Berat is a city in Albania. In 2008 it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town. It is one of the country's most beautiful towns, and is known as the "town of a thousand windows".
Capital of the surrounding Berat County, Berat is 100 km south of Tirana. The town is known for its well preserved architecture influenced by the Ottomans and Byzantines. There are a variety of Byzantine churches and Ottoman mosques in the town reflecting the historical influences of the region and the coexistence of different religious and cultural communities. It is known as the "town of a thousand windows" because of the architectural style whereby buildings are constructed with a multitude of windows on a background of whitewashed walls to make use of daylight. Combined with the hilly nature of the town, the buildings rise above each other on the slopes, making for a striking impression on visitors.
Berat sits beneath the snowcapped Mount Tomorr along the banks of the River Osum. Berat castle rises above on a hill on the eastern bank of the river. The combination of hillside fortified town with a backdrop of mountains and river makes for a picturesque location.
- 1 Berat Bus Station, Rruga Antipatrea (north outskirts of town on Rruga Antipatrea), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 24hr. Bus station linking Berat to major towns in Albania. Places to buy food and drink available inside the terminal. The station is in the northern outskirts of town, so take a local bus (30 lek) or a taxi to the centre. Alternatively, it's around a 45min walk south along the main road. Check the board at the bus station for destinations and departure times. Take a Furgon/Van from Tirana to Berat (500 lek). From other towns make a connection via Fier (200-250 lek). Buses also run from Tirana to Berat (400 lek). To Sarandë (via Gjirokastër), departs 08:00 and 14:00 daily, 6 hours (1000 lek).
The old centre of town is small enough to be toured by foot with a significant climb up to the Kala area. Taking a walk on the footpaths of the old town is a must!
- 1 The castle (Kala). It was mostly built in the 13th century, but with origins going back to the 4th century BC. A very beautiful place with great views of the surrounding area. Getting to the Kala requires a steep walk up a cobbled path - take care, the stones are worn and slippery. The citadel is still inhabited, with many churches, and there are a couple of bars and shops in the Kala area.
- 2 Onufri Iconography Museum (Muzeu Kombëtar Ikonografik Onufri), Rrugica Shën Triadha (within the Kala). Closed Mondays. at the site of a church, features the vivid iconography works of the famous 16th century painter Onufri and others. The museum hold other artifacts gathered form nearby churches and others around Albania.
- 3 Berat Ethnographic Museum, Rruga Andrea Tavanxhiu (in the grounds of a traditional house, on the way up to the castle). It features traditional local furniture and house utensils.
- 4 Mangalem old town area (below the Kala, south of the river). a traditionally Muslim area.
- 5 Gorica old town area (Below the Kala, north of the river). A traditionally Christian area.
- Numerous Byzantine Churches, dating from the 13th century.
- 6 St Mary church (Kisha e Shën Mari Vllahernes), next from Rrugica Panajot Haxhimihali (within the Kala).
- 7 Church of St Demetrius (Kisha e Shën Mitrit) (within the Kala).
- 8 Church of St. Theodore (Kisha e Shën Todrit) (Kala northern part).
- 9 Church of St. Sophia (Kisha e Shën Sofisë) (within the Kala).
- 10 Dormition Cathedral (Center of the Kala).
- 11 Holy Trinity Church (within the Kala).
- 12 Saint Michael Church (Kisha e Shën Mëhilli), Rruga e Shën Mëhilli.
- 13 Cathedral of St. Bitri (Katedralja e Shen Bitrit), Rruga Antipatrea and Rruga Rilindja corner.
- Several Mosques from the Ottoman era (starting from 1417).
- 14 Sahatit Mosque (Clock Mosque, Xhamia e Sahatit), Rruga Xhamia e Sahatit.
- 15 Kuqe Mosque (Red Mosque, Xhamia e Kuqe), Rrugica Mbrica (South part of the Kala).
- 16 Bachelors' Mosque (Xhamia e Beqareve), Rruga Antipatrea.
- 17 Mbret Mosque (King Mosque, Xhamia Mbret), Rruga Mihal Komnena.
- 18 Tekke of Helveti (Teqeja e Helvetive).
- 19 Lead Mosque (Xhamia e Plumbit), Rruga Gaqi Gjika.
- 1 Tomorri Mountain (Parku Kombëtar Mali i Tomorri) (E 20 km. Can be reached with 4x4 vehicles). A national park. There is a Bektashi Temple at the mountain peak.
- 2 Bogova Waterfall (Ujëvara e Bogoves), Bogovë village (S 30 km between Berat and Corovode.).
- 3 Osumi River Canyon (S 58 km. Skrapar District). One of the most beautiful rivers in Albania passing through canyons as high as 100 meters. Outdoor Albania offers a 3-hour rafting experience inside the canyons.
- Take a walk on the peculiar Footpaths of The Old Town featuring exterior flower and plant decorations, tight paths and unique local hospitality.
- Horse ride at Gorica Hill.
- Take a walk along the main Promenade at sunset where locals hang out for some fresh air.
- 1 Cinema.
- 2 Osum Park.
- Traditional souvenirs include stone carving, wood chipping, and textile products. You see women making lace products in the Kala area and this is sold extensively.
- Rice with turkey-cock (Pilaf me kaposh deti)
- Mont Blanc pastry named after the white peak of Tomorri Mt
- Try the delicious figs and olives of the area.
- There is a traditional restaurant just inside the Kala area that does very good food.
- 1 Guva Mangalem Hotel-Bar-Restaurant, Rruga Llambi Guxhumani, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Average. Rooms: air conditioning, room service, Internet, bathroom.
- Ajka Restaurant (across the Osum River). Delicious food with an excellent view.
- Try traditional Raki made from walnuts (Raki me arra), and peculiar juice made from roses.
- Cobo Winery, Ura Vajgurore, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Features locally made wine and a winery tour.
Accommodation is mainly in the form of private rooms as many traditional house owners have turned their localities into B&B. Hotels are also available.
- Berat Backpackers, Rruga Nikolla Buhuri 295, Gorica, ☏ . Berat's hostel. Prices from 1350 lek
- Hotel Mangalemi, Mangalem District, ☏ .
- Hotel Nasho Vruho, Rr. Llambi Guxhumani, Mangalem District, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lorenc Guesthouse & Hostel, Stiljano Bandilli Road, Porta 18 (cross the old bridge of Gorica, there is the square Alfred Gimitiku and you will see the Road), ☏ . Nice private guesthouse in an old quarter of Gorica. It's run by Lorenc and his mother, feels like home. €12.
- Tirana - There are buses.
- Gjirokastër - Take a bus.
- Sarandë via Gjirokastër - departs 08:00 and 14:00 daily, 6 hours (1000 lek)
- Fier - If you wish to travel to Fier, it is recommended not to take shortcuts as the direct road between Berat and Fier is in bad shape. Instead, go via Lushnjë.