This was my second time in Kosovo, and this time I travelled for work. The good thing about travelling for work is that you see a different side of the places you visit: you learn more from the people who live there and get to understand the culture better.
I was welcomed at the airport by a driver who shared with me a bit of the history of his family and pointed out interesting things on the road. He also bought me a great cappuccino with cream telling me that coffee is a big source of pride in Kosovo.
I stayed a couple of days in Peja, which is a famous gateway to the mountains. The town itself doesn’t have that much to offer (and the rainy weather didn’t help), but there is an old bazaar and plenty of cafes where locals hang out.
We had big dinners where people talked about everything, from preferred local dishes to the lasting effects of the war. Hearing first-hand from people who lost relatives, fled to nearby countries and had to rebuild their lives is a unique experience that changes your perspective of a place.
This was my third time in the Balkans, a region where I’ve learned a lot about history and Europe. Other than Croatia, it’s not a tourist destination for many people, but there is a lot to discover and explore.
We visited Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania over eight days, meaning that we only had one or two days in each place. This was enough to see the highlights, but it also meant lots of travelling around.
It’s tricky to find information about buses online, but TripAdvisor forums had the best information.
Bus tickets can’t be booked in advance online, but we had no problem getting them on the day. Distances are short, but trips often take longer than expected because of the hilly terrain. Drivers can be mavericks – overtaking dangerously on a turn is commonplace.
Taxis are also available and not super expensive, although we didn’t use them.
Everything was significantly cheaper than in the UK – even in popular places you never pay more than 10€ for a meal including drinks.
Kosovo uses the Euro, Macedonia has the Denar and Albania uses the Lek. Lek and Denars can only be exchanged in the country, but we had no issues with that.
We did some research in advance, but it was easy enough to find veggie options and ask for vegan versions by removing some ingredients. Most people speak English enough to understand simple instructions like ‘no cheese’.
Yummy salads are available everywhere, as are pizzas. Portions are always generous. Fruit and veg are usually very fresh and delicious – as is the local wine.
Drinks aren’t always listed on the menu, but most places will serve the usual drinks (including plenty of coffee options).
A few years ago we went to Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Serbia – so it was time to continue our adventure in the Balkans! We started our trip in in Kosovo, visiting Prishtina and Prizren.
Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo, doesn’t have that much to offer, but it’s worth exploring for a day. There are plenty of cool bars and cafes to lounge about with the locals.
Dit’ e Nat’: A relaxed and popular cafe serving veggie food. Hang out with a cold lemonade and a yummy sandwich (sandwiches from 3€).
Baba Ganoush Meze: This cool Middle-Eastern restaurant is hidden away in a little alley, but it’s definitely worth finding. Amazing food and very cheap – dinner for two including drinks and tip for 15€.
Stay: We stayed at Stay OK, which was a bit off the city centre but still walking distance of everything. Big rooms and friendly service.
Go: Wizzair has direct flights from London to Prishtina. The flight takes about 3h.
Prizren is a pretty little town with a nice historical centre. The narrow cobbled street are full of cool cafes and restaurants. On a Sunday the streets are busy with locals meeting for coffee and cooling down with an ice cream.
Prizren Fortress: Overlooking the town centre, Prizren Fortress (free to get in) is a nice place to watch the sunset and get great views over the town. It’s a 20-minute walk up the hill, or take the scenic route through the mountain (takes one hour).
Marashi: A beautiful restaurant overlooking the river, with a large terrasse for a meal al fresco (lunch for two including drinks and tip for 12€).
Ego: A nice restaurant by the main square, serving a good selection of Italian dishes. Dinner for two including drinks and tip for 13.50€.
BarAca: A cool bar with nice decor and fun music (drinks from 3€).
Ambient: A nice restaurant overlooking the river. Dinner for two including drinks and tip for 10€.
How to do it:
Go: We took the bus from Prishtina. The trip takes about two hours and tickets can be bought directly on the bus for 4€.
Stay: We stayed at Edi Imperial, which was very well-located and served a generous breakfast.