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What to Do in Pristina: The Capital City of Kosovo

  • Post last modified:February 4, 2024
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Did you know that the capital of Kosovo was once rated the ugliest city in the world? You may be wondering why we went, but it was to prove them wrong! We're here to tell you what to do in Pristina and around it, so that you can have a new appreciation for Kosovo's capital city.


While the city itself doesn't have a ton to do, we definitely suggest spending a night to experience the culture and cuisine of Kosovo.


In this guide we're going to share our favorite spots in and outside of the city, as well as what to do in Pristina for the perfect 24 hours. Come see why we're happy we went to Pristina, and why it's worth a visit.

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Where is Pristina in Kosovo?

Pristina is the capital of Kosovo, and is located in the north east of the country. Kosovo is a tiny country that is situated in the Balkan region of South Eastern Europe. Located inland, it is surrounded by different countries on all sides. Montenegro borders Kosovo to its north west, Albania to the south west, Macedonia to the south, and Serbia to the north and to the east,

Where is Pristina in Kosovo

Pristina is located in the north east of Kosovo.


How to Get to Pristina, Kosovo

Pristina can be a tricky capital city to get to, and that's due to the previous war in Kosovo. While Kosovo is in fact its own country, it still isn't recognized by Serbia as its own, complicating the border situation (which we'll explain further in a moment).


Traveling to Pristina by Flight

The easiest way to get to Pristina is definitely via air. While it doesn't have the biggest airport in the world, you can find quite a few other European cities that fly direct to Kosovo's capital. These include Basel, Berlin, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Hannover, Istanbul, Ljubljana, Malmo, Munich, Munster-Osnabruck, Nuremburg, Oslo, Stuttgart, and Zurich.


The Pristina airport is located 18 km outside the city, and is 30 minutes away by car, or 40 by bus. There are taxis that are right outside of the airport that can take you for around 20 euros, or you can take the A1 bus for just 3 euros.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates to fly to Pristina.

Search for a flight to Pristina:

Traveling to Pristina by Land

Being that Kosovo is landlocked, and in the middle of a ton of other beautiful countries, it is actually pretty popular to visit here via the land borders. However, you can't cross from just any land border to get to Pristina (unless you are a local). The largest border that Kosovo has with another country is Serbia, and foreigners cannot cross this border since it is not 100% official.


The land borders that can be crossed by tourists are from Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro. We drove our rental car from Skopje, and found this the easiest way to visit the city of Pristina. If you'd like to take a bus, there are a few cities that connect to Pristina including Tirana, Podgorica, and Sofia.


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Entry Requirements for Kosovo

Now that you know where Pristina is located and how to get there, it's important to know the requirements for entering the country.


Visa Entry Requirements for Kosovo

Due to where Kosovo is located, and the war in Kosovo a few decades ago, you already know that visiting Kosovo from Serbia can get complicated. However, visiting via another surrounding country is pretty easy. Kosovo grants visa-free access for up to 90 days to all nationalities in Europe (including the UK), the USA, Australia, and plenty of other nationalities. If you're not sure whether or not you need a visa, ensure to check the official website of foreign affairs in Kosovo, or to contact your local embassy.


Covid Entry Requirements for Kosovo

There aren't any more restrictions when it comes to Covid-19 for entering the country of Kosovo. Masks are no longer mandatory, and it's also pretty rare you'll come across anyone wearing one.


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Local Adjustments for Pristina 

Whenever traveling to a new destination, there will be certain things that differ from home, such as the language, currency, or electrical outlets used. Here are a few of the "local adjustments" to keep in mind while traveling to Pristina, Kosovo.


What Language is Spoken in Pristina?

The official language in Pristina is Albanian, which is classified as an Indo-European language. 92% of people living in the country of Kosovo are actually of Albanian decent, while only 6% of the population are Serbian and speak Serbian.


Currency in Kosovo

The currency used in Kosovo is the euro (the same as the neighboring country, Albania). The center of Pristina has plenty of places that accept credit card. However, if you are visiting smaller restaurants or staying in cheaper accommodation, there is a big chance that you'll need to pay in cash. Always make sure to have euros on you in case the place doesn't not accept credit card.


