Things to do in Berat Albania

16 Incredible things to do in Berat (My favourite Town in Albania!)

In this guide, you will learn why Berat is worth visiting and what are the most incredible things to do in Berat. You will also find out why Berat is my favourite town in Albania and why it might become yours too!

Yes, Berat is my favourite town in Albania. 

I loved many places in Albania. The Gjirocaster with its wow factor (as I walked around I kept saying ‘Wow!’), Himare with its most stunning beaches or Tirana with its quirky architecture and friendly city vibe. There are some towns I didn’t love. Like Elbasan from which I run away after 2 nights. And some towns that grew on me over time, like Vlore.

But Berat? Berat just hit the spot!

Things to do in Berat Albania

I made this strange decision to stay 4 nights in Berat and 7 in Gjirocaster. I know it sounds excessive but I do the ‘slow travel business’ as I am working on this blog while travelling.

Soon I realised, I should have done it the other way around. I should have stayed 3 or 4 nights in Gjirocaster and a full week in Berat. Or even more!

OK, if you are a regular traveller, who wants to see the main points of interest and go, even one night in Berat would be enough. Some travellers even visit it on a day trip from Tirana. And it’s totally doable!

But if you like staying longer in a place and experiencing the slow and real life, then Berat is the place.

Apart from the incredible surroundings and the beauty of the town, Berat feels somehow cool.

Incredible things to do in Berat
Incredible things to do in Berat

Everything is close by. Whether you want to see the Mangalem, hike to Gorica, drive to the Canyon, eat a meal out, take evening walks or shop in the supermarket, you just walk out of your hotel or hostel and you are there. 

Berat is small enough that you would not even have to think about public transport but with enough things to do and places to visit to not feel bored. I found it pretty cheap (we found a 70lek wine shop!) and the hostel I stayed in was one of the best hostels in Albania. 

So from my love for Berat, I feel qualified to tell you everything you need to know about visiting Berat, what are the best things to do in Berat, Albania! Let’s go!

Is Berat Worth Visiting?

Berat is one of the most picturesque and interesting towns in Albania and for this reason only, is definitely worth visiting. 

And strangely, although I have seen many photos of Berat and took plenty myself, Berat just looks so much better in real life! It’s a bit like this moderately good-looking guy who oozes charm in real life that no photo would show.

Berat, known as a ‘town of a thousand windows’, boasts fascinating architecture and since 2009 has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With not one but two distinctive historical old towns, stunning castle grounds that are still inhabited to this day and incredible natural surroundings, Berat is a must-visit place and you simply have to put it on your Albania itinerary. 

Things to do in Berat Albania

Berat vs Gjirokaster? Which is Better?

I decided to answer this question here because I was actually asked it a couple of times. I met travellers who had little time and needed to choose between one or another.

So if you are asking if you should visit Berat or Gjirokaster my answer is: you have to visit both! Although both cities are Unesco Heritage sights, both have incredible castles and are surrounded by mountains, both towns couldn’t be more different. The vibe of the city, even the architecture is different. Yet magical in its own way. Don’t skip any of those cities. 

But if you have no other choice, I wrote a separate article which might help you decide between Berat and Gjirocaster.  

How Many Days Should You Spend in Berat, Albania?

It is possible to see Berat on a day trip from Tirana and there are quite a few day trips like this you could sign up for. You can also rent a car and drive to Berat to see it in a day.

I also met quite a few travellers that visited Berat for a night which is enough if you want to see Berat’s Old town on both sides of the river) and a castle. 

But my personal recommendation is to stay in Berat for 3 full days. During those 3 days, you will have enough time to discover all the Berat amazing attractions, take a day trip to Osumi Canyon or Waterfall and enjoy the slow pace of life and amazing dining scene in town. 

Exploring North of  Albania next?

If you are planning a visit to Theth and hiking the Albanian Alps I have you covered!

In this post, you will find a complete guide and a full list of wonderful things to do in Shkoder.

Finally, if you are not sure if Shala River is worth visiting, in this post I will help you make up your mind. 

How to Get to Berat

You can easily get to Berat by bus from the majority of towns and cities in Albania.

How to get to Berat from Tirana – There are frequent busses between Tirana and Berat departing every half an hour between 5:40 AM and 17:30 PM from the Tirana Bus Terminal South and North.

