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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in kosovo
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in kosovo, Bed and Breakfast!
Kosovo, or Kosova, is an autonomous province of Serbia and Montenegro.
Kosovo is used to be serbian province, but as of war 1999 NATO between Serbia it is NOT anymore, Kosova is under UNMIK Administration ever since then.
Kosova is the Albanian name for Kosovo. The population of Kosovo is 90 percent Albanian, who use the name Kosova exclusively.
Ahh if only the peops) of Kosovo would learn to understand each other... but for now we'll have to settle for you the wandering tourist trying to understand them. Well, actually its not that hard. Lots of people in Kosovo can speak English (even before the UN arrived) and they are more then willing to help you and tell you their stories. You, as the outsider, will get to hear both sides, they on the other hand usually spend their whole life only hearing one.
From a tourist perspective, Kosovo, out of all of the regions of Serbia and Montenegro, has the least to offer. There is a saying among the people of Serbia, The Serbs will do anything for Kosovo, except live there... Kosovo is basically a flat over industrialized, yet somehow rural, muddy pot-holed mess. With that out of the way though there are a couple of genuinely interesting tourist attractions for the adventuresome to see.
If you are interested in more than just seeing beautiful mountains and ancient ruins on your vacation to 'the region', Kosovo strongly recommends itself.
Info You can get a superb atlas of Kosovo from the OSCE that has detailed ethnic maps (before and after the war), vital statistics, along with navigational maps. To get the map, ask for the NGO Information office near the OSCE building in Pristina.
Accommodation is Kosovo is very expensive and primarily is designed for people working for the development agencies. Your best bet on finding a place to stay is to have a contact there ahead of time (even if its just somebody you met over the internet) and stay with them. Or possibly contact some of the smaller development organizations, such as Balkan Sunflowers, and ask if they can help you with accommodation staying in a rural community.
Don't plan to camp!!!
Skopje in Macedonia has some very cheap accommodation so doing day trips to Kosovo from there is very much a possibility.
The majority of the population of Kosovo speaks Albanian. Serbo-Croat is commonly understood, but not all the Albanians are keen to speak it (however, the author had no problem in speaking Serbo-Croat with Belgrade accent in Prizren and Pristina). In areas with a majority of ethnic Serbs or Bosnjaks the native language is Serbian or Bosnian.*
Many people in Kosovo spoke English even prior to the arrival of thousands of NGO workers but now almost everybody can at least utter a few words in English. German and Italian are also quite common.
In many Balcanic areas the approach to other people is a bit more forward than in other European countries. This is particularly true in Kosovo. Expect people to be direct, particularly get used to this if you're going to be there for a while. This may mean people will invite you places or make comments about your girlfriend, etc. that in your culture may be unsuitable. You're there as a tourist so just smile or do whatever could smooth things over and let the conversation move on. Quite often these comments are not meant to offend. That said, women should expect to be verbally harassed. A girl walking the street alone is considered to be making herself available and will be at least gawked at by every passing guy.
Americans and EU Citizens do not need a visa and can stay in Kosovo for an indefinite period of time. Citizens of other countries that have significantly contributed the the rebuilding of the Kosovo probably also do not need visas either, although Kosovo is starting to implement a stricter visa regime.
You can enter Kosovo through the northern 'internal boundary' with Serbia through Mitrovica or near Pristina. There are bus connections from Belgrade and Nis to Pristina and Prizren and from all the major towns in Serbia to the northern parts.
From Montenegro you can enter through Rozaje to Peja(Pec).
From Macedonia you can take a bus to Prishtina.
There is a border entry in the Presevo Valley in Serbia.
From Albania you can enter through Prizren, although supposedly the Tirana-Prizren bus ride along the mountain road can cause the faint-hearted to move on to the next life.
BUS The best way to travel intercity in Kosovo is by bus. The buses are relatively cheep (Pristina to Peja, 5 EUR).
COMBI When traveling both inside the city or to surrounding regions you will need to travel by 'combi' (a minibus). Often they will drive certain roads and be labeled with a cardboard number in the window. You can flat them down and then hop in. You'll be expected to pay 0.50 EUR upon entry. When you want to get out just tell the driver and he'll stop and let you out.
UNMIK RAILWAYS UNMIK Railways in 2002 ran a one line train service that went from Kosovo Polje (a city near Pristina) to Zvecan (a town near North Mitrovica). The train passed through most of the Serbian enclaves that are strung up through the northern part of Kosovo. The system was seen as a way of helping to make the lives of the Serbs in the enclaves easier but also as a way to help integration. Services ran (still run?) every 2 hours in one direction. The service is free of charge. http://www.unmikrailways.com/?language=eng
TAXI Beware, often in Kosovo taxi drivers and other people involved in the grey market transportation system will try to rip you off.
Visitors are welcome to contribute to any of the above
Lots of great burek, (fried bread stuffed with cheese, meat or spinach). Try the drinkable yogurt its superb. Lots of Kababs and other Turkish style food.
Beer e Peja is a pretty good brew. It is brewed in Peja (Pec). Even though Albanians are predominantly Muslim drinking is still quite liberal
In Serb area's avoid Pils Plus, its 'fortified' which means 1. its taste like crap and 2. it will give you a really bad headache. Other than that the selection of beers in the Serb areas is also quite good.
Avoid making comments/statements about politics in Kosovo, although ask as many questions (within reason) as you like. They are very open about their hatred of each other and more then willing to tell you about it.
Read the news before going. Recently (July 3rd 2005) three bombs exploded near UN headquarters. This could be a signal that one of the groups has had it with UN and international intervention which could lead towards violence against foreigners...but then again maybe not. Point being, stay on top of the news but in general Kosovo is very safe (for foreigners).
Also with the negotiations on the 'final status' of Kosovo starting soon things may heat up. Again, stay on top of the news before going.
The Serbs are a very hospitable people and very friendly. The most likely encounter starts with them saying your country (if you are American or British) bombed them. Their next action will most likely be inviting you into their home to drink 'raki' with them and offering you way too much food, end of discussion of politics. That though is the most likely encounter, occasionally you will meet somebody who may not be as hospitable, more then likely in Mitrovice. Be smart, and if the discussion gets a bit intense don't verbally resist and get in an argument about the war, agree with them where you can and downplay your country (as truthfully or untruthfully as you feel you can do).
LAND MINES! Like the rest of the Balkans, land mines were heavily used during the conflict. Stay on the pavement, if you go off the pavement stay on well worn paths. Wandering off of trails can pose a significant health risk to your legs. On the other hand don't let this minor problem make you not visit Kosovo. So long as you don't go wandering around in the brush it poses no hazard to you.
The are direct flights from Prishtina International Airport to London, Zurich, Geneva, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Vienna, Hamburg, Hannover, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen, Rome, Verona, Ljubljana, Budapest, Tirana, Istanbul and Antalya. Soon, there will be direct flights to Sarajevo and other destinations.
There are direct bus links to most cities in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia.