Located in the southern region of Albania, Berat has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its outstanding architecture and history. Berat is one of Albania’s most popular destinations that still have retained its authenticity.
In September 2021 I decided to go to Albania for 2-3 weeks time where I could shoot a video about how is to volunteer in a hostel but I ended up staying 6 weeks.
During this time I had the chance to visit the beautiful Gjirokaster, hike between Theth to Valbona, visit the Blue Eye of Albania, drink cold beers on some gorgeous beaches on the Albanian Riviera, eat traditional food, and explore their culture by taking part in various day trips and tours.
As you can see, in those 6 weeks in Albania, I visited a lot of cities and places, but Berat is easily one of the best places to visit in Albania and the main tourist attraction.
We’ll take you on tour to the best places to visit and show you the seven best things to do in Berat to make the most of your trip.
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Top things to do in Berat
1. Explore Berat Castle
Perhaps the first thing to do when visiting Berat is to check out the Berat Castle, also known as Berat kala. The castle has an enormous structure that dominates the city.
This historic site was very well preserved over time, so it offers a unique glimpse into Albania’s past that will be truly unforgettable for visitors interested in learning about their heritage.
The castle dates back to the 4th century, so more than a hundred years’ worth of history is contained within its ancient walls.
You can walk around and explore the castle, and each step you take will bring to life a different part of its history.
The views from Berat Castle are also spectacular, so be sure to go out onto the ramparts for some amazing photo opportunities!
The price ticket is 300 Lek.
2. Visit the National Ethnographic Museum
Following the Castle of Berat, you should visit the National Ethnographic Museum. This is one of the best museums and gives you a great insight into local life and its history.
The museum was originally housed within an 18th century Ottoman building located in what is now known as the museum quarter.
Visitors will be able to learn about everything from ancient traditions and customs to clothing and objects used in everyday life – all of which had changed very little since the days when Berat was a thriving city during Ottoman times.
If you are interested in the history of Albania or simply want to take a look at how life used to be, then this is one place that should not be missed.
The price ticket for National Ethnographic Museum is 300 Lek.
You may also like to visit the National Iconographic Museum, also known as the Onufri museum, in Berat. It is dedicated to some great pieces of Byzantine art and iconography. It’s located inside the Church of Dormition S Throw Mary with its main entrance on top street near castle quarter where there are many other historical churches as well!
Need a visa?
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3. Dinner at Homemade Food Lili
After a day of sightseeing and museum hopping, you should stop for some local food with dinner at Homemade Food Lili.
This is probably the best place to eat in Berat if you want to experience a unique dining experience that provides a traditional Albanian menu.
The restaurant offers local specialties and, they only have 15 different dishes. The owner brings a board with a picture of every one of their dishes and nicely explains each of them.
You can also buy homemade wine and you will get a free shot of raki after you finish your meal.
Is a really nice experience and we loved the guy as he is very funny and respectful.
4. Walk Through Berat Old Town
Berat’s Old Town is a tourist attraction that you simply must-see. This is where the true heart of Berat lies and it’s an area that UNESCO has protected as a World Heritage Site.
You can’t go to Albania without visiting this place, so be sure to make time for it and maybe even consider a free Berat walking tour to ensure you get to enjoy the best of the narrow alleys.
The Old Town, home to many traditional ottoman houses, was originally built during medieval times with many winding cobblestone roads and small alleys that have been around for centuries.
This is a place where time has stood still, so you can be sure to see many unique sights and experience what life was like in Albania’s past.
You can book free walking tour of Berat before you leave to ensure you don’t miss out!
5. Wander around the Local Churches
On the outskirts of Berat, you will find some truly impressive religious structures that are simply wonderful to explore.
The churches here are unique, and each one has its own interesting story to tell. Some of these sacred buildings date back to the 13th century, so they are definitely one of Albania’s points of interest in terms of history.
The most well-known churches in Berat include Holy Trinity Church, Saint Mary’s Church, and Bishop Gregory Church.
All three date back to different periods but have been preserved quite nicely throughout history. The frescoes that adorn the outside of each church are truly impressive and well worth seeing.
6. Look into Berat’s Historic Mosques
Another best place to visit in Berat is some of the city’s historic mosques. Berat is home to spectacular mosques, and each one of them has its unique history.
