When you think about the Balkan Peninsula, you may think about places like Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania. This region of Eastern Europe is home to many lesser-known places that every traveler should visit. One of them is Kosovo, the youngest European country, rarely visited by outsiders. This small Balkan country is home to beautiful places that are worth visiting. Read on to learn about the most beautiful towns in Kosovo.
Pristina is the capital city of Kosovo and its political and economic centre. It may not be as fascinating as other Eastern European capital cities, but Pristina is charming in many ways. I has great café culture, quirky architecture and the people are wonderful. Two not-to-miss places in Pristina are the Newborn Monument, which is a symbol of the county’s independence (Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008), and the inescapably ugly National Library of Kosovo that was built in 1982 by the Croatian architect Andrija Mutnjaković. It is known for its 99 domes and a giant metal fishing net that covers the whole structure. Don’t forget to enjoy a coffee at one of the two coolest bars in town, Soma Book Station or Dit’n’Nat, both are pleasant spots frequented by students, as well as by the international community living in town.
Prizren is considered to be the cultural capital of Kosovo. While Pristina is more international and has a vibrant nightlife, Prizren is famous for its old architecture, religious buildings and history. It is located just one hour by bus from the capital city, so you can think of it as a day trip destination. The best thing to do in Prizren is climb to the top of the old fortress, Kalaja, and admire heartbreaking views of old town. Bring your camera with you because the panorama includes several mosques, churches, bridges and red rooftops. Then come back into town and visit the Shadervan area, which is the prettiest district of Prizren, with ancient mosques, crowded cafés and an eye-catching old stone bridge.
Peja is a town located in the western region of Kosovo, not far from the Montenegrin border. The reason why everyone should visit it, apart from its beautiful kulla (typical architecture of northern Albania and Kosovo), is because Peja is the gateway to Rugova Canyon and Patriarchate of Peć. If you are into outdoor activities and love mountains, this is the right place for you: you can hike, trek or just enjoy the open air in this beautiful region of the Balkans. If you want to admire great sights too, don’t miss the old Patriarchate, a medieval Serbian orthodox monastery.
Another great day trip from Pristina, and a lovely town to include on the Balkan trail, is Gjakova, a small city located near Prizren. The most beautiful part of this enchanting town is its old bazaar, the oldest and largest market of Kosovo. It’s a unique place that is perfect for buying original souvenirs made by local craftsmen, and sipping excellent Turkish coffee. Gjakova was seriously damaged during the Kosovo war, but after a big push to restore the city with the help of local artists, the town is now one of the prettiest urban areas in the Balkan Peninsula. Don’t forget to take a walk above the city at dusk to admire Gjakova’s ancient mosques, Orthodox churches and Catholic churches. It will take your breath away.
Rugova is a haven for snow and mountain lovers. This breathtaking valley is filled with mountain villages, peaks, and canyons.
On regular seasons, some of the best activities you can do are hiking and mountain climbing. During the snowy season, Rugova is a great place to go snowboarding and skiing.
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.
If one symbol can synthesize what Kosovo went through, then the Newborn Monument is the perfect representation. Unveiled in 2008, this monument is a reminder of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.
This 10-foot tall, 79-foot long monument is spelled out as “NEWBORN” to signify the country’s rebirth. In fact, the monument is repainted annually to celebrate years o
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.
Another vital part of Peja is the Ethnological Museum. This museum features artifacts from Kosovo’s historical events, such as the Kosovo War, Serbian Civilization, and the Ottoman Empire.
Some of the relics you can find are weapons, royal dresses, utensils, and folk musical instruments.
Sinan Pasha Mosque
Constructed with chiseled stones, the Sinan Pasha Mosque was built by the Ottoman Empire to spread Islam. This structure has a rectangular design layout with a stone-carved staircase.
Meanwhile, the mosque contains paintings of Arabic verses from the Al-Quran, the holy book of Islam.
Bjeshket E Nemuna National Park
If you’re looking for a natural and refreshing atmosphere, this park definitely hits the mark. The location’s geological structure, geographical location, and hydrological components create a natural experience, unlike any other.
Some of the things you can admire here are the flora, fauna, mountains, streams, and a river. Given that the park has a lot to offer, you can go climbing, hiking, and even fish catching.
Gazivoda Lake is a unique body of water that is shared by Kosovo and Serbia. It was actually formed by the dams of the Ibar river.
This lake is filled with plenty of fishes and faunas. The scenery is complemented by hills near the lake.
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 is accessible in bazaars.
Like other Balkan countries they eat a lot of meat, so you’ll find all the Balkan classics. But if there is one Kosovar dish you should try then it would have to be Flija.