What Plugs are Used in Kosovo?

The outlets in Pristina, Kosovo support the same plug types as the rest of Europe, which is primarily plug type F. The standard voltage in Pristina is 230 V with a standard frequency of 50 Hz. If you are from the Americas, you'll definitely want to purchase a travel adapter that converts the energy as well, this way you won't burn out your electronics.


Can I Drink the Water in Pristina, Kosovo?

The tap water in Pristina is perfectly safe to drink, so you'll have no issues drinking from the tap. We suggest carrying a refillable water bottle with you to stay hydrated.


Is Tipping Customary in Kosovo?

The tipping culture in Kosovo can be a bit confusing, as many websites claim that tipping is not common or necessary, However, many locals from Pristina told us it is very much appreciated and it definitely seemed expected in nicer establishments. We personally suggest leaving 10% as a tip (in cash) if you feel that you received good service while eating out.

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What to Do in Pristina, Kosovo

Now that you know the basics of visiting, here is a list of what to do in Pristina, Kosovo during your trip.


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What to Do in Pristina #1: Stroll Around the Downtown Area

We aren't going to lie to you- Pristina definitely isn't the most exciting city in the world. However, what we did enjoy were the restaurants and bars in the center, and the atmosphere is the downtown area in general. Before you go out in the evening, take a moment to walk around the center where you can find plenty of shopping, restaurants, and bars.


what to do in Pristina city center
what to do in Pristina city center
what to do in Pristina city center

Pristina has a small city center that is easy to walk around.

What to Do in Pristina #2: Visit the Library 

If you're looking for what to do in Pristina that sets it apart, it's this. Remember we mentioned that Pristina was rated the ugliest city in the world? Well, it's because of this building.

what to do in Pristina, library of Pristina

You may be wondering-but why would I want to visit a hideous building? Well, it truly is a sight for sore eyes, but it also makes it something that you'll definitely want to see. The library of Pristina has a pretty unique architecture, and is worth seeing both from afar and up close.


what to do in Pristina, library of Pristina
what to do in Pristina, library of Pristina
what to do in Pristina, library of Pristina

The Pristina Library is infamous for it's architecture.

What to Do in Pristina #3: Enjoy the Nightlife

While the city itself isn't something to write home about, we truly enjoyed going out here! There is an incredible vibe here, and people love to party. We'll tell you about some of our favorite spots in the food & drink section of this article.

Soma book station, what to do in Pristina

Pristina has some great bars and restaurants to check out.

What to Do in Pristina #4: Check Out Monastery Gracanica

Just under 15 minutes south of the center, is one of the most popular religious sites in the area. Monastery Gracanica is a Serbian Orthodox Monastery that was built upon the ruins of a 6th century Basilica. It is open for visitation for both locals and tourists, but just make sure to be dressed appropriately while entering the grounds.


Monastery Gracanica, what to do in Pristina
Monastery Gracanica, what to do in Pristina
Monastery Gracanica, what to do in Pristina

Monastery Gracanica is just south of the center of Pristina.

What to Do in Pristina #5: Stop by an Ancient Roman City

Right down the road from the Monastery Gracanica is another point of interest to stop by. Ulpiana was once an ancient Roman city, and now is just a small site with a few ruins remaining. Stop here for free and read the signs explaining the history of the city, take a quick stroll to appreciate the little that does still stand today.

Ulpiana, what to do in Pristina
Ulpiana, what to do in Pristina

What to Do in Pristina #6: Explore the Bear Sanctuary

Located just a little further past Monastery Gracanica and Ulpiana lies the Pristina Bear Sanctuary. Just 30 minutes from the center, you can experience 20 different bears that have been saved from circuses and restaurants that used to use bears for entertainment. 


Due to the fact that they would no longer be able to survive alone in nature, they have been places at the bear sanctuary to ensure they can live their best life without being in danger. 


