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A landlocked area within the western Balkans, Kosovo is likely one of the most underrated and least explored locations in southern Europe. But, it has super tourism potential for 2 major causes.
The primary one is that it’s stuffed to the brim with historic websites and residential to tons of cultural heritage. The second cause is the overwhelmingly lovely nature in Kosovo, which is epitomized in and guarded by the 2 majestic nationwide parks in Kosovo.
It’s actually wonderful area this small—Kosovo is simply simply over 10,000 sq. kilometers in measurement—has such a wealth of cultural and pure points of interest. On this submit, we’ll zoom in on each Kosovo nationwide parks.
Moreover, we even have a couple of different posts particularly about the place to remain in Kosovo, the most effective locations and cities to go to in Kosovo, the highest issues to do in Kosovo, and all the things you could find out about renting a automotive and driving in Kosovo, simply in case you’re searching for extra information about Kosovo tourism.
The two Kosovo Nationwide Parks
You’ll discover the nationwide parks of Kosovo within the far south of the nation and in its westernmost nook. Two main vacationer cities function the gateway to every park. These are respectively Prizren to Šar Mountains Nationwide Park within the south and Peć (or Peja) to Bjeshkët e Nemuna Nationwide Park within the west. This makes it exceptionally straightforward to mix tradition and nature in Kosovo.
Šar Mountains Nationwide Park
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Spectacular Šar Mountains Nationwide Park lies within the far south of Kosovo, on the border of each Albania and Macedonia. The Šar Mountains kind the pure border between Kosovo and people two nations, an enormous unspoiled wilderness of rolling hills, streams and rivers, alpine lakes and old-growth forests.
Additionally written as Sharr Mountains Nationwide Park (both with one or two r’s) or Sharri Nationwide Park, this is likely one of the highest and largest mountain parks within the Balkans, measuring 70 kilometers lengthy and 30 kilometers broad. It’s additionally one of many final giant true wilderness areas in southern Europe; its diverse landscapes residence to staggering numbers of vegetation and animals.
There are greater than 1,500 species of vegetation within the park, together with the endemic relict Macedonian pine, white-bark pine and alpine rose. When it comes to animals, over 140 butterflies and 200 fowl species name the park residence. Massive mammals, too, abound right here, together with lynx, grey wolves, deer, chamois and brown bears.
In summer time, this park gives sensational mountaineering and mountain biking in addition to wildlife watching. It’s a completely unbelievable vacation spot for lovers of all issues nature. Journey vacationers will relish the possibility to discover a few of southeastern Europe’s wildest areas. When the snow begins falling in winter, the park turns right into a winter sports activities hotspot.
How To Get To Šar Mountains Nationwide Park Kosovo
There are a preferred vacationer and ski resort on Šar Mountain’s northwest slope, generally known as Brezovica. You may get there from Prizren, the closest city and one in all Kosovo’s prime locations, in about 1 hour. From Pristina, the Kosovo capital, it’s 1 hour and 30 minutes, give or take, by automotive.
Alternatively, Šar Mountains Nationwide Park can also be accessible from Skopje, Macedonia, by way of the E65 and M2 highways and Route 115. That drive is 68 kilometers lengthy. It takes a minimum of 1 hour and 30 minutes, however fairly presumably extra as a result of it entails a border crossing.
IMPORTANT: For those who’re coming from Macedonia and would additionally like to go to Serbia after exploring the Šar Mountains, learn the underside part of this submit to see what you need to do!
Šar Mountains Nationwide Park Lodging
There’s a mountain lodge throughout the nationwide park, however many of the finest locations to remain close to Šar Mountains Nationwide Park are in Prizren. There, you’ll discover quite a few accommodations and hostels to select from.
Bjeshkët e Nemuna Nationwide Park
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The second of Kosovo’s nationwide parks is Bjeshkët e Nemuna Nationwide Park, which lies within the far western nook of Kosovo. Though its Albanian identify is often used, it’s also referred to as Prokletije Nationwide Park in Serbian. The park’s identify in each languages is translated the identical—“cursed mountains.”
Formally this huge mountain vary on the borders between Kosovo, Albania, and Montenegro is known as the Albanian Alps or Accursed Mountains. Bjeshkët e Nemuna Nationwide Park lies subsequent to Valbonë Valley Nationwide Park, one of the crucial spectacular nationwide parks in Albania.
