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One cannot begin to write about the boundless beauty of Berat without singing this famous Albanian rhyme dedicated to one of its most cherished cities. It is simply not enough that the astounding traditional architecture of this “City of 1001 Windows” has placed Berat in UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. It seems that nature has outdone herself here, as well, creating some of the most attractive destinations for outdoor activities in Albania. Below, we list the top places to go in and around Berat!
The imposing Mount Tomorr, known to all as Mount Olympus of Albania, is the icon of Berat’s skyline. This mountain is perhaps the most popular hiking destination in the country, thanks to the gigantic (40 km2 to be exact!) Tomorr National Park that is situated in it, a park engulfed in gorgeous beech and pylon forests. Tomorr is also one of the most crucial pilgrimage sites in Albania, as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims climb to the Masjid of Kulmak or the Shrine of Abaz Ali during the period of August 21-25.
Tomorr is more than the home of legends or the site of spiritual and religious journeys. At an altitude of 2416 m, this mountain, isolated and filled with spectacular panoramas, represents a tough challenge for many mountaineers. During winters, climbers have to cope with the snow, which makes the journey at once harder and more beautiful. Numerous camping tents are scattered in Tomorr throughout the year. There are many of those, as well, who choose to explore Tomorr by riding on mule carriages.
Not quite possessing the grandeur of Mount Tomorr, the soft slopes of Shpirag and its lower altitude make walking and climbing this mountain a simpler and more enjoyable experience, one that is accessible to just about anyone. On the right side of the road leading to Shpirag, you will also find the Bridge of Velabisht, a beautiful structure belonging to the 18th century. Just a fascinating tidbit about mount Shpirag: The front side of the mountain reveals the gigantic word “NEVER”, which is a rearrangement of the former Communist leader’s name “ENVER” by the artist Armando Lulaj, completed in 2012.
The very same river that crosses the entire city of Berat, has created, along its journey, the wonderful canyons of Osumi in Skrapar, easily accessible from Berat. The canyons are well-known not only because they are the largest in the country, but also for its wonderful flora and the many outdoor activities carried out there. Hiking here warrants magnificent vistas of the many high slopes of vegetation which beautifully separate from the river, or the opportunity to admire the caves as well as the eight spectacular waterfalls.
If hiking allows for a reflective and calmly-paced walk, rafting or kayaking in the canyons are an entirely different experience. Adrenaline, rhythm and energy mix together in a rowing experience which lasts 2-4 hours and which allows for an incomparable adventure. In addition, due to the thoroughly professional rafting and/or kayaking guides, you will have the chance to enjoy the water adventures without the least concern for your safety. Your only worry will be mentally photographing each and every moment of the amazing journey. (Click here for more information.)
If you follow the Berat – Skrapar route, you can stop in the village of Bogova. From that point, you may set on a wonderful hike in the direction of Bogova’s waterfall which is 20 meters high and which falls into a deep blue pool, 12 meters deep. The discovery of this piece of paradise after a hike through wild and colorful landscapes is truly an unforgettable experience. Public transport lines are available which may take you from Berat to the entrance of the village.
The northeast of Çorovoda reserves several other important architectural and natural monuments which should be seen! If you would like to see the canyons, make sure you stop at the 17th century old Bridge of Kasabash which, with a length of 26 meters and its grand arch with a height of 12 meters, is still in wonderful shape.
The Canyons of Gradec are located right after passing the bridge. These canyons extend for a distance of 3 km and, in certain places, they reach the height of 750 meters. The tall, stacked cliffs, which look as if cut by a knife, make this climb quite challenging even for professional rope climbers. The gorgeous waterfalls, the lush, dense vegetation and the river’s rich ecosystem are only a few of the reasons why these canyons are worth visiting. They store yet another beautiful surprise: the Cave of Pirogosh! This is one of the most beautiful and haunting caves in the country. Enter at your own risk as there are quite e few bats inside!
In all of the above mentioned destinations, you may run into many bikers who choose to explore all of the natural beauties of the Berat Region in one fell swoop! If this sounds like your kind of thing, please make sure to contact the companies who organize these special tours beforehand and they will accommodate your requests. (Click here for more information).
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