Albanian Riviera Guide: Best Beaches + Villages (2019)

Last Updated on

A Guide to the Albanian Riviera: The Best Beaches in Europe


The Albanian Riviera is fast becoming one of the most popular spots in Europe and for a good reason. The abundance of beautiful beaches, incredible scenery, delicious food and more than hospitable locals, means the Albania Riviera should be at the top of your must-see travel list.  Finding information on the internet about Albania can be a headache though, which is why I decided to create this guide on the Albanian Riviera as a reference for you.  In this guide, I cover transport, the best beaches in Albania, great accommodation and other highlights you shouldn’t miss on your trip here.

The Albanian Riviera runs from a city called Vlore, down south to the city of Saranda.  The Riviera has one of the most beautiful coastal drives I have ever experienced.  There is plenty to see and do here so let’s get into it!


A Guide to the Albanian Riviera: The Best Beaches in Europe

How to get around the Albanian Riviera

Public buses and minibuses are the most popular option for many travellers coming to Albania.  The main annoyance is the timetables so the best way to find out when a bus leaves is by asking a local.  9 times out of 10 the bus driver will be a cousin of the person your asking – this has happened to me more times than I can count (not even kidding).



Another great mode of transportation is to hire a car.  Here you get freedom of where to stop off, and especially since there are many hidden spots within the Albanian Riviera, you will make plenty of unexpected spots I’m sure.  The negative of hiring a car within Albania is driving.  Driving in Albania is unpredictable.  Half of the population speeds excessively and no one really sticks to any sort of rules.  This can make it dangerous for foreign drivers as you may not be used to this sort of driving.

One of the most popular ways of getting around in the Riviera and all-around Albania is in fact hitchhiking.  It’s extremely common practice between locals and foreigners.  Most people never have to wait for more than 10 minutes to find a ride.  It’s completely safe.  Albanians are extremely friendly people and are always willing to help.  You can read more about safety in Albania here.


travelling albania


The best places to visit in the Albanian Riviera


The Albanian Riviera

1. Palase Beach

Palase beach will absolutely take your breath away.  This 1km beach will be a fantastic start to your Albanian Riviera trip.  It is also said that Julius Caesar and his troops arrived in Palase during the Roman Civil War in 48 BCE.  You can still find archaeological evidence of this today!  Not only a beautiful place but lots of interesting history here too.  This is one of the best Albanian beaches you will come across!


A Guide to the Albanian Riviera: The Best Beaches in Europe

2. National Park of Llogara

If you have the time, you should explore more of what Llogara park has to offer.  There are great hiking, restaurants, log cabins and you can even take part in paragliding!  The Llogara pass is a fantastic drive and at the top of the pass, you get the most magnificent breath-taking view.

It is from Llogara that you can start hikes for Karaburun Peninsula – completely untouched and undeveloped part of the Albanain Riviera.  Hiking here is not easy and takes around 4-6 hours one way so you have to be prepared!


A Guide to the Albanian Riviera: The Best Beaches in Europe

Dhermi is a favourite for many along the Albanian Riviera

3. Dhermi

Dhermi has beautiful beaches, coves and hidden bays.  One of the most picturesque is Drymades which is my personal favourite.  This has been named one of the top beach hangout spots.  There are plenty of good beaches in Dhermi but this one especially!


hotels in dhermi




A Guide to the Albanian Riviera: The Best Beaches in Europe

4. Himare

This sleepy beach town is one you should plan to stay in for a few days at least.  Himare also has some stunning beaches nearby.  If you want a fantastic view over Himare and the surroundings, then make your way towards the castle.  From here you get a stunning view!

hotels in himare


A Guide to the Albanian Riviera: The Best Beaches in Europe

5. Porto Palermo Castle

This impressive castle is regularly said to be built in the 19th century but it has been found that this castle was mentioned by ancient Greek and Roman authors in text dating back to the 5th century BC. The exact date is unknown but nevertheless, it is worth the stop.  Nearby is a tunnel which was used during communism as a submarine bunker.  The castle is located only a few km from Himarë.


A Guide to the Albanian Riviera: The Best Beaches in Europe

6. Borsh

This is the longest strip of unbroken beach in the Albanian Riviera, which means if you’re looking for a bigger scale beach then try this one!  There are a few restaurants here too.

I highly recommend visiting Borsh Castle which is on the hill overlooking the beach.  Not a lot of tourists bother or even know about this castle which is a real shame because I found it to be one of the most beautiful – even if it is mostly in ruins.


A Guide to the Albanian Riviera: The Best Beaches in Europe

7. Lukove

Lukove is worth the stopover.  The village itself is small but the beach is lovely, and you can catch some of the best sunsets from here.  The beach is called Shpella and is about a 5-10 minute drive from the village downhill.

There’s lots of room for camping here as there’s a field with trees behind the beach.


8. Kakome

In Kakome there is not only another beautiful beach called Krorez Beach but also a monastery to check out too.  You can only access the beach by boat or by horseback.


9. Saranda

I am currently based in Saranda and I absolutely love it.  In the summer months its extremely busy because a lot of cruise ships dock here and use it as a base to explore the surroundings.  There are great restaurants, the best nightlife in Albania during the summer months, and some nice beaches if you search other than the centre.  Make sure you read my complete guide on Saranda here, don’t forget to try the seafood – it’s mouth-watering.

accommodation in saranda


A Guide to the Albanian Riviera: The Best Beaches in Europe

10. Ksamil

Only 20km from Saranda is Ksamil, the place with the busiest beaches in all the Albanian Riviera in my opinion.  During July and August this place is absolutely packed, and I would recommend avoiding it and picking somewhere nearby.  Ksamil is absolutely stunning though and with (artificial) sand beaches.

You can also swim in the nearby 3 islands.  Ksamil is super close to Corfu, Greece!  The beaches in the centre are beautiful but you should also explore the other beaches nearby such as Mirror beach and Monastery beach.  Read my full Ksamil travel guide here.

hotels in ksamil



11. Butrint

Only 20km from Saranda is the UNESCO site Butrint, which dates to prehistoric times.  It has been the site of a Greek colony, a Roman city and a bishopric.  If you want a taste of Mediterranean history, then you need to see Butrint during your trip to the Albanian Riviera.  Nearby Butrint is Ali Pasha’s fortress which is actually one of my favourite secret spots around Saranda.  Read this to find out the details on where exactly it is and how to see it!


The Charming Half-Abandoned Village of Old Qeparo, Albania

12. Upper Qeparo

This is a new favourite village of mine.  Upper Qeparo is located on top of a mountain overlooking the sea.  The village is unique because its half abandoned.  After communism fell many Albanians fled the village and the country leaving the buildings to crumble and become derelict.

Nowadays some properties have been refurbished but many still lay there soul-less.  It’s a really incredible place to get a peek into a traditional Albanian village.  The views are incredible and there’s a lot of history within the crumbling walls.  You can read my Qeparo guide here.


Guide to the Albanian Riviera: Best Beaches, Villages & Transport


Vuno is a sleepy village which sits on the edge of a hill.  This is not a beach town but it has incredible views and is possibly the most quaint Albanian village ever.  If you want to experience Albanian life and get off the tourist trail then stop here for a night or two.  There are beaches close by which can be accessed by public transport or hitchhiking.


14. Gjipe Beach

Gjipe is a sort of hidden beach which can only be accessed by foot or by 4×4.  The beach is unique because it is formed within a canyon.  I would highly recommend a stop here during your holidays in Albania.


Guide to the Albanian Riviera: Best Beaches, Villages & Transport

15. Jale

Jale is slowly becoming more popular as it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway in Albania.  Tourism for Jale has grown fast so the main beaches in the summer will a little crowded.  The best thing to do is hire a kayak and explore the secluded beach coves.  You can also kayak to Gjipe beach from here!


Let me know if this guide convinced you to visit the Albanian Riviera!  If you have any questions, then do leave them below and I will try and answer them as best as I can for you.


Other articles you will love:



Love this article?  Pin it for later!

A Guide to the Albanian Riviera: The Best Beaches in Europe

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Paola Enrico
    August 8, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Hello Anita,
    My name is Paola I am from Peru. My family and I are plannig a trip to Albania next July( I friend of mine suggested we discover this wonderful country) we have been to Dubrovnik before and was easy looking for info. but I am finding hard to find villas by the sea or hotels on the cliffs so we can jump right in the water.
    Could you recommend any hotels , we are traveling with children ages 10 to 13 years old and are looking for quiet and secluded beaches.
    What would ve the best town to stay in the Albamian Riviera?
    We are also interested in hiring a boat for aprox. 5 daays to sail around the Ionian sea of Albania.
    Hope you can help us.
    Kind regards

  • Reply
    Lavinia Dieac
    September 1, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Hello, and thanks for this! Is it easy to find camping along this way?

    • Reply
      Anita Hendrieka
      September 9, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      Yes, there’s lots of camping to be had in the Albanian Riviera. Most camping is wild, however, there are also a few campgrounds along the way. In Gjipe I heard there’s a good one called Eco campground.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2018 at 3:02 am

    Hey! I am currently in vlore and we are here for one more night. Do you have anything you could recommend us to do? I was thinking of hiring bikes and riding down to bora bora beach and then leaving the next day to go further down the Riviera. I love your blog so much it has really helped me so far! Xo

  • Leave a Reply