CITIES: Pristina, Prizren, Gjakova, Peja, Mitrovica CANYONS: Rugova Canyon, White Drin; UNESCO SITES: Decani Monastery, Patriarchy of Peja, Church of the Virgin of Leviša, Gracanica monastery TOP EXPERIENCES: Ancient city of Ulpiana, Kalaja Fortress, Gjakova Grand Bazaar, Rugova Canyon, White Drin Waterfall, Radavac Cave, Locally prepared and hosted meals
COUNTRIES: 1 | CITIES: 5 | UNESCO SITES: 4 |
Let’s bring to light and uncover Kosovo, Balkan’s youngest recognised country that went through a more turbulent history that one could comprehend.
Two decades after the war, Kosovo is finally ready to open its door and lay out the red carpet of shockingly unexpected travel experiences to anyone willing to break the prejudices.
We have created 5D4N itinerary that will bring out the centuries old intrigues, pride and prejudices taking place on Balkan’s theater boards, complex political situations on the margins of the different perspectives and, most importantly, we will make sure to take you to some of the most beautiful places with breathtaking sceneries and completely intact nature. Places where even COVID did not put its atom on.
You will meet with locals, explore their country in depth, and try to understand how it feels living in a Truman show of 21st century.
Itinerary Note FT team is focused on providing maximum safety for all of our guests, no matter the corner of the world we are visiting. We would never put in danger anyone traveling with us. Carefully thought through, this itinerary is created to show you the best of Kosovo, Europe’s smallest, most neglected and yet, one of the most overwhelming tourist destinations.
The itinerary is created to start from Pristina but no worries if being at any other part of the Balkans. Check our trip extensions, or write to us directly with your request.
Destination: Pristina, Kosovo
Accommodation: Swiss Diamond Hotel 4* or similar
Meals Included: D
> Whether you are arriving by plane, some of our connecting tours (please check our trip extensions) or public transportation such as bus, our team will welcome you at the agreed place and make sure you get the best first impressions there are.
Activity Note: Welcome to Pristina. The world’s youngest capital. We will pick you up from the airport and take you to your accommodation which will be a centrally located and cosy 4* hotel.
Before the welcoming dinner we will make sure to give you some tips for exploring the city on your own or, in case of an early arrival, arrange an additional activity to maximise your Kosovo experience.
Arrival to Pristina: The afternoon traffic jam, lack of traffic lights and rules, yet no car sirens hawking, round and around the abundance of round-bounds, massive construction workings and echoes of medieval monastery bells harmonising with muezzin’s call from the mosque. Welcome to Pristina.
Dinner: After the hotel check-in, our team will pick you up and take you on a welcoming local dinner which will be an absolute delight for your senses. Over some pleasant talks we will make sure you get the best possible first introduction by tasting some of the local products in the cosy atmosphere of the local restaurant. For this evening, we have chosen famous Kosovo’s tavas, with abundance of vegetable, cheese and meat products that will tickle your minds and taste buds with so far unknown flavours.
Evening:After the tasty dinner we will accompany you to your hotel, or let you be on your own, discovering the Kosovo’s capital with some good local tips.
Accommodation: Swiss Diamond 4* Hotel or similar
Meals Included: B – L – D
>Today we will try to reach the never-ending question of Kosovo and all the reasons behind (non)recognising it as a valid and independent country. Hundreds and hundreds, thousand, years old history is overwhelming so we will make sure to start nice and slowly, discussing some “beginner” lever Balkan related issues that are intriguing the minds of the entire world.
Activity Note: Today we will pick you up from your hotel and start with going deep into Pristina’s history, culture, people, food and everything that symbolises this “newborn” capital.
After we visit the Kosovo National Museum and all of the Pristina’s most important landmarks, we will head to Gracanica Monastery and Ulpiana ancient city. We will learn about Kosovo from scratch, talk to the locals and try some of the famous local dishes over the lunch. The best possible closure of a day will be a dinner with a local journalist.
