Berat is a beautiful enchanting town in central Albania. Locals also call it the City of a Thousand Windows due to its unique Ottoman-era architecture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Albania, with a history dating back to the 4th century BC.

And Berat is changing. Last I’ve been there were no tourists at all off-season. Nowadays, you can find them crossing Gorica Bridge on cold winter week-day. The cute small hotel boutiques resist at a fair price in traditional houses in Mangalem, the Muslim neighborhood. But a good number of model high-standard hotels around the renovated Boulevardi Republika are getting ready to boost tourism. Berat is undoubtedly one of the top assets of Albania and it is still very enjoyable, cheap and unspoiled. This is your moment to go.  

A bit of history of Berat

Throughout its history, in Berat had been Illyrians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines, each leaving their mark on the city’s architecture and culture.

In the 13th century, Berat became part of the Bulgarian Empire and later the Serbian Empire, before being conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. Under Ottoman rule, Berat flourished as an important center of trade and culture, with many of its beautiful Ottoman-era buildings and structures still standing today.

During World War II, Italian forces, and later German forces took the town, before the Albanian Partisans liberation in 1944. Today, Berat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful architecture, stunning natural scenery, and rich cultural heritage.

How is Berat Albania?

Berat is a charming and picturesque city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for tourists visiting Albania. The town is on the banks of the Osum River, in a stunning natural scenery. The city is divided into two parts: the old town (Kala) and the new town (Mangalem). Kala is a fortress on a hill overlooking the old Ottoman town and the commercial and residential area of the new town. Mangalem is the old Ottoman town and Gorica is the Ortodox quartier on the other side of the Osum River. 

Some of the top attractions in Berat include the Berat Castle, which offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding landscape, the Ethnographic Museum, which showcases the traditional way of life in Berat, and the Gorica Bridge, a beautiful stone bridge that crosses the Osum River. Berat is also famous for its delicious cuisine, with traditional dishes such as tave kosi (lamb with yogurt), speca me gjize (peppers stuffed with cheese), and byrek (a savory pastry filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables) being popular among locals and tourists alike.

What to do in Berat Albania

Here you have a list of assets in Berat and an itinerary map to understand the location of the neighborhoods in order to make a profitable walking tour. 

Berat Castle 

This fortress, Kala neighborhood, sits atop a hill overlooking the city and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. It dates back to the 13th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The castle consists of multiple layers of walls, towers, and gates, with some parts of the structure still standing in remarkably good condition. Visitors can explore the castle grounds and marvel at the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The castle has played an important role in the history of Berat, serving as a military stronghold and a residence for the ruling class. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the city.

Mangalem neighborhood

Today, Mangalem is a popular tourist destination and a symbol of Albania’s cultural heritage.

It is situated on the right bank of the Osum River and is known for its well-preserved Ottoman-era architecture. The neighborhood is famous for its narrow streets, stone houses with wooden balconies, and a central bazaar area with small shops and cafes.

Mangalem has a rich cultural heritage and is home to several important landmarks, including the Berat Castle, the Red Mosque, and the Ethnographic Museum. Visitors can also explore the many churches and monasteries in the area, including the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae and the Monastery of St. Theodore.

Ethnographic Museum of Berat Albania

Located in a traditional Ottoman-era house, this museum showcases the traditional way of life in Berat and the surrounding region. The museum features exhibits on traditional clothing, tools, and household items, giving visitors a glimpse into the daily life of the local people in the past. The house itself is a fascinating example of Ottoman-era architecture, with a large central courtyard and multiple rooms surrounding it. Visitors can explore the museum at their own pace and learn about the rich cultural heritage of Berat. The Ethnographic Museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in history and culture.

Gorica Bridge

This beautiful stone bridge crosses the Osum River and offers great photo opportunities. It spans the Osum River and connects the historic Gorica neighborhood with the newer Mangalem neighborhood. The bridge is an important landmark in Berat, with its unique architecture and stunning views of the river and surrounding hills. It dates back to the 18th century and was originally built to facilitate trade and travel between the two neighborhoods. Today, it is a popular spot for tourists to take photos and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the river. The Gorica Bridge is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Berat.

Gorica Neighborhood

Gorica is known for its beautiful natural surroundings and historic Greek Orthodox significance. The neighborhood is characterized by greenery, parks, and recreational areas. It is also home to several important landmarks, including the Church of St. Mary of Gorica, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Gorica Bridge, a medieval bridge that crosses the Osum River.

King Mosque of Berat Albania

This Ottoman-era mosque is one of the oldest and most important in Berat, featuring stunning architectural details. It dates back to the early 15th century during the Ottoman period, and is one of the oldest and most significant mosques in Berat. The mosque is named after King Bayezid II, who sponsored its construction. The King Mosque features a traditional Ottoman-era design with a large dome and a minaret, and is decorated with intricate geometric patterns and calligraphy. It is an important cultural and religious landmark in Berat, and a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the history and architecture of the city.

