BIG5 Things to do in Berat for a perfect day

Berat – Wonderful city of 1.000 windows! Another white spot on the mass tourism map, very suitable for a city trip in Albania. Dive into the historic alleys of Mangalem, climb the castle and enjoy great panoramic views over central Albania. Berat has many sights and things to do to offer, 2,500 years of pure history – and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008.

What do you learn in this article?

BIG5 Things to do in Berat

You don’t want to miss any attraction? Find your checklists, travel guide & tips for the Berat city trip here:

BIG5 Berat – Speed Date

Outstanding:

The prices! Even in great locations of this tourist hotspot everything is very manageable in the end

Sucks:

Walking to the castle in the middle of summer… it can get very hot in Berat, especially in August

DO:

Conquer the castle on foot and stroll through the Kalaja quarter, the views compensate for aching calves!

DO NOT:

Go to the exposed restaurants with the great views (e.g. Antigoni) without reservation – especially not in the high season

Don’t tell your mother:

Albania has a reputation – in part not without good reason – for producing drugs on a large scale and smuggling them via gangs

BIG5 Berat – Rapid Fire Q&A

  • We have only a few days on the round trip in Albania, is it worthwhile to consult? – It is not directly along the coast, but the old towns of Berat or Gjirokaster should be seen
  • How many days should we plan for a city trip to Berat? – One day is enough to comfortably see the BIG5, but “off the beaten track” there is much more to discover
  • Speaking of not along the coast, what’s the connection? – Very good! There are minibuses leaving Tirana almost every hour, and further on to Gjirokaster and Saranda, for example.
  • The Balkans and its castles… Visit a castle again? – Absolutely! There is a lot to see in the district of Kalaja, not to forget the outstanding panoramic view
  • Dinner in a restaurant as well located as Antigoni, super expensive, right? – No, be happy about the comparatively cheap prices in Albania, even for a meal in an excellent location

BIG5 Berat – Orga

Best Travel Time for Berat

The best travel time for Berat is from May to October, it is pleasantly warm (in high summer rather too hot) and there is little precipitation.

Arrival & Departure

Visa: Check here  if you need a visa for Albania with your passport

The bus station is just outside the historic city centre, local buses run regularly (~ 30 lek)

  • Bus: From / to Tirana (quasi hourly; ~ 3:00 hours, ~ 400 Lek, 5-10 Euro)
  • Bus: From / to Saranda via Gjirokaster (several times daily; ~ 4:00 hours, 5-10 Euro)
  • Bus: From / to Ohrid or Struga / Northern Macedonia; if necessary change buses in Elbasan (once a day; ~ 4:30 hours, 5-10 Euro)

The next stop is… Saranda to visit the famous Blue Eye or Tirana / both Albania or Ohrid/ Northern Macedonia

Accommodation / Hotels in Berat

Recommended location: It is best to book directly in the old town or in the Gorica quarter on the other side of the river, so that everything is within walking distance. In Gorica there are many hostels, in the old town mostly guesthouses and some upscale hotels

  • Budget: Hostel Mangalem (Lagja Mangalem, 5000 Berat; ~8€ in dormitory), Hostel in very convenient location with beautiful garden
  • Budget: Maya Hostel Berat(Rruga Kristaq Tutulani,50m nga Ura e Gorices, 5002 Berat; ~11€ dormitory, ~30€ double room), great location in Gorica, practical shared kitchen and parking included
  • Medium: Guest House Villa Lili( Rruga Santa Lucia 30, 5000 Berat; ~20€ single room, 40€ double room) comfortable rooms with balcony and garden view
  • Medium: Guesthouse BellaVista(Rruga Petrit Lulo, 0487 Berat; ~22€ single room; 40€ double room), as the name suggests, great view of the old town of the 1,000 windows, very well equipped rooms
  • Medium: Timo’s Guest House( Rruga Shën Mëhilli, 5000 Berat, ~50€ single room; ~60€ with two persons); magnificent view and stylishly furnished rooms – nothing is missing. My personal recommendation
  • Nobel: Portik Hotel (Rruga Antipatrea Lagjia 28 Nentori, 5001 Berat; ~120€ double room), very close to the city centre 4* hotel with a great roof terrace and parking spaces, if you are travelling by rental car

Price Level in Berat

Withdraw money: Along the main road there are several banks and ATMs, so getting more Leke is no problem.

