A Guide to VIsiting Prizren, Kosovo

A Guide To Visiting Prizren, Kosovo

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If Pristina is the modern face of Kosovo, Prizren is a glimpse into the past. The preserved city center is made up of cobblestone streets, ancient mosques, centuries old churches and numerous bridges that for ages have straddled the Prizren Bistrica River. Overhead, a medieval fortress looms on the hilltop, keeping an eye on the city of Prizren below.

While Prizren’s old historic center is easily navigated, there is limited (and sometimes confusing and/or conflicting) information provided for tourists. To assist fellow travelers visiting Prizren, we’ve detailed a self-guided Prizren walking tour (with a map and turn-by-turn directions) and have also included recommendations for food, drink and accommodations. 


Understand Visiting Prizren, Kosovo

Sinan Pasha Mosque and city views in Prizren, Kosovo

The history of Prizren dates to Ancient times, with the first mention of the city in the 2nd century AD.  Since that time, the land has been claimed by many different kingdoms- including Romans, Bulgarians, Byzantines, Serbians and Ottomans. In 1912, after the First Balkan War, Prizren became part of the Kingdom of Serbia.

Then, in 1916, it was occupied by the Kingdom of Bulgaria and, in 1918, it was included in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. After the collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, Prizren remained a part of Serbia in the Province of Kosovo. In 2008, when Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, Prizren became the second largest city in the new country.

Sinan Pasha Mosque and Bistrica River View from Prizren Fortress in Prizren, Kosovo

Prizren’s buildings and urban plan have been influenced by rulers of the past; Serbians built Orthodox churches and Ottomans built mosques. Throughout history, regime changes often resulted in the eviction or death of the conquered citizens.

Tensions still exist between different ethnic groups – most notably between Albanians and Serbs. Today, Albanians make up the majority of the population in Prizren (80%+). There are also Bosniaks, Turks and Romas living in the municipality, but very few Serbs remain.

The city was largely spared by the 1999 Kosovo War, but a 2004 uprising of ethnic Albanians targeted the small population of Serbs living in Prizren. In the violent unrest, seven historic Serbian Orthodox churches were destroyed, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Our Lady of Ljevis, which was built in 1307. The hillside Serbian neighborhood in Prizren was also severely damaged and houses were set on fire.  

Many of the sites remain in ruins and are closed to visitors. Guard shacks stand at church entrances, although not all are manned; instead, padlocks and barbed wire keep people from entering. However, taking a stroll through the city to the churches, mosques and other historic sites help visitors to understand the complex history of Prizren.


Prizren Self-Guided Walking Tour

Prizren, Kosovo Self-Guided Walking Tour Map with Sights and Route

Our Prizren self-guided walking tour makes a loop through the city and then continues up to the fortress, by way of a one-hour hike on a trail through the forest. As previously stated, many of the 15 historic sights in Prizren are not open to visitors, but are still interesting to see from the outside. The total time needed for this Prizren walking tour is approximately three hours, including time for brief stops.

See the route on Google Maps. Note: The Google Map directions end at Maksut Pasha Mosque. The hike, Fortress, Church of Holy Savior and Church of Holy Sunday are not included on the route, as Google Maps did not recognize the hike or the streets that lead to the Church of Holy Sunday. Check on your own GPS device, or follow the directions within the post. 

Start the Prizren Self-Guided Walking Tour on the…


#1 Stone Bridge Prizren

Stone Bridge over Bistrica River in Prizren, Kosovo

A symbol of the city, Stone Bridge was built in the 16th century. However, what exists today is a replica built in 1982 after the original bridge was destroyed in a 1979 flood. Standing on Stone Bridge, look east to admire the fortress on the hilltop.

Stone Bridge and Sinan Pasha Mosque in Prizren, Kosovo

Cross the bridge to the north side of the river and walk east along the bank taking in the view of the old Prizren city center. At the next bridge, walk south back across the river. At the first street, Vatra Shqiptare, turn right (west) and walk to the…


#2 Sinan Pasha Mosque Prizren

Sinan Pasha Mosque in Prizren, Kosovo

Built in 1615 using stones from the nearby Serbian Orthodox Monastery of the Holy Archangels, the Sinan Pasha Mosque is listed as a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance. The minaret, at a height of 143 feet, is easy to spot from both the river and the Prizren fortress.

Sinan Pasha Mosque interior, Prizren, Kosovo

The mosque is open to visitors; a woman working there, kindly took us by hand to show us the features of the most famous Prizren mosque. (Removing shoes prior to entering is required, headcover for women is not required, photography is allowed, but not of people praying.)

