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Top 10 Things To Do In Pristina, Kosovo
Pristina or Prishtina is a city with a different vibe, melting old museums and architecture with the newer Pristina landmarks. Where is Pristina, you ask? You’ll find Pristina in the North-Eastern part of Kosovo, close to the Goljak mountains in the District of Pristina.
One of Kosovo’s popular destinations, Prizren, is known as “Museum City” or the “prettiest city in Kosovo.” Set on the slopes of the Sar aka Sharr mountains in Kosovo, and by the banks of the Prizren Bistrica (Lumbardhi River), this stunning city is the hotspot of Kosovo tourism and a definite must on any Kosovo travel itinerary. With fantastic food, cultural events, and surrounded by beautiful nature, there are many top things to see in Prizren. But if you’re looking for fun things to do in Prizren, Kosovo, here are our top choices in just a few days or perhaps a week.
What To See And Do In Pristina
Of course, there are loads more than ten things to do, but these will get you started:
Take In The Spectacular Views From The Prizren Fortress
Built in the 11th century, the impressive Prizren Fortress provides the city’s best view and the surrounding valley. Dusan’s Fortress or Kaljaja Fortress was also built on a hill overlooking Bistrica Prizren but was destroyed in 1915 during World War 1. The 15-minute walk up to the fortress’s ruins goes past the ruins of the Orthodox Church of St. Savior. You cannot miss a visit to this Prizren top attraction – grab your camera to take a picture of the city with the canon in the forefront.
See The Fabulous Sinan Pasha Mosque
Built by Sofi Sinan Pasha in 1615, the Sinan Pasha Mosque has an impressive dome and facade and a striking minaret. Built with stones taken from the nearby Serbian Orthodox Saint Archangels Monastery that was abandoned and had was in ruins by the 17th century. Visible from most places in the city, the mosque has a striking interior that can be seen when prayer services are not on. The original stone flooring and carpentry work can still be seen at these crucial landmarks in Prizren. The walls of this Prizren tourist site are covered with quotes from the Quran and beautiful floral patterns. If you can only add one mosque to your list of things to do in Prizren, Kosovo, this Prizren sightseeing attraction is a must.
Take Pictures On The Old Stone Bridge
One of the best places to see in Prizren, the Old Stone Bridge, or ura e Gurit, crosses the Prizrenska Bistrica or Lumbardhi River in the town center. Joining the Shatervan square and the Sarachane square on different sides of the river, it is one of Kosovo’s best sites and one of the prominent Prizren landmarks. Built with stones in the latter half of the 15th century, and currently, among the top Prizren points of interest, the bridge is paved with cobblestone and has three arches. It was destroyed in the flooding of November 1979 but restored in June 1982. A popular tourist thing to do in Prizren, Kosovo, is to take pictures on this Old Stone Bridge – be sure to wake up early and get your tourist-free shot.
Visit The St. George Cathedral
Built by the Runoviq brothers between 1856 and 1887, the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral Church of St. George was built near the Old Church of Saint George. The Cathedral was set on fire in 2004 and slowly restored over the next few years. The simple minimalist inner walls contrast with the sturdy exterior stone walls. Because permission from the priest is required to go inside, you’ll have to admire this top 10 site in Prizren from the outside.
Our Lady Of Ljevis
Bogorodica Ljeviska Cathedral or Our Lady of Ljevis is one of the top things to see Prizren even if you cannot enter inside. This church is a must-see in Prizren and was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance by Serbia in 1990. It’s also on the UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger as part of the Medieval Monuments in Kosovo. Built in 1306 by Serbian King Stefan Milutin, the church was used as a mosque by the Ottoman Empire and converted back to a church in 1911. Bogorodica Ljeviska was built on the ruins of an older Byzantine Church called Metera Eleousa. Although it is one of the top 10 tourist attractions in Kosovo, the church is closed to visitors as the beautiful frescoes inside are still being renovated. We’ll let you know when it’s open again – until then, do not let that stop you from taking the 10-minute walk here from the city center to gaze at the magnificent architecture of Milutin’s 5-dome cross-shaped church.
Turkish Bath Aka The Hamam Of Gazi Mehmet Pasha
Close to the Emin Pasha Mosque on Adem Jashari Street, the Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hamamis is one of the places to see in Prizren, everyone we know raves about. Built between 1563 and 1574 by Gazi Mehmet Pasha, it’s one of the Balkans’ most significant and one of the top Kosovo tourist attractions. With three-foot thick walls and separate male and female sections, this attraction may be a spot that showcases the difference between the past and the present day. Since 2000, it has been used as a zone for different cultural, artistic, and educational events.
Crkva Sveta Nedelje
Crkva Sveta Nedelje or the Church of the Holy Saviour is a Serbian Orthodox Church built in 1330. This church was heavily damaged in the 2004 war, but it has since been rebuilt and can be visited and always makes the top Prizren lists.
Hike in the Sharr Mountains National Park
If you’re a nature lover looking for places to visit around Prizren, full of beautiful parks and natural landscape, and sky tipped mountains, the Sharr Mountains National Park is one of the best places to visit in Prizren. Full of stunning alpine peaks and lush nature, the Sharr Mountains or Sar Mountains in South Eastern Kosovo will take your breath away. If you have more time, book a local hiking trip with a tour guide that will take you from Brod Village to the Black Peak and Gornje Lubinje that ends in Prizren.</p
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.
