Long weekend culture and heritage itinerary in Kosovo, the partially-recognised state in Southeast Europe

A journey around Kosovo is like a trip back in time. This itinerary offers some of the most impressive, old but very well preserved cultural and historical sites in the western part of the country, as well as some of the top natural landmarks. This itinerary starts in Sofia, Bulgaria. You can combine it with several itineraries/programs in Bulgaria. Of course, you can commence it from Pristina, the capital of Kosovo and adjust it depending on your preferences. Assuming you start from Sofia, the first stop would be the town of Štrpce at the foot of the Šar Mountain, where you can visit the beautiful local church. Then you will cross the Shar Mountain National Park and the Brezovica resort to arrive at the old town of Prizren – famous for its fortress, mosques, and churches. Succeeding is the former town of Gjakova with its impressive closed market – Carshija. Other exciting places are Visoki Decani – a Serbian Orthodox monastery, protected by UNESCO and KFOR and the town of Peć – the main settlement at the foot of the Prokletije Mountains, also known as the Albanian Alps or the Accursed Mountains (there is an excellent beer by that name). Here you can also visit the Patriarchate of Peć – a medieval Serbian Orthodox monastery from the 13th C. The main natural attraction is the picturesque gorge (canyon) Rugova – one of the longest in Europe (25 km), and also one of the deepest (over 1000 m). This gorge is the most appealing landmark in Kosovo. You can drop off at the “Sleeping Beauty” or Radaci cave and walk to the White Drini spring and the biggest waterfall not only in Kosovo but in the region as well. Afterwards, you bear on to the capital Pristina and some of its major landmarks. You will also visit the ancient Gračanica Monastery, completed in the year 1321 in the town of Gračanica, populated mostly with Serbians. Then you travel back to Sofia or your final destination.

 

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS:

A short resume, basic info about this trip, a map, day by day itinerary and suggestions on how to use it.

Further, you will find interesting books about Kosovo with an option for buying them with free delivery, high-quality, high-resolution images for download and fine art prints from Kosovo, an image gallery and a short video.

Have fun! 🙂

 

BASIC INFORMATION

When would be the best time to travel? Year-round, but in summer it is more pleasant;

How long is it? A weekend (2 nights/3 days) the Kosovo part only; You can mix it with a tailor-made tour in Bulgaria.

For what type of tourism can I use this itinerary: Sightseeing, Culture & Food, Long weekend, Urban;

Means of transportation: You need a car for this itinerary; 

Can I combine it with another itinerary or program? You can mix it with any tour or route in the Balkans. We could offer a combination with a tailor-made tour in Bulgaria.

Visa requirements: Kosovo does not require a visa for most visitors entering the country. You also can check here, whether you’d need a visa and if yes also get assistance in getting one.

 

DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

Today you leave early in the morning from Sofia, Bulgaria (assuming you are combining this tour with a trip in Bulgaria). You will pass through Northern Macedonia, stopping for taking photos and having lunch along the way. Then break for a while in the town of Štrpce, at the foot of the Shar Mountain. You can visit here the recently renovated church “St. Nicola” and enjoy its beautiful wall paintings. Close to the city is Kosovo’s only high mountain ski centre – Brezovica. As you drive through Shar Mountain, you will be stopping for a rest and pictures in scenic countrysides.

In the afternoon you will arrive in the town of Prizren. The city is famous for its rich history since Byzantine times. You can visit some of the churches, mosques and the fortress with the tower. The old town is well maintained and pretty well restored, so the place is excellent for walking, relaxing and exciting things to do. Overnight in Prizren.

Please have a look at a collection of hotels in Prizren here or suitable Airbnbs . If you are interested in activities, excursions or other experiences around Prizren, please have a look at this list here.

 

After breakfast, you head to the town of Gjakova. Saunter through the streets of the Old Town and the Old Market – Carshija, also known as the Grand Bazaar, the oldest market in Kosovo. Not far from the Bazaar is the oldest mosque in the city, Xhamia e Hadumit, dating from the 15th century.

The next stop would be Visoki Decani, a Serbian Orthodox monastery, protected by UNESCO and KFOR. The monastery is magical, with preserved frescoes dating from the 14th C.

From the monastery, you continue straight off to the picturesque gorge (canyon) of Rugova, where you can stop for photos and lunch. 

Rugova Canyon or Rugova Gorge is a river canyon near Peć in Western Kosovo, in the Prokletije mountains, close to the border with Montenegro. In the canyon, there is a magnificent restaurant offering mountain trout and beautiful vistas of the Bistritsa River. It is a pretty famous natural attraction, one of the longest in Europe (approximately 25 km) and also quite deep (the rocks rise above 1000 m from the bottom). People come here, mainly because of this canyon and the fearsome mountains that grow around it.

After lunch, continue to the Sleeping Beauty Cave or Radaci cave, a network of tunnels, galleries and corridors, sculptured from a natural force of water, over centuries. Not far from the cave, you will find White Drini spring and the biggest waterfall not only in Kosovo but in the region as well. Overnight in Pec.

Please have a look at a collection of hotels in Peja (Pec) or suitable Airbnbs in town

Nearby you can visit and also hike and hike in the Prokletije Mountains also known as the Albanian Alps or the Accursed Mountains, part of Prokletije National Park. 

 

In the vicinity of the city of Peja (Pec) is located the Patriarchate of Peć, a medieval Serbian Orthodox monastery built in the 13th century and extended in the 14th century when the Serbian Patriarchate was established. At that time the monastery became the seat of Serbian patriarchs. In 1947, the Patriarchate of Peć was added to Serbia’s “Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance” list, and on 13 July 2006, it was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as an annexe of the Visoki Dečani site.

