Top 10 beaches, Jipea Canyon and Logara Pass in the Albanian Riviera
The Albanian Riviera is the clearest blue sea, many beaches surrounded by mountains, and at the same time low Albanian prices for holidays. In addition, there is a picturesque canyon Jipea and a stunning pass Logara.
Which beaches on the Albanian Riviera to choose for a holiday? When to go and how to get there? Now we will tell you.
Information and facts
What is the Albanian Riviera? It is a stretch of coast with steep shores in southwestern Albania. The Riviera is located on the Ionian Sea north of Saranda and ends at the Logara Pass south of Vlora, where the Adriatic Sea begins.
In Albanian: Riviera shqiptare, or simply Bregu – “the coast”.
In English: Albanian Riviera.
It’s also called the Albanian Riviera of Flowers, but we didn’t see an abundance of flowers there :).
The prices in Albania are lower than in Montenegro, Croatia and Greece.
Overview of beaches on the Albanian Riviera.
We were traveling from north to south, so the review of beaches along the Albanian Riviera will lead in this order.
It is worth noting that the sea on all beaches is clean and clear, a beautiful blue color.
Infrastructure is developed somewhere, while somewhere it is just a wild beach a few kilometers from the city.
The road from the highway – normal asphalt (4 km). Lukova Beach – a pebble mixed with coarse sand. A nice beach with beautiful nature and a minimum of development, especially on the right side of the road.
The road is bad. It is a narrow and long pebble beach. At the end of the beach on the left there is a drain of some incomprehensible water. We did not like it.
Borsch Beach resort – the longest beach in Albania.
The road to the beach is excellent (2 km), along the beach is unpaved, no problem to drive in an ordinary car. The valley here is flat, you can ride a bike from town to the beach or walk.
The beach of the resort of Borsch has pebbles and coarse sand. There are restaurants, sun loungers, etc. It is the longest beach on the Ionian Sea (7 km).
According to reviews, it is not a problem to find a free place even in August. And May people on the beach Borsch practically did not exist, you can swim naked, put a tent or come in a campervan RV.
And there is also a bunker right on the beach.
There are few hotels specifically on Borsch Beach, mostly located in town, closer to the highway. Beach options need to be booked in advance, especially in season.
The second option is to stay in Qeparo – this village is adjacent to the northwest end of the beach Borsch.
Porto Palermo Castle
Porto Palermo is a castle-fortress by the sea, with a small beach and restaurant next to it.
There are disputes about who built it and when. Some write that in the early 19th century the Turks of Ali Pasha. Others argue that this design of castles was popular with the Venetians. It is unusual in that it had no courtyard. In addition, it could easily have been shot with cannons from a nearby hill, which means that the castle was built before cannons were invented.
During the Communist regime in Albania, the castle was a naval base for submarines.
The service in the restaurant was so retarded that we couldn’t stand it and left.
The beach near Porto Palermo is good because it is in a very closed bay and it is always calm. But it is right next to the highway. A swim on the way will do, but I wouldn’t sit there all day.
The resort town of Himarë
The beach is right in the town, and it’s the best beach on the Albanian Riviera: it’s spacious, there’s more sand than pebbles, the area is well maintained, there’s shade and showers. Along the beach there are restaurants, stores, and in general it’s cozy.
There is actually four beaches in the town, but the other three are within 1.5 km from the center.
Himare is the most suitable beach for holidays with small children – it is easy to get to with a stroller and there is shade.
According to reviews of tourists, during the high season (especially in August) Himare beach is crowded with people, but in June and September here to rest well.
In addition to the beaches, you can go scuba diving at the Himara resort.
If you go for a long time, it makes sense to rent an apartment with a kitchen to cook on your own and save money on food.
Good road – 2 km from the highway. A huge beach. There are campsites and restaurants.
A good road, 5 km from the road. Two beaches, one large and one smaller. Hotels, campsites, restaurants right on the bay.
This is the second center of nightlife on this coast.
Vuno is a small old village on the highway.
Gjipe Beach & Canyon
Even if it’s not beach season, it’s worth making a stop to see Gjipe Canyon, at least from above.
The closest parking lot is 1 km from the trailhead, to the left of the road. From there, a path leads to the lookouts and then down to the beach. The lookouts are marked on OrganicMaps, and the trail itself is clearly visible. The trail is rocky and it’s best to walk in sneakers or sporty sandals. In flip-flops it will be difficult and uncomfortable.
