Going to Albania? Don’t miss out on Berat, one of the country’s hidden gems!
Why should I go to Berat?
A great mix of Islamic and Christian culture, 6th century BC established Berat is worth a climb up the hill. Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and among its top attractions you can find spiritual healing at its 13th century Byzantine church, take photos of its ruined castle and ramble on the narrow streets of the citadel. Also, it’s ranked #2 in a list of things not to miss in Albania by the Rough Guides.
How do I get there?
Transport in Albania is cheap so jump on one of those typical Albanian minibuses and head to Berat. If you come from the south (Sarande, Girokaster or Vlore) then you might have to change in Fier. From Tirana, the usual ride takes you through Dures and Fier. Some approximated distances to help you plan better: Tirana/Dures to Berat – 130km; Sarande to Berat – 220km; Vlore to Berat – 100km; Fier to Berat – 50km and Girokaster to Berat – 170km. Hitch hiking can be a second option.
Where can I sleep overnight?
There are a couple of reasonably priced hostels in Berat, where you can also camp. An example is the Berat Backpackers Hostel in the Gorica neighbourhood – staff is friendly, helpful and they’re native in English.
Where do I eat & drink?
For a good meal, cross the river into the old town and head uphill to Hotel Mangalemi: they have a spacious terrace, tasty food, friendly staff and very good prices. Now that you feel guilty after having eaten so much, just keep climbing up the hill through the narrow streets of the old town for a stroll in the citadel to wonder at its 13th century Byzantine church and its castle. As sure as you’ll love those beautiful human crafts, you’re sure to love the view over the Osum river.
What we liked/what we didn’t like
(+) The old town of Berat, it has an amazing architectural style
(+) The view over Osum valley from the citadel – priceless!
(+) Very tasty food 🙂
(-) Berat is very pretty but small. We arrived in the afternoon and left in the morning; we think that’s a fair time to spend in the town.
Where do I go next?
Osum is a tedious river that only 50km upstream has already carved a spectacular canyon. Jump in another minibus to Corovoda and head to Osum Canyon for spectacular views. Read more about the canyon in our dedicated post on the Osum Canyon