Places in Kosovo

Top events in Kosovo

May
01

International festival of contemporary productions of classical music. Features some of Kosovo's best composers and musicians.

November
01

A host of international musicians perform at this toe-tapping celebration of jazz.

December
03

International student film and theatre festival with a plethora of workshops and lectures that started back in 2003 and grows every year.

Monastery in Pec, Kosovo
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Monastery in Pec, Kosovo

© iStockphoto / Thinkstock

Kosovo Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

10,887 sq km (4,203 sq miles).

Population

1,883,018 (CIA estimate 2016).

Population density

171.9 per sq km.

Capital

Pristina.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Hashim Thaçi since 2016.

Head of government

Prime Minister Isa Mustafa since 2014.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. European plugs with two round pins are used.

Depending on your global perspective, Kosovo is either Europe’s youngest nation or not a nation at all. Since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008 it has received only partial recognition as a sovereign state by members of the United Nations. Its fragile footing and wretched modern history might make Kosovo an unlikely travel destination, but the country can be extremely rewarding for those keen to find out what lies beyond the headlines.

Cultures and religions have been clashing in modern day Kosovo for centuries, but between the periods of unrest, this small, landlocked country has pioneered peaceful coexistence and mutual enrichment of cultures. While Muslim Albanians dominate the population today, followed by Orthodox Christian Serbs, there are many other groups with their own unique cultures and ways of life.

Granted, roadside memorials and the occasional khaki-clad NATO soldier can make its cruel past somewhat hard to forget, but historic spots such as Janjevo and the UNESCO-listed Dečani Monastery showcase a distinguished Kosovan history that has been overshadowed by the recent catalogue of horrors.

Europe’s youngest capital, Pristina, is an increasingly eclectic city with a vibrant café culture, but pretty Prizren is the city that has most visitors smitten. Cobbled streets, ancient walls, Ottoman mosques and Orthodox churches lend a romantic air to this riverside town, while the popular Dokufest Film Festival and Hasi Jehon folklore festival give credence to its status as a cultural capital.

Much of the Kosovan countryside is uncharted territory for tourists, but dramatic mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls and limpid lakes are tailor made for adventure travellers. Combine all this with decidedly un-European prices and it’s not hard to see why visitor numbers are rising.

Whether you’re sipping coffee in cosmopolitan cafés, hiking through the hinterland or visiting crumbling historic sites, in Kosovo, when you look beyond yesterday’s headlines, you’ll find an affable land of surprising beauty.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 13 March 2017

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime

Take sensible precautions to protect yourself from street crime. Watch out for pick-pockets particularly in airports and on public transport. As a foreigner, you may be a target for criminals who may assume you are carrying large amounts of cash. Four wheel drive and luxury vehicles are also popular targets. Report all incidents of crime to the local police and get a report.  

Isolated incidents of armed violence and vehicle explosions in major cities are usually linked to organised crime and not directed against foreigners.

Check local developments before and during your journey. In the event of civil disorder, stay at home and restrict your movements as much as possible, especially after dark. Avoid public gatherings, political rallies and protests

Local travel

There is still some danger from residual mines and other unexploded ordnance left over from the 1999 conflict. The main areas of risk are on the border with Albania, in the Dulje Pass area (in central Kosovo), in the west and south of the country and in the mountainous region between South Serbia’s Presevo Valley and Kosovo.

Take care when travelling in all these areas, and keep to the main roads. Most of the remaining dangerous areas are in high mountainous regions covered with dense vegetation. If you see anything suspicious, don’t touch it, but report it immediately to the police or the nearest KFOR patrol.

Northern Kosovo

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the municipalities of Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic, and to the northern part of the city of Mitrovica due to occasional violence and security incidents there. Avoid travelling between Kosovo and Serbia via Gate 1 (Leposavic) or Gate 31 (Zubin Potok). You should find alternative routes for travel between Kosovo and Serbia where possible.

Road travel

The standard of roads varies from fair to poor. Roads are particularly bad in rural areas and after bad weather. There is a risk of landslides and flooding. You should avoid travelling at night if possible.

You can drive using a UK driving licence. You must have vehicle registration and ownership documents and a locally valid insurance policy. European Green Card vehicle insurance isn’t valid. You should buy local third party insurance at the border or from the nearest town at the earliest opportunity. Make sure you have enough cash in Euros to pay for insurance and fuel. The quality of fuel varies. There are sometimes delays at the border crossings between Kosovo and Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania, and Kosovo and Serbia. These are common around festive periods and during the summer months.

Many Serbian car hire firms will not allow their vehicles to be driven in Kosovo, and vice-versa, due to concerns about the security situation. There have been some incidents where Serbian registered cars have been targeted in more isolated areas of Kosovo.

Taxis are readily available in Pristina, but the condition of the vehicle and standard of driving vary. You should use authorised taxi firms where possible.

Buses connecting Pristina with other major cities are frequent, standards may vary, but reputable companies can be found.

Rail travel

Trainkos operate regular services from Skopje to Pristina (via Hani i Elezit) and also from Pristina to Peja/Pec. Trains are slow, but generally reliable.

Political situation

The political situation is generally calm, but in recent months there have been anti-government protests mainly in Pristina and other towns like Gjakova. Protests in Pristina can turn violent.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.