Kosovo is an enigma. People from six ethnic groups call it their home—the Albanian, Serb, Roma, Ashkalia, Bosniak, and Turkish. The confluence is well captured in the country's architecture, which is a mix of mosques and churches. This landlocked country that borders Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia offers some breathtaking postcard views of nature untouched by the tourism industry.
The nation also buzzes with nightlife, and no city does it with as much gusto as its capital, Pristina. The country's skiing resorts are gaining in popularity. Its Raki (the grape liquor) is a favorite of many visitors. Kosovo also has arguably the best macchiato in the world – many say better than Italy's.
If you're visiting Kosovo, there's plenty to see and do. But before you leave, be sure to purchase
travel insurance or
travel medical insurance
as protection against unexpected accidents, illnesses, injuries, and travel mishaps.
Things to Do for Travelers in Kosovo
Kosovo offers many options for visitors of all kinds, from adventurers to the laid-back meanderers. Here, we have curated five things that would make your Kosovo trip complete. Choose yours.
- Smell the Coffee: Smell the Macchiato particularly. The streets of the capital city of Pristina are lined with cafés. Ask any barista, and he would say, "Our macchiato is better than the Italians'." Arguable.
- Drink Raki: Raki is a grape-based alcoholic drink and is popular among the Kosovars. The tipple, when at its best, tastes like cognac, and its worst like embalming gel. If you are conservative, visit the bars. If you are adventurous, go rural.
- Visit the Quirky and the Magnificent: Kosovo offers some very magnificent pieces of architecture, as well as some of the quirkiest. The National Library of Kosovo is one such quirky example of architecture. Many Kosovars believe that it could be the world's ugliest building. For the magnificent, go to Prizren. Once the intellectual and cultural center of Ottoman Kosovo, the city is dotted with some of Ottoman architecture's best exponents. It also offers some breathtaking views. For the best picture, go to the fortress in Prizren.
- Plan a Trip to Peja: Peja, with its mountainous terrain, is one of the best spots for adventure tourists. The region provides risky but adrenaline-pumping hotspots. Get into the caves here to discover the stalactites and stalagmites. You can also go on to explore the underground waterfalls and lakes.
- Go to the Bear Sanctuary: The bear sanctuary in Kosovo is another unique place to visit. The sanctuary shelters bears that were once kept in cages for entertainment in restaurants/cafes. Thankfully, the practice is now illegal. The sanctuary, spread over an extensive area, allows the bears to roam freely and you to watch them in their natural habitat.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Kosovo
Kosovo is generally a safe country to travel to. The scars of the civil war are also slowly fading. But you can expect a few protests here and there that may sometimes turn violent.
Nevertheless, one can safely say that Kosovo's hazards are moderate and do not warrant any undue concern. Precautions that you would take for what you consider a safe place would suffice for Kosovo.
Kosovo doesn't have any specific health alerts. However, ensure you have your doses of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines. Meanwhile, be sure that you are up to date with the required vaccinations for Kosovo: MMR and tetanus.
Typhoid vaccination is recommended if you are the kind of traveler who explores local food outside major restaurants and hotels. Be wary of drinking tap water. Better drink boiled or filtered water.
Your trip should be uneventful, health-wise. However, if you have some underlying conditions that can aggravate at high altitudes or cold climates, or if you get involved in an accident, you would find Kosovo's medical facilities are ill-prepared. In the event of a medical emergency, you need to be evacuated to neighboring Serbia.
Kosovo's tourism industry is nascent. Tour operators are unreliable. Don't be annoyed if there are frequent changes in your schedule or venues.
The legal status of Kosovo as a country is fluid. This could often lead to travel restrictions. Airlines have been known to cancel flights, sometimes unannounced.
Crimes and Violence
Kosovo is generally free of violent crimes. Though there are organized crime syndicates with occasional conflicts, these violent outbreaks are not targeted at tourists. One may, though, encounter petty crimes like pickpocketing or bag-snatching.
Kosovo is a democratic country. However, you should avoid participating in any massive demonstrations, as some may turn violent. Such protests are often seen in the capital city.
Kosovo Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers - FAQs
No matter where you travel, medical insurance makes you step lighter and breathe easier. An unexpected injury or an accident that requires specialized care are things that would keep you worried during your leisure trip—even more so if your trip is to a place that became a country just a little over a decade ago.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Kosovo?
Travel medical insurance is not mandatory in Kosovo. It's not a must-have, but it is certainly good to have.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Kosovo?
The healthcare system is chaotic in Kosovo. As recently as 2017, its residents would travel to neighboring countries for even routine check-ups. Things are improving, but they still may not be up-to-speed enough to your liking. Severe medical conditions could require evacuations and invite massive expenditure.
So the best choice is to buy travel medical insurance to help cover any bills or complications that may arise. You can get coverage for emergency medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, accidental death or dismemberment (AD&D), the return of mortal remains, and more.
Kosovo Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers - FAQs
A family emergency or an unexpected illness can throw off your best-laid travel plans. The bookings for your flight or hotel will be lost, and with them, your money. A trip cancellation insurance plan, often offered as an option with travel insurance by insurers, could help protect your money from such exigencies.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Kosovo?
An extended international trip is rife with cancellation risks. Especially if it is to a politically sensitive region like the Balkans, anything can interrupt your plans.
Trip cancellation insurance can reimburse you for the full amount of your prepaid, non-refundable expenses if you have to cancel your trip for a reason listed in your policy's certificate wording. Be sure to review this fine print for a better understanding of what situations are and aren't covered. In order to be eligible for benefits, you must also have insured the full cost of your trip and purchased the insurance before the need to cancel arose.
What Is All Covered Under Trip Cancellation Insurance For Kosovo?
While terms may differ depending on the policy or the insurer, trip cancellation insurance may cover your expenses resulting from:
Injury or medical condition rendering you or your travel companion unfit for travel
The unfortunate event of the death of you, your traveling partner, or a family member
Strikes or extreme weather impeding travel services
Sudden natural disasters at the destination or home, making it inhabitable
Jury duty, a court order, or a subpoena forcing you to cancel your trip
Again, be sure to review your plan's fine print before purchase. Trip cancellation insurance is the fallback option you need to protect yourself from uncertainty.
Before You Travel to Kosovo – Do This
So, you are all ready for a trip to arguably one of the most picturesque places on earth: the Balkans, namely Kosovo. But before you board the plane, ensure:
- You have your medical information: Carry your vaccination reports and medical reports. The medical reports, along with any underlying medical condition, should clearly state if you are allergic to any particular medicine. A common antibiotic like gentamycine may be harmful for a kidney patient. A list of doctors that you generally consult at home would also be useful.
- You Have Your Insurance Documents: Keep a copy of your insurance documents in your mobile phone. This would help in times of emergency. Considering the medical facilities in Kosovo, it is best to buy
travel medical insurance plan or a
travel insurance plan
to ensure you do not lose money in case of any change of plans.
- Enter Kosovo From Serbia: Remember, if you plan to continue your journey towards Serbia, ensure you enter Kosovo from Serbia. If not, you will not be allowed into Serbia from Kosovo. You will have to take a roundabout trip.
- Emergency Contacts: Dial 192 for local police. The U.S. Embassy can be contacted at +383 (38) 5959-3000 (available 24/7).