Kosovo, Europe's youngest nation, is a budding travel destination for tourists exploring the Balkan Peninsula. It has a multitude of cultural, historical, and natural sights that continuously attract travellers to its borders. A landlocked country with Serbia to the north and east, Kosovo had struggled over its independence from its bigger neighbour. The majority of the people living here are Kosovar Albanians, with only a small percentage of ethnic Serbs. This has caused friction for decades until Kosovo declared itself independent in 2008, which was recognised by the United Nations and more than 100 countries.
As one of the lesser-known countries, going on a trip to Kosovo can be an exciting adventure. Its long and dramatic history is only one of its attractions. Rugged mountains and pine forests also make up its landscape, which presents hiking opportunities. Most of all, half the current population of Kosovo is below 25, making Prishtina and other cities have a youthful, energetic vibe that can be fun to experience while out in the urban nightlife scene.
What to see & do
When in Kosovo, one must stay for some time in its capital. Prishtina features a number of buildings to see, such as the Ethnographic Museum, a beautiful house set in a walled complex in the old bazaar area. It features exhibits on clothes and handicrafts, as well as rituals on birth and burial. Tourists may also be delighted to find traditional gifts such as white eggshell Plis hats and other finely crafted products. After a tour, one can follow up with a visit to the Independence Museum. There are various objects that hold various objects significant in the fight for freedom such as the glasses, typewriter, and the desk of Ibrahim Rugova, the first president of Kosovo, who promoted a non-violent path to independence.
Prizren, a charming Balkan city, preludes an introduction to the countryside of Kosovo. Festivals make the city more vibrant by summer, but the city needs no adornments to attract visitors. Its churches, mosques, and tekkes hark back to the time when Prizren is one of the most significant cities in the area. The Albanian League attests to this, as it is an important site to ethnic Albanians, Bosniaks, and Turks across the region. Sinan Pasha Mosque is also one of the prominent buildings here due to its Ottoman architecture and Islamic influence. A UNESCO World Heritage site can also be found here. The Church of Our Lady of Ljeviš serves as a monument of cultural importance, as it was 14th Serbian Orthodox Church turned into a mosque in the time of the Ottoman and then back to a church in the early 20th century.
Peja should also be part of the list of travellers bent on exploring major parts of the country. The city features beautiful natural sights such as Gjeravica Peak, the highest peak in the country. A backdrop of mountains and the fertile plain of Dukagjini can also be found here, where tourists can view a Turkish bath, the Bajrakli Mosque, Haxhi Zekas Mill, and other landmarks. Tourists can also venture to Decan, a town in western Kosovo, which is famous for its historical roads, as well as forests, rich fauna, and fresh mountain air. The most well-known site here, however, is the Decan Monastery, which is designed in Romanesque and early Gothic techniques.
How to get around
Travellers can go around on the buses that connect all the main towns and villages of Kosovo. Buses also transport passengers between Prishtina, Prizren, and Peja operate regularly. One can also board the train going to Phristina, Peja, Fushe Kosove, Gracanica, Han I Elezit, and Mitrovica. Although not as reliable as the buses, tourists will find scenic views of the countryside on the route to and from Skopje. This makes it necessary for travellers to consider renting a car for better convenience, especially when venturing to the countryside. Those staying in the cities, however, can take the taxis as an alternative.
How to get there
Those interested to see the sights of Kosovo can schedule connecting flights to Prishtina International Airport. Airlines serving here include: Adria Airways, Air Bucharest, Air Mediterranee, Austrian Airlines, BelairAir Berlin, Croatia Airlines, Denim Air, Etihad Regional, easyJet Switzerland, Edelweiss Air, Freebird Airlines, Germania, Germanwings, Helvetic Airways, Jetairfly, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Pegasus Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, and Turkish Airlines.