Prizren, the historical city of Kosovo, blew me away with its charm, kind locals, and delicious food. Prizren is not that popular among tourists, and that’s actually one of the best things about this place. No tourists equal lower prices, better service, no crowds and a real authentic side of Prizren.
Prizren is a hidden gem in Europe, and I highly recommend you to visit this lovely city in Kosovo. The second largest city of Kosovo offers something for everyone, whether you’re looking for stunning nature, beautiful historical sights, exciting history or both cheap and delicious food experiences!
Here is the list of the top 9 things to do in Prizren!
From almost every corner and street in Prizren, you can see this majestic fortress that is rising in front of the mountains above Prizren. There are several speculations and opinions on the exact story behind the site of the fortress, but it has probably been an armored settlement since the 5th or 6th century B.C.
Kalaja Fortress dates back to the 11th century when the Byzantines occupied Prizren. Today it’s mostly ruins of the fortress that is left to be explored, but the views remain as beautiful as it has probably always been. This attraction is a crystal clear must when it comes to things to do in Prizren.
Church of St. Savior
This old church lies on the way up to the Kalaja Fortress. About half way up on the right-hand side you can see the ruins of St Savior. Although it is only ruins left, it’s still a nice stop on the way up to the fortress to snap some photos.
Hiking in the Sharr Mountains National Park
If you are like me and love a nice hike in the environment of lush nature, beautiful landscapes, and pointy mountains, then you should visit the beautiful Sharr Mountains National Park. A walk through the National Park is one of the best things to do in Prizren for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
The National Park is a mountain range that extends from Kosovo and the northwest of Macedonia to northeastern Albania. The area offers stunning alpine and glacial mountain lakes that are every photographer’s dream.
Sinan Pasha Mosque
The Sinan Pasha Mosque is one of the most famous monuments from the occupation of the Ottoman Empire in this area. According to the inscription inside the Sinan Pasha, it was built in the year of 1615, using the materials from the Holy Archangels Monastery, which the Ottomans demolished and tore down the same year. The mosque was built with over 2 meters thick walls, over 50 windows and a minaret which is the highest in the whole city.
Visit the Church of Our Lady of Ljeviš
Prizren’s most important site is the Orthodox Church – Our Lady of Ljeviš. Our Lady of Ljeviš is a 14th century Serbian Chuch that was used as a mosque by the locals until 1911. The church went through a renovation in the 1950s and was again severely damaged in 2004 by the Albanian population. Since 2006 the church has been on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, in their Danger List.
The location of the church is not especially welcoming, as it is surrounded by barbed wire and closed except for when approved visitors go there. If you are interested in visiting the church, then you have to present yourself at the St. George’s Church on the other side of the river and get approval to enter the church from one of the few remaining Serbs in Prizren. Although it is heavily damaged, there still are some stunning wall paintings left to see. The whole experience is a both sad and troubling example of how ethnic hatred can fracture previously peaceful societies. Yes, It’s a process to visit the church, but the effort is totally worth it.
Catch a Basketball Game
It turns out that the preferred sport in Prizren is Basketball. Who would have guessed? The Locals of Prizren love to go and watch the local games, which often feature international athletes! If you would ask a local about the top things to do in Prizren, then basketball would be one of them. The basketball tickets are usually around 2 Euros, which is a real catch to me!
Stroll around Old Town
Prizren is not a big city, which means that it is best to be explored by foot. It’s neither too large that you would get lost nor too small that you would not enjoy the walk. It’s when you stroll around a city that you get to know it, stumble upon hidden gems and find the locals favorite restaurants.
Sample Prizren Food
The cooks of Prizren are widely known as the masters of grilling, and that I can testify as their barbecue dishes are super delicious. To taste the local food is one of the best things to do in Prizren, as they have a big passion for their cuisine.
All around town, you will find several restaurants serving their costumer’s grilled food, yummy desserts and also delicious Pizza. Most restaurants you will find around Shadervan, which is the main square and in the central areas. In addition to the delicious food, the prices are very low without affecting the quality of the food.
Participate in the Film Festival Dokufest
On an average Prizren day, the city is both lively and lovely. But in August, when the Film Festival Dokufest is held, then city transforms into being even more energetic and enchanting. This festival has become a symbol of the town, just as much as the Kalaja Fortress, the mosques, and the cathedrals. During this event, they screen various films – both indoors and outdoors. People from all over the world come to watch, discuss and to have a fun time. If you’re ever wondering when to visit the city, the locals would have said that this is the best time, as this is one of the best things to do in Prizren