Flashy Tirana and classic Berat are chalk and cheese. Lots of cheese.
Tirana has a few very good museums, funky galleries, good parkland and nearby hills. Despite all this and plenty of fancy bars, chances are you’ll pass quickly.
Berat gets all the good adjectives: charming, relaxed, historical, friendly, white-washed, traditional. The tightly twisted cobbled alleys also hide some great eateries- especially the tiny, quirky Lili Homemade Food.
Just 100km separates the traditional, Ottoman city of Berat, from the Albanian capital.
Flashy and modern, Tirana is another world.
With ample parks, plenty of museums, an inviting city square and colurful apartment blocks, Tirana isn't a bad place at all.
One former nuclear bunker has been converted to a museum, documenting the darkness of war and communism.
Another in the town centre is an art gallery.
A bus ride and a cable car deposit visitors on Mount Datji, with excellent views and a restaurant or two.
A sad, worn out fun park and an abandoned hotel are a poor introduction.
But there are some good hiking trails under cool forested canopy.
We didn't encounter a single person once we left the cable car area.
Sausages and grilled vegetables are typical Balkan fare, but if you crave sushi, Indian or French, Tirana has Albanian's fanciest plates.
The old bazaar area itself is quite small, but there are plenty of other nooks and crannies to explore.
While few would go nuts for Tirana, there's worse places to spend a few days.
UNESCO-listed Berat is called the town of a thousand windows.
Charming, white-washed Ottoman are homes rise steeply on the hills either side of the 1780 stone bridge.
Behind and above the compact warren of cobbled streets of the Mangalem old town, the fort is a living museum inside a living museum.
Life in the old town of Kala continues inside the fort walls, its residents unfazed by the history and grandeur about.
Pause for lunch, take in the Onufri museum, stumble into someone's front yard, climbs the walls and enjoy the views.
Traditional, wooden Ottoman houses in the old towns double as guesthouses, which you will be likely sharing with the owners' family.
Atmospheric and with views, they also serve up a substantial and varied breakfast.
Despite being well and truly on the tourist map, for good reason, Berat is a welcoming, easy-going place.
The nearby Greek ruins of Appollonia are okay, I suppose, but without your own transport, it takes too long to get there for what you see.
But nonetheless, here's my verdict on Berat.