Practical info and facts
This Kosovo Information page provides facts, sights and practical tips about the Republic of Kosovo.
Religion in Kosovo
The Republic of Kosovo is a secular state. The majority of the inhabitants have a Muslim heritage, and practice a very mild form of Islam. Everywhere throughout the country you will find mosques, and most people celebrate the two big feasts of Islam. In most of the cities in Kosovo you hardly see women with headscarves. Most of the Kosovars consider their Albanian ethnicity to be of higher importance than their religious identity. Around 60,000 Kosovars consider themselves Catholic. Read all about this topic at our special Kosovo information page about religion.
Cities in Kosovo
The most important cities in Kosovo are Pristina, Peja, Prizren and Gjakova. Another major town is Mitrovica. This place has a large Serbian minority. Other big cities are Gjilan and Ferizaj. Read about the cities at our special Kosovo information page about cities.
Kosovo was after the war in 1999 officially still a part of Serbia. But, the place was ruled by the United Nations. The country self-declared its independence on February 17th, 2008.
A majority of Western countries backed this new status quickly. Read all about this topic at our Kosovo information page about independence.
NATO in Kosovo
Since the Kosovo war of 1999, several NATO-forces have been in the country. Their mission was given the name KFOR. KFOR started with 50,000 members in 1999. But, the military force in the country decreased year by year until they reached 4,559 in 2016. In several cities, the KFOR-troops no longer have a large presence. In general, you hardly see them in most places. The majority of cities in Kosovo are now very safe.
EU in Kosovo
The European Union is present in Kosovo with the name EULEX. The main purpose of the mission is to help establish the rule of law. EULEX became fully operational in 2009 and had the support of both the EU member states and Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and the US.
United States of America in Kosovo
The USA is very present in the Republic of Kosovo with military, political and NGO-related means. Most of the Kosovars are thankful to America for their role in the liberation of Kosovo in 1999. In capital Pristina, there is a large statue of former President Bill Clinton. Twenty years after, he came two days for a visit.
The military presence of the United States is very large in Kosovo. One of the largest US military bases, outside their own land, lies in Kosovo. A few thousand can stay at the base. The name of the military camp is Camp Bondsteel.
The Americans have a large embassy. The new building costed around 200 million euro. There was once an important meeting where the Kosovo’s president convinced two political party leaders to form a new government. The US ambassador was the only other person in the room.
United Nations in Kosovo
After the war in Kosovo, the United Nations in Kosovo were practically ruling the country. Kosovo was a so-called U.N. protectorate. The UN started with 9,000 workers, and decreased that number to a couple hundred in 2016.
Kosovo Football team
The football team of Kosovo is recognized by both the FIFA and the UEFA since 2016. Before that, Kosovo was only allowed to play international friendlies, since 2014. In the first year of their friendly matches, Kosovo played against Haiti, Turkey, Senegal and Oman. After that, the new football team played qualification matches for both the World Cup and European Cup. Read all this topic at our Kosovo information page about football.
Kosovo news websites
Looking for news about Kosovo in English? The country has several media outlets that write articles in the English language. News about Kosovo can be found via Kosovapress, Gazeta Express, RKTlive and Balkan Insight.
Travel information Kosovo
Security in Kosovo
Kosovo is in general a very safe place to stay. Military violence or riots are mostly only found in the Mitrovica area in the north. This is the area with a large number of Serbian inhabitants. From time to time, an incident takes places in this region. Incidents in Mitrovica are often published in international newspapers, which might give the impression that ‘whole the country’ is dangerous.
The majority of Kosovars are pro-Western and pro-European. They want to take care of tourists and other visitors. Walking on the streets at night is in general a safe thing to do. Like always: use common sense.
Language in Kosovo
The language of Kosovars is Albanian. This is because of the large majority of ethnic Albanians in the country (more than 90%). Albanian is an independent language, influenced by Latin and Greek, but also by Ottoman Turkish.
Serbian is also an official language in Kosovo. You see the language on many governmental signs and websites. Other recognized regional languages are Bosnian, Turkish, Gorani and Romani.
Names of cities at road signs are written in both Albanian and Serbian. In the city of Prizren, you will even find the street signs in Turkish too.