This is the canyon from above.
On the beach itself, part of the road is not paved and you can pass only by car with a large clearance.
If you decide to go down to the beach, then walk deeper into the canyon, it is cool there. On the map there is a river, but it dries up.
And this is a walk along the bottom of Jipea Canyon.
At some point the trail ends and the rock climbing begins. There are ropes strung up in difficult places.
The beach is mostly sand, a nice place, and there aren’t many people because it’s hard to get here.
There is a paid campsite.
The road to Dhermi beach from the highway is fine, but the last 300m you have to walk, because there is a “no traffic” sign. It seems that the sign is for tourists only, because the locals all go under it.
The beach is huge, sand + pebble. There is a promenade, hotels and restaurants. There was a lot of trash in May, maybe in the summer they clean it up?
Nearby are long spacious beaches Perivolo Beach and Dhrale Beach.
Dermi beach is considered the best place for nightlife on the Albanian Riviera, and in general there is the most different types of entertainment and fun.
Llogara Pass is a serpentine pass over the sea, part of the Llogara National Park (Alb. Parku Kombëtar i Llogarasë). It is located in the Akrokerounskie Mountains. The height of the pass – 1043 meters above sea level, the mountains – up to 2018 meters.
There were supposed to be amazing views and sunset, but we had no luck – a cloud came down, and we almost didn’t see anything. We rode in a solid cloud.
There was a big bunker at one of the sites.
It had dawned a little bit and we could see the beaches.
It would be nice to go hiking in these mountains.
After the pass there are several restaurants with panoramic views – perfect for sunset. But even if you’re not going to eat there, go out for a few minutes to admire the views (unless there’s a cloud))).
The resort town of Orikum
Orikum is not officially part of the Albanian Riviera, but I’ll add it here because it’s very close.
The beach here is long, a kilometer and a half. There are several hotels and restaurants, but most of it is empty. Mostly pebbles. In May there was a lot of garbage, in the season they clean it up, open more cafes, water entertainment, etc.
The town itself is 1-1.5 km from the beach away from the sea. By car you can settle in the city. If without a car, in a hotel on the beach.
We stayed overnight in Orikum at Apartamenti George (rating 9.3). There was a huge apartment with everything you need, a quiet place and a nice hostess. Parking is no problem. But this is in town, not on the beach.
Albanian Riviera on the map
The Albanian Riviera is in the southwestern part of Albania, this is the SH8 highway from Saranda to Orikum. On the map I have marked all the towns with beaches and interesting places in the Albanian Riviera: Porto Palermo Castle, Jipea Canyon, Logara Pass and the village of Vuno.
Rentals and campsites
There are also campsites on many beaches.
How to get to the beaches of the Albanian Riviera
Warning. The road here mostly consists of serpentines. Take a seasickness pill if you take a bus.
- Xamil – Orikum (the whole Albanian Riviera) – 123 km.
- Xamil – Himare – 67 km.
- Ximare – Orikum – 56 km.
- Tirana – Himare – 222 km.
We drove from Xamil to the north, managed to see all the beaches, went down to the canyon of Jipea and walked to its end, swam a couple of times, and spent the night in Orikum.
In summer, when the sea is warm, you can break the Albanian Riviera drive into two days:
1) Xamil – Himare: swim at different beaches,
2) Himare – Orikum: go to Jipea Canyon in the morning while it’s still warm, then swim in the different beaches, have dinner at Logara Pass at sunset.
Rent a car
Taking your own car will be more convenient than a bus, and cheaper than an individual transfer. In addition, you can drive right up to the beaches, rather than drag through the heat from the highway, and on the way visit other interesting places in Albania: Tirana (the capital), the ancient cities of Berat and Gjirokastra, Blue Eye Spring and Ksamil resort.
We usually compare prices and conditions on aggregator sites, which collect offers of different rentals, and choose the best option:
Albania has an airport in the capital, Tirana: Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza, IATA code: TIA.
You can also fly to the island of Corfu in Greece, from there transfer to Sarandë, and from there drive along the Albanian Riviera. Airport of Corfu: Corfu International Airport “Ioannis Kapodistrias”, IATA code: CFU.
To find cheap flights, I usually compare prices with the help of aggregators. They all have the same principle – they search for tickets from hundreds of airlines, but their databases may vary, so the price will be better in one and the other – check everything at once.