- Not to be confused with Pécs.
Peja (Peja/Pejë in Albanian or Peć in Serbian), is a city in northwestern Kosovo. Peja has a rich cultural and historical inheritance being host to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, access to another one and surrounding by stunning nature.
The city lies in the northwestern part of Kosovo, at the foot of Bjeshkët e Nemuna (the Accursed Mountains) and Rugova Canyon, between 42' and 40' parallels (north) and between 20' and 18' meridians (east). The municipality of Peja in total has a surface of 603 km2, while the urban part covers 20 km2. The altitude of the city is 521 m above sea level, and the highest peak is 2,522 m at Guri i Kuq (Red Stone) in Bjeshkët e Nemuna Mountains. Once you pass through Rugova Canyon, you will notice its beauty and undiscovered treasures. Peja lies on the banks of the Lumbardh River springing from Bjeshkët e Nemuna for 63 km, after which it joins the longest river in Kosovo, the Drini i Bardhë. The spring of Drini i Bardhë is also in Peja municipality, in the village Radavc, with attractive waterfalls.
The entire region is inhabited by 141,000 people; of which 198,000 are concentrated in the urban centre of Peja (2020 estimate). In the last decade, there is a huge settlement of the population in the city, due to better living conditions and more employment opportunities. The majority of the population is ethnic Albanian (90%), while the remaining 10% is comprised of Serbs, Bosniaks, Roma, Ashkali and Montenegrins.
The climate in Peja is continental with a cold winter and relatively hot summers. Autumn brings heavy rains and there are mild temperatures during the spring. People of Peja are fond of the winter season especially when it is snowing as they use this opportunity for skiing.
Tourist promotion office
- Tourist Information Office (at the centre of the town). where tourists can get information about places to visit, brochures and leaflets.
- Visitors Centre (at the entrance of the Rugova Valley). Where tourists can get bikes and tools for hiking and climbing.
The most common languages in use are Albanian and Serbian, although other languages such as Bosnian and Roma are also in use. The dominant language is Albanian. English is quite popular in Peja; the majority of local youth speak fluent English.
To get to Peja, you can use several Kosovo border crossings with neighbouring countries. The nearest city in Republic of Montenegro is Rozhaje, which is 40 km away, while border crossing Kulla is only 15 km from the center of the Peja. The Çakorr border crossing, which passes through Rugova Canyon, is closed to motorized traffic and pedestrians.
From Albania you can use two border crossing crossings, through Morinë/Vërmicë using the Tirana-Pristina highway getting out to Prizren and onward to Gjakova then Peja and the second connection through the Qafë Morinë or Qafë Prush border crossings to Gjakova then onward to Peja, if you so choose.
From the capital of North Macedonia, Skopje, you can use Hani i Elezit border crossing, continuing to Pristina which is 80 km away from Peja. As well you can use “Globoqica” area border crossing using the scenic mountain pass through the Sharr Mountains continuing through Prizren and Gjakova which is 120 km from Peja.
The nearest airport is Pristina International Airport Adem Jashari, 65 km away, where you can get a taxi or a bus to reach Peja.
- 1 Inter-city bus station.
If coming from Belgrade, trains run from Belgrade via Kraljevo to Mitrovica in the north of Kosovo. It will be necessary to take a bus from Mitrovica to Pristina (they're regular and cheap).
Walking is the best way to see the city, and is quite easy to do in Peja. If you are tired or in a hurry, there are numerous affordable taxis available; the average cab ride doesn't exceed €2. If you prefer, you can also use one of the city buses that cover the town for €0.50.
- Royal Taxi, ☏ . non-stop.
- 1 Bajrakli Xhamia Mosque (Bajrakli / Çarshi Xhamia). One of the most important architectonic and sacred Ottoman buildings in Peja. It was built in the second half of the 15th century. It's a one-level structure finished with a dome on top and graves around. The construction of the mosque is dedicated to Fatih Sultan Mehmet. It is known by the citizens of Peja as Bajrakli or Çarshi Xhamia.
