Monday, December 19, 2016

Prizren in Kosovo is among 6 Top Balkan Destinations for 2017- by Vogue.com

Vogue: Prizren stands as the country’s beacon of creativity
City of Prizren attracts a lot of traveler writers because of its rich Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. Prizren has made it to be on the Vogue’s list “6 Non-Touristy Balkans Destinations That Should Top Your 2017 Travel Lists by Vogue.” The travel writer and photographer Michaela Trimble describes the city of Prizren as the country’s beacon of creativity. There’s no perfect time to visit Prizren, but during August you can enjoy more time while the city hosts DokuFest, the largest film festival in all of Kosovo, featuring live music sets, photo exhibitions, and screenings of more than 200 films from around the world.

Prizren, old houses 
 “In Kosovo, Prizren stands as the country’s beacon of creativity, set at the base of the Sharr Mountains along the river Bistrica and host to rich Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. Visit during August when the city hosts DokuFest, the largest film festival in all of Kosovo, featuring live music sets, photo exhibitions, and screenings of more than 200 films from around the world. Stay at Hotel Kacinari or Hotel Centrum Prizren, and to get the most of both city and country life, tour the area with Butterfly Outdoor Adventure and Airtour: Begin with an interactive workshop at a local filigree factory, dine on kebabs near Prizren’s Stone Bridge at Te Syla, and venture uphill to the Prizren Fortress, which offers the perfect view of bustling Prizren from above. Head into nature on a hike to Struzha, where you can stay at a traditional guesthouse and enjoy a campfire and local meal before completing a cross-country hike from Kosovo to Macedonia, summiting Scarpa Peak and passing Kara Nikolla Lake along the way.”


Prizren, view from above

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Kosovo Holidays, a reputable and efficient English-speaking tour operator

Kosovo Holidays, is a reputable and efficient English-speaking tour operator offering group and custom trips for activities from outdoor adventures and Bosnian village lunches to cultural city and wine-tasting visits throughout Kosovo, Margo Pleiff wrote for San Francisco Chronicle.
She had an adventurous experience in Kosovo and shared her impressions of this trip with others in the article tittled: "Europe’s youngest nation, Kosovo is full of surprises"

"It is hard to believe that Kosovo is the youngest nation in Europe, of 8 years old, and the numbers of visitors who come to Kosovo are increasing every year. We explored this beautiful country together with Kosovo Holidays tour guide, Arsim Rexhepi", she said.

Margo finds Kosovo full of surprises as she gets to know the wild beauty of the mountains and the old city of Prizren. She has seen a lot of fascinating sites of Kosovo and definitely says a lot of things in her article.


Find out the adventure experience of Margo Pleiff in Kosovo:
“For all the highly visible strife of the 1990s, Kosovo turns out to be a safe, diverse, wildly beautiful and inexpensive English-speaking destination with good roads, hotels and restaurants. National parks make up 11 percent of the land area with scenic, accessible mountain terrain.
There are traditional mountain villages and UNESCO cultural icons, including 13th century monasteries. Rarely visited even by Western Europeans who flock to nearby Croatia, it’s also still charmingly unpretentious and welcoming. And, as I said, they love Americans like no other place I’ve ever been. The landmark 16th century Old Stone Bridge arches elegantly over the Bistrica River. I visit the 1615 Sinan Pasha Mosque and Kosovo’s grand UNESCO-protected 14th century Our Lady of Ljeviš Orthodox Church. In the well-preserved Ottoman quarter, Turkish is spoken by one of the country’s many minorities that also include Bosniaks, Serbs, Roma and Ashkalia. Walking up a steep pathway to the castle encircling a hilltop overlooking Prizren, there are great views of the city, with its more than 20 mosque spires pointing heavenward. Spinning around, I watch pink sunset rays lighting up the snow-capped peaks of the Sharr mountain range. In the morning, hiking guide Edis Krusha drives us up a canyon road, zigzagging through forest and past hilltop castle ruins toward those mountains. After 90 minutes, we arrive at Prevalla, in winter a small ski center at 5,000 feet, and lace up our boots as a young shepherd urges a herd of sheep past us toward summer pastures.

Hiking up the flank of one of the Sharr’s highest peaks, 8,559-foot Bistra, we cross alpine meadows blazing with wild orange crocuses and set up a picnic alongside a bubbling spring with views of valleys and snowy peaks. Bistra is on the Via Dinarica route, a 1,200-mile hiking trail crossing eight Western Balkan countries. It was named Outside magazine’s best new trail for 2014.