The Bear Sanctuary is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm, and there is a trail that takes you around to view the bears safely, and learn about each individual bear in the sanctuary. In addition, there is a restaurant on site, with a gift shop to take something home with you.

bear sanctuary, what to do in Pristina
bear sanctuary, what to do in Pristina
bear sanctuary, what to do in Pristina

There are 20 different bears at the Pristina Bear Sanctuary.

What to Do in Pristina #7: Take a Tour of Gadima Cave

We're all about natural beauty, and Gadima Cave was definitely a cool place to check out just outside of the capital. Make sure to get here early, as the first time we went we found them to be closed already (it was around 3 pm when we went).


The entrance is just 2 euros, and the people working there are super friendly. Another thing that we loved about this spot, is that unlike most caves, there are no tours required, and you can visit at your own pace. We spent about 20 minutes, and then ate at the restaurant right next door.

Gadima Cave, what to do in Pristina, Kosovo
Gadima Cave, what to do in Pristina, Kosovo

Gadima Cave is one of the best sites outside of Pristina.

What to Do in Pristina #8: Go Glamping

Want to get out of the city? Well, Pristina is surrounded by mountains, and has some beautiful Glamping spots. Kalaja has a small castle perched on top of a mountain, and a tiny town with a few places to choose from. Additionally, there is a great restaurant that has local food and beautiful views and is called Nuovo Monte.


Nuovo Monte, Kosovo
Nuovo Monte, Kosovo
Nuovo Monte, Kosovo
Nuovo Monte, Kosovo
Nuovo Monte, Kosovo

Nuovo Monte has delicious food, cute puppies, a playground, and great views.

The Glamping site we chose to stay (Villa Kalaja Novoberde) had adorable A-frame cabins, with beautiful views, and even a few that has jacuzzis inside. If you're looking for a unique experience without spending a fortune, then this is a great place to do it.


Kalaja, Kosovo
Kalaja, Kosovo
Kalaja, Kosovo

Villa Kalaja has the most adorable A-frame cabins.

What to Do in Pristina #9: Take a Day Trip

Being that Kosovo is such a small country, most of our favorite things to do in the country can be seen on a day trip. One of our favorite spots is Migusha Falls, a set of waterfalls that you can enjoy just an hour from the city. 

waterfalls in Kosovo

Another one of our favorite places in Kosovo is Prizren, which  is the perfect weekend getaway from Pristina. If you don't have a ton of time though, you can sign up for a tour that will take you to enjoy the city for a few hours and see the highlights.


Stay tuned for next week's travel guide about Prizren, so that you can learn all about why this is our favorite spot in Kosovo, and learn about all of the things you can do there.


Prizren day trip, what to do in Pristina
Prizren day trip, what to do in Pristina
Prizren day trip, what to do in Pristina

Prizren is our favorite place in all of Kosovo, and it is just a few hours from Pristina.


What to Do in Pristina: Food & Drink

Our favorite part of visiting Pristina was definitely the food & drink scene in town. Here are a couple of options to check out:


Liburnia

If you're looking for delicious local food, great location, and amazing atmosphere, then look no further. Liburnia is a restaurant that will completely surprise you from the moment you walk in to the moment that you leave. 


The restaurant is covered in greenery and romantically lit for a special dinner. The dishes are local, fresh, and incredibly made. The servers were super accommodating, and overall is was our favorite restaurant in Pristina.


Liburnia, what to do in Pristina
Liburnia, what to do in Pristina
Liburnia, what to do in Pristina

Liburnia is one of the best restaurants in Pristina.

Soma Book Station

Just a few minute walk away is another one of our favorite spots in Pristina. If you're looking for what to do in Pristina for breakfast, this is the spot. If you're looking for what to do in Pristina for nightlife, this is also the spot. Finally, if you're a Digital nomad like us, this is the perfect place to get your work done while have a bite to eat, a cup of coffee, or even a cocktail.

Soma book station, what to do in Pristina

Soma Book Station has a library feel inside on the left side, where you'll find people studying and working, while the outside has a fun restaurant and bar vibe. You can literally spend the entire day at Soma Book Station from having a delicious brunch, to getting your work or studies done, and to even having a fun night out. One thing to note is that it is closed on Sundays.


