Berat in Albania: 10 x the best things to do

Also known as “The City of a Thousand Windows,” the city of Berat in Albania is a must-see place! Explore this UNESCO city with its Ottoman architecture and many historic buildings. Explore Berat Castle overlooking the valley and get lost in the narrow streets of Mangalem and Gorica neighborhoods. Or sample delicious Albanian cuisine in one of the many traditional restaurants! Read the 10 best things to do in Berat, where to stay and how to get there.

10 best things to do in Berat

Berat is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Albania. This historic city will take you back to Ottoman times with its many beautiful houses and historic features. We recommend that you spend at least two nights in Berat in order to discover the 10 best sights for yourself.

1) Castle of Berat

Berat Castle, also known as Berat Kalaja, is one of the highlights to visit in Berat. Built in the 13th century, this castle is the largest castle in Albania. It is still surprisingly intact and within the castle walls people still live there. You will also find museums, fun souvenir shops, cool restaurants and other attractions such as Holy Trinity Church. So you can easily spend several hours here, so be sure to take your time. In addition to an interesting insight into Berat’s history, you also have a phenomenal view of the city. Those who want can walk on even the walls of the castle. Head to the castle at sunset for a stunning view of the city with a beautiful, orange glow. The road to the castle is steep and punchy, but believe us it is definitely worth the climb!

Opening hours Berat Castle: open 24 hours a day | price: between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. 300 LEK (€2.8)

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2) Old center Mangalem

The Osumi River divides Berat’s old town into two historic districts, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On the side of the hill you have the old town of Mangalem. Here you can see the many characteristic Ottoman houses stretching along the slope. Hence also comes the name “The City with a Thousand Windows. Strolling through the streets in the Mangalem neighborhood is therefore a pleasure for the eyes. The narrow streets, covered with climbing plants, offer much-needed cooling on hot summer days. In the Mangalem district you will find some historic mosques as this used to be the Islamic part of Berat. Furthermore, you will now find numerous local stores and restaurants. We definitely recommend reserving a table at Homemade Food Lili! Be sure to make a reservation, as this cozy little restaurant is often full several days in advance.

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3) The Gorica neighborhood

Across the Osumi River you will find the neighborhood of Gorica. Formerly known as the Christian part of Berat, you can still find remnants of Orthodox churches such as the Holy Spiridon Church. When you are in Gorica you will further have a fantastic view of the Mangalem district, the many Ottoman houses with their thousand windows and at the top, the castle of Berat. Gorica is less crowded than the Mangalem district but is definitely worth a visit as well! Not for nothing is it also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Berat in Albania - Snoezels on the Road
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4) The Gorica Bridge

The historic districts of Mangalem and Gorica are connected by the distinctive Gorica Bridge or Ura e Gorices in Albanian. This bridge consists of seven arches and is built in the distinctive Ottoman architecture. With the Albanian mountains and the meandering Osumi River in the background, you get a beautiful view. Consequently, this makes it one of the most photographed places in Berat, so it is something you should definitely not skip when you are in this Albanian city!

Berat in Albania
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Berat in Albania
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5) Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church or Holy Trinity Church is one of the most notable historic churches in Berat. This Orthodox church dates back to the 13th century and is located within the walls of Berat Castle. It combines Byzantine and Western elements, and with its domed tower, this is definitely a highlight in Berat to do. You cannot visit the church inside. Located on the hill near Mangalem, it nevertheless offers a fine view of the Berat valley.

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6) National Ethnographic Museum

If you want to learn more about Ottoman history in Berat, be sure to visit the National Ethnographic Museum. The museum is located in one of the most beautiful and largest Ottoman houses in Berat. Here you immediately get a good idea of what it was like to live and live in Berat at that time. Alternatively, you can visit the Onufri Iconographic Museum located in the Church of Saint Mary.

Museum opening hours: daily from 9 am – 4 pm | price: 300 lek (€2.8)

Berat in Albania
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7) Holy Spiridon Church

Located in the Gorica neighborhood, the 18th century Holy Spiridon Church reflects Berat’s rich religious history. Unlike Holy Trinity Church, you can visit this church inside. There you will find an austere interior but with a beautiful wooden altar and some frescoes. The beautiful bell tower with two bells completes the picture.

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8) Wine tasting at Cobo Winery

Can you do wine tasting in Albania? We were just as surprised, but Albanian wines have since become one of our favorites! A 20-minute drive from the center of Berat you will find the Cobo winery. This winery that has been around for generations is definitely worth a visit. In addition to a tour of the estate and in the wine cellar, you’ll learn a bit more about the history of wine in Albania and its rise after the communist era. Afterwards, you can sit down for a wine tasting accompanied by tasty refreshments. Finish with a typical Albanian raki based on walnuts!

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wine tasting in Berat
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9) Traditional Albanian food

In Berat you will find plenty of cozy restaurants offering the many traditional Albanian dishes! Like the wine, Albanian cuisine also surprised us greatly. The Albanians still use their local produce and you can taste it. Some Albanian dishes you definitely must have tried are Tavë Kosi (lamb fried in yogurt) and Byrek (layered pie of filo dough filled with vegetables and meat).

These are our favorite restaurants in Berat:

  • Homemade Food Lili
  • Temi Albanian Food
  • Eni Traditional Food
  • Tradita e Beratit Restaurant
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10) Osumi Canyon & Bogove waterfall

If you are in Berat for several days then a day trip to the Osumi Canyon cannot be missed! The Albanian landscape around Berat is characterized by beautiful mountains and gigantic gorges, where Osumi Canyon is the largest in Albania. To reach Osumi Canyon, it is best to book a day tour or rent your own car. The trip to the canyon is an hour and a half drive, but the drive itself is already worth it because of the beautiful scenery! On the way to the canyon, you can make a stop at Bogove waterfall. You reach this waterfall after a 30-minute walk after which you can take a refreshing dip. Afterwards, drive on to Osumi Canyon where you can take an organized tour to raft through the canyon. Or marvel at the spectacular view from the wooden bridge that seems to balance over the gorge.

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Osumi Canyon
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Where to stay in Berat

Berat is a small town and you can reach almost everything on foot. We recommend spending at least 2 nights in Berat. Preferably stay in the historic center in one of the many guest houses. The Albanian people are tremendously hospitable and you will feel right at home. In hotels such as Tradita e Berartit or Hotel Mangalemi, you will stay in rooms that still have the authentic Ottoman interior. There are also more budget-friendly options such as Berat Backpackers Hostel.

TRAVEL TIP: The Gorica neighborhood is cheaper to stay in than the Mangalem neighborhood.

How to get to Berat

You can easily reach Berat in Albania from the capital Tirana and the drive takes about 2 hours. For a tour of Albania, we recommend renting a car. Albania has an excellent road network and driving is fine. From Tirana, you can also take the bus to Berat. Buses leave downtown Tirana about every hour. A bus ticket will cost you 500 LEK (€4.7) and can be purchased on the bus or at the terminal.

Berat the city of a thousand windows
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Best travel time

The best travel time for Berat, and for Albania in general, is from April through October. That’s when you have the least precipitation and warm temperatures. Note that in the months of July and August it can get very hot up to 30°C.

Have you visited Albania and Berat yourself? Let us know in a comment below what your experience was with this amazing country! Looking for more information for your next trip? Please do not hesitate to contact us contact or send an email to snoezelsontheroad@gmail.com

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