Beer indicator: local beer 0.5 liter in the restaurant ~ 150 LEK (1.25 Euro)

Costs for a taxi: 1 kilometre ~ 70 LEK (0,60 Euro)

Restaurants in Berat

  • Restaurant Antigoni (Rruga Kristaq Tutulani, Berat 5001; medium price segment), located directly at the pedestrian bridge in Gorica, offers a great view of the bow and the old town, especially from the several terraces. Best to reserve a good seat early
  • Mangalemi Restaurant (Rruga “Mihal Komneno” | tek Porta e Pashait, Berat 5001; medium prices), delicious local food and in good weather with a great view over the roofs of Mangalem. Ask for a place on the terrace if the weather is fine!

A good place for bars and snacks is the pedestrian zone Bulevardi Republika

BIG5 Berat – Activities

  • Wandele in the old town in the quarter Mangalem on the traces of merchants and traders of the Ottoman period
  • Visit the magnificent mosques of Berat
  • Climb the castle of Berat and enjoy the 360° panorama of the city, river and snow-covered mountains
  • Take a “Xhiro“, the typical evening walk for Albania. Afterwards: Try the local cuisine with view on or over Mangalem in a cosy restaurant (Antigoni or Mangalemi Restaurant)
  • Enjoy the view of the thousand windows from the Gorica district – beautifully illuminated during the day or in the evening

BIG5 Berat – Photo spots

  • Capture the fascinating scenery of the “thousand windows” of Magalem from Gorica – by day and by night THE photo by Berat
  • From the tower of the castle with 360° panorama of the surrounding mountains, the river valley and the district of Gorica
  • From the castle, the church of the Holy Trinity, walls and a wide view of the valley in the background
  • From the pedestrian bridge or from Gorica: The old stone bridge over the river
  • The magnificent mosques of the city from inside

 

BIG5 Berat – Things to do off the beaten track

  • Venture to the Michaelis Church – adventurously situated on the steepest part of the mountain
  • Osum Gorge – About 50 kilometres from Berat, starting point for great outdoor activities (canyoning, rafting, etc.)
  • Enough of nature? Visit the Çobo winery, which reminds of the old town of Mangalem with the style of its houses
  • Tomorr National Park – the area around one of the highest mountains in southern Albania is a great hiking area
  • Adventurous hike to the Bogove Waterfall, through Albania’s untouched mountain landscape

BIG5 Berat – Culinary Journey

  • Tavë Kosi – cooked lamb in yoghurt sauce
  • Try the local Rakija
  • Delicious salads with local trimmings – alternated with the whole meat of Balkan cuisine
  • Wine – there are now many local vineyards and cellars
  • Local cheese – in a varied selection

BIG5 Berat – Communication

  • Thank you – falënderoj (das albanische “ë” spricht man wie ein “a” aus)
  • Yes – po
  • No- jo
  • Hello – përshëndetje
  • Bye / Goodbye – mirupafshim

BIG5 Berat- Helpful Websites / Links

  • Article of the website “Albanian Tourist” about Berat
  • If you don’t want to take care of everything organizational yourself, just enjoy your vacation and still don’t want to miss the best things to do in Berat and the region, great tours are offered on site:

 

BIG5 Berat – Overview Map for your city trip

Berat Sehenswürdigkeiten Städte Reise: Stadtteil Kalaja: Die Burg von Berat

City trip to Berat – Things to do for a perfect day

Welcome to the wonderful city of a thousand windows

The white houses shine magnificently in the sun, it seems like a wall, how the district Mangalem stretches up the mountain. You are being watched, clearly. Watched from a thousand windows in this white wall. A thousand windows? Quite a lot! Admittedly, we have not counted exactly, but this much we can assure you: there really are many!

Since 2008, the city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If all cities were like Berat… the Mangalem district is an example of peaceful coexistence of different cultures, especially between Muslims and Christians.

Berat offers a great alternation between the big city vibe of the capital Tirana and the beach life in the vibrant coastal towns – the ideal destination for a city trip. Although the number of tourists is constantly increasing, the city has retained much of its charm and relaxed atmosphere. Especially the historic districts of Mangalem, Gorica and Kalaja are ideal for relaxed strolls and enjoyment!

Dive into the historic alleys of Mangalem, climb the castle and enjoy great panoramic views over central Albania – Berat has many sights to offer!

Berat Sehenswürdigkeiten Städte Reise: Fußgängerzone von Berat mit Blick auf Magalem und die Burg

Pedestrian zone of Berat with view of Magalem and the castle

 

Things to do in Berat: Stroll through Mangalem

In the Mangalem district you will learn a lot about Ottoman culture.

Here you are right in the middle of the “thousand windows”, whose houses impressively wind up the hill. Especially the large windows facing the valley give the city its famous nickname.

