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The beautiful UNESCO town of Berat is not to be missed on your adventures through Albania. It is one of my favourite towns in the country as Berat seems to have a charm like no other place.
It’s famously known for its white Ottoman-style houses which also give Berat another name – the town of one thousand windows. It’s a small place but you could easily spend more than a few days soaking up the culture and visiting other sites nearby.
The town itself is over 2400 years old and holds an important part of Albanian history. It’s one of the only places in the world where residents still live within castle walls.
Here’s your complete guide to Berat – what to do, where to eat and where to stay!
How to get to Berat
You can either do Berat as a day trip or I recommend staying at least 1 or 2 nights to soak up the town. Renting a car and driving in Albania is a great idea so you can see places a little off the radar.
Travelling by bus to Berat
Tirana to Berat (400 Lek and takes 2 hours)
From Tirana there are regular buses: 5:40am, 6:30am, 7:15am, 7:45am, 8:15am, 8:50am, 9:20am, 9:50am, 10:20am, 11:00am, 12:00midday, 12:40am, 1:10pm, 1:40pm, 2:10pm, 2:40pm, 3:10pm, 3:40pm, 4:15pm & 5pm.
Saranda to Berat (1000Lek and takes 4 hours)
Leaving from Saranda there are 3 buses which leave daily: 8 am, 10:15 am and 2.30pm. The journey takes approximately 4 hours (depending on how many coffees your driver has had for the day!).
Gijrokastёr to Berat
There is one bus that leaves Gijrokastёr daily at 10.30am
Things to do in Berat
1. Visit the castle Kala
You simply cannot go to Berat without taking a walk (or drive) to the castle which overlooks the city. Within the castle walls, you will see old houses where people still live today. Within the castle, you will see a glimpse of Albanian history. From there you also get an almost 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape.
2. Gaze at the Holy Trinity church
While you’re at the castle make sure you look at the church with maybe the most stunning views a church has ever had! This church dates to the 13th century and has the most beautiful frescoes inside.
3. Marvel at the old town
With old Ottoman houses and a unique charm, it’s a must to wander through the old cobbled streets of Berat and take in the culture. One of the best things to do is to sit at a local cafe and watch the locals go by. A good dose of people watching is a must-do in Berat!
4. Wander Gorica and see the view from the bridge
Gorica is a neighbourhood just over the bridge in Berat and where my favourite hostel (Berat backpackers) is located. This little neighbourhood is old with cobble lined streets. To get a dose of daily life in Berat take a walk through the old houses and see the view of the ottoman houses from across the bridge. There is a great photo opportunity here to capture the town of one thousand windows!
5. Visit the Ethnographic Museum
To learn deeper about Berat’s history you need to visit the ethnographic museum. This house has been turned into a museum where you can see how a traditional Berat house is set up from furniture to household objects and even a well.
6. Visit Bogova waterfall
About a 50-minute drive away is one of the best natural things to see near Berat – Bogova waterfall. You can opt to do a tour here or take a bus to the nearby village of Bogova then walk for 30 minutes until you reach the waterfall. If you’re visiting by car you can park in the (sort of) carpark then walk for around 5-10 minutes until you reach it. The water is cold all year round so it makes for a great option in those hot summer months!
7. Mount Tomorr
If you love hiking, then a visit to Mount Tomorr should be on your list. Not only is mount Tomorr a beautiful place for an adventure, but it also plays an important park in Albanian mythology and folklore. It’s also a place for religious worshippers, there is a festival at the end of august where pilgrims gather from the Bektashi sect to celebrate.
8. Take a wine tour
Berat is home to 3 wineries:
- Cabo Winery
I highly recommend visiting Cabo. Its located just outside of the city. They do wine tours of the winery and the grapes. You can also decide to do a tasting. You will taste several wines along with a food platter for a very good price. Their wine is some of the best in the country!
- Nurellari Winery
Another fine winery is Nurellari. It’s not as popular as Cabo but it’s still very delicious, they have superb red wine here. The place of the winery used to be a storage facility for food during communism. You can book a wine tour with them to learn more about their wine and history.
- Luani Winery
The third winery is Luani which started in 1960 as a state-owned winery but has been a privately-owned winery for the last 25 years. They have a lot of variety at Luani so make sure you stopover to taste and hear more about the establishment!
Where to eat in Berat
Here’s are some top recommendations for restaurants in Berat. Make sure you try some traditional Albanian food while you’re in Berat!
- Restaurant Mangalemi
- Homemade Food Lili
- Antigoni Restaurant
- Heavens kitchen
Tours in Berat
There are several great tours where you will dive deeper into history and interesting facts about Berat. One of the most highly recommended is the Berat Historic walking tour. There are also other others which are on offer:
- Tour and traditional food in Berat
- Berat cultural tour
- Hiking in Berat
- Wine tasting tour with a lunch in Roshnik Village
- Historical tour of Berat – Walking tour and taste a special desert
- Osumi Canyon Tour (Daytrip from Berat)
- Berat walking tour and lunch in a local family
Where to stay in Berat
Traditional house: There is a 300-year-old guest house called Nonaj House which comes highly recommended if you would like a look into and stay in one of the oldest houses in Berat.
Hostel: There is only one hostel that I recommend you stay in and that’s Berat backpackers. Its set in one of the old Berat houses and is one of the most beautiful and fun hostels within Albania. The breakfast is delicious, and they also offer different tours which you can join. In the summer you also have the option to camp in the backyard.
Airbnb: There are plenty of Airbnb’s online. From new to old traditional Berat houses. Make sure you get your free $35 travel credit by signing up to Airbnb here.
There is your full travel guide to Berat with the best things to do, places to stay, where to eat and so much more! Make sure you stopover at this UNESCO town and look into old Albanian history!
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