With its still unspoiled beaches, tasty food, and extremely competitive prices, Albania is undoubtedly a trending summer destination in the Balkans. Here are the best beaches in Albania you gotta check out!
With its still-unspoiled beaches, tasty food, and highly competitive prices, Albania is undoubtedly the trending summer destination in the Balkans and an excellent option for family travel.
The most enchanting stretch of coastline is the southernmost one, extending from the city of Vlore past Saranda to the border with Greece. Along the coast, rounded, sensual mountains run straight into the sea, forgetting to leave some room for the beach. However, when they remember, you will spot many narrow, secluded beaches nestled among the rocky cliffs.
The Albanian Riviera is very wild and populated by many different species of animals. Driving along the glorious state highway 8 in south Albania, I met donkeys, cows, turtles, frogs, sheep, boars, dogs, goats, and many other animals!
The Albanian coastline is also dotted with abandoned bunkers from the Enver Hoxha era. This former Albanian dictator was so consumed by his fear of a military invasion that he literally covered the whole country with concrete bunkers, which still guard both the coast and the hinterland like a neglected army of untended beetles.
What is the best beach in Albania? Oh, that is too hard to say, but this guide will give you an idea of a few of the best Albanian beaches, and you can decide for yourself.
Without further ado, though, here are the best beaches in Albania you’ll encounter when driving along State Highway 8 from north to south. They are organized by their location to the nearest city.
Best Albanian Beaches Near Vlorë
1. Vlorë Beach
The city of Vlorë is the northern starting point of the Albanian Riviera and is one of the most popular destinations for Albania beach holidays. You’ll find many incredible south Albania beaches in and around the city, including Vlorë Beach, sometimes also called Vlora Beach.
Just south of Vlorë lies the Karaburun-Sazan Marine Park, a phenomenal destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. The park protects a section of the Albania coast and an area of the Ionian Sea. It encompasses the Karaburun Peninsula and Sazan Island, where its name comes from.
2. Narta, Zvernec
Just a 15-minute car ride from Vlore, you’ll find this beautiful sandy beach with blue waters that will blow your mind. This is an excellent beach for families as the waters are calm and usually very warm. You can swim and sunbathe here, and the island of Zvernec is accessible via a walkway, where you can visit the Monastery of St Mary from Byzantine times.
3. Orikum Beach
Orikum Beach is close to Vlore and is a favorite among locals and tourists. This is another beach great for families, thanks to the calm waters; however, it is a gravel beach, not sand. Sun-loungers and parasols are available, as well as changing rooms and lifeguards on duty during the summer months.
Best Albanian Beaches Near Saranda
Sarandë, or Saranda, is probably the most touristy area in southern Albania, home to many of the best beaches of Albania and loads of beach resorts, including some of the best beaches in Albania. This ancient city is well-known for its blue water and proximity to the archaeological site of Butrint, whose astonishing cultural heritage is protected by UNESCO.
4. Filikuri Beach
Filikuri Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Albania. The sparkling water and soft sand make it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the incredible views. The beach is situated close to the city of Saranda, making it easy to get to. Plenty of sun loungers and parasols are available for visitors to use, as well as a number of restaurants and cafes. There are also a few small shops selling souvenirs and beachwear. Filikuri Beach is the perfect place to spend a day or two if you’re looking for some relaxation on your holiday.
5. Borsh Beach
Well-known for its blue sea, with water that’s both limpid and warm, Borsh Beach is one of the best Albanian beaches in this part of the country.
Borsh is said to be the longest beach on the Ionian Sea coast, a white kilometers-long stretch of beach. It’s perfect if you happen to be like me and you find sunbathing tedious. Instead, use the long stretch of the foreshore and take a long walk.
Local Tip: After a day at the beach, be sure to visit the Byzantine castle in the nearby village. As well as tourism, prosperity for the community comes from the production of olive oil, which is very well-known in the area. Be sure to try it!
6. Mango Beach
Mango beach is one of the most popular beaches in Albania. It is located in the city of Sarandë and is known for its clear water and beautiful sand. Visitors can enjoy many activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, and windsurfing. The beach is also a great place to relax and enjoy the Ionian Sea’s stunning views.
7. Ksamil Beach
One of the absolute best beaches in Saranda is Ksamil Beach. Overlooking the Greek island of Corfù, Ksamil is just a few kilometers away from the border with Greece and one of the most incredible places to visit near Saranda. The sandy beaches in Albania and turquoise waters rival those in Greece and are not as crowded. If you look, you can also find some secluded spots to enjoy quiet time.
Local Tip: In Ksamil Bay, there are four tiny islands that you can reach by swimming or rowing. They make for great destinations to escape the crowds at the main beach.
