30 Best things to do in Prishtina, Kosovo
The lively city of Pristina is not a popular one to visit for travellers as most people haven’t even heard of the country of Kosovo. So many people are missing out by not spending time in Pristina as this is one of the best Balkan cities, and one of the best in Europe to visit.
Prishtina has come leaps and bounds from the city it used to be. Now it can be described as a young, vibrant and happening city with loads of great restaurant options, unique bars and cafes and a rich culture.
How to get to Prishtina
Pristina is easy to get to from other Balkan cities. Pristina also has some of the cheapest flights so if you are elsewhere in Europe it’s very inexpensive and easy.
The most popular way to travel to the Balkans is by bus. If you are coming from Sofia, Tirana, Belgrade or Skopje there are direct buses to and from Pristina
Is Pristina safe?
Yes, Prishtina is safe! It’s one of Europe’s youngest cities and it’s also one of the most progressive in my opinion. I felt safer in pristine than most other European capitals.
30 things to do in Prishtina
1. Visit the statue of Mother Teresa
Outside of the euro information centre is a statue in memory of the great Mother Teresa. She was born in today’s North Macedonia, but she was of Albanian descent. As a major majority of people from Kosovo are Albanian she is very important to the locals here.
2. See the cathedral of Mother Teresa
More important than the statue is the cathedral of Mother Teresa. It’s located just off the main boulevard in Pristina. The cathedral was inaugurated in 2010.
3. Climb the clock tower
To get the best view of Prishtina you must take the elevator up to the top of the clock tower. It is located next to the cathedral of Mother Teresa and costs just €1 to enter. From the top, you gain a magnificent view of the city as well as far in the distance. You can visit the tower daily in the morning or early afternoon.
4. Check out the mosques of Prishtina
Kosovo is home to over 500 mosques so there is plenty to check out when you visit Prishtina. Two of the best are the Imperial mosque (built in 1461) and Jashar Pasha Mosque which was given by the Turkish government to Kosovo in 2015.
5. Ethnological museum
Within the old part of Prishtina, you can find a treasure of history at the ethnological museum. Make your way to the Emin Gjiku Complex which was owned by one of the wealthiest families in the country. The residence is set exactly like it would have originally. If you want a visual look into an old wealthy home, then this is a great spot to visit. The keeper of the museum is happy to show you around! The museum is open from Tuesday-Sunday.
6. Newborn monument
The newborn monument celebrates Kosovo’s independence. Kosovo is Europe’s newest country, finally gaining independence in 2008. Unfortunately, many countries like Serbia, France and China still don’t recognize Kosovo as a country. In fact, you cannot enter Serbia after visiting Kosovo as from Serbia’s eyes you have entered Serbia illegally and you will be denied entry. Serbia and Kosovo’s relationship is very complex so I will not get into it on this website. If you would like to learn more about the history of these two countries, it’s best to learn from the local’s perspective of both sides.
7. See the ‘ugliest library in the world’
I don’t personally agree with the term ugly, to me the library of Pristina is unique and unlike any other building, I have seen in the world. From the outside, it might look like an alien jail building but from the inside, it’s quite beautiful. Make sure you don’t judge his book by its cover!
8. Wander around old Prishtina
The old town of Pristina is full of beautiful gems but sadly in the 1960’s most of it was destroyed. There are a few buildings that remain from the 15th century. Although the old bazaar was destroyed and replaced with ‘newer’ buildings, you can still find some great local markets which sell local artisan products and fresh produce.
9. Eat at liburnia
This was my favourite restaurant when visiting Prishtina. This beautiful restaurant has the most amazing local food. Kosovo is known for having fantastic meat (sorry vegetarians!) and this is a great thing to have at liburnia. One of the best things to get here is the meat plate so you can try all the delicious types. If you’re looking for a traditional meal to start off your adventures within Kosovo, then having a meal at liburnia is a great start!
10. Visit the Skanderbeg statue
On the end of the boulevard is the prominent statue of Skanderbeg, an Albanian hero who fought against the Ottoman rule and ultimately led to Albania gaining independence. After the conflict in 1999 with Serbia, Kosovo Albanians erected the statue of Skanderbeg as a symbol of independence from Serbia.
11. Stay at Prishtina Centre hostel
My favourite place to stay when I’m in Prishtina is Prishtina Hostel and Apartments. This hostel has such a friendly vibe and the owner Bimi is a character you won’t forget! The hostel is intimate and has 3 big bedrooms. They also have private rooms upstairs if you prefer some peace and quiet rather than the hostel life. The breakfast is amazing too, fresh bread with Ajvar and cheese! The location is the best in the city as the hostel and private rooms sit looking over the boulevard making it a great base to explore the city!
12. Eat at pishat
Another fantastic thing to do in the city is to eat at Pishat. I had the sujuk which is a spicy sausage, with grilled vegetables. You can get all the typical food from Kosovo at very affordable prices.
13. Visit the bear sanctuary
This was one of my favourite things to do whilst in Prishtina. The bear sanctuary is only a short drive away from the centre. Up until 2010 it was totally legal for homeowners or restaurants to keep wild bears. Unfortunately, restaurant owners would keep them in small cages for the entirety of their life as ‘entertainment’. They were very malnourished and badly looked after. If restaurants closed the bears were just left to die.
