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The town of Berat, a UNESCO world heritage site, located in the centre of Albania, is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in the Balkan Peninsula. It is easily reachable by bus from Tirana and can be seen in one day. Read our article to know how to spend 24 hours in one of the most beautiful towns of the Land of the Eagles.
Start your day in Berat with a Turkish coffee, a typical hot beverage that you will find everywhere, not just in Turkey, of course, but in the Balkan Peninsula too. The best place to sip it is in one of the several cafés located on Bulevard Republika, or pedonalja, the pedestrian street of Berat along Osumi river. Then, cross the Gorica bridge (built in 1780) to connect the two historical neighborhoods of Berat, Gorica and Mangalem, and reach the district of Gorica. It is the Cristian quarter of Berat, with lovely byzantine churches, cobblestone streets and secret gardens. Once here, take your time to stroll through its narrow streets, chat with locals, take great pictures, and visit the ancient Monastery of Saint Spyridon.
After a quick lunch – and we suggest you eat some typical Albanian street foods at Heaven’s Kitchen, a bar located just few steps from the most famous mosque of Berat, the Bachelors’ Mosque – go head into Mangalem. It is the Muslim district of the town and is filled with ancient white Ottoman houses. Mangalem is home to one of the most important museums of the country, the Ethnographic Museum, housed in a lovely Ottoman-era building, which hosts interesting artefacts of that period. After the visit, prepare yourself to walk until the castle of Berat, Kalaja, located on the top of a hill. Kalaja is a beautiful area with ancient rests of churches, mosques and walls. Behind the walls is hidden the lovely Holy Trinity Church, one of the highlights of the town. Other two sites that worth a visit in Berat are the King Mosque and Halveti tekke, both located in Mangalem.
When it comes to food, it is time to come back to Gorica and reach the famous restaurant Antigoni. It is one of the most known places in town and serves excellent traditional Albanian food, such as byrek, patëllxhanë te mbushura (eggplants cooked with onions and tomatoes), salçe kosi (yogurt sauce) and baklava, the sweetest cake of the Balkan Peninsula. Antigoni is the best option for your dinner, not just because of its typical menu but also because offers breathtaking views over the old houses of Mangalem.
Berat is not exactly the liveliest town of Albania and has nothing to offer to spend a vibrant night, if compared to Tirana or Saranda. The best thing to do here is to walk along the Osumi river and admire the town from a different perspective. To end your day in Berat, order a raki at Hotel Muzaka, the typical Albanian grappa liquor, and enjoy it while admiring one of the most beautiful towns of Eastern Europe.