There is no better place to familiarise yourself with Kosovar traditional culture than taking a guided tour of the Ottoman buildings containing the Emin Gjiku Ethnographic Museum. Musical instruments, pieces of clothing and accessories, along with other artefacts, are on display in the museum's stylised interior.
The city's most staggering discovery is the brutalist National Library building, a structure so bizarre and seemingly out of place that many are left unsure as to what to make of it. It still is a perfectly functional library, so do drop in to get a good look at what's inside – you might just chance upon an English-language exhibition.
The coveted summertime escape of Germia Park lies just outside Pristina, and covers an impressive 62 square kilometres. Apart from the many hiking trails, its main attraction is the huge open-air swimming pool thoroughly enjoyed by locals. The Villa Germia restaurant on its grounds also has a great reputation.
The Bill Clinton statue was unveiled by the man himself nearly a decade ago, and has since then remained one of the city's oddball attractions, given especially the idiosyncratic nature of its Communist grey-building backdrop. A kitsch replica of the Statue of Liberty also graced the roof of the now defunct Victory Hotel until rather recently.
Inaugurated on 17 February 2008, the day when Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia, the monument that spells "newborn" embodies the state's "birth" and very real struggle for recognition, still ongoing as of today. Although the monument is well past its glory days, it still holds symbolic importance.
A 20-minute drive south of Pristina lies the natural limestone cave known as the Marble Cave, once accidentally chanced upon by a local resident. Despite the research project now being financed by the EU, the cave remains largely unexplored. The entry fee is very moderate and includes a guided tour.
This functioning monastery isn't much of a developed tourist attraction, but visitors are welcomed by an English-speaking guard and ushered inside the early 14th century Serbian Orthodox monastery (built in place of an even more ancient 6th century basilica). There is a small gift shop selling ecclesiastic paraphernalia and souvenirs.
Mentioned in ancient sources as early as the 2nd century AD, the archaeological site of Ulpiana contains remnants of a Roman settlement, all clearly marked and accompanied by information boards. It was a relatively important city, whose territory covered an impressive 120 hectares, one that to-date remains largely under the radar.
Although most produce used to cook Tiffany's traditional fare is, indeed, organic, that isn't to say dining here is exactly a healthy affair: expect oil and lard in generous amounts pumped into the restaurant's specials, with meat taking centre stage over vegetables. It's all part of the authentic experience that draws in both locals and visitors.
The yet another incarnation of Renaissance is still the same attractive lunch and/or dinner spot, whose only fault is the absence of clear signage outside (ask around or order a cab, drivers will most likely know the address). The price of just over a dozen euros includes unlimited dining on local and Albanian cuisine, with alcohol like rakia and wine included.
Set in a village a few kilometres north of Pristina, Country House is a restaurant worth taking the trip out of town for. Meals are prepared from scratch, with tava (meat or vegetables roasted with creamy yogurt sauce) and flija (a layered crepe pie) being the doubtless highlights. Seating available outdoors, with views over the idyllic countryside.
Liburnia goes above and beyond in an effort to forge one of Kosovo's top dining experiences: the atmosphere is very welcoming, staff speak fluent English, but the biggest highlight is the food - its incredible variety, with traditional local and Albanian dishes taking centre stage, some served sizzling in their skillet.
All but a few will feel at home here, at this longstanding institution listing dishes from all corners of the world on its eclectic menu. Greek, Italian, even Chinese - let alone Kosovar and Albanian specialities - these cuisines are all represented here, and both locals and expats keep the business running.
This brasserie's allure is one hard to pull yourself away from, and that, coupled with good value food (Italian-leaning) and wines, makes it hard to leave soon. The place is known to be frequented by the local creme de la creme, so prepare to brush shoulders with Kosovar elites.
Perhaps the coolest spot in town, Soma Book Station is somewhat of Pristina's hipster headquarters, sitting at the nexus of book cafe, casual restaurant, and steampunk bar-type establishments. It gets very busy during lunch hours (come by if you have time to spare), and the outdoor garden buzzes with life on summer evenings. Food served is a mix of international specialities: tacos, burgers, pasta and risotto.
Translated as "day and night", Dit' e Nat' doubles as a cool daytime book cafe and hip bar/happening venue come sundown. The menu is concise yet nifty, and prices more than reasonable. Seating available in- and outdoors. Live jazz plays in the evenings, and the place often hosts movie screenings and similar events.
Trendy Half & Half spills out onto the street when weather permits, offering even more patrons the chance to enjoy views of the central square as they sip on a drink of choice. The name refers to the establishment being half cafe and half bar, equally alluring for breakfast and evening drinks.
