Pristina, also known as Prishtina, holds a special place in my heart, not just because of its captivating blend of old-world charm and contemporary allure but also because of my family roots deeply embedded in this city.
As I explore Pristina’s diverse range of experiences, I can’t help but feel a strong connection to this place. Located in the Northeastern part of Kosovo, close to the enchanting Goljak mountains in the District of Pristina, this city has always felt like a second home to me.
Now, I’m thrilled to share my love for Pristina with you as we embark on a journey to discover the best things to do in this remarkable city, ensuring your visit is filled with memorable moments and delightful discoveries.
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What To See And Do In Pristina Kosovo
Of course, there are loads more than ten things to do, but these will get you started:
1. Visit the Emin Gjiku Ethnographic Museum
Of the ten best places to visit in Pristina is the Emin Gjiku Ethnographic Museum. It’s located in an old 18th-century house in the Bazaar area and shows what Kosovar life was like from the 15th to the 20th century. The tour guides explain how all the furniture, tools, pottery, clothing, jewelry, musical instruments, and weapons were used and give you some insight into Pristina traditions.
2. Visit The Monument At Skanderbeg Square
Next on the list of places to see in Pristina is Skanderbeg Square. After the Kosovo conflict in 1999 ended, the Albanians in Kosovo erected this monument to Gjergj Kastrioti, who’s famously known as Skanderbeg.
He was a nobleman from the 15th century who fought against the Ottoman rulers. This Pristina top 10 contender, locally known as Sheshi Skënderbeu, resembles statues in Tirana, Albania, and Skopje, Macedonia.
3. Visit The Sultan Mehmet Fatih Mosque
As locals call it, the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Mosque, or the Imperial Mosque, is among the best places to see in Pristina. It was built by Sultan Mehmet II Fatih in 1461 and also served as a Catholic Church during the 17t17th-century to-Turkish wars.
The interiors and walls of this Pristina tourist attraction are covered with beautiful paintings and murals. As the most important mosque in Pristina, it is a must-see while sightseeing in Pristina.
4. Wander Through The Bazaar Of Pristina
Pristina Bazaar, the Bazaar of Pristina or Carshia e Prishtines, was the main bazaar in the Old City of Pristina since the 15th century. Much of it was destroyed during the 1950s and 1960s, and government buildings were put up in their place.
But you can still see the old Bazaar Hammam and Bazaar Mosque and Pristina tourist attractions. The remnants of the bazaar area are filled with vendors selling vegetables, appliances, and many flea market items. A must-see in Pristina!
5. Visit The Mesozoic Era Gadime Caves
Found in 1966 by Ahmet Asllani’s villager while working in his garden, the Marble Cave, or Gadime Cave in theime e Ulët, Lipljan is a Mesozoic era karst limestone cave.
FulTheves can be visited on a guided tour. It is full of remarkable stalactite and stalagmite formations, although you’ll have to drive for half an hour to get here; it’s one of the most amazing places to visit around Pristina.
6. Visit The Weird National Library Of Kosovo
This kind of weird-looking structure is one of the top places of interest in Pristina and is listed as one of the ugliest buildings in the world.
The National Library of Kosovo must be seen while in Pristina! Supposedly a melting of Byzantine and Islamic architecture, the 99 white domes provide natural lighting to the library and resemble the Albanian national hat “plisi.” This Pristina attraction is like a prison outside and a regular library from the inside.
7. See The Museum Of Kosovo
Among Pristina’s top 10 tourist attractions is the Museum of Kosovo, which opened in 1949. The museum is located in a building built in 1889 to house the military high command. Recently renovated, the Museum of Kosovo is no doubt one of the top things to see.
8. See Pristina’s Oldest Mosque
Sultan Bayezid I lost his father, Sultan Murad I, in the battle of Amselfeld, which they won against the Christian defenders.
To commemorate the victory and remember his father, Sultan Bayezid, I built the Carshi Mosque in 1393. Also known as the Bazaar Mosque, Stone Mosque, or Sultan Murad Mosque, it is one of the famous places in Pristina and the city’s oldest mosque.
Standing in the Bazaar area near the start of the Old Town, it’s an essential addition to the list of what to see in Pristina.
9. Visit Saint Teresa Cathedral
BuiBuilt-in07, the Cathedral of Blessed Mother Teresa is dedicated to the Albanian nun, Saint Teresa of Calcutta. It was inaugurated in 2010 by President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosovo on the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa’s birthday.
One of the tallest buildings in Pristina, it is possible to go up the bell tower at certain hours. The Cathedral is one of the popular destinations in Pristina for followers of Saint Teresa.
