My final stop on the tour of The Former Yugoslavia is Kosovo. Logically you’d go from Serbia to Kosovo and then on to Macedonia. My understanding is that the border between Serbia and Kosovo was closed hence the slightly longer route and finishing in Pristina, Kosovo.
Kosovo is not always recognised on maps as it is considered past of Serbia. It has been independent since 2006. It is considered to be an independent country by the United Nations, but not all countries see it that way unfortunately.
I have to admit Kosovo seemed very underdeveloped relative to its neighbours with limited things to see. Though it doesn’t have the easiest history. It is going through a period of development. And trying to establish itself within the industry of tourism. The route from Lake Ohrid in Macedonia to Pristina in Kosovo however was stunning!
It’s a lengthy drive through hills and mountains with much to see on the way; including passing through a national park, with outstanding views of the mountains, lakes and streams. Above is a man made lake, stunning and worth a viewing stop.
I recommend a stop at this gorgeous restaurant literally in the middle of nowhere, so peaceful in the middle of the mountains. The toilets were some of the cleanest I’ve come across on this journey through The Balkan’s! We stopped for a coffee before continuing the drive towards Pristina.
Monastery of St John
I also recommend a stop at The Monastery of St John the Baptist where you’ll see practicing monks. Women have to wear a skirt, they provide ones with Velcro you can put over your clothes upon entering. Men’s knees must be covered, and shoulders must be covered too.
There is stunning scenery all around, and the interior is extravagant. No photos are allowed inside as it destroys the frescoes.
You can light a candle here and it seems an appropriate and peaceful place to do so.
We stopped for lunch as we continued on our way, it was basic but delicious and fresh. And the views were amazing with mountains behind you and the lake in front.
I stayed in the Garden Hotel in Pristina, it’s a lovely 5 star hotel, in fact the nicest hotel of my whole trip! Though choices are limited in Pristina. It was a really nice hotel with modern rooms – except the phone! And a lovely bathroom and shower.
Breakfast was the highlight! So much choice and eggs cooked fresh however you want them! And the honey was delicious!
Getting into Pristina was interesting! Traffic everywhere beeping, it’s a free for all and no one will give way!
This restaurant was round the corner, it didn’t look much but the food was good. I’ve discovered that just because something is on the menu it doesn’t mean it’s available to eat!
Equally there was no drinks menu and wine comes in small or big! That’s a small bottle or a standard bottle! There’s no prices for the drinks so I think it depends who serves you and what mood they’re in! I found it cheaper to buy 4 small bottles than 1 large one! I drank the same wine I enjoyed in Macedonia, Temjanika, there weren’t any local choices.
The Practical Stuff
It’s not safe to drink the tap water in Kosovo. The currency is the Euro. They aren’t part of the EU, but it was allowed in order to prevent the collapse of the currency. Much of the population is Serbian or Albanian.
Conclusion of The Balkan’s
This really is a beautiful part of the world with so much to see and experience, and so much history. The people are friendly, the food is good and the wine is especially good!
The North seems a little wealthier, there is more variety in the food and it is more established in tourism. It was in part less affected by the recent war than the some of the more southern countries. I found it got cheaper and hotter the further south we went. Whilst the food was still good quality there was less choice available. I enjoyed the local wines throughout.
Ljubljana in Slovenia makes for a great city break. I think Bosnia was my favourite country, it’s beautiful. And Macedonia was the prettiest. I particularly recommend Lake Ohrid.
Read my previous blog posts to find out more on each area.
If you get the opportunity to travel round the area by train I thoroughly recommend it. I’ve had an amazing journey through the Former Yugoslavia and really can’t recommend it highly enough!
I met some fun, interesting and amusing people along the way! Thanks for all the laughs!
My next trip is January when I head to South America! I’ll try and post a retrospective trip between now and then!
Thanks for reading #mysolofootprints