See full article: http://www.sfchronicle.com/travel/article/Europe-s-youngest-nation-Kosovo-is-full-of-9442814.php?cmpid=twitter-premium#photo-10958190

Monday, October 24, 2016

Nat Geo Traveler in an adventurous tour to Kosovo

The new state of Kosovo is remarkable for its beautiful nature and cultural heritage. Some of the best travel magazines are writing about this new born destination. But this time the hospitality of Kosovo has impressed the writer and traveler of Nat Geo Traveler. She starts her route from Montenegro border with Kosovo. Here is how she is describing her tour to Kosovo:

By Emily Chappell

“What does a landmine look like anyway?” I suddenly wondered, as I freewheeled down the Cakor Pass into the canyons of Kosovo. I’d read all the warnings. Stick to the road. Avoid camping anywhere that hasn’t obviously been grazed in the last 10 years. Don’t approach suspicious devices. But I had no idea what qualified as a ‘device’, or what might make it ‘suspicious’.
I hadn’t seen another human being the whole afternoon — since, in fact, I’d turned off the main route in Montenegro and followed this narrow lane up into the mountains. Not a single car had passed me. I wondered if they knew something I didn’t, fretting about landmines and roadblocks and kidnappings as I slowly climbed up above the treeline, gazing back at mountaintops that had towered over me the previous day, and sweating steadily in the late autumn sunshine, that morning’s frozen fingers and steaming breath already a distant memory.
So, I’d entered Kosovo through the back door. No border guards; no passport stamps; no one even knew I was here. Shaking with nervousness, excitement and exhaustion, I followed the river, watching the sunlight retreat to the tops of the surrounding cliffs, and wondering what I’d do when darkness fell. Camping was a bad idea in landmine country and Peje was several hours’ ride away. Eventually, the gorge opened out, and down on the floodplain I spotted what must be a resort: a large building surrounded by log cabins, with an encouraging plume of smoke emanating from the chimney.
The place was deserted save for the owner, an elderly man in a flat cap, and a teenage waiter, who translated our exchange. Of course I could camp here. Anywhere I wanted. The old man swept his hand in a wide arc to indicate that what was his was now mine. Then another brief conference in Albanian.
“My boss, he is worried you will be too cold,” said the teenage waiter. “He will give you a room for free.” And so that there could be no doubt about it: “Gratis. No money.”
Tears came into my eyes as I thanked the owner in every language I could think of and shook his hand. Within five minutes my bicycle was locked safely in a barn and I was standing in the doorway of a large, clean, hotel room. Within half an hour, I was watching as five days of sweat and grime swirled down the plug hole. Soon after, I crawled into the big bed, stretched myself out to all four corners, and fell asleep with the feeling of cotton on my clean skin.

See full article: http://www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/destinations/europe/kosovo/kosovo-treading-carefully

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New York Times: The Medieval Monasteries of Kosovo


New York Times, one of the world's most prestigious media organization dedicated a full article to Kosovo’s Medieval Monasteries and its tourism prospective.
The journalist Elisabeth Zerofsky traveled to Kosovo through a cultural tour to discover what this new born destination is offering for outside world. This article is focused at Gracanica Monastery, and other cultural heritages and historical sites, and the their resistance during the hard times.
“Gracanica was the last monastery constructed, in the early 14th century, by the Serbian King Stefan Milutin, who had promised God that he would build a church for each of the 40-odd years of his reign.

One need not count oneself among the faithful to be silenced by the suffusion of contemplation and color — seabed blue, the opulent scarlets and gold halos of the sainted patriarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church, their faces blackened remarkably little over seven centuries.”

Pristina has the beginnings of a tourism industry without the tourists, so to speak. The recently renovated airport gleams with anticipation but remains low in traffic, reflecting the euphoria that accompanied statehood eight years ago, which has turned into frustration.



The city is a postwar boomtown of sorts, with luxury high-rises popping up in every other neighborhood and cranes in primary colors punctuating the skyline. 
Still, 70 percent of the population is under 35, and many corners of Pristina rock with energy. On a weekend evening outside Dit e Nat, a bookstore of exposed brick and reclaimed wood floors that is also a cafe and event space, 30-somethings stood on a patch of gravel drinking Birra Prishtina and smoking Winstons while a Romany rock group performed.

