Top Things To Do In The City of A Thousand Windows – Berat Albania

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Post author Ana

Written by our local expert Ana

Croatian born Ana is an avid traveler who is always looking for the next travel story from the Balkans to share. Her passion is creating travel itineraries and in-depth guides.

Berat is a small city famously known as the city of a thousand windows. It is one of the best places to visit in Albania.

If you’re planning a trip to Albania, you can visit Berat on a day trip or stay a few days. It offers plenty of things to see and do, and this guide will show you all of them.

Albania Travel Blog_Best Places To Visit In Berat Albania

There’s no shortage of activities, from exploring the historic Berat Castle and strolling through the alluring districts of Mangalem and Gorica to embarking on day trips like Apollonia Archaeological Park. 

Don’t miss out on the best things to see, including the stunning Ottoman architecture. Accommodation options range from traditional guesthouses to modern hotels, ensuring a comfortable stay.

Berat is known for its rich culture and top views, making it a top destination in Albania. Now, without further ado, here are my suggested 15 best things to see in Berat.

15 Best Things To Do In Berat City

Best Castles In Albania - Travel Blog - Berat Castle

It’s hard to pick just ten things in Berat, as this city offers so much more. But here are our top picks.

1. Hike Or Drive Up To Berat Kalaja – Visit Berat Castle

Historic city of Berat in Albania, World Heritage Site by UNESCO view from city center

If you only see one attraction in Berat, this has to be it! Berat Kala, or Berat Castle, is a real highlight of the City. Once you enter the Castle, you can see the homes that are still inhabited by locals and wander through the old alleys with souvenir shops, cafes, and Byzantine Churches.

The entrance to the Kalaja is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and costs LEK 100, but being a residential area, the Castle Quarter is open 24 hours.

One of the top things to see within the Castle Quarter, aka Kala Quarter, which is often seen in images of Berat, is the 14th-century Church of the Holy Trinity or Saint Trinity Church (Kisha Shen Triadha) with its red dome.

Historic Orthodox church up at the Berat Castle, Berat, Albania . High quality photo

There’s an inscription inside the Church with the name of Andronicus Paleologus, the Governor of Berat from 1302 to 1326, indicating that he probably supported the construction of the Church. Other Berat sites to see within the Kala are the Red Mosque, Church of St. Theodore, and Church of the Dormition of St. Mary with the Onufri Museum inside it. Several small chapels are mostly locked. From the Kalaja, you can also get an almost 360-degree view of the panoramic town with the rooftops of the homes below.

2. Visit The Onufri Iconography Museum

Although the Onufri Iconography Museum is located inside the Kalaja, it deserves its own place on the list of places to visit list. The red and gold colors of Onufri’s paintings will capture your imagination and stay with you long after leaving.

The Onufri Iconography Museum is housed in the Church of the Dormition of St. Mary. It also houses the paintings of Onufri’s son Nikola and David Selenica, Onouphrios Cypriotes, Kostandin Shpataraku, and many other painters.

The museum houses 106 icons and 67 liturgical objects. It is open until 6 p.m. in summer and 4 p.m. in winter and costs 200 LEK to enter.

3. Visit The National Ethnographic Museum Of Berat

The National Ethnographic Museum, notable for being the biggest in the Balkans, is a top place to explore in Berat for a few hours.

Set in an old 18th-century Ottoman house close to the castle, it showcases clothing, tools, and furniture traditionally used by local Albanians.

The higher floors include living rooms, bedrooms, and sitting areas that give you an idea of life in the past. You can also see the bathroom and the shed holding the wine press nearby. Entrance to this museum costs LEK 200.

4. Wander Through The Mangalem Or Gorica Quarters

Evening Berat, town is the south of Albania, with its hills, covered with mist, illuminated Gorica Bridge over Osum river and old buildings with tile roofs.

Just like Buda and Pest form two sides of Budapest, the Gorica and Mangalem Quarters occupy two different sides of the river in Berat.

On the southern side of the Osumi River, the Gorica Quarter was the Christian section, while the Mangalem Quarter on the northern side was the Muslim section. The views of each side taken from across the river are simply exquisite, as is the Gorica Bridge, another top tourist sight not to be missed in Berat.

While you’re in the Mangalemi Quarter, visit the Halveti Tekki, a monument of Ahmet Kurt Pasha built in 1782, and the famous Bachelor’s Mosque.

Or, if you’re staying in the Gorica quarter, you’ll love getting lost in the streets in the evening and watching the families talking to each other in the otherwise quiet streets. Whether you choose to wander the alleyways of the Gorica Quarter or the homes in the Muslim Quarter that climb up the hillside, you’ll enjoy your time at these Berat points of interest.

5. Visit A Winery

You can’t visit Berat and not go wine tasting. It’s right there on every list of things to do, Berat, for a reason!

