During my recent visit to Albania, I didn’t initially plan to visit Kosovo. But so many people recommended the country to me that I changed my plans. I also learned about Dokufest, an annual international documentary film festival that takes place in the small town of Prizren, Kosovo.
In this guide to Prizren, Kosovo, I’ll show you the highlights of what to see, where to eat, where to stay, and for the first time ever– where not to stay.
What to see:
Admittedly, there’s not a lot to see and do in Prizren. If not for the festival, I don’t think the town would warrant more than a two night visit. My visit lasted nearly a week, as we wanted to see quite a few films.
The town itself is pretty, charming even. Even though Prizren is small, it’s the second largest town in Kosovo, behind Pristina, the capital.
A small trickle of a river divides Prizren.
Several small bridges allow you to cross the river. My favorite was the one with the love locks, which every town seems to be copying since the trend started in Paris.
One must see while in Prizren is the view from the city atop Kalaja Fortress:
Make sure to check out the ruins of the church of St. Savior as you make your way up the hill to the fortress. Although there’s not much left of the church, it makes for an interesting rest on your way up.
In town, overlooking Prizren’s main street, you’ll find the Sinan Pasha Mosque.
The mosque was built in 1615, and its minaret is the tallest structure in the entire city.
The Church of Our Lady of Ljeviš is not easily accessible. Surrounded by barbed wire, to enter, you need special permission that can be difficult. Because we were busy with the festival, we did not seek out permission, but if you’re interested in churches, you can visit St. George’s church for permission to go inside.
Across the river you can visit the Old Town. Many restaurants line the river, and the better hotels are on this side of town.
You’re also able to capture some dramatic photos as the sun sets:
Where to Stay:
In the short time I was in Prizren, I managed to stay in three hotels, two of which I’ll recommend.
The Hotel Kacinari will be my first choice when I make my way back to Prizren. The rooms were large and comfortable, the staff were amazing, the location was in the center of town, and both the air conditioning and wifi worked great. Search here for today’s rates.
The Hotel Prizreni is located in the center of town, within easy walking distance of everything ,including the ticket office if you’re in town attending Dokufest. The staff were friendly, knowledgeable and went out of their way to make my stay as pleasant as possible. Included with the stay, the hotel had an incredible breakfast I enjoyed on a balcony with a great view of the city. Click here to check today’s best available rates for the Hotel Prizreni.
And, in a first ever for my website, I’m also recommending you NOT stay somewhere. I cannot say enough bad things about our time at the Theranda Hotel. I feel like my Facebook post from in the midst of the ordeal pretty much sums it up:
We changed rooms multiple times, but it just went from bad to worse. When we said we wanted to leave early, the staff told us we would have to pay for the nights we didn’t stay because we had reserved them. I had to sit in the hallway of the floor below us to get working wifi. The air conditioning was central and never enough to cool the room down. The staff acted annoyed anytime we asked for anything, and on top of that, on the last day the woman checking us out of the property “accidentally” started to overcharge me 60 euros. Don’t be tempted by the low prices and location, you’ll get what you pay for.
Where to Eat:
My favorite part! Prizren has lots of small, local restaurants that mainly serve grilled meats, salads and such. Our favorite was Pashtriku, located right in the middle of the town square.
I wasn’t able to find any review sites online with information for Pashtriku, but it’s near the fountain.
It became our go to spot for quick, filling and affordable local food.
Our favorite more high end restaurant in town was Ambient Restaurant. Set on the hill across the river, this restaurant was a bit more expensive than most, but definitely worth it.
Some of our favorite dishes were the fried shrimp with a fresh, local salad
and also the fruit of the sea pasta.
Set slightly outside of the main area of town, several locals independently recommended Vila 100, so we knew it had to be worth the trip. It didn’t disappoint.
Our favorite dish was the shrimp cooked in a garlic/white wine/butter sauce with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the sauce.
We also really enjoyed the lamb baked into a bread bowl, although Ambient has an even better version of this same dish.