As a recent addition to the list of European capital cities Pristina is a blossoming city where cosmopolitan restaurants and European politics combine wonderfully with relaxed atmosphere of this historic city. The perfect city-break for those wanting to explore an exciting time in the expansion of this industrious modern country.
Kosovo is an intriguing place to visit with an eventful modern history, and capital city Pristina has some notable hotels. The large, five-star Swiss Diamond Hotel (Sheshi Nëna Terezë) is full of elegant, old-world charm and has a spa and pool, while the Golden Hotel (Motrat Qiriazi) has only nine rooms but is well located for government offices and the main business district. For those on more of a budget, two possible options are the three-star Hotel Pinocchio (24 Maji 115) and the 10-room Hotel Prima (LIdhja e prizrenit 24), which sits in the centre of the Old Town.
Pristina isn’t going to rival Rome or Paris for its shopping potential anytime soon, but for local colour and some one-off souvenirs it offers plenty for the average traveller. Particularly enjoyable is the main bazaar (near Rruga Ilir Konusheci), which was partly damaged in the mid-20th century but retains a bustling atmosphere. As well as the usual market paraphernalia, there’s a pungent cheese section and some good independent furniture shops. For a modern shopping complex, Albi Mall (Zona e re Industriale Veternik) has over 100 stores including a hypermarket.
Balkan, Albanian and Turkish cuisine intermingle in Kosovo to create a national menu that commonly includes items such as stuffed peppers, kebabs, spiced sausage and borek (meat- or cheese-filled pastries). Some of Pristina’s most popular restaurants include Renaissance 2 (Rruga George Bush), a candlelit snug with no set menu, and Princesha Gresa (Rruga Fehmi Agani 23), which has more of an international flavour. A short drive out of town, the Albanian-focused Country House (Bërnica e Epërme) has been called the best restaurant in Kosovo, with rolling views and good steaks. The Hamam Jazz Bar (Qendra) is good for cocktails.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on this date in 2008, and the occasion is marked each year by fireworks, music and street celebrations. Kosovo is often called the youngest country in Europe (although not all nations recognise it as a sovereign state) – and it also boasts one of the continent’s youngest populations.
Founded in 2006, the DAM Festival attracts young musicians from across the world to perform in Pristina. Taking place over the course of a week in early spring, it showcases classical performers as well as innovative modern genres. Venues used by the festival include the National Theatre.
Taking place in the nearby city of Prizren, this widely renowned film festival is the largest such event in Kosovo. Films are screened twice a day at three open-air cinemas, in addition to two regular movie theatres. There are also exhibitions, concerts and workshops held over the course of the event.
Prishtina Jazz Festival
Established enough to draw international artists such as Reggie Washington, Tom Kennedy and American pianist Uri Caine, the Prishtina Jazz Festival has been running since the middle of last decade and has done much to nurture the jazz scene in Kosovo itself. The city’s Oda Theatre is the main venue.
In place for over a decade, the Skena Up International Students Film & Theatre Festival runs for a week in December and was founded by a group of local students, making it an event that still has a real feel of authenticity. Various workshops, ceremonies and concerts take place alongside performances.