8. Mirror Beach (Pasqyra)
Another superb Saranda beach is Mirror Beach, a gorgeous small beach flanked by huge rocks. The reflection of the afternoon sunshine on the shimmering water is why locals call this “Plazhi Pasqyra,” translated as Mirror Beach in English. And the water is, indeed, amazingly clear here, featuring a stunning turquoise color. Additionally, what sets it apart from other Saranda beaches in Albania is that the area has no resorts or hotels. It is just peace and quiet, you and the waves here.
In addition to Mirror Beach, there are a couple of other smaller beaches, such as Central and Liman, that offer some more seclusion in this busy region.
Best Albanian Beaches Near Dhërmi
9. Drymades Beach
A beautiful white stretch of beach surrounded by olive trees, Drymades Beach is covered with pebbles on one end and sand on the other. The beach, located in a small bay off the village of Dhermi, is perfect for a relaxing time at the beach, minus the crowds that can be seen at the nearby Dhermi Beach.
Set in one of the many secluded coves and bays in the Dhermi area, Drymades Beach features excellent budget accommodations and hotels (some with fantastic beach bars), stunning natural scenery, and crystal-clear water.
10. Dhërmi Beach
The village of Dhërmi itself consists of traditional stone houses and, more recently, wooden and eco-friendly structures built to host numerous tourists without weighing down the ecosystem. The area is also well-known for its many churches, where you can admire ancient cultural treasures.
Dhërmi Beach, located 2.5 kilometers downhill, is definitely more popular than Gjipe and other gorgeous beaches in the area. Additionally, this is also a popular destination among a younger crowd since the Dhërmi nightlife is renowned all over the country.
Therefore, Dhërmi Beach Albania can get crowded with locals and tourists during the peak Albania summer season. However, there are many secluded bays next to the main beach, which you can reach by walking through beautiful olive groves, a peaceful and quiet wander along the coast.
11. Palasa Beach – Plazhi i Palasës
Located in Vlore County along the Llogara Pass, Palasa Beach is a gorgeous beach with immaculate clear waters and a picturesque backdrop of forests and cliffs. There are shallow pools and calm currents closer to the shore, which are ideal for kids. Make sure you visit this beautiful beach if you plan an outing in Llogara National Park, as Palasa Beach is just a short drive from the mountains.
Best Albanian Beaches Near Himarë
12. Gjipe Beach
Possibly the best-kept secret of the Albanian Riviera. You do need to take a 30-minute walk (around 1.5 kilometers) to reach Gjipe Beach. Don’t worry; you’re walking along a red soil path under the bathing sunlight. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to walk back later.
Gjipe is my favorite beach on the Albanian Riviera. It has a wild, simple, alternative atmosphere, clear emerald water, and a majestic stage. It is nestled among the rocky cliffs whose colors range from red to gray and white, dotted with the green of the shrubs.
This is one of the beautiful beaches just south of the Karaburun Peninsula, which is part of the National Marine Park. Hence, why it’s preserved and so well-taken care of.
13. Buneci Beach
If you’re looking for a quiet beach where you can kick back and relax, Buneci Beach is a great choice. There are sun-loungers and parasols on offer; however, there is little in the way of cafes or restaurants around, so do take your own refreshments with you.
This is the ideal spot if you’re looking for a relaxing day with calm waters to swim and sunbathe.
14. Himarë Beach
Himarë has two beautiful bays, beach resorts, restaurants, and small shops on its seafront promenade. The real gem, though, is the ancient ghost village on the top of the hill, where you can admire the ruins of the Himarë Castle. With a history of 2000 years, this castle shows a past when Himarë was an important center of the Ionian Coast. Additionally, there are also several charmingly abandoned stone houses.
15. Potami Beach
The sea at Potami Beach is ridiculously clear and calm, making it an excellent choice for families. There are countless restaurants along the beach, so you can easily find something to suit your needs and facilities, such as sun loungers. If you’re feeling energetic, you can go for a hike along the cliffs, with some jaw-dropping views on offer.
16. Jalë Beach
Tourism in Albania hasn’t fallen victim to the mass crowds (yet!), so even when choosing an equipped beach over a secluded heaven, you still won’t find dozens of tourists crowding the water. Jalë is a beach home to restaurants, bars, camping, and even disco clubs. Still, though, you can also enjoy a very relaxed vibe here.
Moreover, there are many tiny coves in the surrounding area that you can reach only by boat. So, being relaxed is just one rowboat away.
17. Dhraleo Beach
One of the northernmost beaches on the Albanian Riviera, Dhraleo Beach, is also among the most exotic and peaceful. Backed by the towering cliffs on the Albanian coastline, this sand and pebble beach gradually runs into the crystal-clear Ionian Sea.
