HOW TO EXPLORE BERAT, THE TOWN OF THE FLOATING WINDOWS

Berat is a charming town, part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Why go to Berat Albania?

The main attraction of the town are the traditional houses from the Ottoman period. Their windows seem to hang above each other, hence the “town of floating windows”.

The town has three main neighborhoods: Mangalemi, Gorica and Kala.

The houses with the floating windows in Mangalemi neighborhood in Berat
The ‘floating windows’ in Mangalemi

In Kala, on a hill above the town, is the Berat fortress, most of which was built in the 13th century, although its foundations date from the 4th century BC. The town was part of the First and Second Bulgarian Kingdom.

Church of St. Michael at the foot of the fortress
Church of St. Michael at the foot of the Berat fortress

Republic Boulevard is the pedestrian zone of the city. On one side there is a beautiful park and on the other side a number of restaurants with mostly traditional cuisine. At the bottom of the photo below is the Mangalemi district, and on the hill you can see part of the Berat fortress.

Republic Boulevard with Mangalemi district and part of Berat fortress
Republic Blvd

In 1417, Ottoman invaders occupied Berat and the construction of mosques began in the city. Neighborhoods were formed with the traditional houses of Ottoman architecture: two-story, with an upper floor projecting forward and many windows.

Gorica neighborhood in Berat
Gorica neighborhood

The Gorica Bridge, built in 1780, connects the districts of Mangalemi and Gorica.

Gorica Bridge in Berat

How to get there?

You can get to Berat from Tirana or Durres by bus, taxi or rental car. Bus travel time from Tirana is 2-2.5 hours depending on traffic and time of day. The ticket costs 500 LEK (approx. $5). I am sharing with you the only source of information online regarding intercity bus transportation in Albania with timetables and current prices. That being said, don’t ever use trains in Albania even if there are any. They are mostly unreliable. Use the intercity buses instead.

If you’re not planning on staying in Berat, and you’re not looking forward to exploring Albania’s intercity bus system, you may find that a tour is your best bet. You will find plenty of options to choose from.

Where to stay?

In Berat and especially in Mangalemi, you will find many guesthouses and hotels. The Albanians are known for their hospitality. They go out of their way to please their guests. Choose the accommodation that best suits your needs and budget and let them spoil you.

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