Travel to Kosovo

The National University Library of Kosovo "Pjetër Bogdani"

While I was staying in Skopje, North Macedonia for a few days, I decided to travel to Kosovo for a day. I know a few people who come from Kosovo, but not anyone who has visited as a tourist. Also, Kosovo was the final country of Europe that I had never visited! It takes about 1.5 hours from Skopje to Pristina by car, and I hired a driver for the journey. The bus takes longer, about 2 to 2.5 hours and it’s not very easy to find up to date information online. However, it is a lot cheaper for those on a tight budget.

Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, appears as a newer city, though there is a lot of history buried below and nearby. For example, the Museum of Kosovo has some ancient artefacts from the surrounding area including Ulpiana. The architecture is a mix of modern and classic buildings including churches and mosques. For me, the most unique building is the National library, which has described as brutalist with influences from the past. It also has many domes which allow light inside, and it was easy to go inside to look around. In general, there was a lot to see while walking through the city and I enjoyed exploring. The car was useful to see some sights outside of the city, Monastery Gračanica and Gazimestan monument.

One day seemed to be enough time to explore Pristina. However, if I can go back then I would visit some of the archaeological sites around the country.

Christ the Saviour Orthodox Cathedral
Christ the Saviour Orthodox Cathedral
Statue of Ibrahim Rugova and Mother Teresa Cathedral
Statue of Ibrahim Rugova and Mother Teresa Cathedral
Skanderbeg Square, Pristina
Skanderbeg Square, Pristina

Highlights

  • Ethnographic Museum “Emin Gjiku”
  • Kosovo Museum- interesting artefacts and some military history
  • The National University Library of Kosovo “Pjetër Bogdani” – very unique architecture and you can go inside
  • Mother Teresa Cathedral
  • Statue of Ibrahim Rugova
  • NEWBORN monument sign
  • The National Gallery of Kosovo– free and with unique temporary exhibitions
  • Stacion art gallery
  • Clock-tower – it was unfortunately under renovation during my visit
  • Christ the Saviour Orthodox Cathedral- beautiful but never completed
  • Statue of Bill Clinton and building mural
  • Brotherhood and Unity monument
  • Skënderbeu square
  • Mother Teresa Square and statue
  • See some of the beautiful mosques including Xhamia e Madhe, Jashar Pasha and Xhamia e Çarshisë
  • To the south, visit the Monastery Gračanica and monument to Spomenik Miloša Obilića
  • To the north, visit the Gazimestan Monument- you will need your passport. Sometimes it is open to climb to the top

Before you go

  • You don’t need a visa to enter with a UK or USA passport for up to 90 days. The land border check was quite quick in both directions. However, I only received one stamp entering Kosovo, and no stamp leaving
  • At some restaurants and bakeries, you can pay with credit card. However, it is not possible to leave a tip with the credit card, so it is best to have some cash available
  • The official currency in Kosovo is the Euro. Pay attention at the cash machines, as some allow you to withdraw in either Euro or Serbian dinar
  • Many people speak English. If you need to use a translator, then it is useful to have Albanian and Serbian available
  • On GoogleMaps, a few places were not exactly where they were on the map. So if you don’t find what you are looking for, then look around the general area.
  • Enjoy the contrast of modern and old architecture while walking around the city
  • Pristina is pronounced like Prish-tee-nah
Newborn Monument, symbolising Kosovo becoming an independent country
Newborn Monument, symbolising Kosovo becoming an independent country
Hashim Thaçi, 4th President of Kosovo
Hashim Thaçi, 4th President of Kosovo
Kosovo Museum
Kosovo Museum

Transport

  • To get to Kosovo from Skopje, there is a public bus that runs about twice a day. The website does not seem to work anymore, so best to ask your hotel or the bus station for info. However, due to time and also wanting to see a few places outside of Pristina, I hired a private driver. This cost 150 euros for the whole day from a contact named Dime at Global Transport Services (+389 708 627 07)
  • It is easy to walk around by foot in Pristina

Accommodation

  • Unfortunately, I was only here for one day so cannot recommend any specific accommodation
  • As usual I would recommend Booking.com to read reviews and choose a hotel
Bill Clinton monument in Kosovo
Bill Clinton monument in Kosovo
Xhamia e Madhe Mosque
Xhamia e Madhe Mosque
Gazimestan Monument- memorial for battle of 1389
Gazimestan Monument- memorial for battle of 1389

Currency

The Euro is the official currency in Kosovo, although the Serbian Dinar is sometimes accepted in Serb-majority areas. As of June 2022, one British pound is equal to 1.17 euros

I recommend to check the currency conversion just before you leave as this fluctuates

10 euro note
10 euro note
Stacion American Art Exhibition
Stacion American Art Exhibition
Ethnographic Museum "Emin Gjiku"
Ethnographic Museum “Emin Gjiku”
Monastery Gračanica
Monastery Gračanica
Lunch at Liburnia, Peppers in cream sauce
Lunch at Liburnia, Peppers in cream sauce
Lunch at Liburnia, Kosovo meatballs in cheese sauce
Lunch at Liburnia, Kosovo meatballs in cheese sauce
Chocolate chip cookie from Furra "Lumi"
Chocolate chip cookie from Furra “Lumi”
Cheese pastry from Mama Mantia
Cheese pastry from Mama Mantia

Food

I was in Kosovo just for a day trip, and I enjoyed lunch at Liburnia, a quaint traditional restaurant. It is located on a quiet street and the entrance is through a flower-covered arch. The setting is lovely, with flowers, a terrace, and a wood-burning stove. Most of the foods are cooked in the big stove, and there were two men taking turns with the cooking. It must have been very hot since it was already a hot day!

I enjoyed the cherry juice, peppers cooked in cream sauce, and Kosovo meatballs with mushrooms in cheese sauce. As you can see from the photos, the portions were very generous. The service was friendly and efficient, and everyone spoke English.

Also, I had a few tasty snacks including a chocolate chip cookie from Furra “Lumi” and baklava and a cheese bread from Mama Mantia. Both places were very busy with locals. Furra means bakery in Albanian. At Furra “Lumi”, there were savoury selections and a lot of cakes and desserts that looked amazing. I chose the cookie because it was easy to take away, but the cream cakes were very tempting.

At Mama Mantia, most people were getting their lunch, 10 or more pieces of the mantia. These were small pastry filled with spinach, cheese, chili and/or herbs. They had a few desserts such as baklava, but seemed to specialise in the savoury foods.

Postcards by @il_ilirelepaja
Postcards by @il_ilirelepaja
Street art in Pristina, Kosovo
Street art in Pristina, Kosovo
The National University Library of Kosovo "Pjetër Bogdani"
The National University Library of Kosovo “Pjetër Bogdani”

FAQs

Q: Do I need a tour guide?

A: No, not to see Pristina City. However, to get to some of the surrounding places, it would be useful to have a driver or guide.

Q: Do people speak English?

A: Yes, most people spoke English including at museums, restaurants and the post office.

Q: Can I travel solo?

A: Yes, it felt safe to travel solo

Q: How easy is it to send postcards?

A: It was not easy to find postcards, as there were not really any tourist shops in Pristina. Luckily, a man at the National Gallery of Kosovo told me about a little shop with nice postcards. I found it and met the artist there. See instagram @il_ilirelepaja and for the actual location, search for Rruga Andrea Gropa. Stamps were easy to get from the post office and there are many in the centre. See Sending Postcards from Abroad for details on cost and the time it took to reach the USA.

Go to Country Map

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.