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KOSOVO  (Kosovë/Косово)

Billed as Europe's newest country, it's an area of great contention. Originally part of Serbia, it's population is mainly Albanian. Albanian flags fly everywhere, party political imagery has the Albanian flag in the background. It therefore seems odd and somewhat illogical that Kosovo wasn't just passed over to the Albanians.

There were two main things I picked up from being in Kosovo. One was the rate at which houses appear to be popping up all over the countryside. The other was the amount of litter everywhere. Not just pockets here and there, but quite literally everywhere. Coming into Kosovo from Kacedonia, the first thing I noticed was the river caked in rubbish. The banks were lined with rubbish, branches of trees dangling in the river had rubbish attached. It was  a genuine eyesore.


Essential Information

Language: Albanian & Serbian

Currency: Euro (not an official eurozone state)

Visa: No nation requires a Visa for up to 90 days

Plug: European two prong 230v


GDP Ranking (IMF): #110 £2208 (similar to Indonesia and Ukraine).

Communications: Country code is +381, +377, +386

Health: None, although health insurance is recommended in case of emergencies

When to Visit: Kosovo is in the Northern Hemisphere, with hot summers and cold winters

Personal Safety: Kosovo has a low crime rate, although use common sense in big cities after dark. The country is patrolled by UN troops and the Police are internationally monitored, so you are safe here. Be aware of the possibility of landmines outside cities, as well as missing manhole covers (due to metal theft).

Getting Around: Kosovo has a good intercity bus network. Departures usually leave when the bus is full. Taxi's are also a possibility. A rail service  go north, south and West from Fushë Kosovë, which is just West of Pristina.

What to see/do: Berdynaj village, near Peja, has a waterfall and a good place to chill in the summer, Nearby is the Rugova gorge, also worth a look if in the area. Observe the tensions between the Serbs and Albanians at the Mitrovica Bridge. UN Troops guard it, and will let you cross if tensions aren't raised. Ulpiana has Roman history, and the highlight of any trip has to be the gold statue of Bill Clinton in Pristina!

Food & Drink: Freshwater fish feature in the best food to be found. Most local food will be based on Albanian or Serbian food. For those looking for a strong drink, Raki should satisfy. A brewery in Peja means Kosovo has local brews, mainly two brands. These are Peja Pilsner and Peja Premium. Being a Pilsner fan, I preferred the former. .

Other Notes: Kosovo is not recognised by all UN members, but is recognised by the IMF and World Bank. It has suffered heavy conflict between ethnic Albanians and Serbians. As such it's best to avoid politics. If you're unsure the person you're speaking to is Albanian or Serbian, use English or German.