Kosovo — Things to Do
Kosovo has plenty of things to do, beginning in the capital of Pristina, with a unique site, seven giant letters spelling out the word "Freedom" at the edge of the city’s central district. Visitors should also look for the various statues of world politicians who supported Kosovan independence, including the bronze images honoring Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright.
Outside the cities is a world of natural wonder and beauty, with the plains rich and lush in spring, and the mountains begging to be explored on foot, by car or on skis in winter. For history buffs, there’s plenty to see, from Roman sites through Byzantine fortresses, medieval monasteries, Islamic architecture, and interesting museums charting the country’s past.
Most visitors spend a few days in Pristina after their arrival, and the city has much to provide in terms of an overview of Kosovo, its people and its long history. Kosovo’s most famous daughter, the Albanian Mother Teresa, is honored with a statue and the massive, still-under-construction Pristina Cathedral. The city’s picturesque Old Quarter can be explored on foot, although a private guided tour arranged by Ready Click and Go will make sure you don’t miss sights such as the Ethnographic Museum, the Grand Mosque, the National Museum, the amazingly bizarre, ultra-modern National Library, and the local market.
To see breathtaking scenery like the Rugova Gorge and the historic town of Peja, Ready Click and Go offers a day trip from Pristina with an English-speaking guide, taking visitors on a scenic drive through some of the most stunning areas in Kosovo. Peja is a treat for history buffs for its UNESCO World Heritage monasteries and mosques, and the town center boasts ancient Ottoman-style homes in narrow, winding streets. In contrast, the center holds early 20th century Belle Epoch mansions as well as imposing examples of Soviet-era architecture. The dramatic gorge is close by and offers hiking, walking and climbing, as well as skiing in winter.
For a glimpse back at the many conflicts in this once divided nation, a visit to Mitrovica is an enlightening geopolitical experience. Although several Western governments advise against going, the area is regularly reported safe for visitors. The former mining city is divided into the ethnically Serbian north and the Albanian south by the River Ibar, which is crossed by several bridges including the symbolic landmark of the Mitrovica Bridge, considered safe to cross during daylight as it’s patrolled by UN troops.
The city contains eerie examples of ruined, Soviet-era industrial architecture, a Roma quarter, craftspeople and artists, and a buzzing main square, all surrounded by rolling hills. Trips to the region are a journey back in time as well as unique people-watching opportunities. Although there are few tour companies in Kosovo as yet, Ready Click and Go offers customized, guided tours to many areas including Mitrovica.
Although the Albanian-inhabited city of Gjacova was badly damaged during the Kosovo War in 1998-99, it’s now a thriving hub for regeneration and a life-changing experience for visitors who take the trouble to talk to its English-speaking young people. It’s also a good base for exploring the lovely Radoniqi Lake and the Komani Lake, an artificial waterway snaking through the deep valleys that cut into the steep mountainsides close to the Albanian border. The city itself boasts an ancient Ottoman quarter, a charming historic bridge, monuments and landmarks, and is included in several tours from Ready Click and Go.