Many Kosovars do speak English or German as a second language. In the center of the capital Pristina is a large number of Western expats. Ordering a coffee or beer in the English language is common. Many young Kosovars have studied abroad, and therefore speak good English. Therefore, they can also give you some personal ‘Kosovo information’.
Passports and travel documents in Kosovo
EU civilians and Americans can enter Kosovo without a visa. They can stay up to three months. Of course, you need a passport to enter the Republic of Kosovo. Several citizens, like the Dutch, are also allowed to enter with an ID card. If you are from of one of these countries, you do not need a visa. This website works if you click on the dropdown menu and select your country.
Inhabitants of 87 countries do need a visa to enter Kosovo. It’s not a matter of just buying a visa at the border, so be prepared. This website of a university might give you additional information. Curious about all Kosovan embassies in the world?
Time difference with Kosovo
Kosovo is in the Central European Time zone, which means that they have the same time as Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin and Brussels. Kosovo has daylight savings time and wintertime.
Weather in Kosovo
Kosovo has long, warm summers, and cold winters. Thus, you might experience nice temperatures between April and October. June, July, and August have high temperatures, regularly above 30 degrees Celsius. There is a short spring and a short fall.
Winters are often intense. This means a lot of frost, and from time to time much snow. Of course, this is ideal for winter holidays. Snow in the mountains is often visible until the end of April.
The big mountains cause weather differences between several cities. So when checking the internet for the weather news, make sure you type in the correct city. Note: sometimes weather website uses the Serbian names for cities. Interested which places are great to visit in summer or winter time? Visit our Kosovo information page about tourism.
Vaccinations and injections for Kosovo
Seek advice from your own doctor about vaccines for Kosovo. Do not wait till the day before you leave. Hepatitis A and DPT vaccines might be advised for example.
Kosovo is full of pharmacies, and are often opened till late. They are called ‘Barnatore’ in the Albanian language. Supermarkets and shops in Kosovo sell many kinds of cleaning supplies these days.
In general, it’s safe to buy food on the street or go to qebabtores or restaurants. You find more about this subject on number #7 of the Kosovo information page that shares ten positive points about Kosovo.
Drink water quality in Kosovo
The quality of tap water is different per region. We advise you to buy bottled water in a shop. Most Kosovars do drink the tap water. Prices for a bottle of water are very low. On the street, they sell small water bottles for around thirty euro cent.
If you order a coffee in a restaurant, it is normal to receive a glass of water together with it. This is often tap water, so don’t feel bad to leave it untouched. By the way, the story goes that caffè macchiato in Kosovo is the best in the world.
Local currency in Kosovo
Since 2002, you pay with the euro in Kosovo. Despite of the fact that the Republic is not an official euro country. In the couple of Serbian parts of the country, people pay with the Serbian dinar.
In small shops and restaurants, they prefer you to pay cash. Credit cards are often allowed, but having the transaction go through is not a guarantee. At the other hand, paying with a card is more and more the standard in bigger supermarkets.
Kosovo is full of ATMs, but not all will accept your foreign bank card. So when possible, take several bank cards with you.
Smoking ban in Kosovo
Smoking is not permitted in cafes and restaurants in Kosovo. Just like in other countries, it doesn’t guarantee that a place is certainly smoke free. Big and modern restaurants will have a greater chance of being smoke free than small cafes in villages.
Kosovo information about Tourism
Kosovo is a perfect destination for those who want to enjoy nature’s beauty and beautiful cultural sights. For example big waterfalls, national parks, ancient monasteries, traditional cities and beautiful mosques. Check out the Kosovo highlights at our Kosovo information page about Tourism.
Flying to Kosovo
Kosovo has a new international airport. This is twenty minutes by car from the center of the capital Pristina. The name of the airport of Kosovo is Adem Jashari International Airport. Many planes fly directly to Kosovo. Read about the airport and flights to Kosovo at our special Kosovo information page about Pristina Flights.
Public holidays in Kosovo
Kosovo celebrates ten public holidays. Governmental workers, offices and others that can afford it are having a day off. You will find all the public holidays and their dates listed at the page Kosovo public holidays.
This is the end of the Kosovo Information page. Do you miss something? Feel free to write your comment below. Thank you!
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