Breakfast:Good morning. Time to try some of the famous breakfast meals which easily can be served for lunch as well.
You will be served famous cheese and peper tavas, salsiccia, a dry spicy sausage produced with minced meat usually beef and various spices, famous peppers-and-eggplant relish called ajvar, tasty home-made Kosovo breads (leqenik and pitalke), fresh fruit and vegetables, Turkish coffee, tea, and, for those who are more into a light breakfast, mediterranean type will be available as well.
Morning: We will pick you up from your hotel and start with going deep into Pristina’s history, culture, people, food and everything that symbolises this “newborn” capital. It is only after you fully understand Pristina and its seeming absurdity that you will have a potential of understanding its wisdom, prudence and sagacity.
With our local guide, we will head to the National Museum which, besides being a huge treasure trove of old ancient civilisation tracks, incredible medieval art installations and pretty much everything one museum should have, will show you the pride and constant fear of Kosovars.
We will learn about incredibly rich history of Kosovo and follow the turbulent history from the ancient civilisations all the way to its hard-earned independence. We will end our visit at the exhibition room where we will have a chance to witness the Kosovo’s original independence declaration embraced by the flags of all the countries that were brave enough to recognise Kosovo’s independence.
> Streets of Pristina. Kosovars are friendly people so no worries on possible language barriers you will become aware of as soon as you arrive.
Early afternoon: After the museum, we will head for a walking tour of Pristina. Constant sounds of reconstruction and heavy machines. The city is heavily under construction and, again, flags. During the walk through the city, we will make a visit Sultan Mehmet Fati Mosque and learn the fascinating story of famous Albanian writer Pjetr Bogdani whose bones were dumped in Pristina streets by the Ottomans.
We will continue with the tour and visit the National library. The library building is something hard to believe even when facing it by standing just in front. Although, according to the architect himself, the style was meant to blend the Byzantine and Islamic architectural forms, and regional traditions with a rural architecture, there are many controversial stories among the locals.
Just next to the library we will see the Christ the Saviour Church whose construction started in 1995 under the auspices of the Milosevic regime and was halted by the Kosovo war. We will take a walk through the main walking street named after G.W. Bush and encounter few too many statues for someone’s taste, along with those dedicated to Bill Clinton and Margaret Thatcher.
>The building of the National Library of Kosovo is surely one of the most controversial buildings in the country made by Andrija Mutnjaković, Croatian architect.
But there is a far longer history than the recent one. We will learn the (hi)story of Skender Bay, the whole importance of Albania, Serbia, EU and U.S.A. in the history of Kosovo and, most importantly, try to understand the modern relations between people of Kosovo.
During the walk, we will make a visit to Pristina’s most-photographed monument, the Newborn. It is the first large public monument to commemorate Kosovo’s independence which gets a new look and meaning every year on the Independence day. Next to the NewBorn Monument, we will find another art installation, Heroinat. Heorinat consists of 20 000 pins where each pin depicts one woman raped during the Kosovo war.
Lunch: During the lunch we will make sure to choose one of the traditional restaurants in the area of colourful Pristina bazaar and try some of the famous Kosovo ćevapčići and a spicy sudjuk served with warm, pillowy flat bread, fresh cheese, tomato and cabbage. Truly mouth watering experience but no worries even if you are vegetarian. Kosovo will delight your taste buds with some tasty vegetable tavas made from the organic ingredients.
Afternoon: After lunch, we will head towards one of the most important Orthodox symbols and a jewel of Serbian-Byzantine art in Kosovo-Monastery Gracanica. Short ride through suburbs of Pristina will take us to the green setting of this massive and magnificent medieval church known for the brilliance of its frescos.
The monastery is the second most important Orthodox site in the territory, just after the Patriarchate of Peć. Over the centuries, it went through a tumultuous past but was spared by the last war. Protected by Kosovar police, Gracanica Monastery is today a home to about twenty nuns who, in addition to their monastic duties, are also engaged in the embroidery, agriculture and icon painting.