10. National University Library
Now, at first glance, you might decide that this building is, in fact, quite ugly to look at, but it still deserves some of your time. Some people think it’s modernist and beautiful; others think it’s horrible – what do you think? It’s designed in a Brutalist architectural style, which might not be the prettiest way to create a building, but it certainly stands out! Of course, you can forget what it looks like and go inside to explore the millions of books and artifacts.
11. The Newborn Monument
The Newborn Monument is one of Pristina’s latest additions, and it’s got a real meaning behind it. This is designed to show that Kosovo is one of Europe’s newest countries, hence the newborn analogy. The monument was initially built to mark Kosovo’s independence from Serbia back in 2008.
12. Spot Street Art
Pristina is full of iconic street art, and walking around and spotting it is a great way to spend your time. Plus, it’s free! Just wear some comfortable shoes and take your camera. A lot of the murals are located in the center of Pristina itself, including a mural of the famous singer Dua Lipa! However, make sure you venture outside of the city center as you’ll also find some fantastic pieces of art dotted around the suburbs.
13. The Përmendorja Statue
The Përmendorja statue is located in the center of the city, and it’s designed to commemorate the soldiers who died during the Liberation Struggle in World War II. Initially, the statue was created in grey, as most statues are, but now it’s been painted in a vibrant purple color, which certainly makes it stand out, even if it does seem a bit odd.
14. Climb The Bell Tower
While you’re visiting Mother Teresa Cathedral, make sure you venture up the bell tower and check out the fantastic views. This is the highest point in the city that you can go to, so you’re going to see panoramas that take your breath away. Don’t worry; you don’t need to walk as there is an elevator that will take you right to the top for just a couple of Euros.
15. The Mother Teresa Statue
You’ll see statues and nods to Mother Teresa all around the city, but this is the main one. Located in the city center, this statue is made of bronze and shows Mother Teresa standing with a child. The design is said to show how some people in the world are less fortunate than others and that we should show the same level of kindness to everyone.
16. The Heroinat Memorial
The Heroinat Memorial is definitely worth visiting as it’s designed to commemorate the women who suffered and gave up so much during the war. It is located across from the Newborn Monument, and it shows 20,000 pins. Each pin represents one woman who suffered horrendous sexual violence from Serbian soldiers during the war. It’s a harrowing thing to think about, but it’s something everyone should see and give a few moments of quiet contemplation to.
17. Kosovo Museum
The Kosovo Museum is a great spot to learn more about the history of the country. It’s also an excellent way to get out of the rain for a few hours. You’ll learn about Kosovo all the way back to the prehistoric era, with a large segment of the museum dedicated to the war and independence.
The museum is free to enter, but you can donate if you choose.
18. People-Watching on MT Boulevard
A great way to spend an hour or so is to grab a tea or coffee and sit and watch the world go by on MT Boulevard. You’ll find lots of cafes and places to eat around here, and it’s always a bustling, sociable place. People watching here is fantastic; from locals to tourists, you’ll see it all.
Be sure to head here during the evening and enjoy a delicious traditional meal, too.
19. Bill Clinton Boulevard
Yes, there is a boulevard dedicated to the former US president. This area was named in Clinton’s honor as a way of marking the help the US gave to Kosovo during the war. It’s a good place to visit to say you’ve been, and it’s another area that’s great for people-watching and enjoying a coffee.
20. Christ the Saviour Orthodox Cathedral
This church is abandoned, but the architecture is still really beautiful. However, it’s the history that people want to learn about. During the war, Serbia forced Kosovans to build churches, which was difficult considering that the majority of the population was Muslim. When the war ended, this church was left half-built, and it remains that way now.
21. Visit The National Gallery
Right next to the University Library, you’ll find the National Gallery, which is free to enter. It’s a great way to learn more about local art, and there is a large exhibition dedicated to it.
22. Take A Day Trip To The Gracanica Monastery
To get to this top tourist site in Pristina, you will need to travel. Grancanica Monastery is located 10 km away from the city – so not too far.
Built by King Stefan Milutin in 1321 on a 6th-century church’s ruins, the monastery is famous for its double inscribed cross ceiling and dome structure. One of the best sites in Pristina reflecting Serbo-Byzantine architecture, the monastery is now the offBishop of Raska’s official seat and UNESCO World Heritage site.
What language do they speak in Pristina? Most of the population speaks Albanian and Serbian, but English, German, Bosnian, and Turkish are also widely spoken.
Did you know? After Tirana, Pristina ranks as the second-largest city in the world in terms of an Albanian-speaking population.
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Other Ideas Of What To Do In Pristina Kosovo
Other than these best things to do in Pristina, there are quite a few Pristina sites to see that we’d recommend:
- Wondering what to do in Pristina at night? See a play at the National Theatre of Kosovo!
