Hi fellow travelers! Are you ready to explore one of the last hidden gems of the Balkans? The small but mighty country of Kosovo is almost always overlooked in favor of places like Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and what a missed opportunity that is because this central Balkan jewel offers a wealth of adventures that will leave you in awe. Kosovo is home to some of the highest peaks in Southeastern Europe, including Gjeravica, which stands at 2,656 meters. It’s nothing short of a hiker’s paradise!
That’s not all this newly formed republic has in store. Kosovo also boasts cool cave and canyon systems like the Rugova Canyon, which is one of the longest and deepest of its kind on the European continent. And if you’re a history buff, Kosovo has a fascinating past to learn about – from its Ottoman architecture that stretches back to the 15th century to its recent struggle for independence when it separated from Serbia in 2008. Plus, the locals are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and the cuisine is fantastic.
To help you make the most of your trip to Kosovo and the surrounding Balkan nations of Albania, Montenegro and North Macedonia, we recommend booking your adventures with Outdoor Kosovo. This reputable and responsible company is based in Peja (West Kosovo,) and has years of experience running all sorts of tours: trekking and mountaineering, skiing and snowshoeing, rock climbing and via ferrata, cave and canyon hikes, cycling and mountain biking, culture and history tours, you name it!
The certified guides with Outdoor Kosovo are experts in these fields, and will ensure you have a fun and safe journey. Their team can also organize things like accommodation, transport, and visa and border crossing permits. Heading to the most remote regions of the Balkans might seem scary but with a dedicated crew on the ground ready to serve you, all your worries will disappear. Outdoor Kosovo’s tours can also be guided or self-guided, depending on your wishes, so it’s a no-brainer to book with them.
Hiking in Kosovo’s Unspoiled Nature
Hiking in Kosovo is an off-the-beaten-path activity that transports you to enchanting mountains, rustic countryside and tranquil environments. There are several routes to choose from such as the challenging yet awesome Peaks of the Balkans and the Dinarica Trail in the Accursed Mountains. Whichever one you choose, you will be rewarded with spectacular views and a feeling of deep connection to nature. Of course, Outdoor Kosovo can help you arrange your hike be it guided or solo.
- The Peaks of the Balkans: This special 10-day hike takes place in the epic Dinaric Alps over three countries: Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro. It’s regarded as one of the most untouched trails in all of Europe. The only signs of civilization you will see on the walk are small villages and mountain huts – making it an ideal option for those in need of some peace and quiet. The full loop covers a distance of 192 kilometers and is usually completed in 10 to 12 days in the summer months between June and October.
- Via Dinarica Trail: The Via Dinarica Hike navigates through the Accursed Mountains. Although the entire Via Dinarica is massive, the Kosovo section in particular is the most beautiful. On Outdoor Kosovo’s seven day tour, you will be blown away by the scenery. Jagged peaks can be spotted around every corner, gorgeous valleys come into view at unexpected moments, woodland areas offer wildlife viewing opportunities, and lakes and rivers appear to add even more beauty to the overall experience.
- Gjeravica Summit: The highest peak in Kosovo is definitely one to tick off your bucket list and what’s better: it can be completed in a day with Outdoor Kosovo! This adventure kicks off in Peja and then takes a 4×4 to the starting point of the trek. As you make your way up 865 meters of elevation gain, you will pass by stunning lakes and vistas. Gjeravica is actually situated on part of the Via Dinarica Trail from where other peaks can be seen in the distance such as the Accursed Mountains.
Exhilarating Adventure Tours in Kosovo
Kosovo is not just a destination for hiking. Adrenaline-junkies can get their fix on a range of other activities too like Via Ferrata climbs and cave explorations. Challenging yourself to a climb in the Rugova Canyon will get your heart racing and create unforgettable memories. Or perhaps a cave excursion tickles your fancy. In that case, Sleeping Beauty Cave and Great Canyon Cave are up for grabs. These underground gems feature vast caverns, ancient rocks and streams – a playground for thrill seekers.