One of the most impressive mosques is The Lead Mosque, built in the 16th century and a tourist attraction in Berat.
Another mosque to visit is the Bachelors’ Mosque located in Mangalem. This place of worship is known for its low minaret in all of Berat.
The views here are wonderful, and it’s definitely a site that you won’t want to miss when visiting this city.
7. Take a Wine Tour
Winemaking has been one of Berat’s primary industries throughout history, and for a good reason. The winemaking process in Albania is truly unique and has been passed down through the generations since ancient times.
If you are still asking yourself what to do in Berat, then you should take a wine tour. You will be able to sample different wines and buy them directly from the source.
Alpeta Winery and Cobo Winery is one of the best wineries to visit. You will get a chance to see all aspects of winemaking, from planting vines and harvesting grapes until they are brought into the cellar for fermentation before being bottled up and sent out into the world.
Of course, if you choose this option and want to take a souvenir or two back, you may want to check out my advice on traveling with wine.
Berat Travel Tips
If you’ve been hooked on the idea of visiting Berat because you’ve heard how beautiful it is, then it’s time to start planning your trip. Here are some tips that will help you get started:
– Bring comfortable shoes as you will do a lot of exploring while in this city
– Book your accommodation ahead of time
– Bring a backpack to carry purchases
– Don’t forget your sunscreen and a sunhat for the hot summers
– Be prepared for a lot of hills and stairs, as much of Berat is built on top of the hillside
– Bring your camera! You will want to take lots of pictures while here.
How to get to Berat? (from Tirana, Gjirokaster, Saranda)
There are a few ways that you can get to Berat from other cities in Albania.
From Tirana’s South Bus Station, you can take a direct bus to take you to Berat bus terminal. The ticket price is 400 LEK.
From Gjirokaster, you will need to take a bus to Tirana, then get off at Lushnje. Take another bus from Lushnje, which will bring you directly to Berat.
Saranda is the closest seaside town to Berat, but you still need to take a bus or minibusses. You can catch a direct bus to Berat at the Friendship Park in Saranda.
When you arrive in Berat, you can catch a taxi to your hotel or ride local buses that will take you to the center of Berat.
But the best is, if you have a driving license, to rent a car and visit as much as you can from Albania, especially the Albanian Riviera. However, if you don’t have that luxury, there are also plenty of day tours available. Two companies I recommend for tours are Viator and Get Your Guide, click below to compare prices and availabilty.
Where to stay in Berat?
Usually, the accommodation in Berat is very cheap, popular budget places include Berat backpackers (check price) and the Maya Hostel (check price) but if you want to stay more in a more fancy, boutique hotel then you must go to Colombo Hotel.
The most famous hotel in Berat is located centrally within the city itself and provides comfortable rooms with en suite bathrooms and free WiFi, breakfast, satellite TV, and safe deposit boxes.
As you can see below, there is no shortage of fantastic places to stay at a great price.
Check out more hotels in BeratBooking.com
Is Berat worth visiting?
Definitely! The city itself is a fascinating place to visit. It has a ton of history to explore, and the views from here will take your breath away. Various tourist attractions and historical points of interest in this wonderful city will keep you busy during your entire trip. Berat definitely belongs on this list of Albania tourist attractions.
How big is Berat?
Berat is considered a small city in Albania with a population of 60k and a total area of 380.21 square kilometers. However, many people may say that it is bigger than a small city as there are many cool things to do.
What is Berat known for?
Berat is known for its old part of town, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Berat is dubbed “the city of a thousand windows” due to its unique architectural design dating back to the Ottoman Empire.
How old is Berat City in Albania?
Berat is one of Albania’s oldest cities, with a long and interesting history. Early records show that Berat was first settled by Illyrian tribes in the sixth century B.C.
When is the best time to visit Berat?
It’s best to visit Berat from June to September when it’s not too hot out. This way, you can experience the city without getting too exhausted from the heat.
Final thoughts on things to do in Berat
If you’ve been wondering what to do on your trip to Albania, then the attractions in Berat as listed above are definitely some of the best things to see.
When visiting this wonderful city, these places should not be missed, so make sure you plan your trip accordingly and fit them into your itinerary!
About the author
Catalin Geangos is the Founder and Editor of TravelTrained and a travel blogger who mainly focuses on nightlife, day trips and tours, hostels, and beach resorts while traveling in Southeast Asia.