Day Trip To Kosovo From Skopje: SO COOL!

Filed Under: Travel

Yesterday I shared our experience visiting Skopje, North Macedonia. We only had two full days there, and for our one full day we decided to do a road trip to Kosovo.

Kosovo is a place with a lot of history (including quite recently), and it’s the second newest country in the world (assuming you want to recognize it as such, given that it’s a disputed territory). I had learned all about Kosovo in school, but was so intrigued to see what it was actually like.

Going in my expectations were that it would be interesting to see, but that’s about it. My goodness, I couldn’t have imagined what we actually found.

Driving to Pristina, Kosovo

Pristina is the capital of Kosovo, and it’s only about a 90 minute drive from Skopje. In reality it’s about a 30 minute drive to the border with Kosovo, and then an hour drive from the border to Pristina.

My friend and I decided to rent a car. I was a bit apprehensive — I didn’t know what driving in Kosovo would be like, I didn’t know how long the border crossing would take, etc.

Well, this all turned out to be a non-issue, as it was a really easy drive, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend doing this trip without a guide.

The scenery just outside Skopje was gorgeous.

Crossing the border to Kosovo

The border crossing was much easier than I was expecting. There was virtually no wait (there were two cars in front of us). First we had to clear departure immigration for North Macedonia, where we had to present our passports and proof that we were allowed to take our rental car out of the country.

Then it was just a short drive between the borders of the two countries.

And then we cleared immigration in Kosovo, which was equally easy.

The whole immigration process took about five minutes.

The same was the case on the return.

The scenery for our hour drive in Kosovo was fascinating. Before we even talk about Pristina, enroute there were several billboards thanking America — now that’s not something you often see!

The road conditions were mostly pretty good, though they’re working on building the most impressive land bridge I’ve seen in my entire life all the way to the border. Like, I’ve seen a lot of bridges in my life, but this one goes for miles and miles and miles, and is in some cases so high up that it’s scary. I can’t even imagine how much it cost to build.

I imagine when it’s open it will cut the travel time in half.

Visiting Pristina: OMG they love America & the Clintons

The level of love towards America in Kosovo almost seems unreal. There’s a Statue of Liberty on top of a building.

There’s Bill Clinton Boulevard.

Also there is a Bill Clinton statue.

And then a massive poster with an American flag, and a picture of Bill Clinton.

The dress shop right next to that is called Hillary.

Hungry? Stop at Route 66 Diner.

Or if you’re just feeling peckish, maybe have some American tornado chips instead!

They. Love. America.

Pristina beyond love for America

I was so pleasantly surprised by how lively, happy, safe, and welcoming Pristina was. The city certainly has a few tourist attractions…

The entire city felt reasonably well maintained.

But what I loved was just how many families were out and about enjoying the beautiful spring afternoon. This included one of the main shopping promenades in town…

And also the park that overlooks the city…

While this isn’t really surprising, everything in Kosovo is really, really cheap. For example, we sat down in a cafe just off the main square, and a cappuccino cost 1EUR, and a pizza would have cost 2.50EUR.

Bottom line

In terms of destinations, a day trip to Pristina was the highlight of this trip. What a fascinating place. Not only was it cool to see a place with so much history firsthand, but the appreciation for America was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Once the huge bridge in Kosovo opens, it will be even easier to get here from Skopje. I wish we had planned more time here.

Kosovo is definitely worth a visit, and if you can tie it in with a trip to Skopje, all the better.

How cool…

Comments
  1. Nice photos and wish I had gotten to Kosovo last year but only had time for Macedonia and Albania. Albanians love Americans like literally no other country … you will be greeted affectionately wherever you go in Kosovo and Albania with your US passport.

  2. ” I’ve seen a lot of bridges in my life, but this one goes for miles and miles and miles, and is in some cases so high up that it’s scary”

    Have you seen the “bridge” of Millau then? :-))

  3. @ Steven M – Reminds me of when I visited Albania. Honestly, aside from Georgia (the country) I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere where they loved Americans more. I was told it goes back to when President Woodrow Wilson stood up for Albania as an independent country

  4. I highly recommend Prizren also for anyone who is considering visiting Kosovo. It’s about the same distance from Skopje, but takes a bit longer because the route is mountainous. It’s a beautiful area and a lively town.

