Kosovo, a.k.a. the newest country on the Balkans, happens to be an overlooked destination by many people due to the fact that it’s only partially recognized as an independent country and is still considered as a disputed territory. Being in the center of the Balkan Peninsula and having a highly varied relief makes it a great choice for your next vacation. Here are just some of the numerous places in this small country that will absolutely take your breath away.
Brezovica ski resort
Kosovo’s potential for international tourism is best expressed by the Brezovica ski resort in the majestic Šar Mountains. Established back in the 1950s it has plenty of skiing and snowboarding slopes, some of which are equipped with poles and gates and can hold up to 50,000 people. Several lifts and hotels have been built for the visitors’ convenience. The resort has stunning views of the Šar Mountains and National Park, the Livadh lake and the winding slopes settled at different elevations of between 1,718 and 2,552 meters. During the summer season tourists can even enjoy golfing and mountain biking.
Brezovica might be the most famous resort in Kosovo, but the Mirusha waterfalls offer even better sights to take in. Breathtaking from every single angle, the 12 cascades that form the Mirusha waterfalls are yet another spectacular example of the natural wonders hidden inside Kosovo’s borders. The highest cascade falls from 22 meters, which isn’t so notable on its own, but the combined cascades create a fascinating drop in the middle of a lush mountainous scenery. Part of what makes the area so Instagrammable is the fact that the cascades have formed a dozen lakes, which intersect with every waterfall and create kitschy “steps” carved in the rocky terrain.
Speaking of lakes, here’s one that makes for a great romantic spot with its irregular almost heart-shaped appearance. It’s not easy to reach if you’re not up for some trekking, but once you get there, it will be worth it. With a length of 125 meters, the Veliko Jažinačko Jezero is far from the largest lake on Balkan grounds, yet it’s a significant aspect of Šar’s natural beauty. Another advantage is its elevation at the whopping 2,180 meters, which contributes to a healthy dosage of fresh and breezy mountain air.
Two of the few Via Ferratas on the Balkans
Here’s a fun little fact. Despite its small territory, Kosovo has not one, but two Via Ferratas! If you haven’t heard of this terminology before, a Via Ferrata literally means “an iron path” and is a series of manmade iron steps that serve as a climbing route. Ladders, ropes, cables and other safety equipment is also used, so a Via Ferrata path is not as scary as it may seem. There are only a few such locations found on the Balkans in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Kosovo. Needless to say, the scenic panoramas these climbing routes offer can’t be enjoyed on solid ground. Fortunately, Kosovo has two of these routes – Via Ferrata Ari near Peja and Via Ferrata Berim near Zubin Potok. If you can ever brave the fear of heights and dangerous rock climbing, you should definitely check out at least one of these iron paths.
Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park
Alpine scenery? Check. Virgin forests? Check. Diverse ecosystem? Check. Endemic flora and fauna unique to the region? Double check! If neither of these factors is enough to make you put on your shoes and go to the Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park, then consider the impressive views on the territory of the park, spanning over more than 63,000 hectares of land, or in other words – around 6% of the country’s entire territory. Rugged relief, numerous lakes, several waterfalls, lots of authentic mountain huts and a close proximity to the historical city of Peja are some of the main reasons as to why you should visit it.