Home | Our Latest Tours | Kosovo Tour

Kosovo Tour

Europe's Youngest State

Former New York Times Balkans Correspondent and Political Tours' Director Nicholas Wood examines Kosovo’s fortunes amid scandal and debate over its recognition.

 

Dates: Sat. March 29 - Sat. April 5, 2014

Price: £2550.00

Single Supplement £250.00


Share:

Kosovo - From War to Independence - A slideshow by: Andrew Testa

Mailing List

Sign up for our free newsletter:

 

Your Name

Your Email



Thoughts & Views

Tours this Autumn and 2015

What an incredible start to the autumn tour season it has been. In early September we witnessed the lead up to the Scots referendum...

Tour Manager


Ardian Arifaj Kosovo Guide

Ardian Arifaj

Our Kosovo Tour Guide, Ardian Arifaj, is an analyst and member of Kosovo’s Foreign Policy Club, the region’s leading foreign affairs think tank. He began his professional career as a journalist and...

Read More 


Book your Kosovo Tour

Tour Itinerary

Kosovo’s reputation appeared sullied in the immediate aftermath of independence as its government fought persistent allegations of corruption and its prime minister was tainted by an organ trafficking scandal. Since then the Balkans’ newest country has been on a drive to build its reputation, and seek closer ties with the EU. Relations with Serbia remain fraught, but much has changed in relations with Kosovo’s Serb minority south of the Ibar.

Aided by local experts, politicians, and analysts, our Kosovo Tour explores the origins of the conflict in Kosovo and looks at the enormous changes that have taken place since 1999. We also explore what the country has to offer in terms of its rich culture, cuisine, and even nightlife!

This tour runs back to back with our tour of Bosnia and Serbia which starts on Saturday April 5, 2014

Participants number between 8 and 14 people. If we do not reach the minimum number of passengers on a tour it may be cancelled and your deposit will be returned.

Day 1 – Pristina

Arrival and Welcome

Optional guided walk around the capital, Pristina, before dinner. Frequently described as the ugliest city in the Balkans, it still has Ottoman-era houses and mosques. Since 1999 it has experienced enormous change, and is undergoing a construction boom. Dinner with tour experts and Political Tours staff.

Day 2 – Decani

Competing Historical Claims

Depart from Pristina to Decani – home to Kosovo’s most spectacular monastery built by the medieval Serbian King Stefan. An introduction to the medieval empire of the Serbs. Lunch in a Kula, an ancient fortified Albanian home: an introduction to medieval Albanian law and family structures. Prizren – The League of Prizren and 1872 Albanian aspirations for statehood. Dinner by the river and return to Pristina.

Day 3 - The 1990s and its Legacy

Gazemestan – From 1389 to 1989.  The Battle of Kosovo and Milosevic’s rise to power. The Drenica Valley – Prekaz and the birth of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Packed lunch. Rural Kosovo today – profile of a rural Albanian village, its history, how people survive, the role of migration and the need for agricultural reform. 70% of Kosovars still live in the countryside. Dinner in Pristina plus guests.

Day 4: Intervention and Supervision

Pristina – briefing by UN officials: The war and its aftermath. Briefing by Nicholas Wood, Political Tours’ Director and former New York Times Correspondent: the March 2004 riots and how they reversed international policy on Kosovo. Briefing by international officials: “Supervised independence and the road ahead for Kosovo.” Mitrovica – the divided city. Divided since the end of the war, this city remains the focal point for ethnic divisions. Meetings with international officials. Walk across bridge to the Serb dominated north of the city. Meeting Serbian representative in the north. Walk around city. Talks with Serbian refugees who have come to live in north. Dinner in Pristina.

Day 5: The Economy

Briefing by local and international economists. Meeting with international investors. The obstacles to investment in Kosovo, local and international. Plus international community’s lack of development policy. Lunch with investors. Alternative visits to major locations of foreign investment.

Day 6: Gracanica

Government for all?

Gracanica. Meeting with mayor of newly created Serbian municipality. How well is Kosovo’s government living up to its post independence promises? Meeting with rival Serbian municipal authority, backed by the Serbian state. Lunch in Pristina. Meetings and briefings with government officials. Briefing by Kosovo NGO on corruption. Another view –  Vetevendosja, Kosovo’s “self-determination” movement that opposes continued international supervision, and vocal opponent of the government and international community. Free time in Pristina followed by dinner.

Day 7 – The Future

What lies ahead?

Briefings with EULEX, the European Union’s Law and Order mission, and a visit to the courts. Kosovo’s European Perspective – talks by European Commission and government, and updates on the status of talks between Pristina and Belgrade. Briefing from representatives of non-recognising states. Dinner in Pristina.

Day 8 – Leave

Return

Breakfast and travel to airport.

For those who would like to further explore Kosovo after the tour we can arrange stays in villages as well as excursions into the countryside and mountains.