See full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/18/travel/the-medieval-monasteries-of-kosovo.html

Friday, September 2, 2016

Lonely Planet: A guide to outdoor adventures in Kosovo


Stand anywhere in Kosovo and you will feel the pull of the mountains. This small, diamond-shaped country is almost completely surrounded by majestic peaks, making it perhaps one of Europe’s most surprising adventure sports destinations. Whether you prefer to take in the scenery while gripping the handlebars of a bike, or while zipping through the air high above a canyon or galloping through a lush mountain clearing, there’s plenty to offer even the most daring outdoors enthusiasts.

In spite of the growing variety of ways to experience Kosovo's natural beauty, the promotion efforts of its adventure industry have been largely of the word-of-mouth variety until recently. While those in the know might be happy to keep the unspoiled magic of Kosovo’s countryside a secret, we just had to share. Consider this your guide to thrill-seeking in Europe’s youngest country.


Hiking
For most of the people who have walked Kosovo’s craggy perimeter over the centuries, climbing mountains has been an essential way of life, whether that was to reach new plains of grass for animal feed or to trade with a neighbouring village. Thanks to its location along increasingly prominent mega-hiking trails – like the seven-country, 2000km Via Dinarica and the German-backed Peaks of the Balkans trail – a growing number of visitors to Kosovo have also started to claim its multitude of 2500m-plus peaks.


Biking
What better way to descend from your rocky heights than at the helm of a bike? While you can get your mountain biking fix on a visit to the capital Pristina and its 62km Germia Park, you must go further afield to western Kosovo to experience the country’s most heart-pounding routes. Although it’s becoming easier to find marked biking trails, you will likely need the guidance of local experts to find your way as a short-term visitor.

Other mountain adventures
Italian for ‘iron road’, the via ferrata mountaineering technique is best known for its use by soldiers crossing the Alps during WWI. Today, it is an increasingly popular way to reach some of Kosovo’s most splendid views from the top of Rugova Canyon outside the western city of Peja (Peć). The municipality brought in Italian experts to help design the country’s first via ferrata, which built demand for a second in the canyon – as well as its newest attraction: a zipline.


Horseback riding
Not all of Kosovo’s best outdoor attractions are out west. For those drawn to adventures of the equestrian variety, the eastern municipality of Gjilan (Gnjilane) is home to a fully fledged dude ranch: the aptly named Vali Ranch (vali-ranch.com). Catering to various levels of ability, the ranch offers lessons in its arena, as well as longer rides out through the neighbouring wooded hills. With three restaurants, a petting zoo, a spa and a (fairly kitsch) hotel on site, Vali Ranch is a family-friendly escape for all ages.


Snow sports
With its ring of mountains, Kosovo enjoys fairly regular snowfall in the winter. Though a €400 million deal to renovate the aging ski resort of Brezovica (brezovica-ski.com) seems to have stalled for the time being, it is still the country’s best option for carving fresh powder when the temperatures drop. The resort usually only has one operational lift, but – for the more adventurous – ski touring opens up endless possibilities to explore the exceptional untouched terrain in this part of the Sharr (Šar) Mountains.


Make it happen
Kosovo is easily accessible by plane, with daily direct flights connecting Pristina to Istanbul and several major Western European cities. Buses are the best option both for getting around Kosovo and for reaching it from neighbouring Balkan capitals like Skopje and Tirana. What comes up must come down.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Discover the extraordinary beauty of Kosovo by NatGeoTraveller

Kosovo has been in the focus of National Geographic Traveler magazine, one of the most widely read magazines in the world, reaching 21 countries. A beautiful video describing the real Kosovo and its touristic potential was published in the website: www.natgeotraveller.co.uk

Travel video of the week: Kosovo
This week, lets go to the heart of the Balkans to explore historic Kosovo

Filmed in Prizren, Brod, Mirusha Waterfalls, Pec and Rugova Canyon, Joerg Daiber captured what he found most captivating about this landlocked country: “Kosovo may not be on the travel bucket list for many people. The Kosovo War seems somehow not too long ago and the lack of beaches makes this country a white spot on the travel map. However, if you do go there you will be amazed by the extraordinary beauty of the back country, the vibrant city life and friendly people.”