How to get to Berat from Gjirokaster – You have to be careful here as there is only one bus between Gjirocaster and Berat and it gets full quickly! It departs at 8:30 am and it only runs during the summer season. If you travel outside of the season you will have to change in Lushnje. I travelled the other way, from Berat to Gjirocaster and luckily I arrived 45 minutes early so I could get my seat. A couple of people didn’t get on at all and 3 girls were sitting on those add-on stools for a couple of hours. Be there early!

How to get to Berat from Vlore – There are several direct busses from Vlore to Berat departing from Vlore bus station. The last bus departs at 2:30 p.m. 

How to get to Berat from Durres – Busses between Durres and Berat run only during the summer season and depart from Dures main bus station. 

How to get to Berat from Sarande – The only way to get to Berat from Sarande is by changing the bus in Gjirokaster. So the best way is to stop there and then travel from Gjirokaster to Berat.

You need to be aware that outside of the summer months, busses run less frequently and some routes are not covered at all. The best way to check the current timetable and routes covered for your dates is by heading to the Gjirafa website. 

Where to Stay in Berat?

There are plenty of excellent accommodation options to choose from in Berat. From some iconic hostels to charming guest houses and boutique hotels – you will find what you need in Berat, Albania.

Here are my personal recommendations as to where to stay in Berat:


I stayed in Hannas Hostel and I couldn’t recommend it enough. This hostel is slowly becoming an iconic stop among all Albania hostels and I met many travellers who said that staying at Hanna’s was a highlight of their trip. Do I need to say more?

Another legendary hostel in Berat is Berat Backpackers. It is the very first Traveller’s Hostel in Berat, housed in a beautiful 300-year-old, UNESCO-protected house and has been on the list of the top 3 best hostels in Albania for a long time


I always recommend staying in local guesthouses for a variety of reasons. Firstly to support local businesses and to experience local hospitality but also for excellent value for money. Staying in places like Guest House Anastas or Guest House Iljesa will add so much value to your Berat experience. If you prefer a hotel how about this charming Hotel Gorica located right in the Unesco Old Quarter?

Very Comfortable or Alternative Accommodation in Berat:

If you are looking for a very special and super comfortable stay in Berat you could look to stay at Pupa Winery where you will enjoy a stunning location and excellent food and wine!

Staying in Berat Castle is an experience in itself! If you fancy that check out Villa Athina!

Finally, for a very comfortable stay in Berat, you could consider White House Berat or Magnolia Luxury Penthouse.

Best Things to Do in Berat, Albania

Take a Free Walking Tour of Berat

The Berat Free walking tour is awesome and definitely worth considering, especially if you are in Berat only for a day or two.

During this tour, you will visit the most important Berat landmarks, learn about the history of the town and get some local insights and recommendations.

As I stayed in Berat for a bit longer than most travellers, I didn’t take part in this walking tour but many travellers I met did and they all loved it!

Incredible things to do in Berat
Incredible things to do in Berat

Wander Around Mangelem

The historical part of Berat is actually divided into 3 distinctive parts – Mangalem, Gorica and Kalaja, the last being the castle grounds. All of them are inhabited, were built during different periods and are very unique. 

Situated on the right bank of the Osum River below the castle Mangalem is famous for its distinct urban fabric and charming architecture consisting of traditional Ottoman-style houses with white walls, terracotta tiled roofs and multiple large symmetrical windows that gave the city its nickname – The City of a Thousand Windows.

Things to do in Berat Albania

The area was traditionally recognized as the Ottoman Quarter, where the Muslim population resided. In this part of the city, you will find several old mosques, including the Bachelor Mosque and the King Mosque.

The Gorica Quarter, on the other hand, located on the other side of the river, in earlier times housed the Orthodox Christian community.

Many of the houses in Mangalem have been preserved and restored, and the narrow streets are wonderful to walk around. Exploring Mangalem is definitely one of the best things to do in Berat!

Incredible things to do in Berat

Walk Through The Gate of the Pasha

Now we can slowly start making our way towards the Berat Castle. But before you reach this point stop for a moment at the front of Gate of the Pasha at the foot of the hill. 

It has been kind of forgotten and not often mentioned in Berat travel guides yet I stopped there a couple of times wondering about its significance. 

It is an 18th-century stone gate leading towards a small square where the ruins of the former palace of the Pasha are also located.

Opposite the gate, you will find ELVI, the Tradicional Food & Grill restaurant which is reasonably priced and worth stopping at for a meal.

