Brezovia in the Šar Mountains © Shkumbin
The once war-torn nation of Kosovo is landlocked and bordered by Central Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro. It is also surrounded by serene and beautiful mountains and boasts Ottoman mosques, monasteries, rolling green vineyards and KLA war memorials. All these ingredients add up to a recipe for a truly unexpected yet wonderfully exciting and diverse holiday destination.
Kosovo is a former province of neighbouring Serbia, but after a long and violent dispute, which led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Kosovo declared its independence in February 2008 and is widely accorded recognition by international states. Because of the support Kosovo received from the United States of America, The Kosovar Albanians welcome anything and everything American. Bill Clinton's autobiography is one of the best-selling books in the country, George W. Bush was treated like a celebrity on his visit in 2007, and Kosovo even boasts a Bill Clinton Boulevard in the capital city of Prishtina. With the Serb minorities located in the north of the country, Kosovo is a largely Albanian speaking and Muslim nation, although a surprisingly large amount of English is spoken.
Travellers should be aware of the threat of landmines as many were used during the Yugoslav civil war and tourists should stay on well-trodden paths and not venture off into the bushes. Rabies is also a common problem and many stray dogs are carriers of this disease. Anyone planning on travelling to Kosovo should make sure they receive a rabies vaccination.
Apart from the political and historical situation of the country, which has little effect on foreigners visiting the land, the Sar Mountains National Park is a key attraction and a must for anyone who loves the outdoors; animals such as the lynx, bear, wolf and chamois can be spotted. The ski resort of Brezovica in the Sar Mountains boasts fast slopes and favourable year-round climate making it an ideal ski holiday destination.
The capital city of Prishtina has a growing number of shops, bars and restaurants where tourists can indulge in a bit of local fare, heavily influenced by Turkish and Albanian flavours. Visitors will also find themselves becoming coffee connoisseurs as coffee shops abound in this flourishing city.
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