The rugged topography and big vary of elevations on this park have resulted in considerable fauna and flora. Not solely is that this one of the crucial vital nature parks in Kosovo, but it surely’s additionally of main significance within the higher Balkan area. It gives a secure haven to numerous threatened species, from tiny vegetation to giant mammals.
Greater than 30 endemic plant species stay on this park, in addition to over 170 species of birds, ten reptiles, 129 completely different butterflies and three dozen mammal species. For guests, it’s normally the birds and mammals which can be of the best curiosity. And a few genuinely spectacular animals name Bjeshkët e Nemuna Nationwide Park residence. Park guests may see lynx, roe deer, chamois or eagles. For those who’re lucky, it’s possible you’ll even catch a glimpse of grey wolves or brown bears, though these uncommon animals do stay deep within the coronary heart of the wilderness.
Throughout the park are a number of small villages, too, providing an perception into the normal Kosovar life within the mountains. There are farms and ruins, ethnographic heritage websites, and pleasant locals. When it comes to issues to do in Bjeshkët e Nemuna Nationwide Park, you’ll discover a few of the finest biking and mountaineering in Kosovo right here.
How To Get To Bjeshkët e Nemuna Nationwide Park Kosovo
There are a number of small cities simply exterior of Bjeshkët e Nemuna Nationwide Park. The primary gateway to the park, nonetheless, is Peć, additionally known as Peja.
In reality, Peć is one in all Kosovo’s most vital vacationer locations. It’s such a sexy place to go to in Kosovo each for its lovely Outdated City and its proximity to Rugova Canyon and one of many two nationwide parks in Kosovo. The drive from Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, to Peć, is simply about 52 kilometers. It shouldn’t take you for much longer than 1 hour and 30 minutes to get there. Furthermore, it’s additionally a super-easy drive, following the M9 freeway your complete means.
For those who’re within the space, you’re strongly inspired to go to close by Rugova Canyon as nicely. It’s one in all Europe’s longest and deepest canyons and one of many prime points of interest in Kosovo. One other not-to-be-missed spotlight is the Patriarchal Monastery of Peć. This unbelievable historic website is close to the doorway of Rugova Canyon and a part of Kosovo’s solely UNESCO World Heritage Web site.
Bjeshkët e Nemuna Nationwide Park Lodging
Surrounded by small villages and vacationer cities, there’s no lack of lodging close to Bjeshkët e Nemuna Nationwide Park. Peć is residence to a number of accommodations to select from, in addition to a hostel.
Finest Time To Go to Kosovo’s Nationwide Parks
Since each Kosovo nationwide parks are mountain parks, characterised by rugged landscapes, canyons, forests, lakes, and common wilderness, the most effective time to go to them is from mid-spring via mid-fall. That half of the yr gives probably the most comfy climate. Nice temperatures, sunshine, and fewer precipitation create an excellent situation for Kosovo mountaineering, biking, or boating journeys.
Different Nature Parks In Kosovo
It’s truly fairly spectacular that there are two nationwide parks in Kosovo. It’s a small nation in spite of everything, but it has a few probably the most majestic mountain parks within the Balkans—if not in Europe as a complete. Along with these two Kosovo nationwide parks, there are additionally greater than ten different nature reserves and practically 100 pure monuments.
A number of different visit-worthy locations to take pleasure in nature in Kosovo are:
Oshlak Strict Nature Reserve
Maja e Arnenit Strict Nature Reserve
The Marble Cave
The Kosovo And Serbia Scenario
At present, there are two nationwide parks in Kosovo, in addition to 4 different nationwide parks in Serbia. We’ve to level out that there’s nonetheless numerous dispute about Kosovo’s declare to independence, which is acknowledged by most nations however not by Serbia. (Kosovo needs to go away Serbia.)
We’re under no circumstances taking a aspect right here. Nevertheless, we’ve determined to separate up the 2 areas and dedicate separate weblog posts to respectively the nationwide parks in Kosovo and people in Serbia. You’ll be able to learn all in regards to the Serbia nationwide parks right here.
Moreover, in case you’d like to go to Šar Mountain Nationwide Park and/or Bjeshkët e Nemuna Nationwide Park in Kosovo and likewise go to Serbia, it’s important to enter Serbia first. For those who enter Kosovo first, by way of its border with Albania, Montenegro or Macedonia, you received’t be allowed to enter Serbia afterward.
It’s all politics, in fact, however this undoubtedly has the potential to have an effect on—if not spoil—your Balkan journey plans. Due to this fact, in case you’re planning on visiting each Serbia and Kosovo, you need to go to Serbia first, and journey to Kosovo after.