The best way to start the weekend in Pristina is with a Turkish coffee. Ottomans dominated Kosovo for many centuries, so it is easy to understand why there is a long tradition of Turkish coffee. The capital has many cafés where you can have breakfast, so just pick your favorite and grab your meal. Then, it’s time to start to explore the town. The first place to see is the National Library of Kosovo, a huge and quirky Brutalist building situated on the university campus, near the Mother Teresa Cathedral. The library is composed of iron and glass and has 99 domes of different sizes. Sometimes, it hosts temporary exhibitions on the second floor.
The best place to go for a quick and cheap lunch in town is Babaghanoush. This Lebanese-style restaurant is also the main vegetarian spot in Pristina. Order one of their tasty bowls, like the Buddha bowl with rice balls, or falafel bowl, with falafel and hummus. After lunch, head into the Old Town of Pristina, the most interesting area of the capital, filled with decorated mosques, the clock tower, Ottoman-era houses and the main museum of the city, the Ethnographic Museum Emin Gjiku, the perfect place to learn more about the local culture.
As dinnertime rolls around, Liburnia is the perfect place to taste traditional Kosovar-Albanian food: Kosovo is a country where many ethnic groups live together, with Albanians representing the majority of its inhabitants. Liburnia serves local dishes, such as tavë kosi, a casserole made with lamb, yogurt sauce and rice, fried kaçkavall cheese, and byrek, a pie made with filo dough typical of the Balkans.
Pristina is a lively town with several clubs and bars where you can drink great cocktails. Try Hamam Jazz Bar, a beautiful spot where local bands play during the week. One of the best and most affordable places to spend the night is the White Tree Hostel, a cozy and well-furnished hostel situated near Mother Teresa Cathedral. The owners of the hostel organize many tours for their guests in Pristina and the surrounding area, and around Albania, too.
Start your second day in Pristina with a huge breakfast and an espresso at Dit’e’Nat, one of the coolest cafés in all of Kosovo. Dit’e’Nat is a cozy spot mostly frequented by students, journalists, and expats who study and work in the capital. Near the café you will find the symbol of Pristina, the Newborn Monument, erected in 2008 after the declaration of independence from Serbia. Then, stroll along the pedestrian Boulevard Mother Teresa, the heart of Pristina, lined with bars and cafés.
On the outskirts of Pristina, there is a natural area where you can visit bears that once were kept in cages at restaurants to attract clients. The name of this protected area is Bear Sanctuary, and it can be easily visited in a few hours. For those who prefer to visit a historical sight, the Gracanica monastery is located near Pristina, and it is one of the oldest and most beautiful monasteries in the country.
Once back in town, the best option for a great traditional dinner is Pishat, another typical restaurant in Pristina that serves excellent Kosovar-Albanian dishes. The restaurant is located behind Boulevard Mother Teresa and has a large menu with tasty dishes that cost only a few euros. End the dinner with a glass of raki, the typical grappa liquor of the Balkans.
The best place to spend the last night in Pristina is Soma Book Station. This cozy and cool café, located near the Newborn Monument and not far from Boulevard Mother Teresa, prepares some of the best cocktails and drinks in town and occasionally hosts exhibitions, lectures and live concerts.