Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, is a small city situated close to the Goljak Mountains in the north east of the country. The architecture of downtown Pristina is a mix of the old and brutally modern. The city is compact enough to be explored comfortably on foot. Visitors can get a good sense of the city’s, often turbulent, history with a visit to the Kosovo Museum, housed in one of the remaining older buildings. The museum has an extensive collection of social and archaeological artifacts and the city’s emblem, the 3,500 year old Goddess on the Throne terracotta statue, can be viewed here. A museum housed in the 18th century former home of Emin Gjiku, houses an impressive collection of ethnological artifacts. Visitors should make sure they view the University Library which looks like it has been built from giant Lego blocks and then covered in chain mail. Several open places and parks provide a contrast to the modern architecture. There is the City Park, with its stone pathways and well kept gardens and the larger Germia Park on the outskirts of the city. Here there are restaurants and cafes as well as a huge swimming pool, open in the hotter months. A new green space, Tauk Bashque, has recently been created in the heart of the city. Pristina has a huge cafe culture and the local population spend large parts of their days enjoying coffee and pastries, either on sunny terraces or in the well-heated interiors. Visitors to the city will find that the cafes, restaurants and clubs are welcoming, and especially lively at weekends.
The climate of Pristina is oceanic with a relatively high rainfall throughout the year, which visitors should always be prepared for. The best times for exploring the city are in the months from May to September as the temperatures can fall extremely low throughout the rest of the year. These months, however, will be a slightly more expensive time to visit. Pristina is now host to a growing number of annual fairs such as the Prishtina Dam Music Festival held at the end of March and the PriFilmFest in September. There is also an increasing number of trade shows held throughout the year, which are very popular with both exhibitors and visitors.
Downtown is easy to explore by foot so most visitors will not need to use public transport but there is a reasonably efficient and very cheap bus route. The buses, however, tend to be on the old side. Tickets are sold by an attendant or ‘conductor’ who will come to the passenger. Taxis can be used to explore the city and prices can usually be negotiated. The drivers will be happy to recommend good cafes and restaurants. A slightly unusual one day tour, available from the Kosovan Tourism Group, combines a morning’s walking exploration of the city, taking in several places of interest, followed by an afternoon visit to a country ranch and a horseback ride to the Kosovan battlefield of 1389.