Things to do in Berat Albania

Are you wondering what are the best tourist SIM cards in Albania? Head over to this post, where I compare all the sim card providers in Albania and their plans and will tell you what was my favourite sim card provider in Albania and why.

Spend an Afternoon at the Castle / Best Things to Do in Berat

Yes, a whole afternoon! Berat Castle was my favourite of all Albanian castles and it is a must-see attraction in Berat!

Berat Castle, also known as Kalaja e Beratit, is an ancient fortress located on a hill overlooking the city of Berat. With origins dating back to the 4th century BC, Berat Castle has served as a crucial defensive structure throughout various periods, including the Byzantine, Ottoman, and Roman eras. The castle’s architecture reflects a fusion of various historical influences, showcasing elements from the Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman periods. 

But Berat Castle is not just another Albanian Castle. There is so much depth to this place that I strongly recommend spending at least a couple of hours if not a whole afternoon in this part of Berat. It is still inhabited and you will find many shops, awesome restaurants and guesthouses located with its ancient walls.

Best Things to do in Berat Albania
Best Things to do in Berat Albania

The views from Berat Castle are breathtaking and as the evening approaches it is wonderfully lit and super charming.

There are many interesting monuments and quite a few structures such as churches, mosques, and dwellings, as well as a couple of great museums worth visiting.

Here is a list of my recommended places to stop by within Berat Castle, Kalaja Quarter:

  • Ruins of Red and White Mosques – both 15th-century mosques built in the Ottoman style and some of the oldest ruins in the region
  • Water Cistern – very cool and full of bats! It was essential for the survival of the people defending the castle. 
  • The Holy Trinity Church – Medieval Byzantine church from the 14th century and in an excellent condition
  • St. Demetrius’ Church
  • Onufri Iconographic Museum – housed within the Church of the Dormition of St Mary, is dedicated to Byzantine art and iconography
  • Vasili Restaurant and Guesthouse – incredible hospitality!
Best Things to do in Berat Albania
Things to do in Berat Albania

Pop Into Berat’s National Ethnographic Museum

The Ethnographic Museum in Berat is housed in an 18th-century typical Albanian house from the Ottoman times and is one of the oldest museums in Albania. The museum is worth visiting even if for the building itself but also to get an insight into the local history, customs, and traditions of the region.

It showcases the traditional way of life in the area, exhibiting a wide array of cultural artefacts, including traditional clothing, tools, household items, and various handicrafts. The views from the yard are also great!

Is Tirana on your list of places to visit in Albania? Here is a perfect Tirana travel guide for you! In this post, you will learn what are the best areas in Tirana in case you are not sure where to book your accommodation.

Find Your Way to the St. Michael’s Church

Visiting St. Michael’s Church is an experience in itself. As it is perched on the side of the hill, the walk towards this Orthodox 14th-century church offers great views over the Gorica neighbourhood. The church is small but very pretty and slightly mysterious.

Best Things to do in Berat Albania
Things to do in Berat Albania

Photograph the Gorica Bridge

Once you are done exploring Mangalem and the Berat Castle, cross the Gorica bridge to the other side but be sure to stop there for a moment.

Gorica Bridge is a pretty picturesque bridge that spans the Osumi River and connects the Gorica district with the other side of Berat.

It was originally built of wood in the 17th century, but then rebuilt of stone in the Ottoman style in the 18th century and has been constantly rebuilt or repaired ever since. The current version was constructed in 1920.

Although it is not the most famous bridge in the Balkans (unlike Mostar Bridge, for example), the Gorica Bridge offers great views of both districts and the mountains with the Osumi River crossing through the town.

Best Things to do in Berat Albania

Explore Gorica Quarter

The predominantly Orthodox Gorica Quarter is located across the river from the Mangalem Quarter. The architecture of the Gorica quarter is slightly different from that of the Mangalem quarter.

Gorica is characterized by a few small Orthodox churches and stone buildings spread out a little more along narrow, shaded streets, offering visitors a unique ambience. Mangalem, on the other hand, offers a blend of Ottoman and traditional Albanian architecture, with houses stacked closely together and a more bustling atmosphere.

Best Things to do in Berat Albania

Although slightly more sleepy, Gorica provides a beautiful panoramic view of Berat, including the Mangalem district (especially at night), and has some good restaurants and hotels.

