Cycling around Kosovo

by tkos on September 3, 2012

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For some reason, Google won’t give road directions for the map below, but I’m sure you can figure it out by following the markers. We spent a total of 11 nights in Kosovo and loved every minute of it. We carried out our first two projects of the trip, met some fantastic NGO’s and even better local people! Prizren is a beautiful, peaceful town, while Prishtina is a vibrant, up and coming, university type city, packed with funky cafes, bars and restaurants. Not to mention a thriving arts scene!

 


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What we loved the most:

  • The coffee. And in particular, the macchiato’s. It must be a national drink as it’s all you see in the abundance of funky cafes throughout Pristina, and even in the smaller roadside villages! Always served with either complimentary water or juice, the Kosovars have mastered this skill to fine art.
  • A new lease on life. After much trouble in 1999, this broken but newly independent and proud country have started putting themselves back together again with style. There is much to do and the country has a long way to go, but there is a feeling of a warm future, particularly in the thriving student capital of Pristina.

What was uphill both ways:

  • From a cycle touring perspective, there is nothing bad about cycling through Kosovo. The people are friendly (and curious), it is extremely safe provided you follow everyday precautions and it is pretty much flat the whole way. However, what provokes some soul searching and some pretty horrific images are the hundreds of roadside graveyards with portrait filled tombstones, many of which are children. It is a constant reminder of the 1999 conflict and the thousands of innocent victims who have lost their lives.
  • Up to date political and military tension. At the time of writing this, and travelling through Kosovo, we were strongly warned against entering the areas of Northern Kosovo, near the Serbian border. If you are cycling through Kosovo, check out the latest through your embassy. I recommend smart traveller.

What we didn’t, but should’ve done:

  •  With the amount that we did in Kosovo (our first two projects, met countless NGO’s, fully explored Pristina and Prizren, met international legal consultants from the EU, stayed with local people) etc, I can’t think of anything that we missed out on (except for exploring the north).  If we weren’t chasing the sun and trying to avoid the depths of snow in eastern Turkey, we simply would have stayed longer.
  • The is an annual festival put together by local musicians to raise some money (to buy cows) for poorer people within the community. The project is in it’s sixth year (2012) and we wish we would have been there at the right time to see it! Check out this article for more info!

What’s it worth:

  • Kosovo is a relatively cheap country. Trading with the Euro, but not part of the EU, you can find a coffee for about 50 cents and a hotel for less than 20 euros. We spent, on average per day between the two of us £33.72, but bear in mind we did not pay for accommodation or transport for 9 of the 11 nights.

Before you go:

Cincopa WordPress plugin
TownKm'sNightsWhere we slept
Prizren603Couch Surf
Radovec501Hotel
Decan451Kulla (NGO)
Kline551Hotel
Pristina556Couch Surf

 

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