In the center of the Balkans, a ski adventure Serbia and Kosovo awaits you. A crazy journey to two regions that have a love-hate relationship with each other. The trip begins in Skopje, the capital of northern Macedonia. In Serbia, we ski at the large Kopaonik ski resort.
Discover Peaks of the Balkans, the cross-border route through Kosovo, Montenegro, and Albania, on touring skis or a splitboard! Originally designed as a hiking trail to promote local tourism and bring regions closer together, all across national borders. Majestic mountains, deep powder, and delightful Balkan hospitality make this journey an unforgettable experience.
|Visa||Not necessary for a stay shorter than 90 days for residents from the EU. Check your own governments website for more exact information.|
|Passport||Valid for at least 6 months after departure from Kosovo|
|Time difference||GMT+1 (summer) and GMT+2 (winter), same as the Netherlands|
|Language||Official language is Albanian (in some municipalities also other minority languages) (young people speak English very well)|
|Cash||Paying by card is possible everywhere, bringing euros could be practical|
|Vaccinations||DTP and Hepatitus A are adviced|
|Internet connection||In most guesthouses and hotels is excellent internet connection|
|Safety||There are safety risks in connection with the Covid-19 virus, Click here for current info (Dutch Government) Click here for (covid-19) information from the Kosovarian government.|
|Food and Drinks||A unique cuisine with influences from Italian, Greek and Turkish dishes|
|Popular dishes||Burek, Qofte, Fergese, Speca te mbushura, Dolma Japrak, Flia</a >, Raki and Dhallë (Ayran)|
Kosovo, a complex country
Kosovo is Europe’s youngest country. One of Europe’s poorest, too. The struggle for independence has left its mark. The country is only partially recognized (96 out of 193 members of the United Nations recognize the independence of the Republic of Kosovo) and UN peacekeeping forces are present to this day.
Kosovo had been administered by the United NationsInterim Administration Missionin Kosovo ( UNMIK ) since the end of the Kosovo war. In 2008, a new constitution came into effect that put Kosovo in charge of its own country: from now on, it is allowed to hold its own elections, gets a foreign minister, a central bank and a new national anthem for the first time, and the Kosovo president proclaims the laws, instead of the UN. Police and justice remain in the hands of UNMIK for now.
Kosovo’s unclear status has far-reaching consequences, not least economically. The country has one of the least developed economies in Europe. Corruption is also a serious problem. Therefore, it is not easy to attract foreign investment.
Kosovo, explore the new born
Yet Kosovo has more than enough to offer. The Great Outdoors, in summer as well as winter, excellent cuisine and a young and enterprising population. Surrounded by mountains, the country borders Albania, Serbia, Montenegro and northern Macedonia. Kosovo has an area of 10,887 km² and a population of about 1.8 million. The largest city is capital Pristina, with some 200,000 inhabitants. Kosovars generally speak Albanian, are Muslim and pay in euros. Except in the north of the country, where people speak Serbian, pay in dinars, and drink not Birra Peja but Jelen.
Clearly, Kosovo carries with it a complex piece of history. Consequently, it is not simple to expound on them in a brief and nuanced way. We are doing our best.
Kosovo’s history in a nutshell
The early years of Kosovo
In the beginning (count 1000 B.C.), Kosovo was populated by Illyrian tribes, who inhabited the land between the Danube and the Adriatic coastline and were known as fearsome pirates. Around the first century BCE came the Romans (quite conquering and, moreover, not afraid of “barbarians”). The Romans brought both Christianity and Latin abc to these regions. Of the Illyrians, only their language remained – the basis for today’s Albanian. A little later (fifth century) Slavic tribes crossed the Danube. These Southern Slavs settled in the region that would later be called Yugoslavia(yugo is Russian for south). They brought with them the Cyrillic alphabet and the Orthodox Church. The tribes united (around the 12th century) into the great Serbian Empire. In the fourteenth century, another party peeps in: the Ottomans think the time is ripe for an expansion of their empire and storm into the Balkans. They achieve an important victory during what would later be called the Battle of Blackbird Field (June 28, 1389 – handy for the quizzers among you). Exit Serbian, enter Ottoman Empire.
Division and power
This early history is important because it shows well that divisions in the Balkans, and in Kosovo in particular, go back a long way. We do not have enough space here to recount the complete history of Kosovo (there is hours to tell, discuss and argue about that), but do not hesitate to ask us or our guides about it. It is our pleasure to reveal all the details.
The following centuries were characterized by a constant struggle for power over the Serbian territories. Major players are the Turks (Ottomans), the Serbs, Austria-Hungary, the Albanians, and the Russians are also making their presence felt (during the Russo-Turkish War, the Russians inflict a defeat on the Turks, which funneled solidarity between Russia and Serbia). We have the Balkan wars at the beginning of the 20th century, the assassination of the Austrian heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 which some say sparked World War I. Then, therefore, two world wars, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Tito’s communist Yugoslavia, his death in 1980 and the subsequent breakup of the federal state, the armed conflicts for independence, the Kosovo War of 1996-1999, and the eventual proclamation of the independent Republic of Kosovo in 2008.
So, quite a sandwich. But at least now you can tell something about the country where you go skiing or boarding. We already can’t wait to take you to Peja and Prizren, to go catskiing in the Bogë Valley, to venture on a via ferrata in the Rugova Canyon and to go tobogganing in Brezovica. Don’t you?