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Kosovo travel guide

About Kosovo

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.

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 Vjosa Osmani since 2021.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Albin Kurti since March 2021.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Kosovo on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

Commercial flights to and from Kosovo are limited. Check with your travel company for the latest information.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Kosovo.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should check that the test result can be provided in the correct format and language. The Kosovan Ministry of Health has published a list of private testing facilities on their website (only available in Albanian).

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Kosovo

From 31 May all restrictions on movement around Kosovo to prevent the spread of Coronavirus have been lifted. Public transport is permitted to operate in Kosovo at half capacity. Taxis are allowed to work with up to 3 passengers.

When outside, you are obliged to keep your mouth and nose covered and maintain a distance of 1.5m from other people, unless walking alone or doing physical exercise such as cycling or jogging.

Public spaces and services

From 15 July, gatherings in indoor venues are permitted up to 50% capacity and 70% in outdoor venues, with physical distance of 1.5 meters. Weddings are permitted with maximum 300 guests.

Cafes, bars, and restaurants are open until 0100am. Cultural institutions such as libraries, cinemas, theatres and galleries are open but restricted to operating at half capacity.

Essential food shops and pharmacies are open. Businesses face a number of restrictions and may be operating with reduced opening hours and capacity.

Healthcare in Kosovo

For contact details for English speaking doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Kosovo.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

There is a local Emergency Hotline for people who think they may have coronavirus or are struggling with psychological issues. The number is 038 200 80 800.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Kosovo

As information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more information about the COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organization COVID-19 vaccines page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

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 of the country in the mountainous region between Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro.

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 FCDO 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 North 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.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Kosovo. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners, large public gatherings and cultural events. Terrorists may target religious sites, including churches.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Drug laws are similar to those in the UK. Possession or trafficking of drugs usually attract a lengthy prison sentence.

There are no laws against homosexual activity or same-sex couples in Kosovo. However, Kosovo is a conservative society and homosexual activity is not generally tolerated.

Taking photographs of military/police installations, personnel or vehicles may lead to difficulties with the authorities. 

Carry your passport with you for identification purposes and keep a copy separately in a safe place.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Kosovo

International flights and land border crossings are permitted. A previous ban on flights to/from the UK has been lifted, but you should check with your travel operator.

You should check our advice on the Kosovo/Serbia border below and our advice recommending all but essential travel to northern Kosovo.

There are some restrictions for entry into neighbouring countries. You should check FCDO travel advice for the relevant country before attempting to cross a border.

Testing / screening on arrival

A negative RT-PCR test, that is less than 72 hours old, a serological antibody test less than 30 days old, or evidence of a vaccination is required for all foreign nationals entering Kosovo from countries with a high number of COVID-19 cases, marked as red or orange on the official ECDC map.

Foreign nationals transiting through Kosovo who leave within 3 hours of arrival are exempt, as are foreign nationals passing through Kosovo by organised transport (ie regular bus line), provided they leave within 5 hours.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

There are medical staff at border crossings and the airport and you may be subject to a health check, particularly if you are displaying coronavirus symptoms. You should follow the instructions of the medical staff on the border.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Kosovo. You may be asked to provide documentary evidence giving a reason for your stay. A 90-day entry stamp will be issued which is renewable for longer stays. Since 8 May 2013 citizens of EU member states can enter Kosovo on a photo ID card. A photo ID driving licence does not constitute a valid ID card for cross-border travel and British nationals still need to enter Kosovo with a valid passport. With effect from 1 July, Kosovo introduced a visa regime for the nationalities listed on the Kosovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Registration

If you’re coming to Kosovo for a short stay (90 days or less), and will be staying in a hotel, hostel or other registered landlord, that business will notify the police of your presence on your behalf. If you plan to stay in a private house (for example, with friends or family) then you must notify the nearest police station of where you’re staying. If you plan to stay in Kosovo for longer than 90 days, you will need to register with the Ministry of Internal Affairs for a Residence Permit.

Kosovo/Serbia Border

The authorities in Serbia don’t consider the designated crossing points from Kosovo to be official ‘international’ border crossing points.

Foreign nationals have been denied entry to Serbia if they have Republic of Kosovo stamps in their passports and the Serbian authorities may not allow you to travel into Serbia if you hold these stamps. We are also aware of isolated incidents where Serbian authorities have cancelled Kosovo stamps in passports of foreign nationals.

You cannot travel directly from Kosovo into Serbia if you don’t have a valid entry stamp from either Belgrade airport or one of the Serbia’s border crossings with Montenegro, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria or North Macedonia; you will be refused entry without an existing valid Serbian entry stamp. You should take a route which transits a third country. For more information please visit the website of the Serbian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Passport validity

Your passport must be undamaged and valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required. 

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Kosovo.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Kosovo on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Kosovo.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Healthcare

The health system in Kosovo is poorly funded. Hospitals lack specialist equipment and there is a widespread shortage of medicines and other essentials. Many doctors and nurses lack training in modern techniques and practices. A small payment in cash (currently €4) is required for treatment but you should make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 94 from a landline or 194 from a mobile and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Air quality

High levels of air pollution can occur in Kosovo. You can find further information and advice on air quality on the World Health Organization (WHO) website and check air quality levels on the World Air Quality Index Website.

Other health risks

Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever is endemic in Kosovo. Most cases occur in the region around Malishevë/o (central Kosovo), but during the summer months other rural areas of Kosovo can be affected.

Mosquito-borne diseases are present, including West Nile virus.

During especially hot and dry periods there is a danger of forest fires. Take care when visiting or driving through woodland areas. Make sure cigarettes are properly extinguished, and don’t light barbecues.

Kosovo lies in a seismically active zone, and earth tremors are common. The last significant earthquake, of magnitude 4.5, happened in 2010 around 90km north of Pristina.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after and earthquake.

The Euro is the official currency in Kosovo. The Serbian Dinar is sometimes accepted in Serb-majority areas. Most transactions are in cash. Credit cards are more widely accepted and there are some ATMs in Pristina and other major cities.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Team Advice a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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