A visit to the traditional vineyards near Berat, which have a long history of winemaking, will have you sipping whites and reds and coming back for more. The Cobo Winery is about a 20-minute drive from Berat and arranges tours showcasing the family’s history of winemaking. The tour is followed by a wine tasting session with locally grown olives and homemade Albanian cheese and a tête-à-tête with a member of the Cobo family.

Another vineyard, the Nurellari Winery or Nurellari Kantina, is about 10 km out of Berat in the village of Fushe-Peshtan. Established in 1995, the father-and-son team has been filling Albanian glasses with outstanding wines, and there is an onsite- restaurant where you can also have a meal.

If you’re thinking about what to visit in Berat to take a break from all the sightseeing, opt for the experience of staying at the Nurellari family’s recently started luxurious hotel. What better way to spend a few days than in the tranquility of intoxicating vineyards?

6. Visit The King Mosque Complex

The Sultan Mosque (Xhamia e Sulltanit) or King Mosque forms the center of a complex of religious buildings built in the 15th Century by Sultan Bayezid II. The mosque is reflective of the wealth of the Ottomans during their golden period.

Anyone can enter as long as you are adequately dressed and take off your shoes. The murals on the walls and ceiling include verses from the Quran and a gorgeous wooden ceiling. The Islamic library showcases wooden carvings, while the nearby teke, where you can see dervishes perform, is also a must-see in Berat.

7. Drive To Bogove Waterfalls

In June or anytime in summer, a trip to Bogove Waterfalls will ensure you have fun. An hour’s drive will get you to this aquamarine waterfall, which tops the list of Berat tourist destinations.

Bogova, meaning “of the Gods,” takes its name from the nearby Bogova village. With a 20-meter drop to its beautiful blue waters, it’s a cool thing to do in Berat, especially in the heat of summer. If you want to play it safe, though, it’s better to find another spot along the Osumi River to swim in.

8. Hike Up Mount Tomorr

Albanian Alps_National Parks in Albania

Set in the heart of Tomorr National Park, hiking up Mount Tomorr is a must-do activity for nature lovers in Berat. 

The Christians go up on Assumption Day, which is August 15. The Betakshi have an annual pilgrimage from August 20 to 25 in honor of Abbas ibn Ali. In Albanian legends, Baba Tomorr, an old giant with a long flowing white beard, stays in the mountain and watches over the city of Berat.

Mount Tomorr National Park is also home to endangered species like bears, wolves, and some birds of prey. But for the nature lover, Mount Tomorr is a captivating place to go hiking, skiing, or donkey riding.

9. Explore A Byzantine-Era Church

When in Berat, you have to explore its old churches, many of which date back to the Byzantine era and are in surprisingly good condition.

I highly recommend St Mary of Blachernae. It dates back to the 13th Century, making it the oldest building in Berat overall. The original frescoes on display, which date back to the 16th Century, are impressive, and the whole space has a serene and almost otherworldly feel.

You can visit the church from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day and it is free to go inside. However, if you want to make a donation, it will be greatly appreciated.

10. Check Out The View From St Michael’s Church

Once you’ve visited the Gorica Quarter, why not see it from another vantage point? Head to St Michael’s Church, which is a fantastic place to explore in itself. However, most people visit for the view. The church is set on a steep path on the cliffside, so you will definitely need sturdy walking shoes.

The church itself is open from 1 p.m. every day, and the path to the top, where you can see the entire panoramic view, can be accessed from the side of the castle. There are some loose rocks, and it’s a dirt track, so it’s not the best if you have children or you’re not steady on your feet.

11. Osum Canyon & Bogove Waterfall

These two locations are well worth a day trip and can be seen alongside one another. It’s only an hour’s drive from Berat to Bogove Waterfall itself, although you’ll need to park up and walk 40 minutes. Once you arrive, the water is so refreshingly cool, and you’ll definitely need to cool down during the summer months.

A further 30 minutes down the road, you’ll find Osum Canyon, with amazing views over the area. There is a river you can swim in, and in the spring months, there are whitewater rafting opportunities.

12. Visit The Ruins Of The Red Mosque

The Red Mosque, or Xhamia e Kuqe, is another of the Berat landmarks built by Sultan Bayezid II in the 15th Century. It was initially called the Mosque of the Ruler and was built around 1431.

Built with limestone and red brick, the mosque is unusual since it has a minaret on the left. You can walk up the cylindrical staircase inside the minaret to get a 360-degree view of the city, including all the Berat places to see from the top.

13. Visit The 16th Century Izgurli Mosque Or Lead Mosque

The Izgurli Mosque, also known as Xhamia e Plumbit, was built in 1553 or 1554 by the feudal Lord Ahmet Bej Uzgurliu when he converted to Islam.