We will take a walk through premises of the monastery, learn more about the amazing Byzantine techniques this monastery is glorified for and admire the Latin inscriptions on the stones from the Ulpiana site which will be our next stop.
Ulpiana is incredible and an invaluable gem of ancient history that will surprise you with its massiveness. We will take you through some interesting stories and legends of this, once one of the most important Roman cities and Episkopal seat of the Byzantine Emperors.
We walk the walls, admire the amazing ancient architecture of the site containing two churches, a small necropolis, three sarcophagi and headstone. Ulpiana is constantly in the process of further excavations and is one of the sites that will enable us to easily imagine the process of time cooperating with space, and an entire endless circle of history.
>Ulpiana is the ancient Roman town mentioned in ancient sources that are dating from the second decade of the 2nd century AD. It played a highly important role played an important role in the development of the most important cities in the Roman province of Dardania.
Evening: Once you are ready, we will meet in the lobby and head for a dinner with our local friend and Bosniak journalist from Pristina. Besides trying some of the amazing Kosovo’s delicacies, you will also have a chance to go through the political issues of Kosovo which are brought to you by a first hand experience, and a person who is unbiasedly following the stories for a local media.
Dinner: Kosovo cuisine consists of traditional dishes of each of the Kosovo native ethnic groups. It is significantly influenced by Albanian cuisine, but your taste buds will actually feel as the whole Balkan cuisine found a safe haven here. For dinner, we will try some of the famous stuffed paprikas and sarmas along with the famous Resenik, cabbage pie traditional for this part of the world.
Accommodation: Hotel Camp Karagaq
Meals Included: B – L – D
> Prizren is nested in the foothills of the Šar Mountains. With picturesque bazaar, churches, mosques and numerous old Kosovo homes it is considered to be the cultural capital of Kosovo.
Activity Note: Today we will pick you up at your hotel after breakfast and head towards Prizren, cultural capital of Kosovo.
After Prizren, we will have a lunch in Gjakova, town that is carrying the title of the most charming town of Kosovo and enjoy its bazaar which is known as one of the oldest and biggest bazaars in this part of the world. In the afternoon, we will reach Peja where we shall do the hotel check-in and have some nice and easy afternoon walks.
Breakfast: Once again, you will have a chance to feel the taste of famous Kosovo tavas, spicy sausages, ajvar, home-made Kosovo breads, fresh fruit and vegetables, Turkish coffee, tea and, for those who are more into a light breakfast, mediterranean type will be available as well.
Morning: First stop of the day will be the treasure trove of Ottoman heritage, town of Prizren. Once the cultural and intellectual centre of Ottoman Kosovo, today one of Kosovo’s most popular destinations known as “Museum City ” and the most beautiful one in the entire country.
Nestled on the slopes of the Sharr mountain and banks of the Prizren Bistrica, this amazing city is the cultural and political capital of the Kosovar Albanians, so we will make sure to explore it above and beyond the tourist trails. We will meet our local friend in the centre of Prizren bazaar and head for exploring its amazingly preserved narrow streets, souvenir shops and religious objects.
During the walk we will visit the Town Museum, explore the striking Sinan Pasha Mosque built in 1615, cross the Old Stone bridge highly resembling the Emperor’s bridge in Sarajevo, see the amazing Hamam Of Gazi Mehmet Pasha and talk to the local vendors where, for extremely low cost prices, you can purchase some really good hand-made clothes, shoes or souvenirs.
> Narrow and maze-like streets of vibrant and coluorful city bazaar is all that exudes centuries old tradition of crafts.
After the old town, during the 15 minutes of nice hike to grandiose Kalaja Fortress (Kaljaja) looming over the city and surrounding valleys we will make sure to pay attention to the ruins of the Orthodox Church “Our Lady of Ljevis. Built in 1306 by king Stefan Milutin, the church is now declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance and on the UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger as part of the Medieval Monuments in Kosovo.