- Hamam of Haxhi Beu. A monument of a sacral and public character build in the period 1462-1485 with a donation of Haxhi Beu from Peja in the times of the Dukagjini Sanxhak.
- 2 The Konak, now Ethnographic Museum (Konaku i Tahir Beut), Eliot L. Engel St. (near the centre of Haxhi Zeka square). One of the most beautiful types of old houses build in an asymmetric way in Peja. This type of building is characterized by the crown of the roof built out of wood, the harmonious windows and the selling. The Konak, now used as Ethnographic Museum where national traditional handicrafts and traditional costumes of Rugova region and the Dukagjini valley are exposed in different galleries.
- Konaku i Jashar Pashës.
- Wall of Pasha (Kulla e Pashës) (Near the boulevard). On the wall of the kulla, you can see the unique works of the artisans of that period like: lion, the star of David etc. It has a special architecture characterizing the one of the 18th and 20th centuries with two floors, built with stone and with huge windows and loop-holes built-up with a lot of dedication from the artisans.
- Tower of Gockaj (Near the Kajnak). You can visit the 19th century where Regional Institute for the Protection of Cultural and Historical Monuments is. The towers are a proof of the special architecture used in construction and also the expertise of the local population in craving stones. The tower should be seen from inside as well especially the living and guests’ room with a unique chimney, shelves, window cases and with a selling all wrapped with wood and handcrafted with a lot of expertise.
- Kajnak. A spring of drinking water of Peja which is cherished as a cultural monument.
- 3 Patriarchate of Pec (Serbian: Pećka patrijaršija; Albanian: Patriarkana e Pejës) (from the square at the city centre, head west for about 2 km along the road which follows the river towards the Rugova Valley; you'll know you're there when you see the monastery walls and a Kosovo Police guard house; it is about a 20-minute walk). The church consists of three domes and comprises three separate churches, with a fourth adjoining on the south side. All were built between the 13th and 14th centuries. The compound also includes modern living quarters for the nuns, ruins of an old monastery and a cemetery. A small gift shop sells souvenirs. The attending nun will be more than happy to offer you samples of the monastery-aged raki (be careful, it's 110 proof!).
This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is guarded by Kosovan police. You'll need to surrender your passport to enter and there is a €2 entrance fee (if the nun sees you).
- 4 Catholic Church (Shën Katarina), General Wesley Clark St. (W 2 km). It was built in 1928. As a parish, the Church Saint Katarina is existing from the period of Koncili the First of Arberi (1703) leaded by the Pope Clemente.
- 5 The Old Long Bazaar Street (Çarshia e Gjatë). This is an interesting bazaar with a typical oriental architecture. You'll be able to find different original artisan shops such as the Albanian plis (cap-makers), gown-makers, sixhade (carpet) makers, shoemakers, watchmakers, and authentic goldsmiths. The most preserved part of the “Çarshia e Gjate” is the part called “Rrethishtja” (circle) in the middle where there is an old fountain.
- 6 Windmill of Haxhi Zeka (Mulliri i Haxhi Zekës), Vëllezërit Gërvalla St.. The first windmill in Kosovo and the region which had an upgraded technology brought from Austria. The industrial economy started to develop with this windmill and for this reason it’s an interesting place to visit.
- 7 Teftedar Mosque (Xhamia e Teftedarit), Bajram Curri St..
- 8 Kurshumli Mosque, Ramiz Sadiku/ Mehmet Akif St..
- 9 Red Mosque (Xhamia e Kuqe).