It’s popularly known as the Lead Mosque because of the lead coating on its domes. You can enter this Berat attraction so long as you are prepared to take your shoes off – as required with all mosques.

14. Eat At Some Of The Best Restaurants In Berat

Cozy street cafe in Historical town Berat, ottoman architecture in Albania, Unesco World Heritage Site.

Wondering what to do in Berat at night? Visit the cafes, restaurants, and clubs. You’ll love the range of Albanian cuisine on offer at some of these famous places.


This restaurant in the Gorica Quarter serves traditional Albanian dishes and some good house wine. Its simple decor overlooks the river and offers lush dishes that will satisfy your taste buds.

Heaven’s Kitchen

A simple restaurant serving kebabs and pizzas in the Mangalem Quarter, Heaven’s Kitchen must go on your list of Berat tourist places to visit. The souvlaki and gyros here are really delicious.

Restorant Wildor

An air-conditioned restaurant with traditional decor, the Restorant Wildor serves an excellent house wine and baklava dessert. You also have to try the chomlek and the rabbit ragu. Make sure you add this restaurant to your list.

Mangalemi Restaurant

The Mangalemi Restaurant serves traditional Berati fare such as tave kosi and pispili, which are made with locally sourced materials. You can enjoy a meal in the air-conditioned interiors or on the breezy terrace, where you can view Berat sights such as the Castle, Gorica Quarter, and Mangalem Quarter.

Bar Restorant Tradicional Onufri

Really close to the Castle, a must-visit in Berat for foodies, the Onufri Restaurant has an indoor area and a shaded terrace. The restaurant, run by Koco and his family, is a place where you can enjoy authentic Albanian cuisine with wine or raki. They do allow smokers, so if you have a problem with that, pick a spot on the terrace instead.

Homemade Food Lili

With a handful of rustic wooden tables and traditional tablecloths, Homemade Food Lili has an air of pure simplicity. But Lili, the owner, is the friendliest person you’ll ever meet. His wife creates the most excellent dishes that you’ll love to eat, Berat. Lili’s is small and gets full really fast, but if you managed to get a table, you’d find that it would be a real highlight of your Albania itinerary.

What To Eat In Berat

Berat, like much of Albania, boasts a rich culinary tradition that blends Mediterranean and Balkan influences. When visiting Berat, you can look forward to trying a variety of dishes that are specific to the region or have a local twist. Here are some foods and culinary experiences specific to Berat and the surrounding areas that you shouldn’t miss:

Fërgesë Berati. A traditional dish of the Berat region, Fërgesë is made with peppers, tomatoes, and cottage cheese, sometimes also including liver. It’s a flavorful and hearty dish that reflects the simplicity and richness of Albanian cuisine.

Përmeti Gliko. While not exclusively from Berat, this sweet preserve is a specialty of southern Albania, particularly the town of Përmet, not too far from Berat. Gliko is made from various fruits, the most common being walnut, cherry, or fig, preserved in a thick syrup. It’s often served as a welcome treat to guests.

Koran. A fish found in the nearby Osumi River, Koran is often grilled or cooked in a variety of ways. It’s known for its delicious, tender meat and is a must-try for seafood enthusiasts.

Tavë Kosi. Although it’s a national dish, you’ll find excellent versions of this baked lamb and yogurt dish in Berat. It’s made with lamb, rice, and a mixture of yogurt and eggs, baked to create a creamy, custard-like topping over tender meat.

Jufka. A traditional homemade Albanian pasta similar to tagliatelle but typically thinner. In Berat, jufka might be served with a variety of sauces, including meat, vegetables, or a simple dressing of butter and local cheese.

Local Cheeses. The region around Berat produces some distinctive cheeses, including varieties made from sheep or goat milk. These range from soft and fresh to aged and hard, often featuring in appetizers or as part of a traditional meal.

15. Take A Day Trip From Berat

Some of the Berat day trips you might like include: 

Apollonia Archaeological Park

Just a bit over an hour’s drive from Berat, Apollonia beckons history buffs and curious minds alike. Once a major ancient Greek city, it now offers a fascinating glimpse into the past with its well-preserved ruins, including a theater, library, and several temples. The onsite museum houses artifacts that tell the tale of Apollonia’s splendor.

 It’s perfect for anyone wanting to walk through history and imagine life in ancient times. The peaceful, sprawling site contrasts with Berat’s compact urban charm, providing a tranquil getaway.

Osumi Canyon

Adventure seekers, this one’s for you! Roughly an hour from Berat, Osumi Canyon offers stunning natural landscapes carved out by the Osum River. It’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for rafting in the spring or serene walks to take in the awe-inspiring views of the canyon’s walls.

The area is also rich in biodiversity, making it great for nature lovers. The echoing sounds of waterfalls and the sight of ancient bridges connecting the cliffs are something straight out of a fantasy novel.