  5. As others said, Albania is similar with the American patriotism as well (although not to the extent as in Pristina). Pristina is actually becoming hugely gentrified and there are tons of new restaurants and bars owned by young people. I had a good time there. All of the Balkans have something to offer and are greatly under appreciated, which makes it a great time to visit them before they become more popular.

  6. @Ben (Lucky)

    Pointless linguistic quibble number 732 in a series:

    Patriotism is love of / devotion to / pride in one’s own country. Patriotism in Kosovo would be directed toward Kosovo. You can’t have “American patriotism” amongst people other than Americans. (Though obviously Americans can display their patriotism elsewhere than in America.) I don’t know what specifically stimulates the open display of love and appreciation for America in Kosovo – presumably the role of the US in the Balkan war – but that display is not “American patriotism.”

    I know you won’t edit the post to fix this linguistic glitch, but thanks for letting me get it off my chest.

    Personally, I suspect if I wanted to eat in an American diner, partake of American snacks and so on, I would probably go to America. Albeit immigration is probably more pleasant in Kosovo.

    Did you notice any Kosovar culture while you were there?

  7. that bridge is great in your opinion??
    Go to China and see those great infrastructures including the longest bridge in this world
    come on, baby!

  8. If you wanna see a lot of Liberty Statue you should come to Brazil.
    There is a department store called “Havan” (lol) that has the Liberty Statue in front of the store, with greek style building…
    I guess it is a way to thank USA for setting us apart from the “socialist europe” lol 😛

    (it’s a terrible store)

  9. @YULtide, I was thinking the same thing. As a former professional editor, I occasionally point out grammar and punctuation mistakes to Lucky (like missing words), but very few are corrected. He seems like a professional guy to me, so I thought it might be useful. But his emphasis seems to be more on volume, and perhaps the occasional error lends a homespun quality to the blog.

  10. Very nice report. I am flying for a weekend to Pristina next month and wanted to do the other way round, a day trip to Skopje.
    Did you consider also bus/train/taxi to go there from Skopje? I would prefer avoiding driving but there does not seem to be many options.

  11. Lucky. A bit of memory lane, years ago I spent some time providing training at: Ljubljana, Skopje and Kosovo.

  12. This is a shameful text, written by someone who either doesn’t know anything about Kosovo or pretends not to know.

  13. I recall the days my best friend and I were on the battle fields and mass graves, for Reuters and NatGeo, reporting on the crisis from midst of the crisis. It was one of my first field assignments. Decades later, the people and the towns bring tears of joy. R&R, what little we got time for, were spent in Malta with the US navy. I am glad that you were able to view the beauty which arose from the aftermath of the horror.

  14. I know and respect many people from Kosovo, they are warm and ambitious. At the same time Pristina is by far the least interesting capital city I’ve seen and I would not recommend visiting to anybody. Especially somebody from another side of Atlantic, who have limited time to spend in Europe, to change their travel plans in order to include Kosovo on their list. Therefore I seriously don’t understand your owe about the city, unless somebody paid you specifically to write so positively about the city. Because they love US and the Clintons? Or because it is so cheap? There are many nicer places in Europe, including Western Balkans, but even Kosovars don’t like their capital, so let’s be real about it.

  15. @ Lucky – Did you check out Grand Hotel Pristina? Regularly referred to as one of the worst hotels on earth. Have wandered through it and been to the bar on the roof. Would love to see you do a review!

  16. Of course they love the Clintons. Without Clinton’s unnecessary war against Yugoslavia they would have never been able to steal part of the Serbian homeland to make it their country and turn thousands of Serbs into refugees

  17. Next time try to visit Serbian enclava so you can have face to face with prison life! Fascinating stuff.

  18. @Teo – and without the Clintons, I wouldn’t be here (alive) to tell you to get a life. This is a travel blog – bye.

  19. Kosova is a beautiful place, a lot of places not mentioned by visitors . Try Brezovica or Rugova or least but not last Everyone MUST AND HAVE to visit ULPIANA Archaeological Park the Basilico from the Third Centry (Byzantine time) (Illyrian)Constatine the second, literally very close to prishtina . That would be very interesting to have an idea about KOSOVA, without it you won’t be able to understand Kosova.
    If you have a bit of time STRONGLY recomend to visit a CAVE OF GADIMJE which is on the way going to Prishtina from Skopje. Once you live the motorway its only two kilometres away or five minutes drive.

  20. The ugliest country in the world! Visited couple times, for business purposes. Ther is no apsolutly nothing nice to see in this half-independent state!

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