Plenty of beautiful cities, gorgeous castles, unique culture and traditions of Albania will mesmerize you. Every year millions of people travel to Albania. Last year this number was 6.4 million people. Probably, you have heard about Tirana, Vlore, Elbasan, and Shkoder, but today we will give information about another attractive place which is overlooked by many tourists, Berat city. Through this blog, you will uncover 10 reasons why you should travel to Berat instead of Tirana, and you will get answers to questions such as where is Berat, what to do in Berat, and more.
Where is Berat?
Berat city is the 9th largest city by population in Albania. It is nearly 120 km away from the capital Tirana. Nowadays, almost 126,000 people live in the municipality, and the total area is 380.21 square km. Since 2008 Berat has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As in other cities in the country, architectural uniqueness and mosques, castles, churches make this place worth visiting. Berat is one of the cultural centres of the Republic of Albania.
1. Iconographic Museum Onufri
Albania is full of ancient architecture, and this is the same for Berat, too. The National Iconographic Museum Onufri is one of the most impressive establishments in the city. Museum took its name from a well-known Orthodox icon painter who lived in the 16th century. Here you will find plenty of icon paintings from the Eastern Roman Empire. There are 173 artefacts on display that were chosen among 1500 objects. Some icons from that collection are Evangelism, Last Supper, Jesus Appearance in Temple, Saint Mary with Jesus, Johan the Baptist, Ascension of Elijah Prophet, Life-giving source, Saint Demetrius. The museum is inside of Saint Mary Church. It will be effortless to find a destination because of its popularity. Moreover, you can ask for help from local people. Residents are so kind, and they will do everything to help you.
2. Cheap markets
Market prices are crucial for residents but also for visitors. If you want to spend less money on everyday shopping, you should travel to Berat city instead of Tirana. There is a cost difference in almost all daily products; for example, one-litre milk is 0,99 USD in Berat, but in the capital, it is 1,30 USD. We can see such differences in cheese, bread, eggs, chicken fillets, and fruits such as apple, banana, orange, and more. Mostly, the price difference is between 0,30-2 USD. When you take only one product as an example, it may seem not a big difference to you, but keep in mind that you will be obliged to buy several things for several days.
3. Have a meal in a restaurant for an affordable price
Another advantage of Berat is the cheap restaurants. It will give you a chance to try Albanian cuisine at acceptable prices. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant is 4.78 USD, which is 1 USD cheaper than Tirana. We can observe a much more wide gap in the mid-range restaurant. Having a 2 people meal in such a restaurant is 23,89 USD in Berat. On the other hand, having a meal in the same level restaurant in Tirana is 31 USD. We can see that there is an almost 8 dollars difference. We recommend you to travel to Berat and try these popular meals from Albanian cuisine: Byrek, Tave Kosi, Speça me Gjize, Fried Kaçkavall, Baklava, Trilece, Qofte, Grilled meat, Perime Zgare, and fish. Especially, give a chance to fish meals. Albania is located on the seaside, so they have very delicious fish. Maybe you have heard about some of them before in Turkish and Azerbaijani cuisine. It is natural because, in the past, Albania was a part of the Ottoman Empire. Besides, such as Turks, Albanians like to drink Raki, which they called, the national alcoholic drink.
4. The Holy Trinity Church
Islam is the major religion in Albania, and the second one is Christianity. There are many beautiful churches in Albania, such as the Cathedral of Dormition of St. Mary, Church of the Holy Trinity, St. Mary of Blachernae Church, Church of St. Michael. But the most famous church in Berat is the Church of the Holy Trinity. This church is next to Berat Castle, which is also known as a Kala. Many tourists share the same opinion that the Church of the Holy Trinity is one of the most remarkable religious places in Berat. Therefore, you can add this place to your list before travel to Berat.
