World Borders: How to Get From Northern Macedonia to Kosovo (Skopje to Pristina by bus)

World Borders: How to get from Macedonia to Kosovo by bus.

World Borders: How to Get From Northern Macedonia to Kosovo (Skopje to Pristina by bus)

When you hear about places like Northern Macedonia and Kosovo you might think that obscurity is the name of the game and that backpacking through this region is a test for your stamina. However, this particular border crossing is a fast and easy one and something I’d definitely recommend now having been in the former Yugoslavia the last couple of weeks.

World Borders: The Bus From Macedonia to Kosovo.

World Borders: How to Get From Northern Macedonia to Kosovo (Skopje to Pristina by bus)

You have two main options public transport wise for getting from Northern Macedonia to Kosovo:
1. Train
2. Bus

Skopje Bus Station, Macedonia.

Skopje Bus Station, Northern Macedonia.

The train is less frequent and slower so I opted for the bus option. Here’s how to get from Macedonia to Kosovo by bus, from Skopje to Pristina.

Buying Your Ticket in Skopje

Ex-Yugoslav countries are smarter than the rest. Here’s why – the main cities all only have one bus station each, so no confusion about which bus station to go to. Head to the bus station in Skopje (which is also intelligently by the train station also). Go to ticket counter 6 for the bus to Pristina.

pristina kosovo ticket bus

Ticket Counter 6 in Skopje bus station for Pristina, Kosovo buses.

Everything might be written in Northern Macedonian for the most part, but you’ll see some English. All you need to do is tell them you want the next bus to Pristina (pronounced Prish Teena). Above Counter 6 it says Shkup to Prishtine so you know the route is correct. Buses are regular from about 8am until 6pm. I got the 3pm bus. The ticket costs 320 Northern Macedonian Denars and you are issued with a ticket and a receipt.

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World Borders: How to Get From Northern Macedonia to Kosovo (Skopje to Pristina by bus)

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World Borders: How to Get From Northern Macedonia to Kosovo (Skopje to Pristina by bus)

There is currently no other way to book the bus other than going to the station. Most backpackers just buy the ticket a few minutes before the bus leaves which is what I did in Bulgaria, Northern Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro. The company is called Albus.

The company is called Albus.

The company is called Albus.

Boarding the Bus in Skopje, Northern Macedonia

Once you have your ticket you can buy the last things you might need in Skopje, Northern Macedonia. Northern Macedonia is cheaper than Kosovo so that is something to note.

A cafe in Skopje Bus Station, Macedonia.

A cafe in Skopje Bus Station, Northern Macedonia.

You get your ticket checked between the terminal and the bus platforms. The Pristina bus was platform 3 for me and we just waited by the bus stop until the bus arrived. The bus will say Pristina on it, as will the sign above platform 3 in my case.

Sign which says Pristina.

Sign which says Pristina.

World Borders: The Bus From Macedonia to Kosovo.

World Borders: The Bus From Shkup (Skopje) to Prishtine (Pristina)

Northern Macedonian Denars to Euros

Also – try your best to change your Northern Macedonian Denars before you leave. The staff lied to me at the station saying that I could change it into Euros in Kosovo – it’s VERY hard to find any change bureau or bank in Kosovo to swap the MDs over.

Swap your Macedonian Denars before you leave.

Swap your Northern Macedonian Denars before you leave.

Leaving Northern Macedonia at Blace

The border isn’t far north of Skopje – you’ll be out of the city in no time and driving through countryside wilderness.

Wilderness drive north of Skopje, Macedonia.

Wilderness drive north of Skopje, Northern Macedonia.

There is a Northern Macedonian exit point but there is no need to get off the bus unless you request it. The name of the place you leave Northern Macedonia in this case is called Blace ( I assume this is pronounced Blatt Zhe).

The bus to Blace, Macedonia to Kosovo border.

The bus to Blace, N. Macedonia to Kosovo border.