After work and on weekends, locals swarm to this neighbourhood, hidden in plain sight behind a gate leading here from Bill Clinton Boulevard. It teems with cafes and bars, patrons slowly relocating from the former to the latter as the night progresses. Music fills the air, and the vibe is jovial.
The snazzy jazz bar is an important live music venue for, reportedly, all of the Balkans, let alone just Pristina. Its award-winning interior continues to see an undwindling flow of patrons, and jazz, along with other music genres, still sound off the stage just like they did nearly a decade ago.
Atelier owner and fashion designer Yllka Brada brought home knowledge gained in France to dress the fellow Kosovar, and opened an atelier of her own in downtown Pristina. She's worked with media and fashion labels, and the final bill is guaranteed to be much lower than elsewhere in western Europe for the quality.
For traditional pieces and souvenirs, try Delvina, set at the corner of Bill Clinton Boulevard and Robert Doll Street. There is plenty to browse through, including Albanian folk dress and accessories, bags, belts, a few household items, pottery, and more. Many of the items come from Kosovo's own city of Prizren.
Silver smithery is a craft with roots in Pristina, and Dodo Silver holds its spot among the well-regarded boutiques of the Kosovar capital. Artisan pieces of intricate silver jewellery are on sale here, from elaborate necklaces and pendants to earrings and bracelets, all at reasonable prices and with gift packaging available.
With all-original artwork, the Llalloshi Gallery is a cultural attraction as much as a place to shop for unique pieces such as paintings and sculpture. The entire Llalloshi family is actively involved in the art world, and there are a dress and a jewellery shop just around the corner that both belong to the prolific family.
Perhaps, the most popular shopping and entertainment complex in town is Pristina's Albi Shopping Complex, which houses a wide variety of regional and internationally known brand stores. There is a children's playground, along with a cinema, large supermarket, and extensive food court. Parking is free of charge.
Kosovo can be entered visa-free by citizens of the EU and/or Schengen Agreement member states, as well as citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, and the majority of South American countries. Citizens of some Asian and African countries may need to apply for a visa. Important travel notice: if you are continuing on to Serbia after your stay in Kosovo, make sure your original entry point to Kosovo is through Serbia. This means, entry to Serbia may be refused to travellers transiting through Kosovo who first arrive in Macedonia, Albania, or Montenegro. Check whether or not visa is required for you at:
Summers can get very hot and winters very cold in Pristina, but temperatures are rarely at their extremes. Even though summers tend to be on the hot side, July through September remain the height of tourist season. For guaranteed pleasant temperatures appropriate for city exploration, aim for June or late September. Those looking to continue on to the slopes of Brezovica may find December through March bring the best skiing conditions, while May through September are good for mountain hiking.
The Pristina International Airport offers an increasing number of connections to various destinations across Europe. As of 2018, there were no public transport connections between the city and the airport, and the only way to reach Pristina was by taxi or private transfer. When getting a cab, make sure to agree on the price before departure, and enquire about the current rates at your time of travel.
There is a well-developed bus network that runs through the entire city. Fares are low, and tickets may be purchased directly on board the busses. There are inter-city bus connections within Kosovo and internationally, between Pristina and Belgrade, Novi Pazar (Serbia), Skopje (Macedonia), Tirana (Albania), Podgorica, Ulcinj (Monetengro). Trains run to Kosovo's Peja and Skopje.
There are several taxi companies that operate in Pristina. Most use meters, and have a standard starting fare. If using non-official carriers or non-metered taxis, make sure to agree on a price in advance. Trips within the city limits usually cost no more than a few euros. Some companies that operate in the city include: Victory Taxi +381 38 555 333 London Taxi +377 44 300 300 Beki +377 44 111 555
The PTK postal company runs a relatively reliable service in Kosovo. Still, some mail has been reported not to arrive due to the sporadic changes to addresses and street names that sometimes occur. To be on the safe side, avoid mailing goods of high value. There are two types of letters: regular and priority, the latter are more expensive but give the sender access to tracking their mail. Private carriers like DHL, UPS, and FedEx also operate in Kosovo. PTK FILATELIA: UÇK p.n, 10000 Pristina Kosovo Tel: +381 38 246 770
Although a country code +383 was finally assigned to Kosovo in 2016, you will find many phone numbers still listed with an international phone code of Monaco (+377), Slovenia (+386) or Serbia (+381). There is even a phone app (developed by Google) designed specifically to automatically convert pre-entered numbers starting with the above mentioned codes into the new +383. All old codes are planned to be replaced by the newly assigned one soon, following the lead of Vala operator already supporting it. IPKO may still use the Slovenian code (+386) in some instances, and Serbian +381 is for landlines. The area code of Pristina is +38.