Soma book station, what to do in Pristina
Soma book station, what to do in Pristina
Soma book station, what to do in Pristina

Soma Book Station is great for working and hanging out for a drink.

Dit' e Nat'

This is another popular bar frequented by locals, and is right around the corner from Soma Book Station. Dit' e Nat' also has the dual combo of being a coffee shop and a bar. They also have live music and special events, so make sure to pop in and see what fun activities they have in store for the night.

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What to Do in Pristina: How Do You Get Around in Pristina?

The city center of Pristina is super small, and the only thing you'll need in the center is your own two feet. However, if you'd like to visit some of the outside attractions, you'll either have to rent a car or to rely on public transportation.


Renting a Car in Pristina 

We rented a car for three months in the Balkans, and we found it to be super practical for when we were in Kosovo in general. It was also great for exploring the various attractions nearby Kosovo such as the bear sanctuary or cave.


Rent a car in Pristina:

Public Transportation in Pristina

If you don't have a car, or don't plan on visiting the rest of the country, you can easily get by with public transportation for very cheap. There is a main bus station that connects Pristina with other surrounding cities, as well as other areas of the country.


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What to Do in Pristina for Accommodation

Being that Pristina is not so big, we suggest staying as close to the city center as possible. We decided to spend one night in the center, as well as one an hour away for a glapming experience.


Want to book a place to stay in the center of Pristina? Take a look at the options on the map:

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Is is Safe to Travel to Pristina, Kosovo?

When I first went to Pristina in 2015, I was simply stopping in Pristina to grab a bus to Belgrade. 5-10 minutes into the ride a guy came over to check our passports and he saw I was American. He told me I couldn't be there, and then I was kicked off the bus in the pitch black and pouring rain. 


Needless to say my first impression was not the best. Later I learned that this was because I would have gotten denied at the border (due to the previous war in Kosovo).


The second time I decided to give Kosovo another chance. We did everything right by avoiding the border of Serbia and Kosovo, and ended up have a completely different experience! We found everyone in Pristina to be extremely friendly and welcoming. There aren't a ton of tourists here, so people genuinely are interested to find foreigners, interact with them, and help them in any way. We felt super safe both during the day and at night, as well as when we walked around solo.


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Other Things to Know About Pristina, Kosovo

Now that you know what to do in Pristina, how to get there, and where to eat, here are a few more details to keep in mind while visiting.

Pristina, Kosovo

Weather in Pristina

Pristina experiences all four seasons, with very hot summers, and very cold winters. Summers are very sunny and dry, while winters can see plenty of snow.


The Best Time to Visit Pristina, Kosovo

Overall, we  think that the best time to visit the country of Kosovo is in either winter or summer. However, being that Pristina is a city, if it is the only place you plan on visiting in Kosovo, we think the best time to visit is when the temperatures a little more mild, such as in Spring or in Fall.


Packing For a Trip to Pristina

When packing for the city of Pristina, you won't need to worry about too many special things to pack. We suggest packing a few nice outfits for when you go out to dinner or to the bars, and comfortable clothing for exploring the city. We also suggest having a refillable water bottle, since you can easily fly up from the tap.


Packing List for Pristina, Kosovo

  • Reusable Water Bottle (we use this water bottle from Cafago because it holds the temperature)
  • Nice clothes for going out
  • Power Bank (we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)
  • Travel Adapter (we use Tessan travel adapters as they are affordable and reliable)

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Now that you know what to do in Pristina, are you ready to explore more of Kosovo? While Pristina isn't our favorite destination, we think it's a great place to spend a night to start or finish your visit to Kosovo


Want to visit the beautiful nature of Kosovo? We have a few more guides for our favorite places to explore throughout the country coming up the next few weeks. Want to stay in the know? Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter with regular updates, as well as exclusive content. In addition, we have a ton of Balkan travel guides so that you can experience all of the other great places in this underrated area of Europe.


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