Leaving Macedonia at Blace.

Leaving Northern Macedonia at Blace.

The Northern Macedonian official will get on the bus and take your passports. He will take them away to check and register your departure, then return and hand them back to you while you are on the bus. Smokers might want to get off for a quick smoke. No physical passport stamps are issued for those on an EU passport here at Blace.

Border point at Blace.

Border point at Blace.

A sign in Blace at the border point.

A sign in Blace at the border point.

This entire process took around 15-20 minutes and then you drive across the small part of road into the Kosovo arrival immigration point.

The road between the Macedonian and Kosovan immigration points.

The road between the Northern Macedonian and Kosovan immigration points.

Arriving in Kosovo at Han i Elezit

Once you leave Blace, you arrive in Kosovo at a check point near a settlement known as Han i Elezit. Again you stay on the bus. A Kosovan immigration officer will get on the bus and take your passport away.

Han i Elezit - Kosovo border entry point.

Han i Elezit – Kosovo border entry point.

The border entry point at Han i Elezit, Kosovo.

The border entry point at Han i Elezit, Kosovo.

Once they have checked and stamped your passport, they get back on the bus and give it back to you. You will get an entry stamp into Kosovo and can stay for 90 days if you like.

Passport Arrival Stamp for Kosovo.

Passport Arrival Stamp for Kosovo.

Arriving in Pristina

After that it’s just over an hour or so of a drive to Pristina the capital city of Kosovo. As far as I remember there are no other stops on the way for passengers to get on and off though we did seem to pass through a few settlements. It got dark during this part of the journey.

Night time arrival into Pristina, Kosovo's capital.

Night time arrival into Pristina, Kosovo’s capital.

One thing I did notice was a load of covered casinos and gaming rooms outside the window of the bus, all lit up. The approach to Pristina was all smooth roads and I got off the bus by the Hotel Victory as it’s a closer walk from there to my hostel (Buffalo Backpackers) than if I stayed on until the last stop – the main bus station in Pristina, Kosovo. Overall a fairly easy border crossing to do!

Here are my videos of the bus from Northern Macedonia to Kosovo:

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32 thoughts on “World Borders: How to Get From Northern Macedonia to Kosovo (Skopje to Pristina by bus)

  • Thank you, thank you. I am making the Skopje-Pristina trip next week and I get very anxious about details such as border control procedures, purchasing tickets etc. You have explained it very clearly.
    From another Northern Irish ambitious traveller! (Albeit less adventurous than you, attempting to conquer merely the 51 states of Europe rather than the globe :P).

  • Hi Sable – thanks for the comment, is that your real name? It doesn’t match the email address! Where are you from in Northern Ireland? I hope your trip there goes well, I loved that region. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Useful! I`m hoping to travel the same route soon and knowing the relationships between the Balkan people (I am Bulgarian) I imagined it being hard, timeconsuming and costly.

  • Hi!

    Very useful post, thank you.
    But maybe you know, is it possible to buy a round ticket from Skopje also or i have to buy a return ticket from Prishtina? I am worried because maybe the busses are all full and we cant get back to Skopje (we only want to stay in Prishtina one day – go there in the morning and come back in the evening).

  • Hi Ave, Thanks for the comment. Going there for the day is pushing it, unless you leave very early. None of the buses were ever full but it’s a fair point – if there is some event, celebration or festival on they could be full. Trust the locals in this instance. Ask around. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Although a lot of Macedonian officials (and Yugoslav/Albanian ones in general) claim Western passports don’t need stamping, this is due to laziness and not actually legal. Whilst this is a well-known issue and Westerners will usually not face problems one exit (especially if your foreigner registration is in order), if you do get the odd official wanting to cause you trouble, they kind of have the law on their side.

    So if I had used a passport in the region, I’d scrupulously make sure to get stamped at every checkpoint.