In former times this part of the city with its partly very narrow alleys was only inhabited by the Muslim population of Berats, the less surprising are the cityscape-forming buildings in Ottoman style like the Halveti Tekke.

Visit the ethnographic museum to learn more about Ottoman culture and way of life.

 

Sightseeing Berat: Visiting the mosques

When in Rome… ehhhh Berat: Immerse yourself in the Ottoman culture and be impressed by the architectural and artistic works. Even today, the minarets of the mosques still characterize the image of many cities in the Balkans.

The three most magnificent mosques in Berat are open to visitors.

  • Lead mosque with its striking dome
  • the Sultan Mosque and
  • impressive Bachelor mosque

Things to do in Berat: Kalaja, the impressive castle

The proud castle complex towers powerfully over the old town of Berat, the Magalem district, and your city tour should not miss it! Admittedly, the sight of the steep access roadup to the castle does not exactly motivate you to rush off enthusiastically.

Special tip for savers: Also not the winding footpath that winds up the mountain halfway up the left to the wall. Take it anyway, here you save the entrance to the castle at the main gate through a side entrance, at least in the off-season.

The ideal circular path leads directly to the left to the observation tower, a magnificent panorama of Gorica, the river and the surrounding mountain landscape awaits you. In good conditions the snow-covered chain of Mount Tomorri shines in the sun.

Berat Sehenswürdigkeiten Städte Reise: Blick vom Turm der Burg auf Gorica

View from the tower of the castle to Gorica

But Kalaja is home to even more sights! Let’s go on!

Buy delicious fresh fruit from the local merchants and continue to stroll through Kalaja, the residential area in the castle. Yes, you read that right. Many houses are still inhabited. Streets made of stone, some of which merge seamlessly into the wall stones of the houses. This “stone-rich” district strongly reminds of the medieval town of Pocitelj in Herzegovina.

Many parts of the castle are well preserved, some parts have been damaged by time.
Of the once magnificent Red Mosque, only the minaret stands as a witness to another time.

A highlight is certainly the view to the orthodox church of the Holy Trinity (Shën Triadha), which again strongly reminds of the main photo motive of Ohrid / Northern Macedonia. In the background, the castle walls and a mountain panorama worth seeing.

Also worth seeing is the National Museum of Icons “Onufri” with impressive works of art in painting or wood.
Before you stroll through the impressive gate system back down into the old town you can have a refreshment in the cosy little restaurants, e.g. in Antipatrea.

 

Things to do in Berat: In the alleys of Gorica

The district on the other bank of the river Osum was for a long time only connected to the rest of the city by the old stone bridge and was mainly influenced by the Christian part of the population.

Because of the great view of the “thousand windows” in Mangalem it is especially popular with tourists and many hostels and other accommodations have been built over the last years. But many corners have not changed at all over the years – take a spontaneous journey of discovery through winding alleys and past houses overgrown with vines!

Enjoy the view from Gorica to the white houses – and of course their famous windows – from Mangalem, best with a glass of wine from a restaurant terrace.

Wait until it gets dark, illuminated Mangalem is at least as spectacular as during the day!

 

Things to do in Berat: Take a Xhiro, the typical Albanian evening walk

For the evening walk “Xhiro” (pronounced “Dschiro“) Albanians of all ages are drawn to the streets. Some of them are even closed for a certain time in the country. Often these walks end in a café or bar to meet friends and acquaintances.

Xhiro in Albanien: Der traditionelle Abendspaziergang

Xhiro in Albania: The traditional evening walk

 

A great location in Berat for your evening Xhiro is the pedestrian zone Bulevardi Republika. Do it like the locals: Afterwards it’s time for a beer or dinner!

Berat also has something to offer from a culinary point of view, the BIG5 Berat – culinary are already listed above.

Tavë Kosi is the typical local dish, cooked lamb in a sauce of local yoghurt. With a nice red wine – fantastic! Such a meal and a successful, exciting sightseeing day must of course be celebrated in a manner befitting its status.

There are two great options for the location of the restaurant: In Gorica with a view of the “thousand windows” on or in Mangalem – right in the middle! For this I recommend the restaurants Antigoni (Gorica) or Mangalemi.

Oreks i mirë – Bon appetite!

 

If you have more time, Berat is a perfect starting point to for exciting (day) trips to all parts of the country:

 

Let’s go, white spots on the mass tourism map are waiting for you! 🇦🇱

Are you interested in a Balkan road trip? Have a look here: Balkans Road trip – Incredibly versatile adventure

 

 

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