It’s a bit of a stretch at around 2.5 hours from Berat, but Gjirokastër is a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s absolutely worth the drive. Known as the “City of Stone,” its Ottoman-era architecture, with slate-roofed houses and cobblestone streets, transports visitors back in time.

Of all the famous things to do in Gjirokaster, you can’t miss the massive Gjirokastër Fortress – it towers over the city, offers panoramic views, and houses a military museum. This city appeals to those who love exploring rich cultural heritage and architectural wonders. 

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How To Get To Berat, Albania

Panel Houses in Berat City ALBANIA

By Bus

Depending on where you’re traveling from, there are several bus options available. If you’re traveling to Berat from Saranda, a bus runs twice daily, and the journey takes 6 hours. The fare is approximately 1200 LEK.

Alternatively, if you’re traveling from Tirana, minibusses leave the city’s north and south bus terminals every hour. The last bus leaves the Berat bus terminal around 5:30 p.m.

The journey from Tirana to Berat takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes, usually via Durres. The fare is approximately 500 LEK, and you can buy your ticket from the driver.

Once you arrive at the bus station in Berat, you can take a taxi or a bus to the historical center, which is 3km away. The green city bus costs 30 LEK, and a taxi will cost around 500 LEK.

By Car

You can quickly drive to Berat from Tirana. The roads are good quality and relatively smooth. It takes around two hours, depending on the traffic, and you’ll follow State Highway 3.

How Long To Stay In Berat

A narrow street with a stone path leading to a door, in Berat Albania

To get the most out of your time in Berat, it’s best to stay for two full days if you can.

The area is relatively small so that you can walk around easily. It’s entirely possible to see the castle and the entire Old Town area on your first day. The second day could be more leisurely, or you could venture out into the local countryside.

Best Time to Visit Berat

Well, think spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). These months are the sweet spot where you get mild weather, perfect for wandering around the city without the summer heat beating down on you.

The temperatures are just right, letting you explore those cobblestone streets and historical sites comfortably. Plus, visiting in these shoulder seasons means fewer tourists, giving you a more authentic feel of the city.

The spring blooms and the autumn leaves add an extra layer of beauty to Berat, making your photos look like postcards. 

Berat FAQs


How can I get around Berat, Albania?

You can easily navigate Berat on foot or by taking a taxi, bus, or renting a car in Albania to explore the city and its surroundings.

What are the best things to do in Berat?

Some of the best things to see include visiting Berat Castle, exploring the old town, admiring the churches in Berat, and enjoying the views from the top of Gorica Hill.

How many days should I spend in Berat?

It is recommended to spend at least a day in Berat to fully experience the city’s rich history, culture, and attractions.

What should I pack for a trip to Berat, Albania?

Pack comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, a hat, appropriate clothing for the season, and a camera to capture the beauty of Berat.

How can I take a tour of Berat?

You can join guided tours organized by local agencies or explore the city on your own using maps and information available at tourist information centers.

Where are the best places to eat in Berat?

Berat offers a variety of restaurants serving traditional Albanian cuisine as well as international dishes. Some popular dining spots are located in the old town and near the castle.

What is the best way to spend time in Berat?

Spend your time in Berat exploring the historical sites, wandering through the narrow streets of the old town, and enjoying the local hospitality and cuisine.

Top Berat Tourist Accommodation Options

  • Situated just 100 meters from the Osumi River, the dome-covered Hotel Colombo offers plush 5-star accommodation
  • A 450 m walk from the Old Town, the elegant 4-star Hotel Residenca Desaret offers magnificent views over the city of Berat
  • The Boutique Hotel Muzaka, set next to the Osumi River, is 500 m from Old Town and showcases striking dark wood furnishings that take you back in time
  • Centrally located in Berat, the bright and cheery family-run Hotel Orestiada is close to the Castle and Republica Boulevard
  • Also close to the Osumi River and the Kalaja, Hotel Onufri has traditional wooden furnishings and rooms that look out over the rooftops in Berat
  • 300 m from the Gorica Quarter, the charming Hotel Vila Aleksander that’s named after its owner, is in a renovated building with traditional decor reminiscent of traditional Albanian designs

Short History Of Berat

Berat’s story is like flipping through an ancient, well-loved book. This Albanian city is a live museum showcasing architecture that has stood the test of time from the Ottoman era back to the 4th Century BC. Known as the “City of a Thousand Windows” because of its distinctive Ottoman houses, Berat’s history is a rich blend of cultures and religions.

It’s been under Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman rule, each leaving its mark, contributing to the city’s unique cultural mosaic. The castle, perched atop the city, isn’t just for show; it’s been continuously inhabited since its construction, and walking through its gates is like stepping back in time. 

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