That’s why the bear sanctuary opened in 2013 to house the bears in a natural environment just outside of the city. Here they are safe, fed well and not used for any sort of entertainment. Currently the bear sanctuary is home to 20 bears which have all been rescued from horrible conditions. You can go to support this amazing cause by visiting the sanctuary and donating, and if you’re lucky you might spot a bear or two! I visited in the winter and got to see 2 bears, as most of them were in hibernation.
14. Relax at Germia Park
Germia is an extensive park located on the outskirts of the city. In the summertime the park is buzzing with people enjoying the sunshine and enjoying a dip in the Germia public pool. When I visited in winter, it was still very beautiful, and I spotted many families with snow sleds! The park is around 62 kilometre square and has a big range of flora and fauna.
15. Visit the national theatre
Whilst in prishtina why not check out one of the shows at the National Theatre? There are 3 theatres in Pristina, but the national theatre is the oldest and largest in Kosovo. Don’t expect to pay exorbitant prices to see your favourite shows either! You can see a play for as little as €3 and on Thursdays they have ballet night which is for free.
16. See the Bill Clinton statue
It’s no surprise that Bill Clinton is idolised in Kosovo as he was a huge help for ending the war against Kosovo and helping the country gain independence. This 11-foot statue stands prominent, but it doesn’t stop there. In fact, you will notice Bill Clinton’s name all over the place as well as Hillary’s!
17. See lake of Batllava
Lake Batllava is one of the largest lakes within Kosovo. It serves as one of the main sources of water for Prishtina. This beautiful lake is a great daytrip nature spot and is about a 45-minute drive from Prishtina.
18. See lake Badovc
If you’re visiting the bear sanctuary, then you will see lake badovc on the way. During spring and summer, this is a popular hangout for locals and tourists.
19. Have a coffee at lulus
Lulus is one of my favourite little cafes within Prishtina. You will notice Kosovo has a huge cafe culture. Everyone is always out having a coffee and catch up with friends. In Kosovo and Albania, a coffee date can be hours. Coffee is an excuse to catch up with friends rather than the actual act of needing coffee.
20. Visit Gracanica Monastery
About a 5km drive from Prishtina is the Serbian cathedral of Gracanica. In the 6th century it was a Christian basilica, then in the 13th century from the ruins of the church, it turned into a church of Theotokos. Gracanica monastery was then built on the ruins of that! This monastery has a fascinating past. Today it’s an important spiritual centre for the Serbian minority living in the region but also it serves as a national and political centre for them.
21. Enjoy a xhiro
Kosovo Albanians love a good xhiro! A xhrio is a walk which usually happens at sunset/night-time. This is the most popular time for locals to catch up whilst walking the streets.
22. Taste some Rakia and a meat place at te shoki
Te Shoki is a small bar located on a street filled with other small bars and restaurants. Whilst in Prishtina you must try some raki which is a distilled alcohol made from grapes, peaches or any other fruit. It’s a very strong alcohol which can spiral up to 80 proof if homemade. Why not try a meat plate to help you digest the raki, or the other way around!
23. Brunch at dit’ e nat
Dit’ e nat is one of the most popular brunch and breakfast places as well as a favourite cafe for many! You can have brunch and check out one of the many books as this is a bookstore cafe restaurant.
24. Take a free walking tour
A great way to get your bearings around the city of Prishtina is by taking a walking tour with a local. Every day they meet at the national theatre at 11am for the free walking tour. The tour takes approximately 2.5 hours. If you visit in the winter be sure to check if there is a tour on by going to their Facebook page.
25. Visit the abandoned Christ the Saviour Cathedral
Just past the ‘ugly’ library, you will see the abandoned Christ the saviour cathedral. Construction was halted during the Kosovo war and has left this cathedral unfinished and abandoned.
26. Check out the street art on Rruga b
If you want to check out the street art scene you must visit rruga B (street b) on the outskirts of the city centre. This project was started by Q’art which is a local non-profit organisation promoting art within Prishtina. International and national artists come every year to paint beautiful murals on the wall.
27. Eat at Baba Ganoush
If you are looking for a little bit of the Middle East in Kosovo, then Baba Ganoush restaurant is a great choice! If you’re looking for great vegan and vegetarian food, then make sure you eat here. Kosovo’s food can be very meat-heavy, so this is a nice change from the traditional restaurants that are in Prishtina.
28. Enjoy a drink at Soma Book station
Prishtina loves cafes and they also love bookstore cafes. Soma is a popular hangout for food and drinks. It’s a beautiful place, so make sure you check it out when you visit Pristina!
29. National Gallery
If you’re looking from a look into Kosovo’s art scene then make sure you check out the national gallery. Exhibitions change regularly and is from a contemporary perspective. The gallery is open from Monday to Friday 10am-6pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10pm-5pm.
30. Try a macchiato half at half cafe
Half and half cafe is another great hangout spot in the city. But whilst you are in the city you should absolutely try a macchiato. Many say that the locals of Kosovo can make better macchiatos than the Italians, but shh don’t tell them!
There’s your full guide on the best things to do in Prishtina! I can’t wait to visit again in the future and find many other hidden gems that this city holds.
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