Bachelor Mosque

It is a historic mosque located in the Mangalem neighborhood of Berat, and was built in the 18th century to serve as a gathering place for unmarried men in the community. The mosque has a distinctive architectural style, featuring a small dome and a minaret with a spiral staircase. Inside, the walls are adorned with colorful floral motifs and calligraphic inscriptions in Arabic. The Bachelor Mosque is still in use as a place of worship for the local Muslim community, and it is also a popular tourist attraction in Berat.

Onufri Museum

Located within the Cathedral of Saint Mary, this museum showcases the work of Onufri, a renowned 16th-century Albanian painter. Onufri was a renowned painter who worked in Berat during the 16th century. His work is considered some of the best examples of Byzantine-style icon painting in Albania. The museum is in a beautiful building that was once a church. There, visitors can explore the exhibits and learn about the rich history and culture of the region. The Onufri Museum is a must-visit attraction for art lovers and anyone interested in the religious history of Berat.

Image of Muzeu Kombëtar Ikonografik Onufri, a museum in Albania dedicated to the preservation and display of religious icons and art. The picture shows a dimly lit room with several framed icons hanging on the walls, some of them adorned with gold leaf and intricate details.

Boulevardi Republika

Boulevardi Republika is a major thoroughfare in the city of Berat. It is a bustling street that runs through the heart of the city and is lined with shops, restaurants, cafes, and historic buildings. Boulevardi Republika is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a lively atmosphere and a glimpse into Berat’s rich history and culture. It connects the old neighborhood of Mangalem with the most real and kind of modern town of Berat. 

Saint Demetrius Cathedral

Saint Demetrius Cathedral is a historic church dating back to the 16th century. It is one of the oldest churches in the city. The cathedral is named after Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of the city. It features beautiful architecture with a mix of Byzantine and Ottoman styles. The exterior of the cathedral is adorned with intricate stone carvings and frescoes, while the interior is decorated with stunning religious artwork. The cathedral is a popular tourist destination and an important part of Berat’s cultural heritage. It continues to serve as a place of worship for the local Christian community.

Lead Mosque

The Lead Mosque is a historic mosque built during the Ottoman Empire’s rule in the late 18th century and is named after the lead used to cover its domes. The mosque’s architecture is a blend of Ottoman and Byzantine styles, with a spacious prayer hall and a towering minaret. The interior has colorful geometric patterns and religious inscriptions. The Lead Mosque is a popular tourist attraction and an important part of Berat’s cultural heritage. It continues to serve as a place of worship for the local Muslim community.

Picture of the Lead Mosque in Berat, Albania, showcasing its Ottoman and Byzantine architectural style. The mosque has several domes and a towering minaret. The exterior is made of stone with intricate carvings and details. The sunlight highlights the mosque's beauty and cultural significance, while green trees surround it. The blue sky in the background adds a serene atmosphere to the picture.

Tomorri Mountain National Park

That is just outside the city, 24 km far from Berat. This mountain offers stunning hiking trails and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Tomorri Mountain National Park is a protected area located in the southern part of Albania. It covers an area of approximately 241 square kilometers. Mount Tomorri is the highest peak in the region, standing at 2,416 meters. The park is famous for its rugged terrain, alpine meadows, and stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape. It is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including endangered species such as the Balkan lynx and the golden eagle. Visitors to the park can enjoy hiking, camping, and exploring the natural beauty of the region. The Tomorri Mountain National Park is a must-visit attraction for anyone who likes outdoor activities and nature.

Useful information about Berat

How to get to Berat in Albania?
  • By air: The nearest international airport to Berat is the Tirana International Airport, which is located about 120 km away. From there, you can take a taxi or bus to Berat.
  • By bus: There are several bus companies that operate daily buses to Berat from Tirana, Durres, Vlore, and other major cities in Albania. The journey usually takes between 2 to 4 hours, depending on the starting point.
  • By car: Berat is easy to access from the rest of Albania by road. You can rent a car in Tirana or other major cities and drive to Berat. The journey usually takes around 2 hours.
  • By train: There is a train station in the nearby city of Lushnje. It is about 30 km away from Berat. However, train services in Albania are limited and not very reliable.
Is Berat in Albania safe for tourists?

Berat, Albania is generally speaking a safe destination for tourists. Albania as a country has made significant progress in recent years in terms of improving its security and safety standards. However, as with any destination, tourists should exercise caution and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety. It is better to stay aware of your surroundings, especially at night, and to keep your valuables in a safe place.

What are the main attractions in Berat Albania?

The main attractions in Berat are the Berat Castle, Mangalem and Gorica neighborhoods.

Enjoy our discounts in Albania

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