Paris, London, Prague, Barcelona – all fine places to visit. But if you’re looking to boast about something different to your friends, try Kosovo, a small, landlocked country located in the Balkans region of Europe.
Give Kosovo a Try!
It was once part of the Ottoman Empire and later a part of Yugoslavia, bringing with it a diverse mix of influences in its architecture, cuisine, and customs. Visitors can explore several UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Decani Monastery, medieval castles, and Ottoman-era mosques. The country also has a vibrant folk culture, with traditional music and dances still being practiced today.
Despite its relatively unknown status, Kosovo has much to offer tourists looking for a off-the-beaten-path destination.
One of the main tourist spots is the capital city, Pristina. Lively and vibrant, she swirls with a mix of modern and traditional architecture. Visitors can explore the Old Town, which is home to the city’s oldest mosque, and a number of traditional shops and restaurants. The city also has an array of museums and art galleries, including the National Museum of Kosovo and the Ethnographic Museum.
While there, enjoy the fine-dining of Libernia restaurant, serving up various fish and meat dishes, as well as fresh salads. (It has some prestige, too, as the president of the country has been known to host dignitaries here on occasion). The restaurant’s guest book is jam-filled with testimonials from all around the world, in many different languages.
Also in Pristina, try drinks and comfort foods at Soma Book Station – the combination of pub and library!
As with most of Kosovo, restaurant prices are considerably lower than major American or European cities, thereby making fancy outings affordable for the budget-conscious traveller.
Stroll through Mother Theresa Square, a pedestrian area, where you can find it lined with boutique shops, cafes and restaurants serving up local fare. Many have been left breathless at the top of Mother Theresa Cathedral, a stunning 360 degree view of the old and new city, and beautiful skyline.
Another major draw of Kosovo is its natural beauty.
The country is home to a diverse range of landscapes: from the rugged peaks of the Prokletije Mountains, to Merusha Falls, to the lush valleys of the Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park, to the rolling hills of the Metohija region. Kosovo is also home to the gorgeous “Badovac” lake and spa, where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenery.
The country also boasts several thermal baths, lakes, and rivers which are perfect for swimming, hiking, and fishing. The Ujman lake is an excellent example of this.
Kosovo is also a superb destination for those interested in adventure tourism.
Go paragliding over the stunning Sharri Mountains, take a 4×4 tour through the Rugova Canyon, or go canyoning in the Lumbardh Gorge.
Let’s not leave out the culinary treats. The country’s cuisine is a beautiful blend of Mediterranean and Balkan influences, and visitors can delight in traditional dishes such as cevapi (grilled minced meat sausages), burek (phyllo pastry filled with meat or cheese), and fli (a type of stuffed pastry).
Another must-see destination is Prizren, a picturesque, medieval city located in the southwest of the country. It is home to a number of Ottoman-era buildings, including the Sinan Pasha Mosque and the Prizren Fortress. Visitors can also explore the old bazaar to enjoy local fresh-made fare.
Kosovo’s wine and beer industries have been growing in recent years, and visitors can find a number of top notch wineries and breweries dotting the country.
Though it has thousands of years of history, it’s not merely about its past. Many are taking note of its promising future. In 2022, Forbes named Kosovo’s tech industry an impressive success story, and a gem of the region’s rapid development.
It’s surely going to be a special year for Kosovo, as February 17, 2023 will mark its fifteenth year as an independent nation. It is a tourist destination that ought to be on everyone’s radar – one that offers blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and ethnic tastes.
Kosovo checks all the boxes. With its diverse range of attractions, this small country will leave a big impression.