Few minutes from the ruins we will notice the amazing Kalaja Fortress, symbol of Prizren. Built in the 11th century, the impressive Prizren Fortress provides the city’s best view so grab your cameras as, from here, you will be able not just seeing Prizren as if on palm of your hand, but also the surrounding Mt. of Prokletije and Peja.
Due to the its numerous chambers, underground halls and impressive net of walls that once served for a Prizren defence, we will let you have some playful walk and discovering your favourite spot in this old stone labyrinth.
>The site of the fortress of Prizren had been used eversince the Bronze Age. It was a part of the defensive fortification system in western Dardania and was reconstructed in the era of eastern Roman Emperor Justinian.
Lunch: After Prizren, we will visit Gjakova, and trust us, cuteness of this small old town is overload. Our first stop will be a charming local restaurant nested on Çabrati hill overlooking the town. We will have a warm and tasty bread, juicy lamb meat and fresh Shepherd’s salad with some home made juice.
Afternoon: Gjakova is caring the title of the most charming town of Kosovo. Although nowadays a bit slow-paced, during the Ottoman Empire, Gjakova used to be a major trading hub on the coveted route between Shkodra and Constantinople.
We will take a walk through captivating Gjakova Grand Bazaar which is one of the longest and oldest in the Balkans. It is stretching over a kilometre and is perfect way to meet the locals, learn about the life in Kosovo and enjoy delightful shops observing artisans practising woodwork or hawking the stunningly beautiful wedding costumes.
Besides the bazaar, we will make sure to visit beautiful 16th century Hadum Mosque, the catholic church. and captivating Ethnographic Museum.
>Despite the monastery lost lots of its valuables during the turbulent history, its treasury is still the richest among the Serbian monastery collections.
Before we head to Peja, we will visit UNESCO protected Orthodox Monastery Decani placed only 20 kms south of Pejë. This Monastery dates back from the 14th century and is a perfect synthesis of Byzantine and Western medieval styles. known as a home to over 1000 frescoes, Decani Monastery is the best-preserved Serbian monastery.
Nowadays, due to the fact it is on a list of endangered monuments, Decani Monastery is guarded by KFOR forces. We will meet with the local priest and learn about the imposing history and everyday life woven from daily prayers to producing the souvenirs, wines, rakijas and other local products.
Evening:: We will head to beautiful Peja which is believed to be built on the ruins of an ancient Roman town known as Siparantum. Peja is one of the rare cities proudly keeping both, the Ottoman and medieval Serbian architecture. Your hotel will be less than 600m from the city centre, yet hidden deep in the main city park with over 100 years old trees, far from car noise and everyday, life yet close enough to feel the city’s atmosphere.
>Back in the Ottoman Empire era, during the 15th century, Peje Bazar consisted of four parts with around 960 shops selling different crafts. Even today, you might find some of these shops carrying on with their traditional activities.
Evening: After you have some rest, we will head for a dinner and some nice and easy walks in Peje. In the perfect black of the early night, we will walk the streets of amazing Peje bazar which is known for its amazing street lamps decorations. We will settle into the pleasant atmosphere of the Peje restaurant and try the most delicious of the famous local dishes.
Dinner: This time we will treat the palate with stuffed peppers and sarmas with spicy sudjuk served with warm, pillowy flat bread, fresh cheese, tomato and cabbage. Truly mouth watering experience but no worries even if you are vegetarian. Kosovo will delight your taste buds with tasty vegan and vegetarian menus as well.
Accommodation: Hotel Camp Karagaq
Meals Included: B – L – D
>Amazing drive through Rugova Canyon will face us with startling hairpin turns plunging into hand-made tunnels and re-emerging beneath amazing views of striking peaks, powerful springs, waterfalls and caves.
Activity Note: This day will enable us to enjoy an absolutely amazing nature abundance of Kosovo. We will visit the pearl of Orthodox heritage – Patriarchy of Peja and enjoy a spectacular drive at Rugova Canyon.