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 is locally known as Sheshi Skënderbeu and resembles statues in Tirana, Albania, and Skopje, Macedonia.
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 17th century Austro-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 Pristina.
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 its place.
But you can still see the old Bazaar Hammam and Bazaar Mosque that are also Pristina tourist attractions. The remnants of the bazaar area are filled with vendors selling vegetables, appliances, and many flea market items too. Definitely a must-see in Pristina!
Visit The Mesozoic Era Gadime Caves
Found in 1966 by a villager named Ahmet Asllani while working in his garden, the Marble Cave, or Gadime Cave in the village of Gadime e Ulët, Lipljan is a Mesozoic era karst limestone cave.
Full of remarkable stalactite and stalagmite formations, the caves can be visited on a guided tour. 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.
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.
It looks like a prison from the outside and a regular library from the inside. 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.” The National Library of Kosovo has to be seen while you’re in Pristina!
See The Museum Of Kosovo
Among the top 10 tourist attractions in Pristina is the Museum of Kosovo that opened in 1949. The museum is located in a building that was 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.
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.
Visit Saint Teresa Cathedral
Built in 2007, 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 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.
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 official seat of the Bishop of Raska and also a 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.
Other Popular Things In Pristina
Other than these ten things to do in Pristina, there are quite a few Pristina sites to see that we’d recommend.
- Visit the Newborn Monument, one of the Pristina points of interest that celebrates Kosovo becoming a country
- Wondering what to do in Pristina at night? See a play at the National Theatre of Kosovo!
- Another must-do thing in Pristina is to capture shots of street art all over the city
- Visit one of the Pristina top attractions, the statue of 14th-century Serbian knight Milos Obilic, honored for murdering the Ottoman Sultan Murad I
- Wave at the 11 feet tall Bill Clinton statue. He’s one of the favorite Pristina landmarks because he supported Kosovo’s independence
- 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 Christ the 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
- If you’re looking for things to do in Prizren in May or June, the adrenalin-filled 40 Bunar Festival and the Bridge of Art Festival are must-sees
- Visit the medieval Visegrad Fortress in the Prizren Bsitrica Gorge; a must on the list of Prizren places to see
- Spend time exploring the Shadervani area, near the Shadervan or “fountain of many streams.”
- See the last surviving minaret of the Arasta Mosque
- Attend the Dokufest film festival in August, one of the famous Prizren activities that draw crowds from everywhere
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 are just fun 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 streetfood 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 it is Alhambra.
At Vatrat Shqiptare in Prizren is the famous Marashi Restaurant. A favorite with tourists, the restaurant is right next to the river and has a modern ambiance and an outdoor terrace. From the soups and starters to the raki and the main course, all the food here is heavenly and cheap.
Kafe Libraria Sindikata
Located just 10 meters from Shadervan, this Kafe serves the best coffee in Prizren. If you prefer alcohol, the Kafe serves the Peja and Sabaja craft beers from Prishtina, as well as the best rakia in town. Set right on the street, it’s an excellent place to watch the world go by.
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 here 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 special Fish Plate and Ramstek viqi Veal Steak. It’s one of the top tourist destinations in Pristina that keeps guests coming back 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 and rent books for just 1 Euro or play 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 towns’ older 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 that’s located close to the Townhall is filled with lamps, vine 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 just like they belong to someone’s home. There’s no sign outside to indicate you’ve reached one of the famous Pristina attractions. There’s no menu here either! You go in, get seated, and the waiters start serving you a variety of local food and drink till you’re full. It’s like a buffet at your own table. A favorite with the locals, the Renaissance is at the top of the list of things to do in Pristina for food lovers. Sometimes you have to wait long for a table, but it’s worth it!
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 some 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 see in Pristina; here are some of our top picks:
- 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
- A stone’s throw from the best things to see in Pristina, the luxurious Hotel Sirius has a fantastic rooftop restaurant with views of the best Pristina sights
- 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 500 meters walk from all the restaurants and stuff to do in Pristina
- Close to the City Centre and tourist attractions, the Hotel Pejton offers clean and comfortable rooms within walking distance of all the top places to see in Pristina
- With economical and simply decorated elegant rooms, the Hotel Adria is in the heart of town and within walking distance of the top tourist attractions in Pristina
- Situated 200 meters from the Lumbardi River and 300 meters from the Abi Qarshia Mountain, the Premium Park Hotel offers 5-star facilities with world-class service
- A stone’s throw from the Kalaja Fortress in Old Town, the simple 4-star Hotel Tiffany, offers excellent views of the city
- The simple family-run Prior Hotel offers 35 m² family rooms and triple rooms and is a 7-minute walk from Sinan Pasha Mosque
- Centrally located in Prizren, the Hotel Kacinari offers simple and comfortable 4-star rooms within 500 meters walk from all the attractions and restaurants
- Close to the City Centre and tourist attractions, Hotel Centrum Prizren also offers family rooms with balconies and free parking
- Next to the Lumbardhi River promenade, the welcoming Theranda Hotel is in the heart of Prizren and within walking distance of major attractions