Best time to visit Kosovo

Best time to visit Kosovo


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

Sometimes people forget that Kosovo is located in southern Europe, so temperatures can get really hot in summer, although the average in July and August is the high 20s centigrade. Similarly it snows in winter, so the best times to visit Kosovo are April to September. As this is lovely walking territory, it will be cooler in April, May or September generally. Do bring rain gear if going into mountains though. Two big cultural events include the NGOM Music Festival in June/July and Docufest Film Festival in August, both in Prizren. Easter is a special, sacred time throughout the country too.

Things to do in Kosovo


WHAT TO DO IN KOSOVO & WHAT NOT TO DO

Things to do in Kosovo...


Monasteries and mosques are just some of Kosovo’s unheard of gems. It has Ottoman influences everywhere, such as the fortress in Prizren or the ancient city of Gjakova. One of the most stunning monasteries is Serbian Orthodox Visoki De?ani, a UNESCO site boasting some of Europe’s best preserved Byzantine frescoes. Many buildings were destroyed by Soviets or during the 1990s war. Check out Heritage without Borders, who support restoration projects.
Walk in the Prokletije Mountains. Also known as the Accursed Mountains, the only thing you will be cursing here is that you don’t have more time to enjoy it. This countrywide network of ancient shepherds’ trails is devoid of tourists and the mountain village of Bogë is a perfect place for chalet style accommodation surrounded by peaks. If you hike around the Mirusha Waterfalls, you will also be rewarded with some fine wild swimming.
If ever there was a place to raise a toast to a future, Kosovo is it. And with 270 days of sunshine a year, it has always proffered perfect terroirs for vines. The leading wine producing area is the Rahovec Valley, also known as Orahovac , where you can do a tour of four vintners, the most famous being Stone Castle Winery.
Enjoy café life. There is a lot of emphasis on the ‘ancient’ in Kosovo. But it is also vital to show its young, dynamic city life too, and the coffee shop scene in Pristina is gaining a fine reputation, not only for quality macchiato, but also for bohemian cool. Check out the Santea neighbourhood to see where ancient has been upstaged by all things ‘au courant’.

Things not to do in Kosovo…


Underestimate the summer heat. Just because it isn’t coastal, doesn’t mean you won’t overheat. Stay hydrated, especially in the mountains, and always wear a hat. Water is safe to drink, and there are plenty of old drinking fountains in small, rural towns.
Overlook the culture, which is very much driven by its very youthful population with 75 percent of people under 35 years old. The café life in Pristina is very cool indeed, but Prizren is the cultural hub, with a multi-ethnic population, lots of bars and cafes, and a prestigious documentary festival every year called Docufest. The Shadervan, or main square, is café and street food central and with Albanian, Turkish, Roma, Ashkali and Serbian influences, the emphasis is definitely on fusion. And fun.
The war and struggle for independence were both very recent, so don’t barge in with a political debate because, for many people the scars are far from healed. Read up on the history before you go, recognise that there are many ethnic groups, and just be sensitive. Mind you, once you get them started, there is no stopping them. Kosovar people are far from shy, and welcome not only visitors wholeheartedly but also a good old chinwag.
Think that because it is a predominantly Muslim country there is a shortage of alcohol. From beer to wine to raki, grapes and grain play an important role in Kosovars’ default status of all round gregariousness. But there is little alcohol related trouble. In fact Kosovo is a very peaceful country, with little crime or corruption. Too many international peacekeepers over the years maybe. So, raise your glass to that and say Gëzuar! Or cheers, Kosovo.

Kosovo travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN KOSOVO

Itinerary tips


Mark Huggins from our Kosovo vacations supplier, Undiscovered Destinations: “Kosovo is a small country and one of the most undiscovered in Europe. It has lots of interesting sites including UNESCO Decani Monastery and the architectural heritage of picturesque Prizren. Anyone who is interested in both modern and ancient European history will be fascinated by Kosovo. One can also enjoy beautiful scenery and walking in the Rugova Valley and also do some wine tasting at a local vineyard. We would recommend combining visiting Kosovo with Albania and Macedonia for wider look at the region”

Itinerary tips


Jim O’Brien, Director of our Kosovo vacations supplier, Native Eye: “My favourite place though is the Dragash region, in the southwest – it’s very traditional and home to the Gorani people, who can often be found wearing traditional dress. It’s a very friendly area and doesn’t see much in the way of tourism, and the hospitality of the local people towards a Western visitor can be quite overwhelming at times – but lovely nonetheless. The village of Brod in particular is a real delight, with old Ottoman era architecture, and the region is dotted with beautiful flower meadows which come alive in the spring.”

When to go


Mark Huggins from our Kosovo vacations supplier, Undiscovered Destinations, on the best time to visit Kosovo: “My favourite time to go is May, June or September into early October when the weather is generally good but still few vacationmakers both local and foreign.”
Photo credits: [Temp chart: ViganTafili ] [Itinery trip - Mark: GentiBehramaj] [When to go: Ilir Elshani] [Helpdesk: Aljabakphoto ]
Written by Catherine Mack
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