Kosovo Travel Information
GMT +1 (GMT +2 April to October)
Electrical current is 220 volts (50Hz). European round two-pin attachment plugs are most commonly used.
Albanian and Serbian are the official languages, but English is widely spoken especially among the youth.
There are no specific health risks for Kosovo and travel is
usually problem free from a health perspective. Hepatitis A and
hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended and it is also advised
that you be up to date with your vaccinations for MMR (measles,
mumps, rubella) and tetanus-diphtheria. A typhoid vaccination may
be recommended for those travellers who will be eating and drinking
outside of major restaurants and hotels. On a related note, avoid
drinking tap water unless it has been boiled or filtered. A rabies
vaccination may be recommended for those travellers who may have
contact with wild animals while in Kosovo.
Medical facilities in Kosovo consist of private medical clinics and the government sponsored University Clinical Center. Quality controls are lacking in many medical facilities and their services are very basic. Medical care is below Western European or U.S. standards. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended before travelling to Kosovo.
Tips of 10 percent of the bill are expected by waiters unless a service charge has already been added to the bill.
Kosovo is a relatively safe country to visit. Petty crime and pick pocketing can occur; be especially cautious at large markets in Pristina.
Perhaps understandably, Kosovars tend to be suspicious of foreigners, and reserved in their dealings with them. A very direct communication style is favoured. Visitors to Kosovo might be surprised at how ingrained smoking is in the culture - being offered a cigarette by a new acquaintance is entirely commonplace, and should be seen as a sign of acceptance. Note that, as in many western countries, in Kosovo "Yes" is indicated by nodding one's head; however, if the chin suddenly becomes raised (sometimes accompanied by a clicking sound), this indicates an emphatic "No". Clean shoes are treated as a matter of self-respect in Kosovo.
Kosovars of all ethnic backgrounds are hospitable to foreigners, especially westerners. Invitations to lunch, dinner, receptions, even religious family customs, and other official and/or private family hospitalities are normally offered and should be accepted if possible. Be prepared for small talk dominating much of the discussion and do not be concerned if your interlocutor does not immediately get down to business. If offered, be prepared to accept coffee, tea, or other beverages, which are signs of respect for the host. (Note: Many Kosovars smoke, and a ban on smoking in public places is being sporadically followed.) Dress at meetings should be business attire, but a formal suit is not expected. It is preferable to print business cards with one side in English and the other side in Albanian and/or Serbian. It is advisable, but not necessary, to have a temporary local or international mobile phone, which can be obtained locally. While not expected, giving gifts depends on the closeness of the relationship. If it is known that your local contact will provide you with a gift, be prepared to offer one in exchange. Emphasis is not placed on the value of the item but on the thought.
The international dialling code for Kosovo is +381. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Internet access is widespread and there are Internet cafes all over the country, especially in Pristina. The central post office in Pristina is open from 7am to 7.30pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 2pm on Sundays. There is good cell phone coverage and roaming agreements are in place with major international operators.
At present Kosovo still adheres to Serbian customs regulations, which state that visitors may import the following goods duty-free: 200 cigarettes/50 cigars/250g of tobacco, one litre of wine and one litre of spirits, 250ml of eau de toilette and a reasonable amount of perfume, one video and two still cameras, one pair of binoculars, camping equipment, one bicycle and one musical instrument. Weapons and ammunition are prohibited.
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