If you are planning a trip to Albania, make sure you road trip down the Albanian Riveria to discover some beautiful beaches bordered by mountains. If you want to go on a beach holiday but don’t want to pay the prices of say, Greece, then Albania is for you! You can find a double room for €25-50 a night and a meal for two with drinks is only €8-12! Not only will you find beaches to relax on but there are plenty of interesting historic sites and traditional villages to visit nearby too. Read on to find out the best beaches in Albania.
Best time to go to the Albanian Riveria
As for most places in Europe I would try to avoid the beaches during the summer holidays, however we were there end of July and it was still enjoyable, albeit busy. You should be able to enjoy nice weather with a lot less people during the shoulder season (June and September). Parasols are also cheaper during this time (they’re free and you just need to buy drinks).
Located right at the southern end of the Albanian Riveria, Ksamil has a number of beautiful beaches with an amazing mountain scenery.
Ksamil is well known for the 3 islands that are visible from the beaches. These are a great place to go to if you’re looking for more peace and quiet. You can either swim here yourself or you can take a boat across. It is also one of the cheapest beach locations in Albania so it’s perfect if you’re on a budget. We booked an apartment at Vila Renato near the beach during the summer holidays for only €33 a night!
As I visited during the summer holidays it wasn’t quite the picturesque location I was hoping for as it was super busy and it’s hard to find spots to just be on the beach – you need to hire parasols for the day (€10 a day). However I still enjoyed the beautiful crystal blue water and discovering the multiple beach side restaurants and bars. I think off season this place must be paradise!
If you are staying in Ksamil for a few nights then make sure you check out Butrint National Park, just a 20 minute drive south of Ksamil and one of the most important archaeological sites in Albania, containing different artefacts and structures, dating from the Iron Age up until the Middle Ages. Numerous monuments are still extant including the city walls, a late-antique baptistery, a great basilica, roman theatre and two castles. The entrance fee is 700 LEK (around €6) and there is a free parking there if you drive, otherwise you can get the local bus from Ksamil.
2) Gjipe Beach
Gjipe Beach is not accessible by car so it is one of the least busiest beaches in Albania. Even during the summer holidays there weren’t too many people here!
You can either park near the top and walk down a beautiful panoramic path for 30 minutes like in the picture below (but it’s very steep) or you can drive to the parking at the bottom of the road and walk for 25 minutes along a less steep road (but it’s not as scenic). We parked where we did as we had no idea if there was actual parking and the road is only one lane (so you need to be careful about cars coming from the other direction), but I’m glad we did as I loved the views on the walk down!
If you’re staying in Dhermi and don’t have a car you can also get a boat to Gjipe Beach from Drymades Beach for 2,500 LEK (around €18).
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If you cant beach me, join me 💁♀️🏖 :::: If you've been following on stories you'll know that I wasn't too impressed with the overcrowded small beaches in Ksamil (I'm sure its nicer out of school holidays). I was much happier travelling north up the Albanian Riveria and exploring the beautiful beaches of Himarë, Gjipe and Dhermi. They were a lot less dense but still had beautiful blue water and epic mountains behind 😍🗻 :::: What have you been up to this summer?! 🌞 :::: TRAVEL TIP – Gjipe beach is a beautiful hidden beach that's only accessible by foot (thus making it a lot less busy). You can either park near the top and walk down a beautiful panoramic path for 30 minutes like in this picture (but it's very steep) or you can drive to the parking at the bottom of the road and walk for 25 minutes along a less steep road (but it's not as scenic). :::: 📷 by @alexwandr and edited with my Golden Glow Pop Preset #gingerpresets :::: #thewanderlustfamily #albania #visitalbania #balkans #iamtb #natgeotravel #gjipe #himare #albania🇦🇱 #balkancollective #natgeobalkan
If you’re looking for the more high end part of the Albanian Riveria then Dhërmi is for you.
There are two beaches in Dhërmi:
Drymades Beach where you’ll find quite a lot of boat companies offering tours, and fun rocks to jump off of!
Palasa Beach where you will find instagrammable parasols and cool beach bars. This is another beach that never got too crowded, not even during the summer holidays.
We stayed at the Vila Kristi which is a beautiful hotel with views of the ocean. They also have a really good restaurant, make sure to try the risotto!
I wish we’d stayed longer at Himarë, it’s a beautiful long beach with no paying parasols so you can bring your own and find your own free spot! If you want to explore Dhermi without staying in a luxury hotel then Himarë is the perfect spot to base yourself, you can get a studio at Calliope Apartments for only €26 a night!
5) Lumi i Shales (Shala River)
Not your typical ‘beach’ as it’s next to a river, but it’s one of the most beautiful spots in Albania! It’s a bit of an adventure to get to Lumi i Shales but it’s so worth the effort! We booked our trip through our hotel in Shkoder, taking a minibus to Komani Lake and then a boat.
The water is incredibly cold but it is so BLUE!
Other popular beaches in Albania include Sarandë, Vlore and Durres. These are all towns so good beach locations if you’re looking for a bigger choice of accommodation and restaurants/bars. We went to Vlore but personally I didn’t like the beach (hence not including it in the list) as the water stayed shallow for ages.
I hope you have a great time exploring the best beaches of Albania!
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