Travel

Kosovo: Europe’s Hidden Gem

Have you ever thought of visiting Kosovo? We love it when our writers introduce us to different countries around the world! Explore this European gem with Lavdi from Kosovo Girl Travels…

Travelers are continuously seeking hidden gems in Western Europe while a complete hidden gem, namely my little country – Kosovo, is here waiting in the Balkans impatiently for them to discover it. The not so many visitors who come visit go mainly to the already touristic cities such as Prizren and Peja, thus completely neglecting the other beautiful areas, the hidden gems within the hidden gem, Kosovo has to offer.

There is a UNESCO site just in the outskirts of the capital city of Kosovo, Pristina, which is rarely visited by both locals and foreigners. There is this Catholic church in Letnica, Municipality of Vitia where Saint Mother Teresa felt the call to service and also spent some time serving its people which not only tourists haven’t heard of but also many locals know nothing of its existence (I also only visited it this year although I’d heard of it some years ago). There are many other magical mountains that provide fairytale views, mosques and monasteries centuries old, lakes at the top of hills and castles that have resisted destruction all these years.

However, what most of the tourists experience while visiting Kosovo is that people are so hospitable like nowhere else and the coffee culture is great. No surprise there was this article about the best macchiato in the world referring to the ones made in Pristina – and let me tell you there are even better macchiatos in other cities. Additionally, Kosovo has started promoting itself as the land of hospitality since this is the main feature tourists come to experience while visiting the country.

Few tips for first comers to this hidden gem in Europe called Kosovo:

  • Kosovo is very safe. It is true we had a war, but that happened 19 years ago and things have changed since then – a lot.
  • The majority of the population of Kosovo is Albanian; therefore, if you can learn and say some basic words in Albanian
  • it will be a great pleasure to your hosts or other people you meet anywhere you go. These are words like Faleminderit (Thank you), Mirëmëngjesi (Good morning), Tung (Goodbye), Si je (How are you), Mire (Fine).
  • Kosovo uses Euro as its official currency which makes it pretty easy for travelers from Eurozone as there is no need
  • to exchange money; however, there are banks and exchange offices so if you’re traveling from elsewhere you can exchange your money there or pay by card (although not very popular yet).
  • If you are planning to visit Serbia right after Kosovo you can do that only on biometric EU identity card (if you possess One). However, to be on the safe side and not to depend on the Serbian border control officers, I’d recommend you go through Macedonia or Montenegro or just separate these two visits.

Depending on the time of the year you can go hiking, skiing, swimming, or attend various festivals and other big events that take place in Kosovo. My recommendations for each of these activities are as follows:

• Hiking – you can go hike pretty much anywhere in Kosovo as there are mountains all over. The most famous sites to hike though are in Peja region (the Accursed Mountains) and Prizren region (Sharr Mountains). There are plenty of organized hiking expeditions but you can also go on your own in most of the trails

• Skiing – if you’re a winter lover and want to ski in a lovely place which is also cheaper than most of those Western

• European Ski Resorts, then head to Boge (Peja), Brod (Dragash), Brezovica (Shterpce), or Prevalle (Prizren)

• Swimming – there are lovely lakes (Kosovo, unfortunately, doesn’t have a sea) both natural and artificial where you can spend your time. Lakes like Liqenati (the two lakes in Rugova Mountains), Batllava in Podujeva, Lake of Perlepnica (Municipality of Gjilan), etc. are only some of the places where one can enjoy a swimming day (and even camp there in the wild).

• Festivals – there are so many festivals and other events in Kosovo. Next week is the Sunny Hill Festival and also the

• DokuFest which is organized every year in the beautiful city of Prizren. Additionally, on September 7-9 this year, Rahovec hosts its Hardh Fest (wine festival).

There is so much more to write about Kosovo, this hidden gem in Europe which often gets skipped by tourists unaware of what they’re missing.

Explore this stunning country with Lavdi over on her blog and Instagram!

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