Berat Albania is located in central Albania two hours south of Tirana. It’s the ninth most populous city in Albania, and worth a visit for anyone taking a trip to the country. It’s known as “the city of one thousand windows” (or as my tour guide pointed out – “a city of one window on top of another”; the reason being that during communism many families lived together. It was “dark”, so people started to make many windows in their homes). It’s a smaller, charming, and quaint city full of Ottoman-style houses, old churches, mosques, and narrow cobblestone alleyways. While Berat can easily be seen passing through from Tirana on your way south, I highly recommend staying for a couple of nights to explore the town and the surrounding area.
Before reading further, make sure to check out The Ultimate Albania Travel Guide for everything you need to know about traveling through Albania!
Visiting Berat Albania – What to Do in 2 Days
How to Get to Berat from Tirana
Near Tirana, it’s easy to reach Berat from the capital city by bus. While you can hire a private taxi driver from the street or Daytrip, taking the bus is much cheaper (although can take a bit longer).
If you take a bus from Tirana to Berat, the drive is about 2-3 hours depending on how many stops the bus makes, and costs 400 Lek. When I took the bus, the driver was trying to charge foreigners 500 Lek, so be aware of that when paying.
There are multiple bus stations in Tirana so make sure to tell the taxi driver that you need to go to Berat to get to the right station. Although it’s said that buses depart every 30 minutes all day long, in my experience, the bus departed when it was full which took about 50 minutes.
If you arrive in Berat by bus, you’ll have to catch the local bus to take you to the old town. The bus costs 30 Lek and only takes about 5-10 minutes to reach the old town. If you don’t want to take the bus some taxis will be waiting for you at the bus station.
If you’re planning to get to Berat from Tirana, don’t miss How to Spend One Day in Tirana; another popular route in Albania is to visit Tirana – Berat – Gjirokaster – Saranda. If you plan to take this route, don’t miss The Best Things to Do in Gjirokaster and 8 Things to See and Do in the Albanian Riviera
Where to Stay in Berat
Berat has everything from a five-star hotel to hostels. I chose the middle-of-the-road option and booked a stay at Guesthouse Arben Elezi. The location with perfect, right in the old town halfway between the Castle of Berat and River Osum. The rooms were nice and spacious with AC, the wifi was strong, and the breakfast that was included was excellent. Plus there’s a super cute terrace on top of the guesthouse where you can have drinks and watch the sunset.
Things to Do in Berat – Day 1
On your first day arriving in Berat, set out on foot to explore the city. The highlights of Berat include hiking up to the Berat Castle at sunset, walking along River Osum, and crossing Gorica Bridge to see the “city of a thousand windows” from across the river, dining at Homemade Food Lili, and visiting the Ethnographic Museum.
The Berat Castle was built in the 13th-century and is still inhabited by locals. Inside the complex, you’ll find restaurants, bars, guesthouses, Byzantine churches, and Ottoman mosques. It’s a beautiful place to walk around and even stop for a bite to eat. I had local Albanian food from Tymi and it was quite tasty!
The Gorica Bridge is one of the oldest Ottoman bridges in Albania connecting the two sides of the town over the River Osum. When it was first built in the 1700s, it was made of wood. However, in 1920 they rebuilt the bridge with stone.
The Ethnographic Museum in Berat is quite small, but really interesting if you have a few spare moments. The museum is in an old, traditional home, with over 1,000 objects displayed showing the history of Berat. As you walk through each room, you’ll have a map that describes the function of each room with information on what it was like to live in Berat back in the day. The cost of entrance is 300 Lek.
HOMEMADE FOOD LILI
Out of all of my travels through Albania, eating the local food at Homemade Food Lili in Berat was an experience I’ll never forget. The restaurant is in someone’s home that is 250+ years old. A fire destroyed a portion of the house, so the owners decided to make it into a small, outdoor dining space. The man of the house is full of energy and character and makes your time with him so special while his wife cooks all of the delicious food. Because the restaurant is so small with only about five tables, I highly recommend making reservations ahead of time. You can contact the owner by WhatsApp or stop in to make a reservation in person.
The main dish of Berat is pork sausage stuffed with cheese and fried. I would highly recommend trying it here, it was incredible!
Exploring Around Berat – Day 2
On your second day in Berat, head out of town to explore the incredible area around. I hired a guide, Pirro, who took me to Bogove Waterfall and Osumi Canyon. While Pirro wasn’t the most enthusiastic guide I’ve ever had he has a good sense of what to see and do in the area and was extremely helpful in getting around. The price for a group tour was €35/person for a group tour and €60 for a private tour.
If you want to hire Pirro as a guide, you can contact him on WhatsApp – +355 68 854 4411.
Bogove Waterfall is a beautiful and remote waterfall that is 65-feet tall and located about an hour outside of Berat. The best thing about this waterfall is that you can swim in it and although the water is very cold, you can’t walk all the way there and not at least dip your toes into the aqua waters.
To access the waterfall you’ll have to park on the street and walk about 30-minutes through the forest to reach the waterfall. The walk is moderately difficult (and very rocky) so I highly recommend bringing good shoes to walk in.
Located an hour and a half from Berat and about 20-minutes from Bogove Waterfall, Osumi Canyon is an insanely gorgeous river canyon where you can swim, eat lunch, or just stop for the views at the many lookout points in the canyon.
If you’re aiming to explore Osumi Canyon on your own, make sure to stop for views at “Flags Panoramic Loop” and “Bride’s Hole”. However, the canyon is relatively difficult to navigate and there are some great local spots in the area that aren’t searchable even on Google. For that reason, I do recommend a guide (Pirro) so that he can take you to the best swimming spots and show you where to get traditional Albanian food.
If you’re not completely exhausted from your day, head to Alpeta Winery in Roshnik (30-minutes outside of Berat) for dinner, wine, and a tour of Albania’s most popular vineyards in the premier wine-growing region of the country.
Alpeta was built in 1994 and is a beautiful property with vineyards as far as the eye can see, leading up to beautiful, scenic mountains in the background. The restaurant is gorgeous, overlooking the rolling hills; and the wine is spectacular too. If you plan on drinking wine, make sure to hire a driver as the drinking limit in Albania is 0.01%.
If you’re in Albania don’t miss out on your chance to visit Berat. It’s the perfect mix of quiet and beautiful while still having tons of things to see and do and retaining a sense of its history. Berat Albania should be on everyone’s “must-see” list at least once in their life.
For a more visual look at Berat and more recommendations on things to see and do, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel by searching “#ppinalbania” or under the highlights “Albania”