Leave the mosque and turn left (west) to the main square and…


#3 Shadervan Fountain Prizren

Shadervan Fountain in the main square in Prizren, Kosovo

In the center of the Prizren main square is the rather plain looking Shadervan Fountain, but it has long been a symbol of the city. People walking through the square often stop at the fountain for a sip of fresh water, using their hands as a cup.  

Continue west through the square on Sheshi I Shadervanit to the…


#4 Cathedral of St. George Prizren

Cathedral of St. George in Prizren, Kosovo

The Cathedral of St. George was built in the 15th century, with interior frescoes dating to the 17th century. The church was heavily damaged in the 2004 uprising and has since undergone renovations, yet it remains guarded. Visitors can request permission from the guard to walk on the grounds, but are not allowed inside the church. Photos of the church – even from the street – are also not allowed.

Opposite the Cathedral of St. George is the…


#5 Church of St. Nicholas (Tutic Church Prizren)

City View of Prizren, Kosovo from Prizren Fortress

The small Serbian Orthodox Church was built in 1332, but was reconstructed in the 1970s and again in 2005 after it was damaged in the 2004 uprising. It is listed as a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance.

Continue west on Sheshi I Shadervanit to the…


#6 Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

The Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Prizren, Kosovo

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour was built in 1870 and features paintings that date to 1883. It is the seat of the Apostolic Administration of Prizren and is open to visitors.

Exit the church from the main doors and walk north onto Hysen Rexhepi to the river. Cross the bridge and walk north on Sahat Kulla to…


#7 Our Lady of Ljevis Prizren

Our Lady of Ljevis guarded with barbed wire in Prizren, Kosovo

Our Lady of Ljevis – or Mother of God Ljeviska –  is a Serbian Orthodox church dating to the early 14th century. During Ottoman rule, it was converted to a mosque…and then back to a church in the 20th century. It is a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but was set on fire during the unrest in 2004. During our visit, reconstruction was underway, but it was heavily guarded and surrounded by barbed wire. Recent reports indicate it may be open occasionally for visitors.

Retrace your steps on Sahat Kulla to Saracet and walk east to…


#8 Prizren Clock Tower and Archeological Museum

Old Clock Tower and Archeological Museum in Prizren, Kosovo

The Prizren Archeological Museum, which displays artifacts from the region, opened in 1975. It’s housed in a 15th century hammam, with the unusual clock tower rising above it. 

Continue walking east on Saracet to…


#9 The Hammam of Gazi Mehmet Pasha (Turkish Bath)

Hammam of Gazi Mehmet Pasha in Prizren, Kosovo

The Hammam of Gazi Mehmet Pasha was built between 1563 and 1574 as a public bath. The hammam was used by both men and women at the same time (in separate areas, of course). It underwent restoration in 1833, 1964 and in the 1970s. Since 2000, part of the building has been used as a cultural gallery and is now only open during exhibits.

Turn left (north) onto Adem Jashari and walk past the hammam to Bajrakli. Turn right (east) and walk to the…


#10 Gazi Mehmet Pasha Mosque

Gazi Mehmet Pasha Mosque in Prizren, Kosovo

Built in the 16th century, Gazi Mehmet Pasha Mosque is one of the oldest and largest mosques in Prizren. The mosque is part of the Albanian League of Prizren complex.

Turn right (south) on Mehmet Pasha (the mosque will be on your left) and continue onto Sheshi I Lidhjes. Turn left (north) on Enver Haradinaj to the…


#11 Albanian League of Prizren Complex and Museum

The Albanian League of Prizren was formed in 1878 to protect the interests of ethnic Albanians. The complex where the political leaders first convened now houses a museum.

Continue walking north on Enver Haradinaj to the next bridge, Ura e Marashit, and cross the river to the…


#12 Maksut Pasha Mosque and the Plane Tree

The Old Plane Tree in Prizren, Kosovo

The Maksut Pasha Mosque dates to the 17th century. The Plane Tree on the river’s edge is more than 400 years old.

Following the path next to the river, head south (away from the Prizren city center). Cross the last bridge before the path dead ends and continue following the river to the camp ground and Natyra restaurant. Cross the bridge and follow the path up behind the Red Hill and Panorama restaurants and into the forest to the back entrance of the Fortress of Prizren.

