- Not to be confused with Pécs.
Peja "City of Tourism" 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 northwestern part of Kosovo, at the foot of Bjeshkët e Nemuna (Accursed Mountains) and Rugova Canyon, between 42o and 40o of parallels of Northern hemisphere and between the 20o and 18o of meridians. The municipality of Peja in total has a surface of 603km2, while urban part has a surface of 20km2. The altitude of the city is 521m above the sea level, and the highest peak is 2,522m at the place called Guri i Kuq (Red Stone) in Bjeshkët e Nemuna Mountains. You only need to pass through Rugova Canyon once, to notice its incomparable beauties but also to realize that the valley is hiding many undiscovered treasures from its seekers. Peja lies on the banks of Lumbardh River springing from Bjeshkët e Nemuna with a length of 63km after which it joins the longest river in Kosovo Drini i Bardhe. The spring of Drini i Bardhe is also in Peja municipality in the village Radavc, where has created marvelous and attractive waterfalls for the visitors along-side its length of 30m. Peja with the Rugova Canyon besides its beauties and numerous surprises like lakes, waterfalls and marvellous caves has been a stage of a past filled with myths, legends and incomparable historical heritage.
The entire region is inhabited by 180,000 citizens; more than 100,000 are concentrated in the city of Peja. 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 Albanians who are approximately 90%, while the rest of 10% is comprised of Serbs, Montenegrins, Bosnians, Roma, etc.
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 likes a lot winter season especially when 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.
Albanian and Serbian languages are official, though other languages as Bosnian and Rom are used and spoken. The dominating language is Albanian. English language is quite popular in Peja; the majority of local youths 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 40km away, while border point Kulla is only 15 km from the center of the Peja. The Qakor border point, which passes through Rugova Canyon, is currently closed to motorized traffic and pedestrians alike.
From Albania you can use two border crossing points, through Qafa e Morines using the Tirana-Pristina highway getting out to Prizren, and the second connection through Qafa Thana border point to Gjakova than Peja.
From the capital of Macedonia, Skopje, you can use Hani i Elezit border point, continuing to Pristina which is 80km away from Peja. As well you can use “Globoqica” border point passing by Sharr Mountains continuing through Prizren and Gjakova which is 120km from Peja.
The nearest airport is Prishtina International Airport Adem Jashari, located 65km away, where you can get a taxi or a bus to reach Peja.
- Inter-city bus station.
- Railway Station. take a train to Prishtina, from there you can continue on to Skopje, Macedonia.
You can easily get around Peja 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. If you prefer you can also use one of the city buses that cover the town for €0.50.
- Royal Taxi, ☎ . non-stop.
- Bajrakli Xhamia Mosque ( Bajrakli – Çarshi Xhamia). - is one of the most important architectonic and sacred buildings from the period of the Ottoman Empire, it is constructed at the second half of the XV century. It's a one-level structure finished with a cupola on top and land and graves around. The construction of the mosque is dedicated to Fatih Sultan Mehmet Hanit, known by the citizens of Peja as Bajrakli – Çarshi Xhamia.
- Hamam of Haxhi Beu. is 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.
- The Konak, now Ethnographic Museum ( Konaku i Tahir Beut), Eliot L.Engel (near the centre of Haxhi Zeka square). is 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, currently 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.
- Walls 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 XVIII and XX with two floors, build with stone and with huge windows and loop-holes build-up with a lot of dedication from the artisans.
- Tower of Gockaj (Near the Kajnak). you can visit the XIX 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 cultural monument
- Patriarchate of Pec ( From the square at the city centre, head west for about 1.2 miles 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 min 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 c. 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 euro entrance fee (if the nun sees you).
- Catholic Church ( Shën Katarina), General Wesley Clark (W 2km). This a building of the recent period (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.
- 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, authentic goldsmiths etc. The most preserved part of the “Çarshia e Gjate” is the part called “Rrethishtja” (circle) in the middle where there is an old fountain.
- Windmill of Haxhi Zeka ( Mulliri i Haxhi Zekës), Vëllezërit Gërvalla. is 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.
- Teftedar Mosque ( Xhamia e Teftedarit), Bajram Curri.
- Kurshumli Mosque, Ramiz Sadiku/ Hehmet Akif Peja.
- Red Mosque ( Xhamia e Kuqe).
- Accursed Mountains ( Prokletije or the Albanian Alps) (Rugova region). Have a day trip or stay longer in this beautiful area
- Decan monastery ( Visoki Dečani, Високи Дечани) (15 minutes from Peja by car or hop on a bus headed towards Decan, Gjakove or Prizren (get on at the roundabout headed out of town). Jump off at the roundabout in Decan. There, take the second exit of the roundabout from where the bus enters it and follow the road for about 1 mile until you see the KFOR guardhouse.). This 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.
- Bjeshkët e Nemuna. There you could find many natural beauties and resources:
- Rusolia Resort
- Rugova Valley (Gryka e Rugoves). A 25km long canyon. A natural monument of geological heritage. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Kosovo. - Rugova area is approximately 20km long and 10km wide.
