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Restelica—The Secret Aromatic Corner of Kosovo

One of Kosovo’s best kept natural secrets is the village of Restelica, hidden in the mountains of Dragash in southern Kosovo. Over 120 aromatic and healing plants grow in a small area that is being frequented by tourists only in the recent years

The village of Restelica is located in Kosovo’s southern municipality of Dragash (Dragaš) and is the largest village in that area. The canyon of Restelica lies behind and above the village, and ranges in elevation between 1,492 meters (4,895 feet) and 1,972 meters (6,470 feet). It is not difficult to reach this village and its nearby canyon.

Restelica is located about a 3 hours drive southwest of Prishtina (Priština) on roads that are in relatively good shape. However, the canyon itself is very steep and slippery, so it’s important to carefully plan your route there. There are several possibilities for tour guides though the best information one may receive from the touring specialist Hiking Njeri or Hiker ’s curiosity made this village a «must see» spot for many a travelers.

The canyon is known for its flora— some 120 aromatic and healing plants grow there. The spring and summer seasons bring out a profusion of mountain cranberries, blackberries and mushrooms. For those obsessed with birds and birding, there is a unique species of eagles that can be observed roaming the sky. And for the patient, as well as brave at heart, bears, wolfs, foxes, wild cats and goats can sometimes be seen roaming the canyon.

 As goats are more accustomed to people, during the summer months they spend their time near human habitats and can often be seen at sunset pasturing in the highlands.
Goelm Kamen (The Grand Rock) is the source of Restelica’s river—a river in which trout, chub and barbell can be found in abundance. Its waters are clean and can be used for drinking. Years of isolation have kept this area known only to its villagers. Just in the last decade have travelers begun to visit and explore its wonders.

History. Restelica is populated by the Gorani community who speak a combination of Slavic languages and whose religion is Islam. Its inhabitants lead a very traditional way of life and have managed to preserve many aspects of their rich culture: from their renowned cheeses and lamb dishes to their breeding of the enormous Sharr sheep dogs, native to Kosovo since the ancient Illyrian times. The area’s economy has forced many of its people to move abroad, but the community is well known across former Yugoslavia for famous pastry shops managed by the Gorani bakers. During the summer, however, they often return for visits and traditional wedding ceremonies. Others on Restelica.

 Todd’s Travels Website: Mountain shepherds, enormous Sharr Dogs, free roaming horses, pristine babbling streams and dramatic mountains are just a small taste of what awaits you in Dragash. Located in the southern end of Kosovo, Dragash is an oasis of untouched natural beauty and traditional villages sandwiched between the borders of Macedonia and Albania. Ignored by the Yugoslav government, the area never received development money for tourism despite its wealth of flora, fauna and cultural traditions. Luckily, this also spared the region the communist era concrete hotels and restaurants that mar similar regions in Kosovo.