Originally founded as a Christian quarter after the Ottoman conquest, it housed notable churches such as St. Soyridon Church and St. Thomas Church.  Although the city was severely damaged in the earthquake of 1851, some ancient structures have been preserved.

The narrow, tranquil streets offer an ideal setting for a leisurely stroll, and a handful of unique restaurants and hotels add to the quarter’s charm. Antigoni restaurant is a great choice for an evening meal with views and Good Vibes is a great bar for an afternoon or evening beverage. 

Things to do in Berat Albania

Hike to The Top of Gorica Hill

If you are feeling active then definitely take a hike up to Gorica Hill for the best views of Berat. The hike is not very difficult but extremely rewarding. The best views are waiting for you at sunset!

Here is the starting point of Gorica Hike.

Enjoy Xhiro on Boulevard Republika

Xhiro is one of the favourite evening activities among Albanians and Boulevard Republika is where it becomes most prominent.

You can stroll mindlessly which is a relaxing activity in itself but I recommend you also stop at some if the great cafes, bars and restaurants that line up along the street.

This street is also great to walk along during the day as it offers great views over the Mangalem Quarter. 

Be sure to try some traditional dishes at Zgara Zaloshnja restaurant and stop for a coffee at Shtëpia e Kafes Gimi.

Things to do in Berat Albania

Eat in Some of the Best Restaurants in Albania

There are some legendary restaurants in Berat that you just have to visit! I found Berat pretty affordable even by Albanian standards and sampling traditional food is definitely one of the best things to do in Berat.

Homemade Food Lili restaurant offers an experience and delicious food at the same time! Food is made with love, the owner will explain personally what each dish is and you will feel like you are visiting family for dinner! Be sure to book a table! This place is legendary and therefore busy.

Eni Traditional Food Berat is another great restaurant worth visiting. Located on the other side of the river, it is a family-run restaurant offering reasonably priced traditional food.

Antigoni Restaurant offers great food and wonderful views! And finally, Tradita e Beratit is undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Berat!

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Book a Wine Tasting Experience

Berat is one of the best towns in Albania if you want to enjoy a wine-tasting experience. There are various wineries you could visit while in Berat and you can either opt for an individual visit or a wine tasting tour.

The most popular wineries offering wine tasting in Berat are Çobo Winery, Nurellari Winery and Luani Winery.

If you prefer the tour you can opt for this Wine Tasting day in Berat which includes a Visit to the Berat Castle and lunch or the Bogova Waterfall tour which includes a visit to a local winery. 

Take a Trip to Canyon Osumi and/or Bogove Waterfalls 

One of the best things to do in Berat is taking a day trip to the Osumi Canyon. As much as I am not a tour person, I took this one and I am very happy I did! 

It is a great half-day experience where you will explore the stunning canyon, learn about the history of this region of Albania and have a swim and enjoy a picnic by the river. Some tours include only a visit to Osumi Canyon and some others also include Bogova Waterfalls or even wine tasting experience.

Best Things to do in Berat

Here are some of the most popular tours from Berat:

Take A Food Tour in Berat

Albanian food is delicious, full of flavour and boasts incredible variety. Probably the biggest across all Balkans.

Berat is home to some of the best restaurants, vineyards and aprioristic sites in Albania so taking a food tour is definitely one of the best things to do in Berat.

You can have a go at cooking yourself by joining this Berat Cooking Class or simply enjoy being served the most delicious dishes and wine during this Wine Tasting & Food Tour Of Berat.

Summit Mount Tomorr

Hiking Tomorr National Park and summiting Mount Tomorr is a pretty off-the-beaten-path thing to do in Berat and Albania. 

Tomorr National Park is known for being home to some incredible animal and bird species and the mountain itself is associated with both Christian and pagan legends. There are many well-marked hiking trails but you can also explore Tomorr National Park on a 4×4 by joining this tour.

Best Things to do in Berat

Stay in Berat for a Little Longer

Finally, you should really consider staying in Berat for a little longer. Berat truly surprised me and I didn’t want to leave. And if you are a digital nomad or looking for a base to explore the rest of Albania from that is more chilled than Tirana, Berat could be your place.

I hope you enjoyed this Berat travel guide and decided to stay for a little bit longer.

If you have any questions please drop them in the comments section below. I always answer!

Until then

Happy travels!

Heading to the beach next? Great idea! Here is the list of all the most beautiful beaches near Himare! And for a little bit of controversy check out my honest opinion about Albanian Riviera!

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