Discovering Pristina


A Two-Day Adventure in Kosovo’s Capital


Travel often surprises us, challenging our preconceptions and revealing hidden gems in unexpected places. My recent two-day trip to Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, was precisely such an adventure. Initially met with a few rough edges, the city quickly unveiled its true character—a vibrant, lively place with a rich history and friendly people.

Day 1: First Impressions

I arrived in Pristina on a sunny Friday morning, ready to kickstart my adventure. Right from the start, I encountered an interesting twist due to the limited bus schedule. The bus to the city center, which cost me 3€, only ran every two hours. Since my arrival was after 10 am, I had to patiently wait until 12 pm for the next bus. As I embarked on my journey from the bus station to my hotel, Hotel Prima, I was immediately struck by Pristina’s initial impression:

The streets seemed to need a good cleaning, and there was an unfortunate presence of litter.

One particularly striking and heartbreaking moment was seeing a child browsing through a trash bin. It was a stark reminder of the challenges this region has faced. But I soon learned not to judge a book by its cover.

I started my exploration with a visit to the Bill Clinton statue, a symbol of gratitude for the former U.S. president’s role in Kosovo’s history.

Upon arriving at my hotel, Hotel Prima, I had a pleasant interaction with the lovely lady at the reception. After checking in, I took some time to unpack and unwind. Then, I set off for my exploration of Pristina.

A Taste of Kosovo

My lunchtime adventure led me to Liburnia restaurant, which turned out to be a delightful culinary experience. I savored Kosova meatballs, generously topped with mushrooms and cheese sauce, accompanied by local bread. To quench my thirst and beat the sunny weather, I ordered an ice-cold pint of Peja beer. This meal was not only a delicious introduction to Kosovo’s culinary scene but also pleasantly affordable. I found the rustic ambiance of the restaurant to be equally charming, adding to the overall enjoyment of my dining experience. (10 euros)

City Exploration

With my hunger satiated, I set out to explore the city. Sheshi Adem Jashari, named after a prominent Kosovo Liberation Army leader, was my first stop. Here, I observed the vibrant street life and the daily activities of Pristina’s residents.

Next, I visited Xhamia e Çarshisë, also known as the Sultan 1. Murat Mosque. This beautiful mosque is an architectural gem that reflects the city’s rich history.

One of the most poignant moments of my trip was my visit to the Kosovo Museum. This institution had been systematically emptied by Serbians during the war, and it is slowly being refilled with artifacts that tell the story of Kosovo’s past.

Continuing my walk, I strolled down Bulevardi Nënë Tereza, named after Mother Teresa, who had Albanian roots. The street was bustling with activity, and I couldn’t resist the allure of a one-euro ice cream cone. I sat on a bench, people-watched, and took in the energy of the city.

Back at the hotel, I rested and recharged for the adventures of the next day.

Day 2: Guided Exploration

I began the day with a hearty breakfast at the hotel. The omelet, served with cheese, olives, tomatoes, and the typical local bread, was both delicious and filling. The hotel also offered fresh fruits, yogurt, and jams, but I found the main course to be sufficient.

Then, I joined a walking tour with GuruWalk, a platform that connects travelers with local guides. Meeting our guide, Astrit, in front of Teatri Kombëtar, our group embarked on a two-hour exploration of Pristina’s history and culture.

Throughout our engaging walking tour, we had some delightful, four-legged companions. A group of friendly stray dogs decided to join us on our journey through Pristina. They added an unexpected and heartwarming dimension to our exploration, emphasizing the city’s welcoming atmosphere.

Astrit led us to various landmarks, including the Ibrahim Rugova Statue, dedicated to a prominent leader of the Kosovo Albanians. We visited Jashar Pasha’s Mosque, a beautiful Ottoman-era mosque with a tranquil courtyard. Nearby, the Sahatkulla Clock-tower, an iconic symbol of Pristina, displayed the passage of time.

The tour also took us to Xhamia e Madhe, the Great Mosque, which has a rich history dating back to the 15th century. Nearby, the Büyük Hamam, or the Grand Hamam, stood as a reminder of Pristina’s Ottoman past, even though it is no longer in use.

Our journey continued to the ethnological museum, where we explored the traditional culture of Kosovo.

The nearby bazaar offered a glimpse into daily life in Pristina, with vendors selling everything from fresh produce to clothing.

As we walked, we passed the Government of The Republic of Kosovo, a modern architectural marvel. Nearby, the Newborn Monument, a symbol of Kosovo’s independence.

Our guided tour also led us to the remarkable HEROINAT monument, a unique tribute to the women of Kosovo. This monument symbolizes the strength and resilience of Kosovar women and was crafted through an innovative artistic process.

One of the most striking stops was the unfinished Christ the Saviour Orthodox Cathedral. Construction was halted in the 1990s, and the interior remains incomplete. It’s a poignant symbol of Pristina’s tumultuous past.

The national library Pjetër Bogdani and the cathedral of Mother Teresa were our final stops on this enriching tour.

Culinary Delights

Following the tour, I enjoyed a relaxed chat with fellow travelers at Caffez, a charming café with a hidden garden. The café provided a perfect setting to reflect on the morning’s experiences and share travel stories.

Later, I took an elevator ride to the top of the Cathedral of Mother Teresa’s tower. For a modest 1.5 euros, I gained access to breathtaking panoramic views of the city. It was a memorable way to appreciate the city’s layout and architecture.

Serendipity smiled upon me during the tower visit as I unexpectedly met two fellow tour participants. Spontaneously, we decided to spend the day together.

Our next stop was Shaban on Mother Teresa Boulevard for lunch. There, we were treated to a culinary delight – a savory mix of meats served over rich cheese sauce, complemented by a fresh salad and the delightful local bread. (11 euros)

The adventures with my newfound friends continued as we explored Pristina together. We enjoyed the local beer, soaked in the vibrant atmosphere, and laughed the evening away. Our destination was “raki street,” a bustling side street tucked behind the lively Mother Teresa Boulevard, renowned for its concentration of bars and lively nightlife. The jovial spirit and camaraderie of that evening created lasting memories.


On the final day, I had breakfast at the hotel once more and left. Due to the annual Pristina marathon taking place that day, I decided to take a taxi to the airport. After some negotiations with the taxi driver, we agreed on a fare of 20 euros for the journey. This was a slight reduction from his initial request for 35 euros, and a little higher than the typical fare of 15 euros.


My two days in Pristina were nothing short of remarkable. The city surprised me in so many ways, challenging my initial impressions and leaving me with lasting memories.

Despite a somewhat rough start with the city’s appearance and a few disheartening sights, Pristina quickly revealed its true character. It’s a lively, vibrant place that exudes a sense of safety and positivity. It’s a testament to the resilience and spirit of its people, especially considering the turbulent history the region has faced.

As I reflect on my journey, I’m reminded that travel is about more than just ticking off landmarks and attractions. It’s about embracing the unexpected, challenging your preconceptions, and opening yourself up to new experiences. Pristina did just that for me, and I’m grateful for every moment spent exploring its streets, tasting its food, and connecting with its people.

I’d encourage anyone with an adventurous spirit to visit Pristina. It’s a city that deserves to be seen, experienced, and celebrated. Kosovo’s capital might not be on everyone’s travel radar, but it certainly left a lasting mark on mine.

And with that, I bid farewell to Pristina, a city that taught me the value of looking beyond first impressions and embracing the beauty that often lies just beneath the surface.


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