Berat is very interesting town to visit, less than 3 hours south of Tirana. It’s been a UNESCO world heritage site since 2008 which has finally started to draw the tourists in.
How to get from Tirana to Berat:
You can take a minibus anytime after 6am from outside the hospital and university, it costs 600 Lek ($5) each way and takes 2-3 hours along a dusty, bumpy, winding road.
Berat is easily done as a day trip from Tirana, which is what I did, but it’s quite a long day, Once you get dropped off in Berat’s bus station there are 3 places you want to visit:
1) The fort (Berat’s Kala): The fort sits on top of a hill overlooking the whole town, it has history dating back to the 4th century and the castle itself was built in the 13th. The only way up, unless you have your own car, is to walk so get the sun screen on and start marching.
At the top of the hill you can enter the castle where you’ll find a fully functional town with a few bars and restaurants. I don’t enby the locals having to do this walk every day though, I was knackered!
2) Mangalem: Below the fort is the ‘Town of a Thousand Windows’. Unsurprisingly famous thanks to the uniform architecture of all the buildings, all facing out to the Osumi river. Mangalem, north of the river, is the Muslim half off the UNESCO town…
3) Gorica: The Christian half, south of the Osumi river, of the UNESCO town appears pretty much the same as Mangalem, with equally impressive numbers of windows, and old cobbled streets.
Berat is really atmospheric and is said to be Albania’s most famous tourist attraction, it didn’t blow my mind but it was certainly worth the day trip. Happy travels.