If you would like to book a tour please click here to fill in our booking form. Or call us on 0843 289 2349 or email us at info@politicaltours.com to find out more.

Essential Information

How to make your Kosovo Tour booking

You can make a booking by contacting Political Tours directly by phone on 0834 289 2349, email info@politicaltours.com or click here to fill in our booking form.

To confirm your booking you need to send a non-refundable deposit of 15% of the total holiday cost or £250 per person (whichever is the greater) made payable to Political Tours Limited.

If you are booking less than 8 weeks prior to departure the full cost of the tour is payable.

If you would like to contact Political Tours’ Director, Nicholas Wood, he can be reached by email at nicholaswood@politicaltours.com or by mobile phone on +44 7855 266 151.

What is included in the Kosovo Tour?

The price includes accommodation in 3 star hotels in Pristina as well as all meals during the visit. All the accommodation includes private bathrooms. (Where there is a possibility of staying overnight in a village, local standards will prevail.)

Please be aware that Political Tours is a land only tour operator. Our clients travel from many countries and the costs of flights to and from the destination are not included in the price.

How to reach Kosovo

There are regular daily flights between Pristina, and Vienna, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Berlin, London and Zurich. See Pristina Airport’s website for a full list of destinations. http://www.airportpristina.com/en/route-map.html.

Easyjet also flies to Kosovo via Geneva. A taxi from Pristina Airport to the city centre costs around 15 Euros.

Climate & Clothing Suggestions

Kosovo has a continental climate, and is surrounded by mountains to the South and West. It experiences extremes of temperature in both summer and winter. Temperatures can peak in the 30s during the summer months. Higher up in the mountainous regions you can expect temperatures to be a few degrees lower. Snow falls in Kosovo from between November to March and temperatures can drop to well below zero. Both spring and autumn can be rainy.

Passports, Visa & Health

All clients are personally responsible for ensuring that they have a valid passport, relevant visas and conform to the health regulations required by the countries that will be visited during the tour.

Foreign nationals presently do not need visas for Kosovo, and can stay for up to three months in the country. See the Kosovo government’s web portal for further information:

http://www.rks-gov.net

The health system in Kosovo is severely under-funded. Hospitals lack specialist equipment and there is a widespread shortage of medicines and other essentials. Many in the medical profession lack training in modern techniques and practices.

There are some outbreaks of Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) during the summer in rural areas Kosovo. This is a tick borne disease. In 2010 there were 84 suspected cases, and 18 confirmed. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the NaTHNaC or NHS Scotland’s Fit for Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

Personal Safety

Crime is well below the European average in Kosovo; however some foreigners have been the target of street crime and break-in over the past decade. However tourists are safe to walk around the city. You are much more likely to be invited into someone’s home for tea or coffee than be the victim of crime.

The exceptions to this are when there are increased political tensions, and periods of civil unrest.

Currently the UK’s foreign office advises against all but essential travel to the north of Mitrovica. This is a key part of our tour as the city’s divisions are integral to understanding the broader political dynamics of Kosovo. Please consult the Foreign Office’s Travel Advice site below. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/europe/kosovo.

You are also required to take out insurance that will cover travel to north Mitrovica or areas where the foreign office has recommended essential travel only. Please see the following section for more details.

Insurance

Appropriate and adequate travel insurance is essential and is a condition of travelling with us. Your policy must include comprehensive medical cover including the cost of evacuation and repatriation from the remote destinations included in your tour in the event of illness or accident in addition to other medical requirements.

Please provide us with confirmation of the name of your insurance company, the policy number and the insurers’ emergency contact telephone number for use in a medical emergency no later than 8 weeks prior to the tour departure. If you fail to do so, we are entitled to cancel your booking and apply the cancellation charges shown below.

You must also ensure that the policy will protect you in the event that you travel to an area against the advice of the Foreign Office.

Hazards Inherent in Our Tours

It is in the nature of the itineraries we offer that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office may have issued advice against all travel or all but essential travel in relation to the country or parts of the country we are intending to visit prior to confirmation of your booking. Where the FCO issues such advice, we may, as a result, cancel your tour or make changes so as to avoid the area concerned (see clauses 10 and 12 of our Terms and Booking Conditions). Alternatively, we may ask you to sign a form confirming you wish to proceed with the tour notwithstanding the FCO advice.

Our Cancellation Charges

If you feel you need to cancel a tour before departure we reserve the right to make the following charges.

Period before departure within which written notification of cancellation is received by us, and charges per person cancelling.

 

Up to 56 days                                                             Deposit

55 to 28 days                                                              50%

27 to 15 days                                                               75%

14 days or less                                                            100%

On receipt of your booking form and deposit we will confirm your booking in writing, then approximately 8 weeks before departure we shall send you further information relevant to your tour together with a final invoice.