5. Moving around is cheaper
Another positive side of Berat is cheap transport. Not only public transport but also a taxi is much more affordable than Tirana. If you want to buy a one-way ticket on a local bus, you will pay 0,29 USD, which is a little bit cheaper than the Albanian capital. The monthly payment is nearly 10 USD cheaper in Berat, just 5,73 USD. Probably, if you plan to be in this city just for a couple of days, you will prefer to use a taxi. The taxi start payment is 1,91, and for a km, you will give 1,24 USD. On the other hand, in Tirana, both of them are 2,39 USD. As you can see, there is enough difference to choose Berat. Furthermore, renting a car is also not expensive in the city. You will spend between 15-67 USD per day, depending on the car.
6. Magnificent Berat CastleWhat to do in Berat
? The first thing which you should do is visiting Berat Castle. In the 4th century B.C, an impressive castle was erected on the top of a hill, and today this architectural miracle lets us feel the spirit of antique times. The castle is surrounded by stone walls with a total of twenty-four watchtowers. During your trip, don't forget to climb on the peak and appreciate the fascinating view of Berat city, the Osum River, and the ancient bridge of Gorica. It is interesting to note that life is continuing inside Berat Castle. The inside of the castle is so different from the modern city. It has its own unique houses, bars and restaurants, churches and bazaars, museums, and monuments.
7. Affordable accommodation
When we compare the hotel prices of the two cities, in general, we can say that Berat has much more economical hotels. For instance, in Berat, 4-star hotel prices average starts at 40 USD, but in Tirana, this is 11 USD more, 51 USD. In Berat, 5-star hotels start at 54 USD, which is almost 20 USD cheaper than the capital. 1,2 and 3-star hotels offer rooms nearly for the same charges. One of the hotels which we can counsel you is White City Hotel Berat. White City Hotel Berat offers rooms beginning from 36 USD. A classic twin room and a double room with a balcony is 53 USD. If you want to stay in comfort single room with a balcony, you will pay 42 USD. Also, breakfast included in the charge. It means you will not pay an additional fee for breakfast. When we search for reviews about White City Hotel Berat, we see many positive comments about the staff, rooms, and more.
8. The better option for a long settlement
If you want to travel to Albania and stay there for more than one month, we offer you to make this vacation in Berat because of the cheap rental houses. An apartment with one bedroom in the city centre is nearly 220 USD, and on the outskirts of the town, it is much affordable, 137 USD. An apartment with three bedrooms in the town centre and out of the city is 361 and 249 USD, accordingly. In the capital, one-bedroom houses are 100 USD more expensive than the Berat. The flat with three bedrooms is much more costly, 724 USD in the city centre (outside of the centre is 398 USD). Moreover, you will pay less money for monthly utilities in Berat than in Tirana.
9. The Ethnographic Museum
What to do in Berat? If you like to visit museums, you will not be bored in Berat. The Ethnographic Museum is one of the places which makes it worth it to travel to Albania. Here you can get priceless information about the culture and exciting traditions of locals. This museum has a rich collection with 1300 artefacts such as buckle, tapestry, waistcoat, tray, brazier, tableware, and reliquary. Furthermore, here you will have a chance to see the house design of Albanian people, the markets, and more in those ages. Some of them are the medieval bazaar, porch, chardak, workroom, and guest room.
10. Ancient Ottoman houses
As you know, Albania was part of the Ottomans in various periods between 1479-1912. That is why you can see many Turkish influences in the country, and one of them is Ottoman era houses in Mangalem. Here you will find a lot of dwellings with small windows and brown roofs. Take a trip in narrow streets and enjoy the hypnotizing architecture of the Ottoman era. Don't forget to take photos as a memory. Undoubtedly, they will be your most-liked Instagram photos. Besides, here you will see a lot of old mosques, and there are three ancient open-public gorgeous mosques. They are the Sultan's Mosque, the Lead Mosque, and the Bachelors' Mosque. The Sultan's Mosque is one of the oldest ones in the country, and it is next to the Halveti Teqe.