Kosovo is a fascinating little country - and one of the newest in the world. We've been asked many questions about Kosovo, so thought we'd put together an article that gives a bit of an overview on things.
Read all about it here.
1. The people are really good looking
Perhaps it’s the young population - 70% of people are under the age of 35. Or perhaps it’s the regional mixture: Kosovo is bordered by 4 modern-day countries: Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro and with a long history of trade routes thrown into the mix, it’s no wonder the beer ads can claim: Priština: Probably the prettiest women in the world.
2. The country is undergoing massive change
What you read online is probably already out of date. But that’s a good thing. Kosovo is an adventurous country, and it’s a place where your plans will change. You won’t find that cafe your friend recommended - but you’ll find a better one somewhere else.
3. Kosovo is overwhelmingly Albanian
The ethnic mixture is somewhere around 92% Albanian, 8% Serbian, so although it has a ‘dotted line’ border with Serbia on Google Maps (as they don’t recognise Kosovo independence), for your average visitor, the country is strongly tied to Albania (although it does have its own identity)
4. The people are friendly, inquisitive and full of life
This isn’t a land for the lonely, introspective traveller. You’ll be befriended, fed, chatted to and invited to social events. You’ll be challenged with world views one minute, and talking about Game of Thrones the next. The whole hospitality clichés ring true here.
5. Cafe’s are everywhere
The pedestrian-only streets are awash with a vibrant cafe culture - in rain or shine cafe’s are full of people nursing drinks for hours on end. The venerable macchiato is a speciality - locals will say it’s the best you’ll find in Europe, and, well, we agree!
6. There is a massive skill shortage
Kosovo has a high number of students and junior-skilled people and far fewer seniors, leaving a knowledge gap in many industries. This leaves a population which is academically up to date, but lacking in world-wide industry knowledge.
7. Kosovo is safe
For your average visitor, the military presence in the country is but a passing curiosity. The streets are as safe as any other country in the region and the usual precautions apply. Politically, however, issues are very sensitive and care should be taken when discussing recent history.
8. Kosovo is beautiful
Rugova Canyon is only the start of a mountainous national park which touches three countries. UNESCO-status has been bestowed upon both the Patriarche of Pec, the Church of Our Lady of Ljeviš and the Monastery of Gračanica. Ancient fortresses in most towns, hiking throughout the country, and cute little villages, lakes - the list goes on.
9. Kosovo is affordable
The average monthly income is around EUR450, making Kosovo a cheap destination for many visitors. This means a tasty dinner can be had for around EUR3, and a bus from one side of the country can be as little as EUR5.
10. The architecture can be weird
The Brutalist Pristina National Library may be the most famous, but the smaller cities have a plethora of Soviet-era oddities, including some of the most striking apartment blocks in former-Yugoslavia.
11. They sure know how to party
With great-tasting beer and festivals a-plenty, any decent DJ worth their salt will feature Priština on their Balkan tour. And that’s not counting the regular nightclubs…
12. Footpaths aren’t just for pedestrians
You’ll need to keep your wits about you. Parked cars fill the footpaths, leaving pedestrians fair game on the roads. Look left, look right, and keep looking as you cross the roads - the traffic (and driving ability) is more Mumbai than London.
13. Going to Serbia can be tricky
The official policy from the Serbians is that if you have a Kosovo stamp in your passport, you will be denied entry into the country. This means if you are planning to visit both, make sure you head to Serbia first. It is possible however upon entering Kosovo to ask the border control guards to not stamp your passport.
14. Kosovo has a woman president
In 2011, Atifete Jahjaga was the fourth president to be elected. Not only the youngest, but she was the first female - and she represents an Independent political party.
15. Bill Clinton is a hero
Not only will Bill Clinton street be a major thoroughfare in most cities, but there is a rather humble statue of Bill in Pristina, too. NATO were instrumental in liberating the Albanian population, and rebuilding Kosovo to where it is today. Tony Blair is another hero - Brits are warmly welcomed as a result.
EMMA & PETE
We're just two Aussie's who met in London, married in Prague and travelled overland back to Australia.