- Kinema Jusuf Gërvalla is one of the most striking historic building in central Peja, which definitely deserves a visit. It is a beautiful historical cinema, built in 1955 with money of the Workers’ Union. Back then, the cinema was called 'Kino Rad' ('Workers' Cinema'). During the period 1955-1998 it served as a central point of joint cultural activities for the residents of Peja. Activities included screenings of the latest films, public discussions, music concerts, theatrical performances and children’s programs. The cinema was closed down when the war started in 1998 and was heavily damaged in the years after, just like the rest of Peja. In 2000, the building was renovated and partly reconstructed. In 2001, the cinema was reopened, with its name changed to ‘Kinema Jusuf Gërvalla’ in 2002. In 2016 the Privatization Agency of Kosovo put the building on the list of buildings for privatization, which meant it would lose its public function. However, backlash from the local community secured Kinema Jusuf Gërvalla a spot on the temporary list of protected cultural heritage buildings in Kosovo. Kinema Jusuf Gërvalla is now a cultural center which hosts movie screenings, musical performances, poetry nights, board game nights, and more. Most activities are accessible to international audiences. It's also possible to get a guided tour, which introduces you to the rich history of the cinema.
- 10 Accursed Mountains (Prokletije or the Albanian Alps) (Rugova region). Have a day trip or stay longer in this beautiful area.
- 11 Decan monastery (Manastiri i Deçanit, Visoki Dečani, Високи Дечани) (15 minutes from Peja by car or hop on a bus headed towards Deçan, Gjakovë or Prizren (get on at the roundabout headed out of town); jump off at the roundabout in Deçan; there, take the second exit of the roundabout from where the bus enters it and follow the road for about 1.6 km until you see the KFOR guardhouse). This medieval Serbian monastery is still guarded by KFOR (NATO forces in Kosovo) and you will be required to surrender your passport to enter. The frescoes in the church are in great condition and the small gift shop sells monastery-made cravings, icons, raki and wine.
- In addition to the mountains, there are a few destinations to go relatively close to Peja.
- 12 Bjeshkët e Nemuna. There you could find many natural beauties and resources:
- Rusolia Resort
- Rugova Valley (Gryka e Rugovës). A 25-km-long canyon. A natural monument of geological heritage. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Kosovo. Rugova area is approximately 20 km long and 10 km wide.
- 13 Leqinati frozen lake (Liqeni i Leqinatit, Leqinati, Liqeni i Kuqishtës) (at the place called Guri i Kuq, just above the village of Kuqishte). Called also Great Lake or Kuqishte Lake, 1970 m a.s.l.
- Waterfalls at 5th and 6th kilometre markers on the way to Rugova Valley and marvellous waterfall in Radavc (Ujëvara te km i 5-të dhe 6-të).
- 14 Reka e Allages village (NW 14 km). Gay monkey fly
- Shushica waterfall (Ujëvara në Shushicë) (Shushica village).
- Yellow stone (Albanian: Guri i Kuq or Guri i Verdhë; Serbian: Жути камен, Žuti kamen). 2522 m peak.
- Great canyon (Gryka e Madhe).
- 15 Drini river (Drini i Bardhë) (N 10 km). waterfall 1 km west from R106 road; at Radac is the spring of Drini river.
- The mountain of Ciga with the peak of Maja e Hasan Begut.
- The mountain with the peak of Vjelakut.
- Mountain villages. Shtupeq i Vogël (Mali Štupelj – Small Shtupeq), Shtupeq i Madh (Veliki Štupelj – Large Shtupeq), Rekë e Allages (Alagina Reka), Malaj (Malevići), Drelaj (Drelje), Pepaj (Pepići), Kuqishtë (Kućište), Haxnaj (Hađovići), Stankaj (Jošanica), Bogë (Boge), Shkrel (Škrelje), Dugaivë (Dugajve, Dugonjiva) and Koshutan (Košutane) The houses of villages of Rugova (especially Upper Rugova) sometimes reach the height of 1,600 m, which is above upper forest line and already in pasture areas, covered with fields and meadows.
- Radac (the spring of Drini river)
- The mountain of Ciga with the peak of Maja e Hasan Begut
- The mountain with the peak of Vjelakut
- 16 Peja Baths (Banja e Pejës) (13 km north-east from Peja). As a result of different natural conditions, in this very small region there are any natural rarities and very interesting natural phenomenons, like thermal and mineral hot-springs.