Here is the full video:
 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Via Dinarica hiking trail reveals the amazing nature of Kosovo

This time Lonely Planet has paid attention to the Via Dinarica trail, which links Kosovo with Albania and Kosovo with Macedonia. Alex Crevar, the author of this article has taken the road to Via Dinarica trail, where he discover fantastic scenery of these Balkan countries, one of them is Kosovo. The trail “Via Dinarica” links Kosovo with two countries, Albania and Montenegro.

The Via Dinarica hiking trail: a cultural corridor across the Balkans
Alex Crevar, Lonelyplanet 

Kosovo to Albania trail
From the Albanian town of Shkodra, trekkers move on to the mountain village of Theth. A seven-hour hike – among peaks reaching over 2700 m – takes you from Theth to Valbona Valley National Parks. Along the way to the Kosovo border, hikers overnight in family home-stays and in the Dobërdol shepherd community. Accursed Mountains, as they are technically known, provide the perfect combination of adventure and authenticity. Rugged peaks, well-marked trails and stays in rural guesthouses and shepherd settlements give hikers a chance to rough it and have a home base each night to eat fresh specialties and interact with locals.
A lake in Macedonia’s Mavrovo National Park © Julijan Nyča / CC BY-SA 2.0
 Kosovo border to Macedonia
One of the most challenging stretches of the Via Dinarica, the trail here follows the Shar mountain range. Long treks and high altitudes are balanced with glacial lakes and some of the most beautiful and remote landscapes in the entire region. Starting in the north, a ridgeline of peaks – there are more than 20 higher than 2500m – straddle the border between Kosovo and Macedonia, and then Macedonia and Albania.

A trek in Valbona National Park in Albania’s Accursed Mountains © NH53 / CC BY 2.0

The route starts with Mt Ljuboten, in the northwest corner of the country, and offers opportunities to sample some of the Balkans’ best gastronomy. Bagging the peak of Mt Plat, for instance, is rewarded with food prepared by locals in Macedonia’s Mavrovo National Park. Tackling Mt Golem Korab the highest point in Macedonia at 2764m, is countered with homemade breads, roasted vegetables, farm cheeses and wine in Galičnik village. The journey ends in Macedonia’s capitalSkopje and, undoubtedly, with conversations about which Via Dinarica leg to tackle next year.



Thursday, June 30, 2016

Trek & Climb in the Accursed Mountains of Kosovo

This is a small adventure to explore an unknown area of ​​a small country: Kosovo. Here is how Spanish Magazine"Revista Oxigeno" describes the Climbing Tour to Kosovo organized by our company Kosovo Holidays.

"A trip combining visits to natural and cultural beauty, monasteries, medieval churches and mosques, with trekking and climbing “ferrata” in so-called as "Accursed Mountains" of Kosovo. The travel base field is set Prizren City, close to places to be visited for 5 days: the Mountains of Sharri, with its peak Rugova e Madhe, who at 2,658 m marks the border with Macedonia; the Lumebardhi River, which runs through mountain valleys before emptying into the Adriatic after passing through Albania, and that gives birth to visitors a place with about 25 lakes almost two thousand meters high; or Mirusha waterfalls that dot the walls escorting the river of the same name, along a canyon of 10 kilometers. As a postscript, the trip ends with one of the few ferrata in the Balkans: one hundred meters horizontal and vertical progression to enjoy the perfect view over the Rugova gorge.
Read more: http://www.revistaoxigeno.es/


Monday, June 13, 2016

National Geographic: Kosovo deserve more travelers

National Geographic invites tourists to explore 10 surprising destinations, among them Kosovo.

Brezovica
Here is what National Geographic writes about Kosovo, this newborn Destination.

Kosovo:  The Situation on the Ground: Europe’s newest country (it only declared independence in 2008) hasn’t exactly been a mainstay on the tourist trail. A site both of violent conflict and political tension between ethnic Serbs and Albanian Kosovars throughout the 1980s and 90s, culminating in the Kosovo War of 1998-89, Kosovo spent almost a decade as a UN protectorate. Today, however, the newly independent Kosovo is one of Europe’s most exciting—and economical—adventure travel destinations.

