Albania Travel

BERAT: 8 things which you need to do!

Berat, the City of a Thousand Windows with a captivating history, a name that suggests a lot, and located so charmingly that to miss it is not to be in Albania!

But let’s start with, as always, technical issues:

HOW TO GET THERE: not a big deal, both from Tirana and Saranda or even my Vlora you can get there easily! Buses run regularly, directly – completely unlike in Albania! From Vlore to Berat – 800lek

ACCOMMODATION: I was lucky and again I found an epic accommodation for pennies! This one was located in the very center, in a charming house that someone must have built on the principle “Maybe no one will notice if I fit a tiny house here” – because it is located in a total density of all kinds of buildings, possible only in Albania 😉 I had a kitchen, a bathroom and a large double room with a terrace at my disposal. What a great option <3

HOW MANY DAYS: These Albanian towns look especially charming in the evening, so I recommend both Gjirokastra and Berat for two days. If you have one, you’ll be fine- but it’s worth staying there for longer.

You cannot immerse in Berat, without knowing its legend! Without a doubt, its heart is the castle that dominates the city. Berat, divided into two parts by the Osumi River, blends with the range of mountains stretching in the background. According to the legend, the river is the tears of a fairy loved by two brothers: Tomori and Shpiraga. As the girl was quite undecided, the brothers stood up to fight. The land was soaked in the blood so much that God couldn’t look at it anymore and he turned the brothers into two mountains, Tomori and Shpiraga, to end the dispute. The indecisive fairy was also transformed into a rock object, a mountain on which a castle was built.

8 must-do things in Berat:

1) Get lost in the Mangalem!

My favorite part of the city! Mangalem is the part of the city that surrounds the castle, Kalaja e Berat. Visiting it is nothing more than getting lost in atmospheric streets, narrow stone passages and finding hidden gems! This is definitely the most “postcard” part of the city, looking at it you can understand the name: City of a Thousand Windows. Characteristic white buildings, brown shutters and the impression that you are looking at a giant Albanian Tetris!

2) See what it’s like to live in a castle!

As you know, I’m not the biggest fan of castles in general :d But THIS one is special! Why? Because it is still inhabited today! Imagine that, it is used by “ordinary” mortals, such as those who do laundry or take care of their gardens. This gives a bizarre impression and makes it possible to participate in the life of the castle instead of casual sightseeing.

3) Walk on the clouds and ….

…. climb to the viewpoint. To be precise, once you’re at the castle, the viewpoint is just a stone’s throw away from it. It gives you unique view on the city, both parts, Mangalem and Gorica, which contrast with each other. And it’s not the end of the story, quite the opposite, the mountains from the story stretches on the one side giving you the impression of walking on the clouds.

4) Cross the Gorica Bridge to the other side of the city!

The Gorica district is equally charming and mysterious as Mangalem. Truly, the perfect place to shoot the Albanian Secret Garden! Through the half-open doors you can see a glimpse of hidden gardens, gorgeous and so different from each other. It makes the walk there like eating surprise egg – you never know if you’ll get a dece Pokemon or the 10th Pikachu – but it’s still worth trying to get them all :d Do you remember my Stepehn King’s vibes in Gjirokastra? Well, Berat is not worse. Some buildings look like taken straight from Stephen King novels, abandoned, with teddy bears hanging in the empty windows… I am not joking. It is related to the Albanian superstition according to which those teddy bears were supposed to protect the inhabitants of a given house from evil spirits. I don’t know if it works for ghosts but people, if I was going to break into somewhere, I wouldn’t choose such a spooky house 😀

5) Find Berat’s hidden gems!

And there are a lot of these! When you are on the side of Gorica, on the Mangalem part, on the left, you can see the church hidden among the rocks – try to find the entrance to it. But this is just one of those gems. Berat has a lot of them – try to catch’em all!

6) Find out what it’s the pace of Berat…

….on Bulevardi Republic! The thing about the Balkans is that its lifestyle is mesmerizing! Albanians romanticized life before it became viral on TikTok: d Drinking coffee, chatting with a neighbor, playing checkers – each of these things engages them 100% and makes time bend to this Balkan day, becoming more flexible. I am not exaggerating, time really flows differently in the Balkans!

7) Try local flavors!

Berat does not disappoint, although in my opinion no one can compete with Gastro, I mean, Gjirokastra :d Nevertheless, in Berat you will certainly eat very tasty! What I recommend to try is definitely MonBlan, a dessert that is made only in this region! Named in honor of the snow-covered peak visible in the city landscape, and the dessert itself is the peak of …. sweetness: d Combination of quite decent amount of sugar, sugar and whipped cream :d Decay guarantee but worth trying defo, especially on hot days – one of its layers is ice cream, sprinkled with ground almonds … The best MonBlan? Only in Pasticeri Landi <3

8) Debunk the propaganda!

And count whether Berat really has a thousand windows! Maybe it will be easier for you to count them in the evening.

*BONUS * Berat, where to eat:

Pasticeri Landi: not only MonBlan but also Trilece – outstanding!

Shtepia e Kafes Gimi : the best coffee I’ve had in Albania +a beautiful interior reminiscing of the jungle!

City Grill : outstanding pesto pasta! But also many Albanian cuisine options 🙂 And all this in the heart of Bulevardi Republika, and yet at extremely affordable prices (pasta 450lek!)

Divino: a very inconspicuous place with a truly homely atmosphere! Tasty and cheap <3

How did you like my inspiration guide on Berat? Be sure to let me know! Looking forward to seeing your tags on Instagram, whether on MonBlan or on Gorica’s abandoned buildings… Ciao!

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