The nation of Kosovo – Europe’s newest – was born in 2008, and its capital, Pristina, is awash in NGO money that’s given the city a free-spirited nightlife, a reborn enthusiasm that recalls 1990s Berlin, Belfast, and Prague, and a pocket of cosmopolitanism unlike anything else in the Balkans. The city teems with restaurants serving everything from Mexican and Thai to Kosovo locavore, while new spots continue to open along Boulevards Bill Klinton and Tony Blair.
A bustling café culture has locals claiming that Pristina makes the world’s best macchiato. The city’s first craft brewery, Sabaja, debuted in autumn 2013, serving smoked porter and hoppy pumpkin ales. Continue your night out at Miqt, a 2014 newcomer that has become a favorite of a progressive set who dance to New Order and the Smiths songs. NGO money has helped kick-start a massive restoration campaign of cultural buildings like the modernist National Library, the Great Hamam, the Mother Teresa Catholic Church, and the Ethnographic Museum, which began to offer free English-language tours in 2014. Beyond Pristina, tourism infrastructure is slowly recovering as funding from Switzerland and the HALO trust restores villages, ski resorts, and sacred monasteries. – Adam H. Graham / travel+leisure.