Why Go Now: While much has been written about the thriving café culture of Pristina, Kosovo’s relentlessly bohemian, if aesthetically dreary, capital, Kosovo’s real draw is in the country’s south. The medieval city of Prizren—a castle-topped hill town of Ottoman hammams and 14th-century basilicas—is a perfect base from which to hike (or ski) in Kosovo’s Šar Mountains, or to simply wander the city’s forested riverside behind the fortress hill. Well-preserved, without the sterility of renovated “old towns” in Balkan neighbors like Sarajevo, Prizren’s easily walkable historic district is a labyrinth of terra-cotta roofs, minarets, and red-umbrella-roofed cafés.

Don’t Miss: Negotiate—if you don’t speak Albanian, many younger Kosovars speak some English and older generations in the region speak at least a smattering of German—for a vertiginous hourlong taxi ride (about $20) from Prizren into Brod, an overgrown village of stone houses (and a single bakery) in the heart of the Šar Mountains. The heartland of the equestrian Gorani people (the village is said to have more horses than cars), Brod may not have much in the way of hotels (a taciturn old man named Biligap, discoverable by asking around, rents his somewhat dusty second home to travelers at $20 a bed), but somewhat impetuous horses (and guides, which are highly recommended) are easy to rent. The hiking and riding trails around Brod vary by the season from wildly green to crisply golden.

If roughing it doesn’t appeal, the incongruous chalet-style Hotel Arxhena is a 40-minute walk or a 10-minute drive into the mountains. It offers a resort-style experience, complete with access to ski slopes from $43, and an inexplicable flock of live garden peacocks.

Practical Tip: While off-grid hiking remains one of Kosovo’s most powerful draws, be careful not to wander too far afield. Like much of the Balkans, Kosovo’s wilderness is still home to some extant—and active—war-era land mines, particularly along the Kosovo-Albania border. Don’t head off marked paths alone.

Read more:


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Kosovo, a destination for adventurous tourism

Kosovo, the new born destination, is becoming very interesting for tourists especially for extreme sports such as climbing and hiking. Lonely Planet and other prestigious media agencies are suggesting these new adventurous side of Kosovo to be explored.

Kosovo Holidays, is offering a special and new tour for tourists to experience the least known part of Kosovo. This tour combines visits to the most beautiful cultural and natural beauties of Kosovo, UNESCO sites, monasteries, medieval churches and mosques, with climbing & hiking in Accursed Mountains of Kosovo.

Through this tour you will experience Kosovo’s "Via Ferrata," the first of its kind in the Balkans. A vertical rock face of 100 meters is perfect for experiencing the thrill of rock climbing in a controlled environment. The hiking and climbing along the cables and wires offers a spectacular view over the city of Peja and the Rugova Gorge. The trail travels through ancient caves which now serves as a shelter for wildlife. You will finish the hike in one of the villages of the Rugova Gorge
The Via Ferrata is done with professional equipment provided, trained guides, and advanced construction supported by Italian professionals with extensive experience in the Italian Dolomites. No rock climbing experience is required. There are metal steps installed in the rock face making it a doable climb for just about anyone.
This 5 days tour combines the best of nature and culture of Kosovo, visits at Unesco heritage sites, and the most beautiful nature attractions as Rugova Valley, Sharri Mountains, and Mirusha Waterfalls.
Enjoy this tour:



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Visa-free travel will boost tourism in Kosovo



Kosovo people had some good news to celebrate this month. First news was the decision of UEFA (European soccer’s governing body) to accept the Kosovo Football Federation as its 55th member in a vote at its annual congress in Budapest.  Just one day after the new Balkan country became part of UEFA, the European Commission proposes visa-free travel for the people of Kosovo.

The European Union had been wary about offering Kosovo a visa-free regime after large numbers of Kosovars sought asylum in the bloc in 2014 and 2015. But Kosovo has improved border controls, introduced biometric passports and agreed to the return of citizens not entitled to asylum in the EU.
Citizens of other Balkan countries - Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia - have been able to travel without a visa in the Schengen zone since 2010.
"Kosovo has made great progress," Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters on Wednesday, adding that he hoped national governments and the European Parliament would approve the proposal quickly.
Under the proposal, Kosovars with biometric passports would be able to enter the Schengen zone without a visa and stay for up to 90 days. The zone includes 22 of the 28 EU member states and several non-EU nations including Switzerland and Norway.
Kosovo, which has a population of 1.8 million, declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Visa-free travel is very important for people of Kosovo. This step also will boost tourism in this new born destination.