- Leqinati frozen lake ( Liqeni i Leqinatit, Leqinati, Liqeni i Kuqishtës) (at the place called Guri i Kuq, just above the village of Kućište). Called also Great Lake or Kuqishte Lake, 1970m 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-te dhe 6-te).
- Reka e Allages village ( NW 14 km). This village is a stop in the Peaks of the Balkans trek and numerous day hikes start from here. These include treks to a waterfall (Ujëvara në Reke te Allages) or even Hajla peak. Overnight: “Lagjja e Kaprojve” home-hotel or Arius guest house.
- Shushica waterfall (Ujëvara në Shushicë) (Shushica village).
- Yellow stone (Albanian: Guri i Kuq or Guri i Verdhë; Serbian: Жути камен, Žuti kamen). 2522m peak.
- Great canyon (Gryka e Madhe).
- Drini river ( Drini i Bardhe) (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, Vary. 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, which is above upper forest line and already in pasture areas, covered with fileds 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
- Peja Baths ( Banja e Pejes) (13km north-east from Peja). 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.
- White Drini Spring (Burimi i Drinit te Bardhe), village Radavc. -around 30m high. Also here is a cave system nearby with the same name.
- Karstic river spring, village of Vrelle (NE 17 km, near the small town of Burim). A karstic river appearing at here.
- Rugova Gorge ( Gryka e Rugoves) (From the town of Peja going west and following the river-Lumebardhi you will enter this magnificent canyon). 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...
- 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 192km 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 the these counties.
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 located “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, fun and jogging. Peja Big Park has its legend; the biggest part of the park in ancient times was used as graveyard.
- Big park ( Parku i Madh/Parki Karagac), Mbreti Agron (South). You can jog around (b. You can hike on the mountains behind the school that's across Camp Caffe (lusha's place).
- Dr.Ibrahim Rugova Park ( Park called "Parku i Jarines”) (at the center). almost in all green areas are playgrounds.
Flora and Fauna
There are more than 375 different 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 of course skiing.
- Football stadium.
- Indoor sports hall. for basketball and handball
- Small Hall. for karate, judo, boxing and other sports too
- Skiing. 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. Sleeping options in Boge: Hotel “Rudi”, Resort “Berati”, Hotel-Restaurant “Ke Luani”, Eko Hotel “Magra Austria”, Villas “Kodra”, Hotel “Rugova Relax”
- Mounteneering in Hajla area. #1. Maja e Vjeljakut (Volujak Peak, 2,014 m) – Glođanski stanovi – Štedim (6-7 h). This route was marked many years ago and the marks have almost completely faded. - #2. Kućište – Boge (from Kućište 6 km by road) – Maja Dramadol (2,120 m) – Hajla summit (5-6 h from Boge). - #3. Drelaj village – Košutane - Maja Dramadol – Hajla summit (5-6 hours). - #4. Drelje – Pepići – Hajla Keće (Stanovi) - Qafa Hajles (Hajles pass, Hajla pass) – Hajla summit.
- Boge Ski resort ( Boge-Rugova Valley ski center, Bogë - Rugovë) (NW 33km, - 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, Peje) (NW of Peja,), ☎ . One can fly over the city with a professional paraglider, who lead it. If you are professional by yourself, you can fly alone. Furthermore you can learn to lead the paraglide if you are interested to. 25 EUR.
- Shtëpia Alpike Ranch (Zatra), ☎ . It owns horses, ponies and also you can enjoy the traditional food and see a perfect view of Peja. 10 EUR per hour (without instructor), 15 EUR per hour (with instructor), 50 EUR per day.
Talking about extreme sports you will see that Peja is one of Kosovo's cities with the largest attendance extreme sports such as: hiking, paragliding, freestyle skiing, mountain bike, snowshoes trekking, rock climbing, caving etc. With their respective clubs like: ”Marimangat e Pejes", "Aragoniti", “Klubi i Ciklistive” etc.
- 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 info try at Tourist Information Office (in the City center)
For the fact that that Peja is an ancient cultural city and known by various handicrafts should be noted that of complete certain periods in Peja can encounter various 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 (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.
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, Shurup Trandafili etc.
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.
- Sobar Caffebar. here you can go and have fun, mostly teens and adults.
- Mr. Jack Caffebar. here you can go and have fun, mostly teens and adults.
- Radio Caffe Caffebar. here you can go and have fun, mostly teens and adults.
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
- Gresa Pub. 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.
- Hotel Dukagjini, Tony Blair st. no 2 (main square), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. stunning views of mountains overlooking Peja and Lumbardh River, restaurant overlooking the river. Indoor pool, spa, Turkish bath on premises, WiFi
- Hotel Peja, ☎ .
- Hotel Cocktail, ☎ . ,
- Hotel Gold, Mbretëresha Teuta st. no 106, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- Hotel Dona, Besnik Lajqi st. (Near Railway Station), ☎ . 23 rooms, phone=+381 39 434 470 Dbl €50.
- Hostel Saraç, Vëllezërit Bakir dhe Adem Gjuka 22 (in city centre), ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 10:00. Hostel Sarac is a well-preserved typical local house of the 60s' 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.