Gjakova was badly hit by the Kosovo War of 1998–99, fought between Kosovo Liberation Army guerillas demanding the independence of then-autonomous province of Kosovo and Serbia, or Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as it was known then. Around 75% of town's population was driven out by Serbian Army during the war, and much of city's buildings were burnt or otherwise destroyed—by both sides of belligerents, as it seems. After the war, much of town's ethnic Albanian inhabitants returned (who now make up to 95% of the population), but it was the local Serbs to be exiled this time. Many of the stores at the downtown area, locally known as Qarshia e Madhe, were rebuilt.
While in Gjakova, make sure you talk to the locals, especially the young ones, since they're more proficient in English. And you will hear a story about every corner of the city. Talking about the past is a very actual subject, but people avoid it since many families there have lost at least one dear member. This is a life experience, it will change you forever...
 Get in
 Get around
Since the city is not that big, the best way to get to see it is by walking.
Taxis are quite cheap, you can get around the city for €2-3 tops.
[add listing] See
Most of the old architecture has been destroyed during the war and funds to reconstruct the damaged cultural heritage are insufficient.
The Radoniqi Lake is worth visiting! It's close to the airport, 7 km away. Taking a cab to there wouldn’t cost more than €15. Beware though, it's the drinking water source of the town, therefore swimming is prohibited! (Unless you go through bushes in the other side of the lake where guards cannot see.)
Or, you could drive 8 km towards the Albanian border and take a ferry to go to Shkodra across the Komani Lake, an artificial lake which snakes its way through valleys surrounded by awe-inspiring mountains. The ferry runs twice a day. An amazing 2-hour trip through the canyons! Enjoy!
[add listing] Do
Gjakova city offers many things to do, and the prices too are low.
There are four city pools, there are many historic monuments.
[add listing] Buy
[add listing] Eat
There are two classy traditional restaurants in Gjakove.
[add listing] Drink
There are plenty of cafés and bars in Qarshia e Vogel (downtown) where you can go and have a Peja beer, relax and eventually meet youngs which would be excited to meet someone new in town.
Nightlife is pretty active during summer time. Young crowds go out on a promenade on the main street and then end up in bars and clubs. There live music during weekends, either Rock or Albanian folk music (mainly in restaurants on wedding occasions).
One of the best places to go is Hard Rock Caffe - Gjakova, cheap prices and good music. Also well-known local band called "NA" plays live every Wednesday night. So don't miss it!
Domestically brewed Peja Beer is a MUST. Cocktails are bit hard to find. Long drinks cost not more than €2-3. Tipping is not mandatory but probably highly appreciated!
Spirits are also cheap. In any given bar/pub you can taste the home make Raki for €1 per shot (at least 5 cl that is). There are 2 clubs in town which are usualy open on Fridays and Saturdays! The city is quite crowded especially during summer time due to large numbers of expats visiting friends and family!
[add listing] Sleep
Hotel Jakova and Hotel Pashtriku. Prices range from €25-70. Not posh but good enough for an average traveller.
 Stay safe
Be aware that 70% of the city has been destroyed and people there struggle to lead a dignified life, so, showing off is probably something that you want to avoid. However, security is at its highest level, you're probably more secure there than in London or New York. You can walk at anytime at night in the city and not be worried about anything! Have fun and enjoy!
 Get out