Hiking through the forest in Prizren, Kosovo

*NOTE: This segment of the walk leaves the city and follows a trail into the forest. We think the nature walk, which takes about an hour, is a not-to-be-missed part of Prizren; but, for those who would rather stay off dirt trails, there is a more direct (and more inclined) path to the fortress. From Maksut Pasha Mosque, walk southwest on Vatra Shqiptare toward the city center. Walk past the Sinan Pasha Mosque and turn left (south) on the first street, Mimar Sinani. Turn left (east) at the next street, Marin Barleti, and then right (south) at the next intersection. Follow the path as it begins to incline and curves to the left. Stay on the path all the way to the main entrance of the…


#13 Prizren Fortress

Prizren Fortress in Prizren, Kosovo

Prizren Fortress, also called Kalaja, sits strategically on a hilltop above the river – and is another structure in Prizren recognized as a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance. While some evidence suggests that part of the fortress could date to the 6th century, it is known that it was either built or expanded on between 1331 and 1355.

Inside Prizren Fortress in Prizren, Kosovo

Take in the best views of Prizren from the various points. Look out over area and count the number of minarets that pierce the sky. Look down to the left and peer at what remains of the Church of Holy Savior. If timing allows, stick around – or make a return trip later – for an amazing Prizren sunset.

Leave the fortress from the main entrance and walk back toward the city to…


#14 Church of Holy Savior Prizren

Church of Holy Savior in Prizren, Kosovo

Built in 1330, the church of the Holy Savior is listed as a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance. It was heavily damaged during the 2004 uprising and is still closed to visitors.

From the Church of Holy Savior, continue walking down toward town. Follow the road as it curves right. At the first street, turn right and walk past the large white building (a music school). Continue walking on the inclined street to…


#15 Church of Holy Week Prizren

Church of Holy Sunday in Prizren, Kosovo

Tucked beneath the fortress walls, hidden on the hillside is the small Church of Holy Week/Sunday. The church was built in 1371. It was also heavily damaged in 2004 and closed to visitors, but can be glimpsed through a window at the back of the church.

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Where To Eat and Drink While Visiting Prizren

Macchiatos at a cafe on the river in Prizren, Kosovo

Fare in Prizren, like the rest of Kosovo and the Balkans, is heavy on the meat. The food tends to be both ridiculously affordable and incredibly filling. In the city center, there are many eateries to choose from – including take-away kiosks, sit-down fast-food shops and traditional restaurants – although there is little variety in cuisine. The standard options include grilled meat, regional dishes and pizza.

While visiting Prizren, eating at a qebaptore is an experience that shouldn’t be missed. The barbecues crank out value platters of incredible amounts of meat. Fast-food qebaptores are easy to spot, as the grill usually protrudes from the front of the shop, proudly displaying heaps of grilling meat. For the same fare with a table service experience, we recommend the popular Te Syla restaurant.

Burek remains one of our regional favorites for a cheap and filling meal. One portion of the flaky, meat- or cheese-filled pastry, which is often accompanied by plain, drinkable yogurt, costs very little and constitutes an entire meal. We haven’t eaten burek that we didn’t like, but locals told us the best place for burek in Prizren is Sarajeva, and they weren’t wrong!  

BarAca in Prizren, Kosovo

Regardless of what you eat in Prizren, we recommend spending some time at one of the many cafes or bars in the city center. From intimate cafes with fireplaces to modern techno bars with thumping music, just stroll through Prizren until one grabs your attention.

Sip a macchiato (which locals pridefully claim are better than those in Italy), drink a Kosovo Peja beer or brave the potent raki. Find a seat where you can watch the people and get a good dose of the local life in Prizren. The main square is always a good bet, but places along the river are also atmospheric. Two low-key bars we liked were Bar Aca and Te Kinezi, both of which have Kosovo craft beer, Sabaja.


Where To Stay While Visiting Prizren

Prizreni Hotel in Prizren, Kosovo

We usually prefer to stay in Airbnb apartments rather than hotels, but for our short stay in Prizren, we didn’t have much luck finding an apartment. Instead, we stayed at the Prizreni Hotel, which is ideally located in the center of the old town next to the Sinan Pasha Mosque. The room was clean and comfortable and included a made-to-order, hot breakfast.


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Hostel Accommodations in Prizren


Before You Go To Kosovo

Bistrica River and Suzi Celebi Mosque in Prizren, Kosovo

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Also Visiting Pristina? Check out our Guide to Visiting Pristina, Kosovo

A guide to Visiting Prishtina, Kosovo


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A Guide to Visiting Prizren, Kosovo

2 thoughts on “A Guide To Visiting Prizren, Kosovo

  1. ted

    As I sit in this little town, I congratulate you on your attempts to make it interesting and share some of it’s history… It really is at best a day trip/stop and you’re right..3 hours will do every inch of interest..then its dinner, booze and bed..followed by bus station! 🙂

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