 11th-century Prizren Fortress is particularly great for sunrise and sunset watching. With some imagination, you might even call it a miniature version of Mostar, although pretty much unknown.
Add to that easy access to spectacular mountain scenery, and you’ve got one of the best places to visit in Kosovo.
One of the top Kosovo attractions for nature lovers—if not simply the top attraction—is Rugova Canyon. Located near Peć and in the spectacular Prokletije Mountains, it was created by the retreating Peć glacier and water erosion. Now, the Peć Bistrica river flows through the canyon. Its length of 25 kilometers and a maximum depth of 1,000 meters is one of the longest and deepest canyons in Europe.
There’s plenty of outdoor recreation in this area, from hiking to rock climbing and speleology. A major attraction is a so-called “via Ferrata” or “iron trail,” which is the only one in the Balkans. Other highlights include a few waterfalls, the Gryka e Madhe Cave, and the historic Patriarchate of Peć Monastery.
Mirusha Waterfalls is a sight to behold for nature lovers. It is filled with 13 river lakes and 12 waterfalls, surrounded by a 10 km canyon. In fact, the tallest waterfall in this area is 22 meters. You can also see caves and cliffs that complement the background of waterfalls. Bazaars are common in the cities of Kosovo. If you need anything, even if you’re saving money, then the bazaars can cater to your needs.
Unlike in other countries, bazaars offer various products that aren’t limited to only certain items. Affordable products such as food, hairdryers, and even a deck of cards are accessible in bazaars.