- Visit one of Prishtina’s top attractions, the statue of 14th-century Serbian knight Milos Obilic, honored for murdering the Ottoman Sultan Murad I
- Also on the list of Pristina places to see is the Pristina Spomenik, a 1960s Yugoslav monument for brotherhood and unity
- Visit the yet-to-be-finished Saviors Cathedral
- Take photos of the old Clock Tower
- Visit the Partisan Martyrs Cemetery
- Take a drive to Batlava Lake, the source of potable water for major cities in the Pristina district
- Visit the 1870 Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour to see the Skanderbeg fresco painted in 1883 by the Albanian monk and painter Gjergj Panarati
- Take a trip to the nearby Visoki Decani Monastery, built by the Serbian King Stefan Decanski
Best Places To Visit In Pristina To Taste Local Food
Food is something you can never do without on your travels! And why should you when there’s such delicious local fare to taste when you visit Pristina? Getting stuffed with steaks and ajvar or drinking local craft beers is a fun thing to do in Pristina! Here are our favorite places to visit in Pristina to satisfy the foodie in you:
Eat at Te Syla or Alhambra
Located in Sejdi Begu in Shadervan, the Te Syla is a riverside restaurant started by a street food vendor named Sylejman Dapko in 1967. The simple décor and superb location complement the exquisite dishes served here. If you visit, try the fantastic Balkan Grill, kebabs, grilled pastries, and other dishes. The official name of the restaurant, though, is Alhambra.
The colorful plates at Besimi Beska are so pretty; they’ll leave you not wanting to touch your food. The portions are generous, and the food is delicious. Try the mixed grill, the goulash, steaks, and local bread with cheese. The bread, naans, and pizzas are made in traditional brick ovens. The restaurant is located in Shadervanit 56 in Old Town and has a small pond and trees.
Princessa Gresa Restaurant
Located on Fehmi Agani Street, the Princessa Gresa Restaurant is famous for its unique Fish Plate and Ramstek viqi Veal Steak. It’s one of Pristina’s top tourist destinations that keeps guests returning for more!
Soma Book Station
A local favorite, Soma Book Station, looks like an extensive library that serves food and drink. Local beers and seasonal wines accompany the tasty food served here. Guests can spend hours here renting books for just 1 Euro or playing old vinyl records. If you love John Cage, Chet Baker, and Sonny Rollins, you’ll love grabbing a drink or meal at Soma Book Station. It’s a must on your Pristina to-do list!
Pishat is one of Pristina’s downtown restaurants that has been serving local Albanian food for over 35 years. It’s easy to find, priced slightly on the higher side but serves excellent Lavazza coffee and a range of Albanian dishes.
Enter Restaurant Liburnia, and you’ll feel like you’ve entered a fairytale or a novel. The restaurant close to the Townhall is filled with lamps, vinand e creepers and has a traditional ambiance. It’s on the list of top Pristina places to visit to try local freshly baked bread and meat dishes.
This restaurant is easy to miss because the wooden doors look like they belong to someone’s home. No outside sign indicates you’ve reached one of the famous Pristina attractions. There’s no menu here, either! You go in, get seated, and the server serves you various local food and drinks until you’re full. It’s like a buffet on your own. Sometimes you must wait long for a table, but it’s worth it! A favorite with the locals, the Renaissance is at the top of the list of things to do in Pristina for food lovers.
One of the cool things to do in Pristina when on holiday is to sit out on a sunny terrace and enjoy a glass of wine. You can do that here at the Tiffany while tasting delicious organic food and freshly baked bread. The restaurant also sells jars of its famous Ajvar sauce that you can take home as a memento of your Pristina travel.
Where To Stay When You Visit Pristina
You’ll find plenty of accommodation close to the things to do in Prishtina; here are some of our top picks:
Swiss Diamond Hotel Prishtina
Just 100 meters from the Center of Prishtina and right next to the landmarks in Pristina, such as the Parliament Hall and National Theater, the Swiss Diamond Hotel Prishtina offers 5-star facilities and Kosovo’s most prestigious spa..
The luxurious Hotel Sirius has a fantastic rooftop restaurant with views of the best Pristina sights, a stone’s throw from the best things to see in Pristina..
If you’re wondering where to go in Pristina, that’s simplistic but rich; the Golden Hotel has beautiful rooms and suites where all the beds have lovely golden borders. It’s within 1 km walking distance from the Mother Teresa Cathedral..
Centrally located in Pristina, the Hotel Nartel offers comfortable and straightforward 4-star rooms within a 5500-meter walk from all the restaurants and stuff to do in Pristina..
Close to the City Centre and Pristina attractions, the Hotel Pejton offers clean and comfortable rooms within walking distance of all the top places to see in Pristina..
With economical and decorated elegant rooms, the Hotel Adria is in the heart of town and within walking distance of the top tourist attractions in Pristina..