Berat Day Trip from Tirana with a private guide will show you the best of Berat in a day.
Berat is totally worth visiting while you are in Albania because as UNESCO describes it, Berat is a rare example of Ottoman architecture. The city has been lived continually since the 4th century BC and therefore it attests to a rich and diverse urban cultures from medieval to ottoman coexisting peacefully for centuries. Berat even before being enlisted in the UNESCO heritage list was declared a Museum City by the Albanian government in 1961.
The city of Berat dates back to at least the 4th century BC as one of the oldest cities in Albania and continually lived to nowadays. Artefacts discovered during the 70’s by Albanian archeologists such as Hëna Spahiu, date from an even earlier period such as the 5th century BC. The settlement was lived at that time by the Illyrian tribe of Desaretes who were the ones to built the walls and the city.
The name of Berat derives from the word Beligradum – White City used during the time when the city was invaded by the Bulgarian Kingdom from the 7th century until 1018. So the word Berat follows the phonetical rules of the modern Albanian language by changing form from the previous pronunciation Beligradum to that of Berat nowadays. But the city was known with other names throughout its history. So, during the Byzantine in the 5th century AD period it was recognised by the name Puliheropolis, named after Pulheria, the sister of Byzantine Emperor Theodosius who ruled the town.
During the 2nd century BC it was known as Antipatrea – Antipagrai and it was captured by the Romans. We learn from the roman historian Titus Livius that the town was strong and big settled in a narrow rocky strip of land. The Romans called the town Albanorum Oppidum as well.
The town is known as the city of thousand windows due to the many windows which ornate the facades of the old quarters of Mangalem and Gorica. They had an important function to ventilate the upper floors and brighten them since they served as living rooms. After the earthquake of 1851 the reconstruction of the houses in their upper floors was done in timber in order to lighten the load in case of a future earthquake. Whereas the ground floor still maintained the old tradition of building with stones.
Berat is famous for its amazing medieval and ottoman cultural past reflected in its urban architectural unity.
Berat has been established as a city since the 4th century BC and continually lived through this period
Berat is famous for its olive groves and delicious olive oil which goes so well with it famous cheese.
Berat would be a perfect place to do a wine tasting tour of its 5 wineries where you can sample some of the best wines in Albania.
Berat is famous for it codices such as “The Purple Codex of Berat” written during the 6th century and “Codex Aureus” written during the 9th century.
Berat is stretches in an area of 939 km2 and has a population of 65 000 inhabitants.
We start the day by picking you up from your hotel and then drive toward the city of Durrës. Next we continue driving along the coastline to reach the city of Lushnje. As we drive nearby Lushnje we can see the terraced hills which during the communist period were created through forced labour called ‘voluntary work’.
The city of Lushnje is called as well the bread basket of Albania since even during communism agriculture was highly developed in the area. Today its green field yield different kind of crops which not only are distributed throughout the country but are exported as well.
As we are driving toward Berat in the vicinity of Ura Vajgurore now named ‘Dimal’ we can see the oil fields of Kuçova. The oil extraction commenced in Albania in 1928 from the American company AIPA.
As we enter the city of Berat we can see on our right side a factory which was one of the biggest in the city called during communist period Mao ZeDong Textile factory.
During the communist period the Albanian government thought it was important to build the biggest textile factory in Berat. With the help of the Chinese technology the factory was built in 1963. The factory would produce different kinds of fabrics for personal use, for homes and packaging. During the 80’s the factory had around 11 000 workers.
Our first visit when in Berat will be the castle as one of the most historic and oldest castles in Albania dating back to the 4th century BC.
Berat’s beautiful old castle tops our list of the best attractions in Berat. It is located on the top of a hill, and it is the perfect place to admire the town from above.
The small town inside the castle’s walls is one of the most enchanting places you’ll see in Albania. There are even a few people that still live there but contrary to what many people think they are not the richest people in the city :). The area looks magical with its ancient ruins, wildflowers, and small courtyards.
That said, you can easily fill your entire day while visiting the city’s beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and rich heritage. This UNESCO-protected site since 2008 is divided into three large neighbourhoods; Mangalem, Gorica, and the medieval castle. The Osum River forms the border between the first two.
In this Berat day trip from Tirana, you will see that the city is influenced by several civilisations. The city lies on the banks of river Osumi and it’s surrounded by Tomorri and Gorica mountains. On the background of the city, you can see the mountain of Tomorr 2400 m high, whereas on the other side you can see the mountain of Shpiragu 1200 m high . The mountains of Shpiragu and Tomorri together with the river Osumi tell an interesting tale which is told even today. The legend says that Tomorri mountain was a giant who fought with another giant called Shpirag over a girl. For this reason, the giants killed each other and became mountains. And the girl drowned in her tears out of despair which then brought to life Osumi River.
Onufri National Museum is located in the inner part of “Saint Mary Church” in Berat Castel. The Museum is called “Onufri” in honor of the Albanian painting Headmaster of XVI Century. The Cathedral was rebuilt in 1797, and it is the most representative monument of post-Byzantine architecture in Berat town. Within, find 173 objects chosen from a fund of 1500 objects belonging to the fund of Albanian Churches and Monasteries as well as to Berat. You can find 106 Icons and 67 Liturgical objects created by Albanian Iconographical painters during the XIV-XX centuries.
While still within the castle neighborhood, head to the Holy Trinity Church. Be sure not to miss this stop as, along with its beautiful architecture, you will get a nice chance to see more of the castle grounds. From here, you will get the best views of the Tomorr and Shpirag mountains as well as learn about their haunting legend.
It is worth mentioning that on this day trip from Tirana to Berat you will learn that the old city is divided into three parts, Mangalem, the castle, and Gorica.
Explore the city of one thousand windows or rows upon rows. One of the oldest inhabited cities in Albania. A city you can visit all year round.
It is important to realize why Berat is on the UNESCO heritage list, this city is called the museum of Albania. It also has a historic architecture of the Ottoman period. And it is one of the few cities with an inhabited castle nowadays.
Berat Day Trip From Tirana is a tour to remember.
The tour starts at 8:30 a.m from your hotel in Tirana. It will take approximetaly 2 hours to reach Berat.
Once you get to the city you will be taken to Berat Castle which dates back to the 4rth century BC. There you will learn that Berat was invaded three times by the Ottomans, Romans, and Bulgarians to became later on a big principality under the rule of the Albanian noble family of Muzaka in the 14th century. Visit the castle as one of the most marvelous sights of the city. It is one of the biggest inhabited Castles and has many Byzantine churches, as well as some mosques built during the Ottoman era which began in 1417. Our walk in the castle will take us to the Onufri Museum which is set up inside the Cathedral “Assumption of Saint Mary ” renovated in the 18th century. Besides the beautifully carved Iconostasis, you will admire as well the icons of the renowned Albanian painter "Onufri" As we drive down to the city center we will visit the medieval center, King Mosque, and Helveti Tekke and learn about the interesting cohabitation of two religious groups close to one another. Next stop is in the old quarters of Mangalem and Gorica that connect with each other by the Gorica Bridge over the Osumi River. Both quarters take pride in their architecture and the rare shapes of the houses.