It’s the beginning of a brand-new era in Pristina. After the Kosovo War that took place in the 1990s, things in the city were bleak - at least for a time. When the war ended, the city’s fortunes slowly began to turn around.
Now Pristina, almost 20 years after the war, it has the atmosphere of a place that is still blossoming into what it will eventually become. At first glance, it is a bit of an odd city, with a hodgepodge of architectural styles and religious traditions all packed into one urban centre. Once travellers have become accustomed to the strangeness, however, they will find a charming and eclectic capital that gets more and more exciting with each passing day.
Pristina is not your average European capital. As anyone who has visited the capital city of Kosovo can attest, Pristina is unique. It is not a polished, picturesque metropolis in the style of Paris or Rome; it doesn’t feature any iconic tourist hotspots like the Great Pyramids of Cairo or London’s Big Ben. No, Pristina is something else entirely. After the upheaval of the Kosovo War in the 1990s, Pristina struggled to find its footing for a while — and now, as Kosovars will proudly tell you, it is starting to hit its stride.
Visit this interesting city and book a flight to Pristina today.
When is a good time to visit Pristina?
Kosovo’s continental climate means hearty winters and hot summers, as well as a slew of activities unique to both. Travellers who are looking to take advantage of Kosovo’s downhill or cross-country skiing will of course want to visit during the snowy winter; travellers who are interested in more traditional vacation activities will likely want to visit in the warmer months. Spring in Pristina also has the added advantage of being a prime time for the city’s cafe culture, with city residents enjoying their coffee on patios and making the most of the mild weather.
How do I get around?
Although Pristina does have an affordable public transportation system, it is notoriously patchy and international visitors may find it frustrating and inefficient. Thankfully, there are two major factors that make travelling within Pristina much easier: first, the city centre is so compact that most destinations are an easy walk away. Second, the city’s taxi cabs are ideal longer journeys - just make sure that you are riding with an established taxi service that uses an official meter. Hiring a car for your stay will allow access to the wealth of sites outside of Pristina proper, but make sure to check the requirements for doing so before you leave on your trip.
What should I pack?
What to pack is heavily dependent on when you plan on travelling. As Kosovo’s weather can get below freezing in the winter, travellers will want to ensure that they have appropriately warm gear. In spring, from March to May, travellers will want to pack sweaters and a light jacket, as temperatures can be crisp, especially as night-time approaches. In summer, make sure to pack plenty of light clothing for the heat, as well as a pair of hiking boots to take advantage of the trails available in Pristina’s surrounding areas.
This is Pristina
Pristina is a city of hidden gems: of small restaurants off the beaten path, of ancient architecture tucked away in forests, and of excellent hiking and skiing for those who know where to look. It’s a city waiting to be discovered.
In Pristina, beauty is often found in the strangest places—in this city, a little searching yields surprising results. Restaurants like Tiffany, not far from the city centre, are known for their traditional fare and dedicated service. Tiffany itself doesn’t even have a menu from which guests can order; instead, the amenable waitrons help guide patrons through the day’s selections to find what they’ll enjoy the most.
The cultural awakening
As the city begins to blossom again in the post-war years, the cultural landscape is similarly starting to evolve: fascinating contemporary visual art, film and theatre. On the outskirts of the city, there are innumerable natural treasures to be found, including verdant parks, excellent hiking trails and even a bear sanctuary. Pristina may not be for everyone, but it is definitely for travellers looking to discover something new. Find yourself there: book your flight to Pristina today!
Attractions of Pristina: more than just the city centre
Many travellers find that some of the best experiences to be had in Pristina are in the areas surrounding the city: hiking trails and lush parks provide a relaxing counterpoint to city life. Don’t be afraid to trek out to natural sites like the Marble Cave or Germia Park for some fun in the sun.
- The Kosovo Museum
- Pristina’s burgeoning art scene
- Slopes at Brezovica
- Marble Cave
Art and history in Pristina
The Kosovo Museum: The museum’s collections were reportedly looted during the war and so is not what it once was, but several moving exhibits remain.
Get a look at Pristina’s burgeoning art scene: Housed in former army barracks, the National Art Gallery of Kosovo offers some of the finest contemporary art being produced in Pristina, as well as some fascinating international piees.
Outdoor action outside the city
Hike in the summer, ski in the winter: Regardless of when you visit, do as the Kosovars do and get outside — in winter, hit the slopes at Brezovica, the nearby ski resort; in summer, get outside the city to Germia Park, where swimming, forest walks and outdoor basketball are all popular activities.
Brave the cave: A short drive south of the city lies the Marble Cave, an enormous limestone cave that was accidentally uncovered by a Kosovar villager in the 1960s.
Eating the Kosovar way
As a rule, Kosovars are only too happy to share their delicious culinary traditions with you. A mix of Balkan, Albanian and native Kosovan influences, Kosovan cuisine tends to be rich and filling. A tip: should it be offered, never turn down a cup of Kosovan coffee. Kosovars are proud of their coffee culture — and rightfully so.
The Kosovar cuisine is heavy on meat and dairy products like cheese, yoghurt and cream. The most typical Kosovo food is Fli, a layered cake made with cream and yoghurt. Pasul is a soup of white beans and beef or lamb. For a quick and satisfying snack try one of the many “qebabtores”, where the Albanian version of kebab is served.
The nightlife in Pristina is intense. Pristina has the youngest population of all European capitals, which makes the city one of the liveliest cities in the Balkans. In addition, it is one of Europe’s leading capitals for techno music. New bars, pubs and clubs pop up every week, thrive for a season or two and are gone. Get in contact with the locals, who are usually well informed about the newest and hottest place in town and love to meet foreigners.
Find special reminders of an eclectic place
Like many other elements of Pristina, the city’s shopping requires a little searching, but offers great rewards for those who put in the time. If you come to the city expecting gleaming shopping malls, you will be disappointed, but travellers who want a unique reminder of their time in Kosovo will find what they are looking for. The old Bazaar from the 15th century is full of big colourful vegetables and locally grown fruit, but also cheap knick-knacks. Silversmiths have a long tradition in Pristina, so get one of their finely crafted trinkets as a souvenir.