Rising from the ashes of a brutal civil war, Serbia and Kosovo lie at the crossroads of Central and Southern Europe. With a history imbued with a rich mix of eastern and western traditions, the region is soaked in Ottoman culture, Serbian nationalism and the strains of Kosovan music. An unsteady truce exists between the two separate countries, the results of years of ethnic diversity and the bloody outcome of the Kosovo War of the late 1990s. Today the region provides visitors with one of Europe’s last untouched frontiers, presenting spectacular mountains and an abundance of rivers and forests that provide home for wolves, lynx, bears and over 300 different bird species.
The region’s overlapping influences encompass a wide variety of cultural traditions, from the Romans and Byzantines, to the Ottomans and the Habsburgs. Serbia itself can boast no fewer than four UNESCO cultural monuments including the medieval capital of Stari Ras and the 13th century monastery of Sopoćani, whilst Kosovo’s religious heritage includes the important sites of the Decani Monastery and Gračanica, one of the most beautiful examples of 14th century Serbian medieval ecclesiastical architecture in the entire region. Both countries also enjoy a reputation for their heterogeneous cuisine and their natural landscapes, making them an ideal destination for lovers of both the outdoors and good food.