- White Drini Spring (Burimi i Drinit të Bardhë), village Radavc. Around 30 m high. Also here is a cave system nearby with the same name.
- 17 Karstic river spring, village of Vrellë (NE 17 km, near the small town of Burim). A karstic river appearing here.
- 18 Rugova Gorge (Gryka e Rugovës) (from the town of Peja going west and following the river-Lumebardhi you will enter this magnificent canyon). More than 23 km long, and has few waterfalls and so many water-springs, like Uji i Zi (Black Water), Kroi i km 5-të (5th km Spring), and so on, than hundreds of caves, most of them still unexplored, like Gryka e Madhe (Great Canyon) cave system, until now only around 11km explored, then Shpella e Karamakazit (Black Scissors) cave, and Shpella e Kallabes (Kallaba Cave) where are foud the archeological remains of ancient humans, and other caves waiting to be explored.
- 1 Lumbardhi river. You can go to the river and cool down on a hot summer day.
- Public pools. The people of Peja are very enthusiastic and welcoming to tourists.
- Peaks of the Balkans Trail. Hike the Peaks of the Balkans Trail. This trans-border 192-km trail will take you from Kosovo to Montenegro and Albania. Guides can be found in Peja. This trail meanders through the Accursed Mountains and accesses some of the last unspoiled and remote areas of these counties.
- Balkan Natural Adventure, Edit Durham St. (You can ask for the company at visitor centre there), ☏ , email@example.com. The company provides tours in the region and a guided service to the Via Ferrata Ari and Mat. They also can arrange for you to take a zip line tour or huke in the region. The company offers guided and self-guided services to all visitors. €15.
- Rugova Experience Trek (Rugova Experience), Mbreti Piro St., Municipal Assembly Building, ground floor (from the city centre just pass the bridge that takes you at the park Ibrahim Rugova and there you see the tall building of Municipal Assembly), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. The company provides hiking tours in the region and a guided service to the Via Ferrata Ari and Mat. They also can arrange for you to take a zip line tour. The company offers guided and self-guided services to all visitors. €15.
Peja is known as one of the cities with most green areas in Kosovo, is called as well as “Green Peja”. In Karagaç neighborhood is the Big Park: in the central part of the park is a beautiful artificial lake surrounded by flowers of variety of plants and trees. During the summertime, many people visit the park for relax and jogging. Peja Big Park has its legend; the biggest part of the park in ancient times was used as a graveyard.
- 2 Big park (Parku i Madh/Parki Karagac), Mbreti Agron St. (south). You can jog around. You can hike on the mountains behind the school that's across Camp Caffe (Lusha's place).
- 3 Dr.Ibrahim Rugova Park (Park called "Parku i Jarines”) (at the centre). almost in all green areas are playgrounds.
Flora and fauna
There are more than 375 types of herbs that grow on Bjeshkët e Nemuna including Leontopodium Alpinum, Primula Auricula, Gentiana Hyphylla, Blueberries, Chamomile, Mountain Tea, White Spruce, and Picea Abies.
Various species of wild animals common to the Balkans live in the territory of Bjeshkët e Nemuna, but in the Rugova Valley, there are also several species of endangered animals, including the European marble pole cat, wild rooster, lynx, viper, wild cat, brown bear, rupicapra, wolf, fox and golden eagle.
Peja is well known for sports and sport successes were a lot of youth are practicing various sports. Most famous sports are basketball, football and handball. Peja clubs have been many times Kosovo champions in many sports, though individual sports are developed as well like karate, judo, athletics, boxing and skiing.
- 4 Football stadium.
- Indoor sports hall. For basketball and handball.
- Small Hall. For karate, judo, boxing and other sports.
