A brown bear cools off in a pool at the bear sanctuary near the Badovc lake on August 19, 2015 in Badovc, during a heat wave in Kosovo. AFP PHOTO/ARMEND NIMANI        (Photo credit should read ARMEND NIMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

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Bear Sanctuary

Top choice in Kosovo

In a remote, forested spot beyond the village of Mramor, this sanctuary houses European brown bears that were rescued from captivity by the charity Four Paws. All the bears here were once kept in tiny cages as restaurant mascots, so although they're hardly out free in the wilderness, the spacious, semiwooded enclosures of today are a million times better than the conditions they were once kept in. You can learn more about the bears at the impressive new visitor centre.

From Pristina, board any Gjilan-bound bus and ask to be let off by the Delfina gas station at the entrance to Mramor. From there, follow the road back past the lakeside, and then around to the right. It's a 3km walk, and the gorgeous countryside and lake make a great spot for a picnic afterwards. Otherwise there's a decent terrace restaurant within the sanctuary (mains around €5.50). A taxi from Pristina is around €15 and for a couple of euros extra, drivers will stop off at the Gračanica Monastery on the way.

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