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Berat

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A view of Berat

Berat [1] is a city in Albania. In 2008 it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town. It is one of the country's most beautiful towns, and is known as the "town of a thousand windows".

Visitor information

  • Berat Tourist Information Center, Rruga Anipatrea (town center near City Hall). Monday to Friday 08:00 - 16:00.

Get in

Take a furgon from Tirana to Berat (cost: 500 lek), or from other towns make a connection via Fier (200-250 lek). Buses also run from Tirana to Berat (cost: 400 lek).

Get around

The town is small enough to be toured by foot. Taking a walk on the footpaths of the old town is a must!

See

  • The Kala, a castle mostly built in the 13th century, but with origins going back to the 4th century BC. A very beautiful place with great views of the surrounding area. Getting to the Kala requires a steep walk up a cobbled path - take care, the stones are worn and slippery. The citadel is still inhabited, with many churches, and there are a couple of bars and shops in the Kala area.
  • Onufri Iconography Museum [2] located within the Kala at the site of a church, features the vivid iconography works of the famous 16th century painter Onufri and others. The museum hold other artifacts gathered form nearby churches and others around Albania. Closed Mondays.
  • Berat Ethnographic Museum [3] located in the grounds of a traditional house, on the way up to the castle. It features traditional local furniture and house utensils.
  • Below the Kala are two other old town areas - Mangalem north of the river (a traditionally Muslim area), and Gorica south of the river (a traditionally Christian area).
  • Numerous Byzantine Churches, dating from the 13th century.
  • Several Mosques from the Ottoman era (starting from 1417).
  • Nearby Tomorri Mountain can be reached with 4x4 vehicles. At mountain peak a Bektashi Temple is located.
  • Bogova Waterfall between Berat and Corovode.

Do

  • Take a walk on the peculiar Footpaths of The Old Town featuring exterior flower and plant decorations, tight paths and unique local hospitality.
  • Osumi River. One of the most beautiful rivers in Albania passing through canyons as high as 100 meters. Outdoor Albania [4] offers a 3 hour rafting experience inside the canyons.
  • Visit the Edward Lear Art Gallery [5] and the private studios of local artisans.
  • Horse ride at Gorica Hill [6].
  • Take a walk along the main Promenade at sunset where locals hang out for some fresh air.

Buy

  • Traditional souvenirs include stone carving, wood cheeping, and textile products.

Eat

  • Try the delicious figs and olives of the area.
  • There is a traditional restaurant just inside the Kala area that does very good food.
  • Guva Mangalem [7], average.
  • Ajka Restaurant, (across the Osum River). Delicious food with an excellent view.
  • Bar Restaurant Tradicional "Onufri" - just inside the castle.
  • Bar Restaurant "WilDor" - nicely traditional building with local and international cuisine (Rruga Antipatrea in front of the new bridge in the historical Mangalem district).

Drink

  • Try traditional Raki made from walnuts (Raki me arra), and peculiar juice made from roses.
  • Cobo Winery [8] features locally made wine and a winery tour.

Sleep

Accommodation is mainly in the form of private rooms as many traditional house owners have turned their localities into B&B. Hotels are also available.

  • Berat Backpackers, 295, Gorica, (+355) 693064429, [9]. Berat's hostel. Prices from 1350LEK
  • Hotel Mangalemi, Mangalem District, (+355) 32 232 093, [10].
  • Hotel Nasho Vruho, Rr. Llambi Guxhumani, Mangalem District, (+355) 32 232 355, [11].
  • Lorenc Guesthouse & Hostel, Stiljano Bandilli Road, Porta 18 (cross the old bridge of Gorica, there is the square Alfred Gimitiku and you will see the Road), +355 696337254. Nice private guesthouse in an old quarter of Gorica. It's run by Lorenc and his mother, feels like home. €12.
  • Hotel Palma, Rruga Santa Lucia (across the street from the Bachelors' Mosque, near the bridge), +355 32 232 143, [12]. Comfortable air-conditioned room with king size bed for €30 per night, buffet breakfast included. Some of the staff speak English.

Contact

Get out

There are buses to major towns in Albania from Berat - Tirana, Gjirokastër, Sarandë among many others. Check the board at the bus station for destinations and departure times.

Sarandë (via Gjirokastër), departs 8.00am and 2.00pm daily, 6 hours (1000 lek).

If you wish to travel to Gjirokastër or Fier, it is recommended not to take shortcuts as the direct road between Berat and Fier is in bad shape. Instead, go via Lushnjë.

You can also take a bus to Athens, Greece.



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