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Kosovo by motorcycle

By motorcycle from Thessaloniki to Skopje, Pristina, Prizren, to the foothills of Bjeshkët and Nemuna National Park, 1,200 km surrounded by nature and breathtaking canyons.

Kosovo. Try asking around if anyone would dare to take a vacation here. They would tell you about war, hunger, and poverty. Bad roads, crime, and nothing to visit. Instead, you will be surprised when you see magnificent places, manicured villages, perfect roads and luxury cars. Not only that, gasoline and the prices of everything are so low that they leave you speechless. Here, too, you can visit historic villages, snow-capped rocky mountains, monasteries and much more. Let's take a look at some of them.

Skopje and surroundings

From Thessaloniki to Skopje, in the direction of Veles, there is a highway through a lot of curvy nature. First stop in Skopje, returned for the occasion a second time, and preceding the border with Kosovo, we visited the Old Bazaar, ate a mixed grill in the small square and drank typical Ayran fermented milk. Near the capital, we visited the imposing Millennium Cross with panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. It can be reached by cable car or a nice walk in the woods. We befriended the gatekeeper who opened the bar for us and got us up there by motorcycle (it was almost sunset time and the walk would have been too long XD).

Canyon Matka - North Macedonia

Matka Canyon is an easy place to get to and promises a fun-filled day in an enchanting place of rare beauty!

Here you can take walks along the canyon that takes you to discover its very large caves and numerous monasteries along the way (takes about 2.5h). In addition, there is the possibility with 3.50 euros to take the boat ride, guided by a child, and photograph the canyon in all its shapes and shades. There is no shortage of activities such as canoeing, double canoeing, pedal boats, and small wooden restaurants and bars overlooking the dam. For those who wish, there is the possibility of sleeping next to the small monastery!

Pizren - The cultural Capital of Kosovo

The city of Prizren, one of the most battered cities during the long and bloody war in Kosovo, is called today the pearl of Kosovo. It is not far from the capital Pristina and is at the foot of the Bjeshkët and Nemuna National Park. Here in Prizren, there are many mosques to visit such as the Sinan Pasha Mosque rich in ornaments, the Maksut Pasha Mosque, as well as the various churches including that of Our Lady of Perpetual Help or The Church of Our Lady of Ljeviš:, an Orthodox church now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Not to be missed is a stop at Šadrvan Square overlooking the Bistrica stream where you can have a coffee by the water.

To sleep, we opted for a clean and cozy family-run hostel with a private room and bathroom (outside the room) for 13€ per night for two people!

The food in Kosovo is really so cheap as to leave you stunned. American coffee is 70 cents, seafood risotto is 3-4€, linguine carbonara is 4.20€, and beer 1.20€ right in the center!

Those who like shopping cannot fail to stroll along Adem Jashari Street, an avenue coming out of the old town full of colorful and traditional handmade wedding dress stores as well as jewelry stores. This avenue, too, offers really cheap but mouth-watering street food, cafes and pastry shops. In the evening, it is nice to walk to the fortress (which can be visited during the day) to see the colors of the city.

Pristina - the Capital

Pristina is a city characterized by Soviet-style but modernizing. Our hostel (5 euros a night with breakfast) was in the center, and we walked comfortably to the main street and the famous NEWBORN sign, a contemporary monument commemorating Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia, or to the statue of Bill Clinton. Still strolling in the downtown area we visited the Cathedral of St. Mother Teresa, beautiful externally and in the evening with the lights that the very famous Pjetër Bogdani National Library, ultra-Soviet style and according to some is one of the ugliest buildings in the world, but it is a place worth seeing. Built-in 1982 by Andrija Mutnjaković, the Croatian architect who won the international design competition held in 1971 to design the building in the "modern style," it is all concrete covered with iron and was meant to symbolize Kosovar culture and intellectualism.

The city did not particularly impress us but gave us good feelings (as they say). We finally had dinner in an alley behind the hostel at Shpija e Vjetër, a very unique restaurant bar, similar internally to a vessel all made of wood, stones, and various junk! The food was very good and as already mentioned the prices were really low.

Between the two of us we spent 17€ for two risottos one of which was seafood, a mixed cheese board for two, flatbreads, grilled vegetables, beer and water, in this beautiful and centrally located place! We then headed to Soma Book Station, a cute place that is also a library during the day where we enjoyed soft live music and two cocktails.

Patriarchate of Pec - Rugova Canyon

On Sunday, we arrived by motorcycle at this monastery where a river runs alongside, coming straight from the mountains, as blue as Swiss rivers.

The Patriarchate of Pec is a Serbian Orthodox monastery, The complex of churches, developed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs today still culturally disputed by Albanians, Serbs and Kosovars where on our tik tok heated up about the authorship of such a site. You just have to discover this wonder surrounded by mountains.

Rugova Canyon begins soon after, with the road skirting this corner of paradise shaded by towering mountains. Here begin the many trails and the Via Ferrata where you can hike and climb. The road is fun even if it is not well maintained in places. One is enraptured by the natural beauty of this place and there is no shortage of opportunities for good photos because there are glass structures above the river to admire the view. This route is about 5km long and continuing further you will reach the border with Montenegro (if you want to know more read the blog (Tour of Balcans 1-2).

For those who have time to stop for a couple of hours, there are small wooden restaurants with scenic terraces right among the nature beside the river! We opted for a roadside bakery where we had pizza, potato cake and a jam brioche (including Pepsi 2.80€ total!).

National Park of Bjeshkët and Nemuna

The last stop should have been the National Park on the border with Albania where next to it, but in Albanian territory, is the very famous Valbona Valley National Park, so you can imagine what awaited us in terms of nature, mountains and scenic areas. We tried with the bike to cross several small patches with little snow, but around a bend, we found half a meter of snow on the asphalt overlooking the overhang. I would say we would have risked too much so we returned inditro to Prizren and the next morning left again for Thessaloniki. When we got to the top we should have bypassed the summit and headed south to Lake Ohrida following between the richly curved mountain ranges but as fate would have it, the ongoing snowmelt brought a layer of snow down into the valley covering a section of asphalt road.

To get to the top of the mountain, however, the route was beautiful, curve after curve with excellent asphalt, and panoramic views of the valley below as far as the eye could see until we crossed forests, rivers, mountain villages, caves and bridges. Too bad it ended this way, we didn't think the roads would go all the way to the top of the mountain but would cut through with a few tunnels at a lower elevation.

The next day we woke up to rain that lasted until we arrived home in Greece!


- you don't necessarily need a passport, electronic ID is just fine and everyone at customs is friendly and welcoming

- supermarkets, cigarettes, pharmacies, etc., are all ultra-cheap and if you are in a car you can fill up on anything you want

- the roads are very good, the motorists much less so. Always be clearly visible, honking the horn before passing can avoid worse times

- You can easily pay by card or ATM or Euro

Itinerary in Map

Click here to see the map and using it during the trip:



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