The next stop would be Pristina. Take in a stroll along “Mother Teresa” Boulevard, where the main sights of the city are located, including several monuments, the National Theatre and more. Continue to the Serbian town of Gračanica near Pristina, where you can see the ancient Gračanica Monastery, completed in the year 132. The monastery is one of the most beautiful Monasteries in Kosovo, mostly because of the gothic-era paintings, which are impressive. The real treat is held open for the smaller side, the chapel, which is an enchanted cavern of vivid, lifelike murals.

In the afternoon you continue to Sofia or your final destination. 

Please have a look at this collection of hotels in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital or suitable Airbnbs. If you are looking for activities, excursions or experiences, please have a look at this list.

 

Burned Trees Under A Foggy Mountain In The Prokletije National Park (The Accursed Mountains) In Western Kosovo

HOW CAN I USE THIS ITINERARY/PROGRAM

You can use this itinerary and all the information provided without any restrictions, free of charge! Please feel free to use the links to the travel service providers to book hotels, transportation, activities, experiences or other services. We get a small commission at no extra cost to you, which helps us a lot. Please have a look at the section “Self-organising and self-booking & reservation” at the end of this article to see all the services, which you can use to organise your trip. It might be also helpful to have a look at our Travel Services section of the website.

Please note that the itineraries/programs published on this website are for personal use only and you are not allowed to resell or copy them without permission!

 

The preparation of a guided tour program/offer is free of charge. You’ll receive a package price from us upfront. It will include the services of a professionally qualified tour guide; pick up and drop off from your hotel/accommodation; transportation by A/C vehicle, fuel and parking expenses; accommodation, transfers from/to airport and all other additional services you might need. Please contact us for more detailed information.

 

You will receive a Final Trip Plan of this tour in both web and pdf formats. Please have a look at sample web version with pictures, maps and video here. Please download a sample version of a Final Trip Plan in pdf format here

You can use the Final Trip Plan to make the needed reservations and bookings by yourself.

The Final Trip Plan of the trip will contain: a web version of the tour; a pdf version of the tour (see the sample above), a short description (Resume); Basic information about the trip (duration, places to be visited, tour mileage, the period of travel; a trip budget with detailed expenses table (downloadable pdf file); Google map with the itinerary and bookmarks for places, hotels and restaurants; a link to a Google Earth interactive map with features like “Street view”, 3D etc.; A link to a Google KML file, which can be uploaded to a cell phone and used during the trip; a full program day by day with activities and places to be visited, recommendations for accommodation and excellent restaurants with links for bookings and reservations.

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Additionally to the Final Trip Plan, we make all the bookings and reservations on your behalf. We manage this through our licensed travel agency “Thousand Voyages” Ltd, registered in EU (Bulgaria) (the company registration license and basic information).

Transportation and logistics: We coordinate, book and manage all the transit elements of your trip-planes, trains, rent-a-cars, busses, everything to and from your destination, and between various places during your trip. 

Accommodation: We coordinate, book and manage all of your selected accommodations. We recommend the best selections at every destination along your trip, including hotels, Airbnb, bed and breakfasts, that fit your tastes, budget and are available during your travel dates. You will get the names of the properties in the Final Trip Plan, with links to the websites or booking forms. Sometimes the chosen by us accommodation is not on booking dot com or any other platform, especially those in the remote areas. In this case, we provide the name of the owner and a telephone number. 

 

A few years ago, I decided to register a travel agency and started to organise and lead tours to off-the-beaten-path places. We usually have one or two small groups (max 7/8 participants) per year travelling on this or similar itinerary/program. If you are interested in joining a group, please drop a line. We will provide more information, like the dates, the program in English and everything needed.

 

Secure Payments upon delivery of services: We offer two options: 1) PayPal – You will obtain a PayPal invoice with the total amount to be paid. You can pay using your credit card or PayPal account; 2) A Revolut Business Account (in Euro) (UK) for a bank transfer.

Money-Back Guarantee: In the unlikely event that you are not fully satisfied with our services, we offer a 100% money back return policy.

Discounts: We offer a 20 % discount voucher for the tracing service;

 

INTERESTING BOOKS ABOUT KOSOVO

Free delivery worldwide (with no minimum spend) from Book Depository, a leading international book retailer. Please click on the title of the book to read the full description and to buy it.

Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know (R)

Fully updated 3rd edition of Bradt’s Kosovo

A guidebook to the Peaks of the Balkans Trail, a circular route through the wild and rugged borderlands of Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo

First-ever complete history of Kosovo by Noel Malcolm

KOSOVO HIGH-RESOLUTION IMAGES AND FINE ART PRINTS FOR SALE 

Prokletije Mountains, also known as the Albanian Alps

Kosovo, officially the Republic of Kosovo, is a partially-recognised state in Southeast Europe, subject to a territorial dispute with the Republic of Serbia.

Defined in an area of 10,887 square kilometres (4,203 sq mi), Kosovo is landlocked in the center of the Balkans and bordered by the uncontested territory of Serbia to the north and east, North Macedonia to the southeast, Albania to the southwest and Montenegro to the west. It possesses varied and diverse landscapes for its size by climate along with geology and hydrology. Most of central Kosovo is dominated by the vast plains and fields of Metohija and Kosovo. The Albanian Alps and Šar Mountains rise in the southwest and southeast respectively.

[Wikipedia; Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)]

In Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton have streets named after them and a 3-meter tall sculpture of President Bill Clinton. They both are considered legends in the country. Also, various kids are given the names Toni, Bler or Tonibler to pay tribute to Tony Blair, the UK’s Prime Minister at that point, for his help of the air crusade against Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War.

The Olympic Games in Rio 2016 were the first to have competitors contending under the banner of Kosovo. The Olympic Board sent an aggregate of eight competitors and came back with one gold award, the first-ever of the nation, in Judo.