To say Kosovo was on my bucket list would be a fib. However, when the opportunity to take a daytrip to a new country came up, it was a no-brainer. Prizren, Kosovo is the second biggest city is Kosovo (about 85,000 people) and has cultural old town about 60 miles (100km) from Skopje, Macedonia.
Kosovo is part of the European Union while Macedonia at the moment, is not. Macedonia is working on it though, like changing their name to the Republic of North Macedonia (arguing with Greece about Alexander the Great). Lack of EU reciprocity between the two countries makes the border crossing somewhat lengthier. On the way out of the Kosovo my bus driver “gifted” the border guards liquid soap they asked for on the way in. It was weird.
The first Kosovo village we saw, we stopped at to use the restroom, get coffee, and browse the local wares. Cheese and flavored syrups lined the tables. While I did not buy anything, everyone was really friendly and we made a new dog friend. It was rainy and cold out so my group were the only ones browsing. So many samples were offered I could have made a my own cheese plate.
Once in Prizren we made our way to the old town area where there are lots of tourist shops, cafes, bakeries, Sinan Pasha Mosque, the Old Stone Bridge, and the path leading up to the 11th century Prizren Fortress.
We first went to the Sinan Pasha Mosque, mostly because it was raining and we were trying to stay somewhat dry. A lovely woman who worked there helped guide us around the mosque. I’ve never been inside a mosque before but at this mosque at least they are very welcoming to non-Muslim tourists. Most of the women covered our heads with our rain hoods or scarves but we were not required to do so.
She led us around the mosque and offered us information about the mosque itself which started construction around 1600-1608. We learned a lot about Ramadan as well as we visited during the month of Ramadan. Such a lovely woman working in the Sinan Pasha Mosque that day!
After the mosque our group split up into those who needed lunch and those of us willing to brave the steep, steep hill to Prizren Fortress. I climbed. The views overlooking Prizren were incredible and would have been epic with a little less rain and a little more sun. But wow, my calves were on fire after the climb. It was short (-ish) but very steep.
The fortress itself wasn’t much to look at currently. They are doing some restoration work but mostly the fortress is about the view.
Steep climbs make me hungry so I found a quick spinach and cheese burek for an easy and 50 cent lunch (that includes the water). Kosovo is very inexpensive! The non-climbers had an amazing family-style grilled meat plate and salad that could have fed an army for $5 USD each at a nice restaurant.
After lunch I walked around the old town area by myself and did a bit of browsing in the stores. I bought a fridge magnet- my tourist souvenir of choice, a big spender I am not.
The Old Stone Bridge view was the prettiest place to stop for a coffee and just sit at one of the riverside cafes to watch the world walk by. I had a lovely day in Prizren, despite the weather.
A daytrip to Prizren is just the right amount of time to visit the old town to see the sights, climb to the fortress, eat some delicious food, and sit down by the river. I’m very glad we took a day to visit Kosovo, a place I had no expectations for and ended up thoroughly enjoying my time here.
Reader Question: Are you eating a quick 50 cent lunch to have more time to explore or eating the sit-down, $5 meat extravaganza?