Few places in Europe have remained off the beaten path as much as the Kosovar first city; fewer yet have been at the heart of a political dispute as agonising in recent history. Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, one of the world's youngest states, boasts a youthful populace to match, and exudes a lust for life that's virtually tangible. Still rough around the edges and with no tourist information offices in sight, Pristina remains uncharted territory, a state of affairs foreseen to change as the city attracts a growing number of visitors.

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Ethnographic Museum

There is no better place to familiarise yourself with Kosovar traditional culture than taking a guided tour of the Ottoman buildings containing the Emin Gjiku Ethnographic Museum. Musical instruments, pieces of clothing and accessories, along with other artefacts, are on display in the museum's stylised interior.

Iliaz Agushi, Pristina
Pristina National Library

The city's most staggering discovery is the brutalist National Library building, a structure so bizarre and seemingly out of place that many are left unsure as to what to make of it. It still is a perfectly functional library, so do drop in to get a good look at what's inside – you might just chance upon an English-language exhibition.

Agim Ramadani, Pristina

Although most produce used to cook Tiffany's traditional fare is, indeed, organic, that isn't to say dining here is exactly a healthy affair: expect oil and lard in generous amounts pumped into the restaurant's specials, with meat taking centre stage over vegetables. It's all part of the authentic experience that draws in both locals and visitors.

Fehmi Agani, Pristina

The yet another incarnation of Renaissance is still the same attractive lunch and/or dinner spot, whose only fault is the absence of clear signage outside (ask around or order a cab, drivers will most likely know the address). The price of just over a dozen euros includes unlimited dining on local and Albanian cuisine, with alcohol like rakia and wine included.

Musine Kokolari, Pristina

The most obvious choice for an authentic shopping trip is the old Bazaar, packed with lone vendors and stalls selling everything from feta cheese by the bucket to car parts and Kosovar memorabilia. It's worth poking around even if you aren't planning to buy.

Rruga Ilir Konusheci, Pristina
Yllka Brada Atelier

Atelier owner and fashion designer Yllka Brada brought home knowledge gained in France to dress the fellow Kosovar, and opened an atelier of her own in downtown Pristina. She's worked with media and fashion labels, and the final bill is guaranteed to be much lower than elsewhere in western Europe for the quality.

Sheshi Zahir Pajaziti 1, Pristina

Passport / Visa

Kosovo can be entered visa-free by citizens of the EU and/or Schengen Agreement member states, as well as citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, and the majority of South American countries. Citizens of some Asian and African countries may need to apply for a visa. Important travel notice: if you are continuing on to Serbia after your stay in Kosovo, make sure your original entry point to Kosovo is through Serbia. This means, entry to Serbia may be refused to travellers transiting through Kosovo who first arrive in Macedonia, Albania, or Montenegro. Check whether or not visa is required for you at:

Best Time to Visit

Summers can get very hot and winters very cold in Pristina, but temperatures are rarely at their extremes. Even though summers tend to be on the hot side, July through September remain the height of tourist season. For guaranteed pleasant temperatures appropriate for city exploration, aim for June or late September. Those looking to continue on to the slopes of Brezovica may find December through March bring the best skiing conditions, while May through September are good for mountain hiking.

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