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Kosovo is not a major tourist destination in Europe, and many people don’t know much about it, except for the conflicts that arose in the 90s. However, Kosovo is a beautiful hidden gem in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula and a safe country for solo travellers. Check out this handy guide to visiting Kosovo as a solo traveller.
If you think that Pristina, the capital city of Kosovo, has nothing to offer visitors, you should seriously think about making a trip out here: this town is one of the coolest, liveliest and most vibrant capital cities of the Balkans. Be sure to spend at least one weekend here to enjoy the coffee culture, museums, art galleries and general vibe.
Kosovo only gained its independence in 2008, and it is the youngest country in Europe. To honor this important moment, the country built the Newborn monument that changes its look every year on the anniversary of the country’s independence. Once in town, don’t forget to visit the National Library of Kosovo: it is considered to be one of the ugliest buildings in the world, but it has its charm.
Pristina offers a lot of fun things to do after the sun goes down. From ballet performances at the National Theatre of Kosovo, to live jazz music at the elegant Soma bar, to great cocktails at Dit’n’Nat, to taking a xhiro (a walk through the city center), Pristina has plenty of things to do. Whatever your choice, you can be sure that you will never be bored in the capital city of Kosovo.
Prizren is the most picturesque place to visit in Kosovo, and it is definitely one of the best tourist attractions in the country, so be sure to include it in your travel itinerary. This lovely town, near the Albanian border, has plenty of gorgeous Ottoman-era houses and mosques. To admire the best view in town, climb up to the top of the fortress, which is free to enter. From there you will enjoy breathtaking views of red-tiled roofs, churches, mosques and the Bistrica River.
One of the things that travellers appreciate about Kosovo is how friendly and helpful the locals are. Kosovars are thrilled to meet new people and love to talk with outsiders. Considering that tourism in Kosovo is not a big thing yet, people love to ask visitors why they decided to visit the country, what they think about Kosovo and where they are from. If you have a question about the area or need to get directions, don’t hesitate to ask a local, they will be happy to help.
The best place for adventures in Kosovo is the region near the Montenegrin border. Peja, the gate to the Rugova Canyon, one of the wildest areas in the Balkan Peninsula, is a gorgeous place for outdoor activities. You can hike and backpack through the forests at your leisure, but if you are looking for a true adventure, join a tour at Great Canyon Cave. Here you’ll find fabulous stalactites, stalagmites, crystals and more.
If you have already travelled to the Balkans, you know what we’re talking about: rakia is an aromatic liquor similar to grappa, but much stronger. It is very popular in this European region. Like it or not, when you travel to Kosovo, you’ll have to try it. Some old Kosovars drink it in the morning with their coffee, but not everyone has such a strong stomach, so keep it in mind and try it in the evening. Dit’n’Nat in Pristina offers delicious homemade rakia.
Until a few years ago, people in Kosovo used to keep bears in cages in restaurants as entertainment. Luckily, this ugly practice is now illegal and most of the rescued bears live in this sanctuary, which is a beautiful natural environment where the bears can enjoy the forests and lakes, and relax after years of mistreatment.