Tiny Kosovo is Europe’s newest (official) country: a handful of landlocked mountains, poppy-dotted meadows and oak forests smack bang in the middle of the Balkans. The shadow of conflict in the late 90s has kept Kosovo off the holiday radar, which is a real shame. But go there today and you can feel that shadow lifting. NATO troops may still guard Serbian monasteries, and proper independence is an ongoing struggle, but the headlines now are increasingly good ones: an emerging tourist trade, film festivals in Peja, Pristina’s trendy cafe scene and world-class walking in the Rugova Mountains. Yep, Europe’s youngest member is definitely making up for lost time.
Kosovo Tours & Travel
All our Kosovo trips
Kosovo trip reviews
Our Kosovo trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 10 reviews in the last year.
Expedition - Kosovo, Albania & Macedonia , June 2016
I was desperate to do this trip when it was launched last year when I was still travelling so to achieve the ambition this year was a dream. It did not disappoint and I have learned even more about the region, countries, people and cultures on this excellent adventure.
Review submitted 03 Sep 2016
Expedition - Kosovo, Albania & Macedonia , June 2016
It was an amazing trip, go there before the hoards of tourist flood the place. If your lucky you might Peter a fantastic tour leader, the places, the people, the food just brilliant, don't hesitate go now.
Review submitted 23 Jul 2016
Articles on Kosovo
Kosovo: a new adventure on the Old Continent (and why you should get there)
Posted on Tue, 7 Apr 2015
The Balkan states are the last bastion of new adventure in Europe, and Kosovo is the newest of them all. But it didn't feel that way to me.Read more
At a glance
|Time zone:||(GMT+01:00) Belgrade, Bratislava, Budapest, Ljubljana, Prague|
|Electricity:||Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)|
Best time to visit Kosovo
Kosovo’s mountainous terrain means cold, snowy winters, hot summers and some pleasant months in between. Between December and January the temperatures can drop below freezing, particularly up in the hills, but life down on the plains is a little more stable. July and August are the warmest, with average daily temperatures around 27°C with very little rain. If you’re after outdoor activities like hiking and swimming, try late spring or early autumn when the days are mild and the sun is shining.
Geography and environment
Top 5 travel myths about Kosovo
1. There’s a war going on
Not true anymore. The Kosovo War between Albanian rebels and the Republic of Yugoslavia ended in 1999. These days there is still some tension between the Albanian majority and Serbia (NATO troops still guard isolated Serbian monasteries around Pristina), but the war as it stood is over. Kosovo got its independence in 2008 and is now a recognised member of the EU (at least by most countries). It’s even on the International Olympic Committee.
2. It’s dangerous
While the scars of war still exist, they’re fading fast. The vast majority of old landmines from the Kosovo War have been cleared, conflict with Serbia has eased considerably and the majority of the country is busy looking to the future. Kosovo has the youngest and fastest growing population in Europe, with major cities like Pristina expanding day by day. All that’s required for travelling there are common sense and a little sensitivity. That’s it.
3. We’re not allowed to travel there
Travel warnings for Kosovo advise caution, but they don’t say not to travel there (except in some areas of the country, check with your relevant government department). It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the current political climate, which is why a group trip in Kosovo makes the most sense. You can travel with a local leader who has their finger on the pulse, and you’ll be informed well in advance if there is any unrest on the horizon.
4. There’s not much history
Even though it’s Europe’s youngest official country, Kosovo has an old soul. Rome conquered the province in the second century BC and ruins of their cities can be found at sites like Ulpiana. Since then it’s been ruled by Bulgarians, Byzantines, Ottomans, Serbians, Hungarians and (recently) Kosovars themselves. There are 13th-century mosques, old churches, Ottoman-style bazaars and crumbling ruins dotted throughout the country – more than enough to keep a history buff happy.
5. The people are unfriendly
Don’t mistake conflict with unfriendliness. The people of Kosovo have earned a reputation in recent years as some of the friendliest in Europe. Ask directions and it’s not uncommon you’ll be led all the way there. Invitations to family meals are common. It’s probably Kosovo’s exposure to international visitors: after the war over 200,000 international workers came to help the country get back on its feet, and the locals have never forgotten it.
FAQs on Kosovo
Belgium: No – not required
Canada: No - not required
Germany: No - not required
Ireland: No - not required
Netherlands: No - not required
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: No - not required
United Kingdom: No - not required
USA: No - not required
Coffee: 1 EUR
Simple lunch at a cafe: 3 EUR
Dinner for two in a restaurant: 17 EUR
Train ticket: 45c
Bottle of water: 33c
For more information on insurance, please go to: intrepidtravel.com/au/booking-intrepid/our-services/travel-insurance
January 2: New Year Holiday
January 7 Orthodox Christmas
February 17: Kosovo Independent Day
April 6: Catholic Easter Monday
April 9: Kosovo Constitution Day
April 12: Orthodox Easter
April 13: Orthodox Easter Monday
May 1: International Labor Day
May 9: Europe Day
May 11: Europe Day Holiday
July 17: Uraza-bairam
September 24: Kurban-balrm
November 28: National Flag Day
December 25: Catholic Christmas
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Kosovo Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Kosovo
1. 1. Be considerate of Kosovo’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. 2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
3. 3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
4. 5. Make an effort to learn some Albanian and Serbian before you go. Locals will appreciate the effort
5. 6. Avoid discussing politics with anyone unless they bring it up first. The Kosovo War is still a very raw topic for locals
6. 7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
7. 8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
8. 9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, especially children.
|Kosovo: what everyone needs to know||Tim Judah|
|The Hemingway book club of Kosovo||Paula Huntley|
|The day of the pelican||Katherine Paterson|
|Kosovo: a short history||Noel Malcolm|