Please pay the invoice within 10 days of the invoice date otherwise we reserve the right to treat the booking as cancelled and apply the cancellation conditions as set out below. Your travel documents are dispatched about 7/10 days before the tour departs.

Booking Terms and Conditions

Full details of our terms and conditions can be viewed by clicking this link.

Further Reading

Books on Kosovo

 

Little and Silber, The Death of Yugoslavia: BBC 1996

An introduction into the break up of Yugoslavia, in particular Milosevic’s use of Kosovo on his rise to power: Penguin; 2Rev Ed edition (27 Jun 1996) ISBN-10: 0140261680 ISBN-13: 978-0140261684

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Yugoslavia-BBC-Allan-Little

 

Tim Judah, Kosovo: What everyone needs to know OUP USA

(23 Oct 2008) ISBN-10: 0195373456 ISBN-13: 978-0195373455

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kosovo-What-Everyone-Needs-Know

 

Tim Judah, Kosovo - War and Revenge

(Yale University Press, 2nd Revised edition (5 Nov 2002)

ISBN-10: 0300097255 ISBN-13: 978-0300097252

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kosovo-Revenge-Yale-Nota-Bene

 

Anna Di Lellio, The Case for Kosova: The Passage to Independence

Anthem Press; 1st edition (1 July 2006) Language English ISBN-10: 184331245X ISBN-13: 978-1843312451

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Case-Kosova-Passage-Independence

 

Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History

New York University Press, Revised 2002 ISBN-10: 0330412248 ISBN-13: 978-0330412247

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kosovo-Short-History-Noel-Malcolm

 

Miranda Vickers, Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo

Columbia University Press, Revised 18 May 2001 ISBN-10: 0231113838 ISBN-13: 978-0231113830

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Between-Serb-Albanian-History-Kosovo

 

Gail Warrander and Verena Knaus, Kosovo Bradt Guide

Bradt Travel Guides; 2 edition, 3 Nov 2010 ISBN-10: 1841623318 ISBN-13: 978-1841623313

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kosovo-Bradt-Travel-Guide-Verena

 

Edith Durham: High Albania 1909

Widely regarded as on of the best introduction to customs in northern Albania at start of the 20th century Weidenfeld & Nicolson; New edition edition (19 Oct 2000) ISBN-10: 184212207X ISBN-13: 978-1842122075

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Albania-Great-Voyagers-Edith-Durham

 

Elizabeth Gowing, Travels in Blood and Honey -  Becoming a Bee-Keeper in Kosovo

A wonderful account of a British woman's encounters with modern day Kosovo; Travels in Blood and Honey charts the author's journeys through Kosovo's countryside and its urban sprawl, its Serbs and Albanians, its history and heartache, its etymology and entomology, its sweet and its unsavoury.

Signal Books Ltd (22 April 2011) ISBN-10: 1904955908 ISBN-13: 978-1904955900

 

News Websites

 

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – Best provider of news and analysis in the region.

http://kosovo.birn.eu.com/

The Economist’s Eastern Approaches

Blog – includes Tim Judah’s thoughts on the Balkans.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/eastern-approaches

 

B92 - Belgrade based independent news agency

http://www.b92.net/eng/

 

KosovaLive - a Kosovo based news agency.

http://www.kosovalive.com

 

It is worth subscribing to PILPG’s Balkan Watch, a bi-monthly summary of news in the Balkans. For a free subscription send an e-mail to balkanwatch@pilpg.org with the following subject line, SUBSCRIBE BALKANWATCH. Their website is out of date, but the newsletter is still being sent out.

 

Think Tanks

 

The European Stability Initiative - Kosovo Page – Think Tank that specialises in integration of the Balkans with the EU.

http://www.esiweb.org

It also has a good country profile:

http://www.esiweb.org/Kosovo

and links to recent reports by international institutions and think tanks:

http://www.esiweb.org/index.php?lang=en&id=328

 

Kosovo Stability Initiative – Kosovo based think tank; focuses on empirical research and analysis of socio-economic developments.

http://www.iksweb.org

 

KIPRED – Kosovo Institute for Research and Development.

Kosovo based think tank that aims to promote and strengthen democracy and democratic values in the region.

http://www.kipred.org

 

Riinvest - Kosovo based research institute focusing on entrepreneurship and development.

http://www.riinvestinstitute.org

 

Other Links

 

Kosovo government website – Prime Minister’s office

http://www.kryeministri-ks.net

 

Serbian Orthodox Church's Kosovo site

http://www.kosovo.net

 

Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija - Serbian Government site.

http://www.kim.gov.rs/Ministarstvo+za+Kosovo+i+Metohiju,+Vlada+Republike+Srbije

 

For more in depth reading Chatham House also has a list of recent strategic and academic analyses.

http://www.chathamhouse.org/kosovo