The time was 4.30am and there we were, sitting in the deserted bus station in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. A crazy homeless man comes up with his cupped hands asking for money and boy, was he persistent about it. We waited til the sun came up at 6 and took a long walk to the hostel. My first impression? The buildings are… different. It reminded me a bit of the flats in Singapore back in the early 90s and there was a slightly creepy feel with the massive amount of crows hovering in the sky, cawing as they flew by. But I learnt never to judge a book by it’s cover, much less give a verdict of a place I have yet to explore. Kosovo in general turned out to be really unexpected and interesting. The capital itself seems to be populated with a very young generation, and it’s also easy to find cheap food and shops all around the city center. There were also events and festivals going on during my visit and that was considered an off-peak season in Autumn.
Things to do in Kosovo (based on my trip)
Around the city center there’s plenty to do. You can visit the museum or the art gallery, and of course don’t forget to visit the National Library. It was voted as one of the ugliest buildings in the world, but it looks like a contemporary art piece if you ask me.
In the old part of the city you’ll be able to find a Bazaar that sells everything from fresh produce, cheese, second hand items and more. The lively atmosphere and friendly store vendors is what makes it a typical Balkan market.
This monument commemorates Kosovo’s independence and displays the flags of the countries that recognize the independence. It’s a great site to have a look.
DAY TRIP TO PRIZREN
Prizren is further down south from Pristina and the buses leave every 25 minutes interval, takes 1.5 hours and will cost you 4 Euros. Here you can visit the old town, see some mosques, the Ottoman Bridge and also the beautiful view from the fort (it’s an easy and short but steep climb that’ll take you about 15-20 min to reach the peak)
VILLAGE EXPERIENCE IN BROD
Just 1 hour away from Prizren and 2.5 hours away from Pristina lies a village called Brod. Here you can see the canyon, go hiking and travel by traditional means of transportation. Read more about Brod here
A genuine Kosovo traveller experience will include:
- Seeing crows everywhere, especially flying around the National Library, making it extra creepy on a gloomy day.
- Mosquitoes will be the bane of your existence when you’re trying to get some sleep
- Water pressure and shortage. It seems the city’s water supply gets cut off quite often. That makes showering a bitch.
- You will see weird men standing around holding stacks of money and a calculator. I reckon they are illegal money changers
- Blackouts. Blackouts everyday. You can be in a fitting room of a shop midway and boom, the lights go off and then come back on after some time. Life goes on.
- Imitation brands everywhere – Zara, Bershka, H&M, Pizza Hut, Macdonalds. They’re either factory rejects or imitation goods but based on my observations, you might have to think twice (or thrice) about the authenticity of your purchase
- Walking by these carts selling all sorts of nuts and seeing store vendors constantly munching on nuts/popcorn. & you’d think they get sick of eating the same thing they sell everyday…