Kosovo Travel Information
Local time in Kosovo is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
Electrical current is 230 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 visitors be up to date with their vaccinations for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and tetanus-diphtheria. A rabies vaccination is recommended for travellers who may have contact with wild animals while in Kosovo.
Medical facilities 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. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended before travelling to Kosovo.
Tips should equal 10 percent of the bill unless the restaurant adds a service charge to the total.
Kosovo is a relatively safe destination, though petty crime and pick pocketing can occur. Travellers should be especially cautious at large markets in Pristina.
Travellers who venture outside of the capital should be aware of unexploded ordnance from the conflicts. Much of it has been cleared from roads and paths, but visitors should seek advice from KFOR (a NATO-led international peacekeeping force) before exploring the more remote parts of the country. That said, the situation is quickly improving, as mine-clearance programmes operate all over Kosovo.
Visitors should not drive vehicles that bear Serbian plates. Though perfectly legal, the car may be a target for random attacks or vandalism from locals. Northern Kosovo sees sporadic violence, particularly in north Mitrovica and a few other flashpoints where Serbian and Kosovar communities are in close contact.
Kosovars tend to favour a very direct communication style where, among other things, maintaining eye contact shows respect. Locals may also go out of their way to help foreigners, such as by escorting visitors who ask for directions to their intended destination.
Visitors might indeed be surprised at how ingrained smoking is in the culture, and should treat the offer of a cigarette by a new acquaintance as a sign of acceptance. It's worth noting that while there are no laws against homosexual activity or same-sex couples, Kosovo is a conservative society where these things are not generally tolerated.
Locals of all ethnicities are hospitable to foreigners (especially westerners), and invitations to lunches, dinners, receptions, even religious family gatherings are normally offered and should be accepted if possible.
Visitors should expect small talk to dominate much of the discussion and should not be concerned if Kosovars do not immediately get down to business. If offered, foreigners ought to accept tea, coffee or other beverages, which are signs of respect for the host. Many Kosovars smoke, and a ban on smoking in public places is sporadically followed.
Meetings require business attire, but a formal suit is not expected. Foreigners should try to print business cards with one side in English and the other side in Albanian and Serbian, or at least one of these languages. While not expected, a foreigner should offer their local contact a gift if the latter gives them one. The thought counts for more than the item's value.
The international dialling code for Kosovo is +383. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Internet access is widespread, especially in Pristina. There is good cell phone coverage and roaming agreements are in place with major international operators. Travellers can purchase local SIM cards for unlocked phones.
Visitors may import the following goods duty free: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco. Two litres of wine and one litre of spirits are permitted, as is 250ml of eau de toilette and a reasonable amount of perfume. Weapons and ammunition are prohibited.
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