From Berat to Osum Canyon: A Day Trip to Albania’s Hidden Gem

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Have you ever stumbled upon a place that made you feel as though you’d discovered a hidden gem? That’s exactly how I felt when I traveled from Berat to Osum Canyon during my three-month-long stay in Albania in 2021. It quickly became the highlight of my trip, and now I can’t wait to share my experience with you!

The journey from Berat to Osum Canyon is a scenic one, with winding roads that offer breathtaking views of Albania’s countryside. But it’s the destination itself that truly takes your breath away. Osum Canyon is a natural wonder with towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear waters. As I hiked and drove along the canyon, I couldn’t help but feel grateful to have discovered this stunning destination.

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my personal experience of exploring Osum Canyon from Berat, highlighting the best activities to make the most of your day trip. So, if you’re looking for a hidden gem in Albania, Osum Canyon is THE place to go!

Why Visit Berat

If you’re planning a trip to Albania, there’s one place that you simply cannot miss: the stunning city of Berat. I lived there for a month in 2021 and it quickly became one of my favorite places in the country. Known as “The City of a Thousand Windows”, the two ancient neighborhoods of Berat are divided by the River Osum, with traditional Ottoman houses lining the cobblestone streets.

If you’re a history buff, you’ll love that Berat’s historic center is a designated UNESCO site. One of the main attractions is the 13th-century Berat Castle, the largest castle in Albania. It’s a fascinating place to explore, and you can even find locals who still live within the citadel walls.Berat is Known as The City of a Thousand Windows

But Berat isn’t just a city with a rich cultural heritage, it’s also surrounded by incredible natural beauty. The Tomorr Mountains create a stunning backdrop to the charming cobblestone streets of Berat. You’ll find olive groves, vineyards, and orchards everywhere you turn in the surrounding countryside, and there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures like fishing, kayaking, and swimming in the nearby rivers and lakes.

But without a doubt, the biggest highlight of Berat’s natural beauty is the stunning Osum Canyon. This geological wonder is located just a short distance from the town and is an absolute must-visit!

Osum Canyon Near Berat

Osum Canyon is an incredible natural wonder located in the Skrapar region of southern Albania. Known as the “Grand Canyon of Albania”, the canyon is 26 km (16 miles) long and about 450 meters (1,476 feet) high, and it’s thought to be around 2-3 million years old.

The unique ecosystem of the gorge is something to behold, with lush greenery flourishing on both sides all year round. You’ll find Mediterranean bushes like heath and briar, as well as a rich array of flora and fauna. The rock formations inside the gorge are simply breathtaking, and you’ll see formations with fanciful names like the Cathedral, the Eye, and the Demon’s Door.

Osum Canyon Is Known as the Grand Canyon of Albania

If you’re planning a visit to the canyon, spring is the perfect time to explore it. When the snow melts, the river water level rises, making it possible to navigate the whole length of the gorge by boat. The many waterfalls in the gorge come to life, falling from above as you pass below on boats. 

At the end of summer, when the water level is lower, you can still take a stroll and appreciate the natural beauty of the canyon. While the full length of the gorge isn’t navigable during this time, you can take various walks and even swim in different pools and streams. And as there is no official entrance to Osum Canyon, it is free to visit and open 24/7.



How to Get From Berat to Osum Canyon

Exploring Osum Canyon is the perfect day trip from Berat, with plenty of activities and stunning views to enjoy. The canyon is located about 53 kilometers (33 miles) southeast of Berat, and the drive takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. While the main road next to the canyon is well-maintained you should be careful and pay attention to the many potholes on your way to the canyon, especially if you drive yourself.From Berat to Osum Canyon A Day Trip to Albania's Hidden Gem

If you don’t travel with your car or camper and start your Albania trip in Tirana, the easiest way to get to Osum Canyon is by rental car from the Albanian capital city. If you want to save time and money and support a good cause, I highly recommend checking out my car rental section where you will find search widgets from Giving Getaway partners Rentalcars.com and Economy Bookings. From each successful booking, I earn a commission of which I donate 50% to charity.

Alternatively, you can join one of the many tour guides who offer full-day trips to Osum Canyon, like this tour from Berat to Osum Canyon and Bogove Waterfall.

Especially in the summer season, many locals and accommodation hosts offer private tours to Osum Canyon. During my visit, my host also offered me a private tour, but since I had my car, I decided to drive myself. If you are looking for a place to stay in Berat, make sure to check out “Guesthouse Villa Juri”. Redjan (who offered to take me to the canyon) and his mother do an amazing job running this guesthouse. Their place is very affordable, close to Berat center, and among the accommodation with the highest ranking on Booking.com!



What to Do in Osum Canyon

Once you reach the canyon, there are two sides to explore. The first side is easily accessible by car, while the other side is more remote and requires a 4×4 vehicle or a guided tour, but it’s also possible to leave the car on the gravel road and walk, which is what I did.

The well-maintained main road offers several stunning vistas and photo spots and it was an easy and pleasant ride, with smooth pavement and some shops and restaurants on the way. However, I wanted to see the canyon from a different perspective, so I took the gravel road on the other side. This side of the canyon is much wilder and not maintained at all, and if you choose to explore this side of the canyon, I encourage you to always watch your step and be very careful!Enjoy the Stunning Views of Osum Canyon on One of the Many Viewpoints

There’s also a chance to go inside Osum Canyon itself, which I didn’t do because it was just the end of winter. But if you do so in spring or summer, you should make to pack your swimwear because it’s allowed to swim in the clear blue water of the Osum River! 

In addition to swimming and hiking, there’s another exciting way to explore Osum Canyon: by rafting! This tour even offers a round-trip transfer from Berat, so you can immerse yourself in Albania’s natural landscape without worrying about transportation. During the six to seven-hour excursion, you’ll paddle past cascading waterfalls, marvel at unique rock formations, and soak up the breathtaking views of the Skrapar region. This is a must-do activity for any adventurous traveler visiting the area!

Conclusion

Osum Canyon is truly a breathtaking natural wonder, and I can’t recommend it enough. I explored both sides of the canyon and had an amazing time hiking there, but I know there are still so many things I haven’t experienced yet.

If you’re looking for a truly unique and unforgettable experience, I highly recommend visiting Osum Canyon. The stunning natural beauty and fascinating ecosystem make it a must-visit destination for any nature lover or adventure seeker. I hope this post has inspired you to add it to your travel bucket list!

If you do plan to visit Berat and Osum Canyon, please consider using the search widgets or clicking on the ad banners on this website to book your accommodation, flight, car rental, and more. Every completed booking earns the organization a commission, 50% of which will be used to put on charity events like the 2021 Christmas gift drive for kids and teens in a children’s home in Montenegro.

So, not only will you be enjoying an unforgettable vacation, but you’ll also be contributing to an amazing cause!

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