Behold some of Albania’s best-preserved architecture from the Ottoman period in Berat, a beautiful hillside city dominated by a sprawling stone castle.
Depart from the pier and make the two-hour drive southeast to Berat, an inland city known for retaining its rare architectural character from the Ottoman period, which began here in the 15th century. As a result of its preservation efforts, Berat was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
As you drive through the fortified city, one of the oldest in Albania, you may pass a number of medieval Orthodox churches and several mosques in the lower town, including the 16th-century Leaded Mosque, which was named for its lead-covered dome. Looking a bit higher, you will see clusters of tiered houses with abundant windows clinging to the slopes. These light-filled residences helped to earn Berat its nickname: “City of a Thousand Windows.”
Even higher lies a stone castle, locally known as the Kala, which was built in the 13th century. As it was expanded over time, the fortress took on other architectural styles, including Roman-Byzantine and Ottoman. The views from here are simply spectacular as are the religious icons you will see in the Onufri Museum that’s housed in the inhabited quarter of the castle.
A lunch of traditional Albanian cuisine follows, after which you may shop briefly before visiting a winery. Here, you will sample a selection of wines made exclusively from Albanian grapes, which have a characteristic sweetness. Afterwards, you will rejoin your coach for the return drive to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of easy to moderate walking and includes some steps to negotiate. Travel time to Berat is 2-hours by coach in each direction. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned only to participate to the extent of their personal stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.