Berat is truly unlike any other town we’ve seen. Honestly, if it was located in Italy or France tour buses would line the streets with people squeezed into every small side alley. For now, that’s not the case… but that might be changing soon! From the buildings stacked into the mountainside to the countless windows that sparkle in the sunlight, Berat is truly one of a kind! Join us for the best things to do, a trip to the Berat Castle, and even how to get to Lake Ohrid.
Albania Travel Inspiration
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Berat Albania vs Gjirokaster
There is a debate going around that if you visit one of Albania’s mountains towns then you don’t have to see the other. Well, we’re here to say that couldn’t be further from the truth!
The towns and small villages were the biggest surprises of our trip and some of our favorite places in the whole country. When traveling along the Albanian Riviera and talking with locals about heading to Berat or Gjirokaster we always heard the same thing: YOU HAVE TO GO THERE!
They would rave about how the towns are traditional and like “real” Albania. You’d better believe that if we’re coming to Albania we want to see what locals are describing as authentic!
Even though they’re both classified as “mountain towns” Berat and Gjirokaster couldn’t be more different than each other. Definitely visit both these beautifully unique places if possible on your trip to Albania.
Exploring the City of a Thousand Windows
After 5 hours and 3 buses we arrived in Berat tired but immediately enchanted by the countless windows and buildings that filled the mountainside. We actually had never even heard of Berat until getting to Albania. Yet after traveling through the entire country we can say that it was one of our favorite towns!
The food is amazing and full of rich flavors, the locals are friendly, and there is an abundance of outdoor activities. Berat Albania is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it one of the few along with Gjirokaster and Butrint National Park.
It’s easy to see why it holds this honor with its Ottoman-style architecture, sweeping river running through the center, and blend of cultures and religions. With one look up at the traditional houses you’ll understand why it’s nicknamed the city of a thousand windows!
5 Fun Things to Do in Berat Albania
So let’s dive right into some of the best things to do in Berat! From early mornings and sunset walks to jaw-dropping views, your time here is sure to be filled with adventure. This small city on the river really gave us such a deeper appreciation for Albania!
Hike up to the Berat Castle and take in the view over the town.
Go on your own self-guided Berat UNESCO architecture tour. Don’t forget your camera!
Take the 1.5 hour loop across the river that overlooks the town and Berat Castle.
Stroll along the Osum river at sunset before stopping into Antigoni Restaurant for a craft of wine.
Eat a traditional Albanian meal at Homemade Food Lili or Wildor Restaurant.
Hiking to the Berat Castle
If there’s one thing you need to make a point to do in the city (besides stuffing your face with traditional food) it should be a hike to the Berat Castle.
It’s good to mention that you could also drive or take a taxi, but where’s the fun in that? If you walk straight up from the city center you can continue on the main road to the top, or cut up the small path that winds up the hillside.
After an early morning walk on the river, we hiked up to the castle around 7:30am which was the perfect time of day. There were no other tourists out yet so we were free to explore when it wasn’t too hot. Inside the Berat castle walls, there are close to 200 families that still live a traditional lifestyle.
Can you imagine having a home inside the Berat UNESCO site in an actual castle? There are several lookout points that you will find while exploring the upper part of the city. We spent close to two hours wandering around and eventually stopped at a cafe for a quick breakfast.
Food Lovers Day in Berat Albania
We’ve hinted about food being amazing in Berat and now it’s time to dive in headfirst! The meals in Berat Albania are known as being heartier and more traditional than what you’ll find in the touristy seaside towns of Albania. From baked eggplant to rabbit and even ice cream, get ready to eat your way through this magical mountain town.
Breakfast: Hotel Kalaja – Sit outdoor in the courtyard and have a coffee and byrek after your hike up to the top of the Berat Castle.
Lunch: Home Made Food Lili – Stuffed eggplant, fergesë, and baked lamb are a few of the best options here. Lili is also good for dinner, but it can book out days in advance during the summer months.
Drinks: Antigoni – We went for a craft of white wine to enjoy the amazing views at Antigoni. This is a great spot to relax and see what gave Berat its UNESCO World Heritage status!
Dinner: Wildor – You can’t go wrong with a salad, meatballs, and baked rabbit in the oven with house wine!
Dessert: Pasticri Tori – 2 scoops of ice cream for fifty cents USD, or one for thirty? Enough said! Chocolate and caramel are a good combo if you want our professional advice.
If this got you hungry make sure to check out the 25 Best Food and Drinks we had in Albania!
Leaving Berat Albania
When it came time to leave Berat we really weren’t ready to go! We had been there for two days and felt there was so much left to see. Yet, it was time to head onward to Ohrid Macedonia. We love small towns that are filled with nature and we’re sure that two days would be more than enough for the typical traveler.
As we stood on the side of the road in the early hours of the morning we felt sad that our time in Albania had come to an end! If you’re planning on traveling from Berat to Ohrid like we did know that it is a little confusing.
Berat to Ohrid Macedonia
The owner of our hotel called someone to confirm that the bus would be running. After that, he told us to stand outside on a street corner at 4am… Not ideal right?
Nevertheless, we packed our bags, headed down, and around 4:15am a small Furgon mini-bus came whizzing past. We ended up having a smooth travel day considering we had no idea how it would turn out.
The bus driver actually arranged a taxi for us to cross the border and take us all the way to Lake Ohrid. So when we got close to the border he pulled over, told us to get off, and sure enough, the driver was waiting.
Original Berat to Ohrid Plan: Leave on a bus heading for Korce and get off in Pogradec. Once there find a transfer over the border. You can read all about it in our experience traveling Albania by bus!
Have any questions about this article or want to share your own favorite things to do in Berat Albania? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
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Where To Stay In Berat Albania
Fun Vacation – Hotel Onufri – Beautiful hotel set in the heart of the Berat UNESCO grounds and traditional architecture. The rooms have city views and a delicious breakfast included.
Central Stay– HOTEL ANSEL – Built in an old but charming building the hotel has beautiful stone rooms and a unique style. The property overlooks the river and is in the center of the city.
Hostel Life – Maya Hostel Berat – This fun place to stay is located just over the river, but still in the middle of all the action. Featuring a large outdoor area, bar, and free continental breakfast.
For more places to stay in Berat Albania you can explore the latest prices here!
Albania Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic road trip!
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can book a private hike through the Gamti Mountain, jump on a Tirana Walking Tour, or day trip to the beautiful village of Berat Albania.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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