Earth : Europe : Balkans : Kosovo : Peja
Located at the foot of the impressive mountian Bjeshket e Nemuna the city has been ruled by different dominating powers throughout history, giving it a diverse cultural character. The Orthodox influence has resulted in the construction of impressive religious sites and monasteries. Serbian UNESCO world heritage site is Peć Patriarchate, built during medieval Serbian empire. Under Ottoman rule Peja/Peć took on a more oriental character with the construction of narrow streets, old-style Turkish houses and mosques. One of these is the Bajrakli Mosque, built by the Ottomans in the 15th century, from the remains of Serbias medieval Monastery of Holy Archangels. You can even find traces of the brief presence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 20th century in the shape of some handsome buildings in the city centre, as well as some massive socialist buildings and apartment blocks. The mountains bordering the city form an extraordinary background, and are a great place for all kinds of outdoor activities like hiking, skiing or rock climbing.
Pristina international airport is located around 70 km east from Peja. Many international flight companies operate regular connections between Pristina and other European cities, such as from Budapest and Adria Airways from Ljubljana. There is no public transportation from the airport to Peja, but you can walk (around 20 minutes), hitch-hike or take a taxi to the main road between Pristina and Peja and take a bus from the crossroad of main road and road to the airport. Bus from that junction to Peja costs €3 and they run every 20 minutes. Taxi from airport to Peja costs €35.
Peja is well connected with the larger cities in Kosovo. Buses run about every twenty minutes between Pristina and Peja (€4 one way) and every half hour from Mitrovica, Gjakova and Prizren (€5 one way). The last bus leaves relatively early at 8pm.
Since recently the train connecting Peja and Pristina has started to run again though it takes a while to get from one city to the other; you should count on a trajectory of little less than 2 hours, and it costs €3, there are two trains daily, one in the early morning around 7 am, one around 4 pm from Pristina.
You can easily get around Peja/Peć on foot, it's probably the best way of seeing the city. If you're tired or in a hurry there are numerous taxis available for little money; the average cab ride doesn't exceed € 2,00. If you prefer you can also use one of the city buses that cover the region for 50 cents .
City of Peja is located just on the doorstep of Bjeshket e Nemuna, Accursed Mountains.
You can go to the river and cool down on a hot summer day. You can jog around Parku i Madh(big park). You can hike on the mountains behind the school that's across Camp Caffe (lusha's place). You also can go to public pools or go on the Internet and keep in touch with your friends and family back home. The people of Peja are very enthusiastic and welcoming to tourists. Visiting the mountains in winter time are more challenging than in other seasons. Recently skiing stages and escalators have been put up, meanwhile the road has been fixed, which makes it an easier driving in winter.
Apart from the skiing, you can also spend nights in Rugova but remember to book the place before going there. There are restaurants and bars on the way and at the spot as well. Generally is cheap but bear in mind that you’re on vacation anyway.
As a result of different natural conditions we can find in this very small region many natural rarities and very interesting natural phenomenons, like thermal and mineral hot-springs 13km north-east from the city of Peja, in a small place called Banja e Pejes(Peja Baths). Not so far away from here, there are at least three karstic rivers appearing at different places, like one at the village Radavc, were you can find the most powerfull waterfall-called Burimi i Drinit te Bardhe,(White Drini Spring)-around 30m high, and the cave system nearby with the same name, then spring at the village of Vrelle, and one near the small town of Burim.
From the town of Peja going west and following the river-Lumebardhi you will enter the magnificient canyon with the name of Gryka e Rugoves, or Rugova Gorge, which is more than 23km long, and has few waterfalls and so many water-springs, like Uji i Zi-Black Water, Kroi i km-5, 5-th Km Spring,and so on, than hundreds of caves, most of them still unexplored, like Gryka e Madhe, or Great Canyon-cave system, until now only around 11km explored, then Shpella e Karamakazit-Black Scissors cave, and Shpella e Kallabes-Kallaba Cave were are foud the archeological remains of ancient humans, and hundreds of others caves waiting to be explored...
Boge-Rugova Valley had built a new ski center around 33km from Peja, where you can go skiing at a low cost.
You can go hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing, mountain biking, caving, skiing, with so many local clubs and associations.
Peja has a few malls and around 100 stores. You can shop for anything you want. You can find all sorts of items, electronic, ceramic and granite tiles (Qeramika DEKOS), clothes and groceries in fair prices. Most furnished stores are located in and around the center. Meanwhile in the suburbs in some places you only find the basics.
The restaurants near the center are filled with tourists.
Cafés dominate the appearance of Peja's center. Trendiest places are filled with youth during school breaks and holidays. Locals can sit hours sipping their macchiatos, and there is always time to drink coffee. In most cafées a cup of macchiato of Nescafé costs 0,50€. Most of cafés have free wi-fi connection, and in those which don't you can usually connect to internet by using neighbor cafés wi-fi. As typical in Balkans, smoking is allowed almost anywhere, so don't expect to breathe fresh air in a terrace. Only non-smoking café is Sweet Bean. It is also almost only café which serves also something to eat with your coffee - American style cookies, brownies, cakes etc.
Tap water in Peja comes from the mountain springs and is safe to drink.
The best beer from Kosova Birra Peja is brewed in Peja and you can order it in practically every café and restaurant.
Local strong alcohol, raki, is worth trying. Drink a shot after eating to stimulate your digestion or let it warm your body in cool night in the mountains.
Try the wine from the Rahovec region, it's the only local wine in Peja. They serve it as the house wine at "Art Design," and you can also find it in most supermarkets. It's a light-bodied wine, with a clean taste.
The night life in Peja is really nice. Many people get out and the best places to visit is Camp Caffe (Lusha's place) but it's only open during summertime and though the location remains the same the name might change. The owners have been to America and went to clubs in New York and were impressed. So if you can't go to America go to Camp Caffe (Lusha's place) and you'll have fun. It is rated the best in the Balkans. There are also caffebars like : "Sobar", "Mr. Jack, and "Radio Caffe" where you can go and have fun, mostly teens and adults.
Have a day trip or stay longer in beautiful Rugova region of Accursed Mountains, or jump in a bus and have a day off in the capital of Kosovo Pristina (1,5-2 hours bus ride) or Prizren (around 2 hours bus ride). In addition to the mountains, there are a few destinations to go relatively close to Peja.
Located near the border of Montenegro, there is easy access by bus or by car from Peja to Montenegrin cities Rožaje (bus 4€) and Plav (bus 8€). There is no border crossing through Rugova but you have to go around through Rožaje. Buses go all way to Podgorica in 6-7 hours (14 €), by car you can take the journey in 5 hours. Go to Albania through Prizren, and to Skopje through Pristina.