- Skiing. Visiting the mountains in winter time are more challenging than in other seasons. 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. Sleeping options in Boge: Hotel Rudi, Resort “Berati”, Hotel-Restaurant “Ke Luani”, Eko Hotel “Magra Austria”, Villas “Kodra”, Hotel “Rugova Relax”
- 5 Mounteneering in Hajla area. #1. Maja e Vjeljakut (Volujak Peak, 2,014 m) – Stanet e Gllogjanit – Shtedime (6-7 hr). This route was marked many years ago and the marks have almost completely faded. - #2. Kuqishte – Boge (from Kuqishte 6 km by road) – Maja Dramadol (2,120 m) – Hajla summit (5-6 hr from Boge). - #3. Drelaj village – Koshutan - Maja Dramadol – Hajla summit (5-6 hours). - #4. Drelje – Pepiç – Hajla Keqe (Stanetë) - Qafa Hajles (Hajla pass) – Hajla summit.
- 6 Boge Ski resort (Boge-Rugova Valley ski center, Bogë - Rugovë) (NW 33 km, in Rugova Mountains (Boge)). This is famous for skiing and is frequently visited by people from different countries. Here you can go skiing at a low cost.
- Peja aeroclub paragliding (Maja e Zezë, Pejë) (NW of Peja,), ☏ . Tandem or single paragliding jumps over the city. Furthermore you can learn to lead the paraglide. €50.
- Shtëpia Alpike Ranch (Zatra), ☏ . Equistran activity. Horses and ponies are available, you can also enjoy the traditional food and have a perfect view of Peja. €10 per hour (without instructor), €15 per hour (with instructor), €50 per day.
Talking about extreme sports you will see that Peja is one of Kosovo's cities with the largest attendance of extreme sports such as hiking, paragliding, freestyle skiing, mountain biking, snowshoe trekking, rock climbing, caving etc. With their respective clubs like: ”Marimangat e Pejës", "Aragoniti", and “Klubi i Ciklistive”.
- Caving (Rugova). the largest caves are: Cave of Karamakazi (third kilometer), Cave of Ruta e Gurrës (Drelaj), Great Cave and Cave of Radavc in the North-East of Rugova. For more information see the Tourist Information Office (in the city center).
Peja is known for its various handicrafts and fairs and events such as memorials, concerts and exhibitions. Some of the fairs and events that Municipality of Peja organizes are:
- “The days of the honey" fair which is organized in September
- The 3 days handcrafts fair organized by the Association "Gratë në Biznes"
- Literature gatherings "Azem Shkreli"
- The festivities during the June, marking Peja liberation day
- Art exhibition "Flaka e janarit"
- International Short Film Festival
- Various sports memorial tournaments
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, 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.
A special segment of the commercial life in Peja is crafts who are mainly located in Çarshia e Gjate (Old Bazaar) exercising their knowledge in their shops like: traditional Albanian Plis makers (wool hats), dress makers, shoe smiths, watch smiths, gold and silver artisan works, barbers etc. Some of these crafts already disappeared or is exercised by an individual as the legacy and memory of the past. The most decorated pieces of local costumes for the females are shirts, waists, socks and for men’s costume, socks and the waist. Besides costumes, different textile products are very interesting. The uniqueness of the textile it’s not only in the working techniques but a complex of different factors like colors and motives through which the woman of this region are presented as wonderful weavers and painters that have sometimes made masterpieces. In the village of Rugova traditional costumes are still worn with a lot of dignity and in the national museum and in different galleries are exposed traditional costumes and handicrafts from the region. The uniqueness of the traditional clothing’s and other objects of the Peja culture can be found by visiting the Ethnographic Museum which is located in the nearby Haxhi Zeka Square.
Gastronomy of Peja is characterized with authentic and original food, freshly cooked from milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, honey, forest tea, pie, flija (corn pie), kaqamak, boiled cheese, leqenik and healthy bread from corn. At the restaurants you can always find traditional, oriental and european gastronomy.