After exploring Rugova Canyon, admiring its rocky formations and water abundance enclosed with captivating villages nearby, we will head to the White Drin where we shall have a lunch, enjoy some nice and easy hikes along the river, admire the spectacular waterfall and explore the amazing Radavac Cave. In the evening we will have a locally hosted dinner.
Breakfast: Your hosts will make sure to provide the best possible breakfast containing famous and Balkan’s favourite breakfast food – ustipci, served with abundance of local cheese products, honey and home-made jam and ajvar.
Morning: After breakfast we will head to the Patriarchy of Peja, a church and nunnery complex nested just on the outskirts of the town. This Orthodox monastery complex was built in the late 12th century and is known for its stunning frescoes covering its walls and ceilings. We will have a short talk to the local nuns and learn more about the presence of the Orthodox Christians in Kosovo.
We will spend the rest of the morning wandering the captivating gardens and premises of the Patriarchy of Peja, find the inner peace and learn about the religious diversity this city is so proud of.
> Peja Patriarchate is located at the very entrance of Rugova Canyon and represents one of the most important late Byzantine era monuments dating back from 13th century.
Early Afternoon: Time to get some adventure and discover an absolute Kosovo gem known for its amazing abundance of outdoor activities lurking over at each corner. First stop that will absolutely bewitch us will be a man-made village-town nested just in between the rocky river water and high Rugova mountains.
This man-made place is created as Kosovari Utopia and is a home of a man who suffered the bad politic regime and decided to make his home at this exact place. We will have a coffee with him, hear his story and admire the unbeatable contrasts of an absolute serenity emerged from the seemingly craziness.
>The longer you look at, what it seems to be at first glance dystopia, the more you notice the incredible abundance of details perfectly fitting into the idea of Utopia and (in)dependent Kosovo.
After some interesting talks, we will hit the narrow and curvy road and enjoy some absolutely amazing sceneries along the Rugova gorge.
Rugova is a river canyon with a length of 25 km and a depth up to 1,000 meters. That is to say, this canyon is considered to be one of Europe’s longest and deepest canyons that is, due to its geological, hydrological, speleological and botanic listed as a protected monument of natural heritage.
>The short but powerful Pećka Bistrica carved the impressive 23 km long Rugova canyon, between the mountains of the Žljeb mountain in the north and Kopranik, the northern extension of the Prokletije mountains, in the south.
Our first stop will be a short downhill hike from where we will have a chance to admire the crystal clear and powerful waters reflecting the amazing arch bridge that connects the canyon. In front of the bridge you will able to witness a rock with a drawing of an athlete that is believed to be from the Pelasgian period.
As the road narrows down, we will be able to admire numerous water-springs including a 25-meter-high waterfall. This area is known for water abundance, charming villages and hundreds of caves that are yet to be found and explored and, if you are into zip line, this is the best place to try yourself and enjoy 750 meters long adrenaline rush and spectacular views stretching over the gorge.
>The amazing 30 meters high mountain waterfall leading to the The Great Canyon Cave System, which is 12,000 meters long and the 12th highest cave in the world.
Lunch: Once we are completely overwhelmed by intact nature of the fascinating Rugova Canyon, we will head towards another Kosovo pearl, White Drin. We will have a lunch in a cosy restaurant nested just next to the White Drin river and its clear turquoise water. Grilled trout is a natural choice here. Fresh and tasty, locally prepared, it will be a perfect choice for a day.
Afternoon: After the lunch we will take a walk through the forest and, in a less than 10 minutes, reach the stunning Radavac waterfall. At an altitude of 600 meters and 25 mteres tall, Radavac waterfall is known as the “source of the White Drin”
The White Drin is an underground river that rises under Mount Žljeb (2,382 m above sea level) and emerging right here, at the stunning 25 m high waterfall with a flow rate that can reach 65m3/second at the end of winter. Embraced by the thousands of shades of greenery, Radavac waterfall is a bucolic spot and a protected area since 1983.
> We will be guided by a local guide through Radavac cave chambers and enjoy a completely hidden world of unusual sculptures, decorations and inhabitants.