- Via Ferrata in Rugova Canyon: Check out the photos below to see why this adventure tour with Outdoor Kosovo is so jaw-dropping. The views are out of this world and the moderately difficult B-grade trails make for enough of a challenge to keep you on your toes without becoming too strenuous. Your guides will stop at key points to provide info about the geology, wildlife of the Rugova Canyon, human history with the canyon, and more. All of the gear is provided on this two-and-a-half hour experience.
- Sleeping Beauty Cave: Otherwise known as Radavc Cave, this secret of the Balkans is located near the White Drin Waterfall in the village of Radavc – just 11 kilometers from Peja. The cave is nestled deep inside cliffs above which lies the White Drin plain. With Outdoor Kosovo, you meet at their office in Peja (or get picked up from your hotel) and head off for a short walk towards the cave entrance passing by the waterfall on the way there. Then, it’s time to start trekking in the underground river passage!
Kosovo’s Charming Winter Wonderland
Traveling to Kosovo in winter might not be everyone’s first choice, however the colder months do offer some unique experiences that can’t be had in summer. The white landscapes, bare trees and frozen lakes give off a surreal vibe. Winter sports are the go-to activities during this time with ski opportunities abounding. While you won’t find many luxury ski resorts and gourmet restaurants, the simple pleasures of staying in a family-run mountain inn and enjoying empty slopes easily makes up for it.
- Ski Touring in Kosovo & Albania: Those searching for new destinations to spend their winter holidays in will find the perfect offering in Kosovo and Albania on the Ski Touring adventure. This eight day tour takes you to mysterious mountains between two hidden gems of the Balkans, where some of the best descents on the continent can be found. At the end of each ski day, you will return to charming family-run guesthouses and try local specialties – with mountain tea and rakia warming the soul.
- Snowshoeing Adventure: What was once a mode of transport many moons ago has transformed into a popular winter activity. If you have never tried snowshoeing before, then you are in for a real treat. It’s not only a great way to exercise but it’s full of recreational benefits. The sense of peace you will feel when surrounded by a blanket of white snow, and with no noise pollution to be heard, is profound. Being amidst the Rugova Mountains will offer sublime views and good times all round.
Need to Know Before You Go
- Visa Requirements: Travelers from the EU, UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can enter Kosovo visa-free for up to 90 days. Other nationalities with weaker passports may need to check with a relevant embassy to see if there are any restrictions. In general, Kosovo wants to receive tourists and has welcoming visitor policies. Pristina is the capital and largest city, and has an international airport where you can fly into. Common stopovers before Pristina are Istanbul, London and Vienna.
- Land Border Crossings: A trip to Kosovo is ideally paired with other Balkan countries and therefore your entry point could be via the border. Coming in through Albania is a common choice and is relatively easy. The only country that presents a problem is Serbia due to the historical tensions between the two (sadly, Serbia still doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s independence). But all of the other bordering countries such as North Macedonia, Montenegro and the aforementioned Albania are fine.
- Currency: Euro is the official currency of Kosovo. It was adopted in 2012, four years after independence. Most prices are quoted in Euro and cash is a widely used mode of payment. That being said, if you are venturing to Serb-majority towns, there is a chance the locals will use Serbian Dinars alongside Euros. You shouldn’t have any issues either way. Pristina and other major cities are the only places where your debit and credit cards will be universally accepted. In smaller towns and villages, cash is king.
- Cuisine: Many tourists say the cuisine in Kosovo is similar to Albania but without the Mediterranean influences of, say, olive oil. It’s more akin to Turkish food with lots of delicious meat-based dishes like grilled kebabs, spicy sausages, baked lamb, rolled cabbage leaves, pastries filled with meat and spinach, etc. Despite being a majority Muslim country, alcohol is also widely advertised and sold. The local beers are always a hit with the travelers who come here. Coffee too is prevalent and ridiculously cheap.
- Getting Around: Hiring a car is without doubt the easiest option to get around but the bus network is reliable as well. If you are booking a multi-day tour with Outdoor Kosovo, for example, they will be able to collect you from the airport and drop you off at your accommodation to begin the tour. Having this fantastic company look after you from start to finish makes your experience that much easier and much more immersive. They are experts in Kosovo after all and love showing guests the real culture!