In Peja restaurants and hotels beside the Wine of Radavci known for its high quality it is served "Peja Beer" produced in Peja, using natural water from the spring of Drin i Bardhe. Besides from alcoholic drinks you can find as well other traditional and oriental drinks like Boza, Salep, Ardiq, Ajron, and Shurup Trandafili.
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. 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.
- Sweet Bean. Non-smoking only café. It is also almost only café which serves also something to eat with your coffee - American-style cookies, brownies, cakes, etc. a cup of macchiato of Nescafé costs €0.50.
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.
In Peja restaurants and hotels beside the Wine of Radavci known for its high quality it is served "Peja Beer" produced in Peja, using natural water from the spring of Drin i Bardhe. Besides from alcoholic drinks you can find as well other traditional and oriental drinks like Boza, Salep, Ardiq, Ajron, Shurup Trandafili.
- Camp Caffe (Lusha's place). This place is only open during summertime, and though the location remains the same the name might change.
- Dio Coffee Shop, William Walker. 07:00-23:00.
- Mr. Jack Caffebar.
- Radio Caffe Caffebar.
Peja is not a city known for night life, but for local youth there are plenty of places where you can spend the afternoon and evenings. Most frequented pubs are: Green bar, Exit bar, Home café, Café Café, Prince Coffee House, Jazz bar, Gemvara. All these bars are located in the city center.
- Arthur's Bar. Night club
- Transit Club. Night club.
- Space Club. Night club.
Also for the older age groups in the restaurants and hotels of the city of Peja, during weekends you can have dinner under the sound of old traditional urban music. This pleasure you can experience at Hotel Dukagjini, Hotel Cocktail and Art Design Restaurant.
- 1 Hotel Dukagjini, Tony Blair St. no 2 (main square), ☏ , email@example.com. Stunning views of mountains overlooking Peja and Lumbardh River, restaurant overlooking the river. Indoor pool, spa, Turkish bath on premises, Wi-Fi.
- Hotel Peja, ☏ .
- Hotel Çardak (Hotel Coctail), Rruga Mbretëresha Teutë, nr. 101, Pejë, Kosovë, ☏ , , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2 Hotel Gold, Mbretëresha Teuta St. no 106, ☏ , email@example.com.
- 3 Hotel Dona, Besnik Lajqi St. (near Railway Station), ☏ . 23 rooms, phone=+383 39 434 470 Double €50.
- Hostel Saraç, Vëllezërit Bakir dhe Adem Gjuka St. 22 (in city centre), ☏ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 10:00. Hostel Saraç is a well-preserved typical local house of the 1960s with a cosy family feel making it a very unique place to experience the city's culture. The house and its garden intertwine the different architectural influences, creating a unique Kosovo-style house. The hostel is a mere stones throw away from the very center of the city yet offering a quiet and relaxing environment. €10.
- Hotel Shala, Village Ramun, ☏ .
- Hotel Rugova Camp, Village Shtypeq i Madh (in Rugova Canyon), ☏ .
- Hotel Guri i Kuq, Village Kuqishte (in Rugova Canyon), ☏ .
- Kompleksi Rudi Group Rugova, Village Boge (35 km in Rugova Canyon), ☏ .
- Vila Relax Rugova, Boge (in Rugova Canyon), ☏ .
- Gjakova - 36 km, 45 min away by bus, closest city in Kosovo with the largest Ottoman-era bazaar in the Balkans.
- Pristina - the capital of Kosovo.
- Prizren - Jump in a bus (around 2-hour bus ride) and have a day off
- Plav - a city of Montenegro with direct bus connection from Peja
- Rožaje- the nearest city of Montenegro with direct bus connection from Peja
- Podgorica- take a direct bus (6-7 hours, €14) to visiting the capital of Montenegro. Peja is near the border of Montenegro. There is no border crossing through Rugova but you have to go around through Rožaje. Go to Albania through Gjakova or Prizren, and to Skopje through Pristina.