- Why Visit Berat
Why Visit Berat
Known for its storied past and picturesque landscapes, Berat offers diverse attractions spanning magnificent historical structures, scenic natural wonders, and vibrant modern amenities.
The hilltop fortress of Berat Castle originated in the 4th century BC and evolved under Illyrians, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. Still inhabited today, it houses around 1000 residents amidst ruins, churches, and mosques—Marvel at the views across Berat’s quarters to the Osum and Seman rivers from various vantage points.
St. Mary of Blachernae Church
Within the castle grounds, this 13th-14th century church exemplifies rare Byzantine architecture that survived periods of destruction. Gaze upon original frescoes from 1578 AD inside and admire the brick and stone construction phases of the facade.
This elegant seven-eyed Ottoman bridge provides camera-worthy views down the Osumi River gorge. Pause when crossing to admire the cluster of townhomes clinging to the steep valley slopes.
Onufri Iconography Museum
Housed inside Saint Mary’s Church, this museum displays a prized collection of Orthodox Christian icons and liturgical artifacts crafted by seminal Albanian painters from the 14th-20th centuries, most notably native son Onufri.
The Red Mosque
Distinctive with its red minaret, this 15th-century mosque was built following the Ottoman conquest of 1417 and still actively serves worshippers today. The structure uniquely stands detached within the castle’s outer fortified walls.
Meander through the historic Mangalem quarter to spy ornate bay windows and wooden overhangs dotting the charming Ottoman-era stone houses and narrow lanes.
Seek out coppersmithing, filigree silver jewelry, and carved wood workshops where artisans keep century-old handicraft methods alive. Watching them work makes for fascinating viewing.
For glimpses into Berat’s past lifeways and industries, visit this museum inside an 18th-century dwelling to view regional costumes, silversmith tools, filigree jewelry, and relics from ancient settlements around Berat.
King’s Mosque and Helveti Tekke
In Berat’s historic Mangalem district below the castle, these prominent religious sites—the 15th-century King’s Mosque and the Dervish Helveti Tekke—display exquisite design details from their respective eras.
Ancient Dimal Ruins
The 1960s excavation of this ancient ruin site near Berat revealed fortifications, dwellings, necropolis, and acropolis remnants testifying to early Illyrian settlement and activity in the area beginning around 200 BC.
Mount Tomorri National Park
Capped in snow much of the year, Mount Tomorri offers adventurers hiking trails leading to demanding summits over 2400 meters high. From scenic forests to highland meadows, admire vast panoramas across western mountain ranges.
Osumi River Canyons
In springtime, water levels peak to allow full exploration along the entire 26-kilometer length of the stunning Osumi River canyon via raft, kayak, or canoe. The towering vertical cliffs make for unforgettable scenery.
Surrounded by lush forest, the refreshing Bogovë cascade features idyllic pools perfect for swimming. The short hike through charming countryside leads to panoramic views from the top.
From the layers of history encapsulated within Berat’s fortress walls to adrenaline-pumping pursuits in the scenic wilderness, the city offers cultural riches, natural beauty, and modern hospitality.
Climb the highest ramparts for sublime panoramas over Berat’s famous red-tiled rooftops and verdant valley framed by the Tomorr Mountains. Sunsets and blue hours are magical.
Museum of Surveillance
This sobering yet meaningful museum chronicles the plight of those who suffered persecution and imprisonment under Albania’s Communist regime through illuminating artifact displays.