  • Hi Andre, thanks for the comment. What do you mean by “western passports”? You mean countries to the west in Europe, or countries in America (the far west). I was there on an Irish passport and had my passport stamped. I love getting new stamps! Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Jonny, I meant EU/EFTA, American, Canadian, Australian passports etc. But it happens particularly often with EU/EFTA passports.

  • Hi Jonny, I wanted to say a big thank you for the time you put into page. I was a bit nervous about going to Pristina but the information you posted helped put me at ease! Everything went smoothly and I knew what to expect. I had a wonderful time there.

    Keep up the great work. Take care,

    Sylvia

  • Hey mate is it possible to arrenge with the Kosovar police not to get stamped ? Any physical checks and stuff ?
    Great explenation from another travel enthousiast

  • Hi Ben, I was there in 2014 and at the time, you had only two options:
    1. Get a stamp in your passport
    2. Get a stamp on a separate piece of paper.
    If things are still the same now, go for option two if you really want to later backpack Serbia. There were no physical checks (thought I had mentioned that) and no bag checks either. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Very valuable information, John! Thank you so much! I would like to know more: can I buy a return ticket from Pristina to the Skopje in the Skopje on the same day? Thanks again! Michael.

  • Hi Mikhail, thanks for the comment. To be honest I don’t know the answer to your question but I think they were selling every ticket as a single ticket only as it is Macedonia. So if you wanted to visit just for a day, I would waken up early and get the first bus from Skopje to Pristina. Once you arrive in Pritina, check the times of the last bus and bus the ticket there immediately for the way back in Pristina. It would be better if you have 2-3 days in Pristina but if you are pushed for time, I am sure you will find a way to do it in a day. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hello, John! You have already given me valuable information about the Skopje bus – Pristina. I had another question, no less valuable: can I buy a ticket at the ticket office of the Skopje bus station in advance: 1) a day or more before the departure of the bus 2) on the day of departure 3) just before the departure of the next bus? Thank you. Michael.

  • Hi Michael thanks for the comment. I was there in 2014, so 4 years ago so am probably not the best person to ask, but on that trip you could do ALL three of those things. However, I personally booked both my tickets just before the buses left. They were last minute decisions for me. The first bus was from Skopje to Lake Ohrid, I bought the ticket 20 minutes before it left. The second bus was from Skopje to Pristina, I think I bought it about 45 minutes before it left. Neither bus was full, but things might have changed as it was years ago. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Nice on Jonny. I’m planning a trip in Feb 2019 and this really helped.
    Happy to send photos/info afterwards if anything has changed (although I suspect not).

  • Thanks for the article. Im from Singapore, also plan to travel from Skopje to Pristina, all for 3 full days. How do you suggest to manage my time and tour the necessary.

  • Hi, thanks for this helpful post, i had been there few days ago. Now, ticket from Skopje to Pristine costs 350MKD. Screens with destinations doesn’t work, but buses to Kosovo departs from platform 3 (in Pristine, buses to Skopje from platform 13). There are no “Albus” sign on the station, but you can buy ticket at any counter. There are more companies, all of them operates this line with minibuses. Staff at bus station understands english, but bus drivers doesn’t know any english word… Also smoking in the bus is quite normal. And last thing.. don’t forget your camera, there are a lot of so beautiful views from bus.

  • Hi David, thanks so much for the recent update. It was years ago that I backpacked Northern Macedonia to Kosovo. I hope you enjoyed your trip there. Best wishes. Jonny

  • Hi David, Thanks for the comment and apologies for the delay, I have been suffering from depressionthe last few years and the blog has really suffered. Comments unchecked and so many things happened. Thanks for the update, it might even have changed again by now and I hope you enjoyed Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Huaimin, Thanks for the comment and for checking my website. Apologies for the delay in response. Unfortunately I have been suffering from long-term depression caused by a liar and I wasn’t checking all comments and messages or replying. I hope you enjoyed my article and maximise your hat-trick of days in Skopje/Pristina. Stay safe. Jonny

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