Following the path to the left of the waterfall, we will reach the magic of subterranean world – Radavac Cave. Also known as a sleeping beauty, this cave is known for its vast net of tunnels, corridors and galleries sculptured by a natural water force over the centuries.
The cave is 3620 meters long with the constant ongoing explorations. Recent excavations found traces of early humans from neolithic periods. After Radavac Cave, we will return to our hotel and let you have some rest before the diner party.
Dinner: Since this is our last night in Kosovo, we will make sure to make it as memorable as possible. With few of our local friends, in a nice garden ambience, we will arrange a local barbecue with plethora of locally farmed meat, vegetable and cheese products including some of the finest local wines and rakijas. Over a pleasant talks, a cheerful atmosphere and amazing local music, we will call off the night when you decide to.
Destination: Pristina, Kosovo
Meals Included: B
> Mitrovica is a town that will take us on a time travel from the ancient civilisations, Roman and Byzantine Empires, Serbian kings all the way to the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, its prides and prejudices and the fact the this city was once named “Titova Mitrovica”.
Activity Note: Today we are meant to start early after breakfast and visit notorious Mitrovica, segregated town known for its pedestrian bridge under the protection of KFOR forces. We will do some nice and easy walks, learn about Kosovo during the period of Yugoslavia and admire the grandiose Yugoslav Monument to Fallen Miners.
This itinerary covers the return to Pristina on a 5th day. In case you are interested in ending the trip elsewhere in the country or Balkans, please feel free to contact our team so we could customise your itinerary accordingly.
Breakfast: Last breakfast in Peja will once again provide a heavenly experience of local cheese, home made warm and fluffy Albanian ustipci, dried meat and sudjuk and Kollpite – a baked crust covered with yogurt.
Morning: After breakfast we will head back to Pristina and, on the way, we will make sure to visit one of the most infamous Balkan towns-Mitrovica.
During the drive, and having in mind the so far experience, we will try to finally reach the never ending question of Kosovo and all the reasons behind (non)recognising it as a valid and independent country. Mitrovica’s present ground was, due to its geographical position between the two rivers Ibar and Sitnica a prehistoric centre and an Illyrian necropolis.
Along with the entire Kosovo, territory of Mitrovica was under the rule of the Bulgarian state of Tsar Simeon (897-927), while after the fall of this kingdom it returned to the rule of the Byzantines.
> Bridge today is strictly pedestrian and is a stationary of Kosovo police forces. After hearing all the stories about Mitrovica, you will be overwhelmed and surprised by this city which, besides the bridge guarded by KFOR forces, seem absolutely peaceful place where one could imagine to live.
We will cross the notorious bridge on the river Ibar, the scene of too many riots and conflicts even after the war and symbol of segregation in this city to this day.
The city was called Kosovska Mitrovica until 1982, when it was in line with the then policy that in each republic and province of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, one city should bear the name of lifelong President Josip Broz Tito, the name was changed to Titova Mitrovica.
Due to the previous conflicts, in 2013 during the local elections, the city was divided into the municipalities of North and South Mitrovica making it a one city under the two roofs, two institutions, two systems, two and states.
> We will come close to the monument and admire its condition, massiveness, history and the views stretching over the city from a sky-platform just next to it.
Early Afternoon: After the coffee in Mitrovica, we will do some nice and easy hike through the forest towards the grandiose Yugoslavian spomenik built by a famous Yugoslav architect, Bogan Bogdanovic, the same architect who was in charge of the spectacular Jasenovac monument .
This massive concrete monument is dedicated to those who were lost during the fighting of World War II and will be a perfect chance to, once again, make a short time travel back to the theatre of communism playing the socialist drama. Less than an hour of drive will bring us to Pristina where we can drop you off at the airport or any desired address.
What Do I Need to Bring?
National Library, Pristina
NewBorn Monument, Pristina
National Library, Pristina
Gracanica Monastery, Pristina
Ancient town Ulpiana
Old Bazaar, Prizren
Patriarchy of Peje
Waterfall at Rugova Gorge