Travel tips and advice for Prizren, Kosovo: The nine things you should do


In the prettiest town in Kosovo, the cobbled Shatërvan square is the hub of the country's second city. Surrounded by mountains, fresh snowmelt rushes from the communal water pump in its centre: legend has it that once you've drunk from the pump, you'll fall in love and stay in Prizren. The square leads to the 15th century Ottoman stone bridge, which crosses the fast-flowing Bistrica (or Lumbardhi) River, the focal point for Prizren's chi-chi cafe scene.


The ruby red Vranac grape is indigenous to the Balkans region and has been grown in the scenic hills of Rahovec for the past 2000 years, according to Kosovan winemakers Bodrumi i Vjetër. A half-hour drive from Prizren, pop into its cellar door for a tasting of its range of rich red wines. See


Built in the 6th century, the Byzantine Kalaja Fortress is perched on the hills overlooking Prizren, and it is fabulously photogenic, with crumbling stone walls, amphitheatres and panoramic views of the city below. It's reached by a stiff climb up the stone stairs behind Sinan Pasha Mosque, past the unfinished, 14th century Church of the Holy Saviour. For a round trip, take the more scenic forest route along the river bank – spying the Banksy painting on a random outhouse on the way – and back down the stairs.


Prizren's streets illustrate its tumultuous history, as quaint, classically European red-roofed houses circle an Ottoman-era mosque. The 17th-century Sinan Pasha Mosque is right in the centre of Prizren, off Shatërvan square, and habitually lined with toothy old men in skullcaps. Pop in to admire its beautiful calligraphy, then walk around the back of the mosque to discover a handy little cluster of tidy souvenir shops, with Kosovan fridge magnets and textiles.


Filigree lovers, Prizren is the heartland of this delicate silversmith's work, which has been wrought here since the Ottomans brought it to town, six centuries ago. You'll find streets dedicated to filigree jewellery shops around the main square, and the artist collective Filigran lets you try silversmithing for yourself, while also making custom pieces. See


One Balkans obsession is trileche - a cake soaked in three milks and topped in caramel – vast trays of it line shop windows early every morning, to be emptied by sunset. Good coffee and a slab of trileche costs €1.90 at Kosovo's best café chain, Prince Coffee house, which roasts its own beans. Set just off Shatërvan square, pull up a seat for prime people-watching in this buzzy, university town. See


In this town, kebabs are ordered by the half dozen, and arrive sizzling hot from the many qebaptore (kebab shops). Order up at the red-checked tablecloths of the outdoor cafes that line the Bistrica River. The obligatory accompaniment is a half-litre of beer, either the mainstream Peja pilsner or something a little more boutique from Pristina's Sabaja craft brewery. See


Savvy travellers will budget at least two nights' stay in Prizren, with just a day trip to the drab capital, Pristina. Check in at sweet little Hotel Cleon on the riverbank, a few minutes' walk to the main square. Clean and welcoming, with red geraniums in flowerbox-lined windows, there are 15 rooms in the three-star hotel. Beware - the cheap inner rooms have no windows, while the best have river-facing balconies – ask for Room #3. Costs around €27 ($A60) for bed and breakfast. See


Prizren was first inhabited in the late Bronze Age, about 3000 years ago, and got a mention in Ptolemy's travels in the 2nd century, so there are plenty of stories from it and its tiny, landlocked country. Intrepid Travel's 15-day Kosovo, Albania & Macedonia Explorer includes two nights based in Prizren and costs from $2754 a person, twin share. See



Regarded as one the best festivals of its kind, DokuFest runs for nine days every August, where hundreds of documentaries and short films are screened in impromptu theatres around the city, including up at the fortress and in front of the Sinan Pasha Mosque. See

Belinda Jackson was a guest of Intrepid Travel. See