For spectacular views of the valley and surrounding countryside, do not miss the sweat-inducing climb to the castle.
It’s an adventure in itself as you navigate slippery, glistening cobbles before clambering over rocks and scrubland to reach the top.
However, the charm of Tirana is in its diversity and dissimilarity to other cities, especially in Western Europe. Despite learning how to pronounce Gjirokastra at first attempt may be a little challenging, this UNESCO World Heritage Site deserves a visit during your holiday to Albania.
Located just a couple of hours drive from Berat, Gjirokastra is one of the most important historical cities of Albania.
The prices in the city are very low and the food quality is amazing: in Tirana, I ate the tastiest meal out of all the meals me and my husband ate during our amazing Balkan bus trip.
You shouldn’t have many expectations before coming to Tirana: the city is still developing, there are no shopping malls and almost no foreign shops (except for some German grocery stores) and nice-looking restaurants are hard to find.
People call it the white city, as its building are characterized by white facades screaming the charm of deca-dence in every single detail.
Stroll around the city center and see the clothes hanging from the balconies, do some people watching, play with kids in the street, and enjoy the beauty of the valley around you.
At the top of the hill, the Berat fortress is a glance into the Byzantine past.
It has a unique mix of religions – Islam, Christian orthodoxy and Catholicism.
It was also a revelation for me, that Tirana is such a calm and quiet city – there is a huge park with the lake in the city centre and it seems like at least half of the population of the city goes running there.
It’s white washed, traditional homes cling to the hillside above the river.
Cosmopolitan bars line the riverfront and quaint little pubs hide in cobbled alleyways below the castle.
For dinner, don’t miss the local lamb stew while you sit outside and enjoy the sunset.