It’s about 1.5 kilometers long, a noticeable stretch of white amid green hills and blue water, and is located below the spectacular Llogara Pass in Llogara National Park. While it’s all about stunning natural beauty now, some historians claim that it’s played a significant historical role. It’s known that Julius Caesar traveled across the Llogara Pass during his war with Pompeii, and some historians say this very beach was where he and his legions landed.
18. Livadhi Beach
Situated about 3 kilometers north of Himarë, Livadhi Beach is another one of Albania’s many beautiful beaches. It is a gem in the Albanian Riviera, a region home to numerous epic Albanian beaches.
A short drive from the Himarë town center, Livadhi Beach is one of the longest beaches in the area. It is famous for its olive trees and azure-blue water. Like many other beaches in Albania, this is not a sand beach but has fantastic white pebbles. There are many facilities, from restaurants and cafés to daybed rentals and various watersports.
19. Llamani Beach
Another of the best beaches in Albania is Llamani Beach, located merely 4 kilometers south of bustling Himarë. This is a short but wide white pebble beach; this is a much quieter alternative than the sometimes crowded beaches a bit further up the coast. Facilities include a restaurant and bar, beach chairs, umbrellas, and bathrooms.
20. Porto Palermo Beach
Another of the great Albania beaches that I really like is Porto Palermo, a small peninsula topped by a stronghold built by Ali Pasha during the 19th century. This beach also served as a Soviet submarine base during the communist era, and the whole place is so charming that it is often used as a film set.
As the rain was approaching on the day I visited, we took shelter in a stronghold and wandered around its dark alleys until we reached the panoramic terrace on the top.
The closest city to this beach is Himare.
Local Tip: On the other side of the peninsula, there is also the small church of Saint Nicholas, built by Ali Pasha in 1818 in honor of his wife. Check it out!
Best Albanian Beaches Near Qeparo
21. Qeparo Beach
Qeparo is a shingle beach with a soft, sandy surprise as you enter the water, a great pleasure for our feet toughened by four days on the pebble-covered Albanian Riviera beaches!
But Qeparo Beach is not only great for your feet! What I liked the most was that we also went to the old town of Qeparo during our visit, now (sadly) a ghost village made up of narrow cobbled alleys and stone houses abandoned and in ruin.
The city of Qeparo can be reached by bus from Saranda.
Local Tip: The village is on the top of a mountain. Just be warned that the road to get there was the most frightful on my Albanian road trip. That said, the view of Qeparo Bay from above and this abandoned village’s charm were worth it!
Best Albanian Beaches Near Lukove
22. Lukova Beach
Lukova Beach is small yet extremely charming. It’s a good option for those who don’t enjoy crowds during the summer months. The water is a green/blue shade and extremely clear. There is plenty of shade at this beach, thanks to the trees, and sun-loungers and parasols are on offer. There are also cafes and restaurants serving refreshments.
Best Albanian Beaches Near Tirana
23. Golem Beach
Just 27 km from Tirana, Golem Beach is a large and very popular beach with white sand and extremely clear water. The beach is a crescent shape and does get quite busy during the peak summer months. However, it is also the second-largest beach in Albania, so you shouldn’t struggle for space.
This is a safe beach for children to swim, as the water is clear and calm, and there are also lifeguards on duty.
Best Albanian Beaches Near Lake Ohrid
You don’t necessarily need to travel along the Albanian coast to find the best beaches in Albania. A solid alternative is visiting Lake Ohrid, located on the border between Albania and Macedonia and protected by UNESCO. It boasts stunning natural scenery as well as a few great beaches.
The village has several small canals filled with natural spring water overlooked by tiny houses, the main street with many beautiful backyards full of potted plants, and small vegetable gardens. The village itself, with all its lovely painted benches and flower pots, is very colorful.
25. Pogradec Beaches
Pogradec is a hugely popular destination for Albanian tourism. Despite the archaeological evidence showing that the Pogradec area has been inhabited since the late Neolithic period, today, you would have no idea.
Nowadays, Pogradec is a crowd of modern buildings, lakefront hotels, and tourist restaurants on the lake. It’s the main town on the Albanian side of the lake, offering all necessary tourist facilities, including home to many of the best beaches of Albania, with many that have excellent family-friendly seasides. We loved the Pogradec waterfront, with its colorful fishermen’s boats lying on the beach, suspended in the foggy late afternoon atmosphere when the lake mirrors the mountains and the clouds.
Best Albanian Beaches Near Durres
With one of the largest ports of the Adriatic and its close proximity to Tirana, the city is somewhat suffocated with development. However, there is a good stretch of beach where tourists and locals can enjoy many lovely beaches. And along the promenade, many restaurants offer delicious fresh seafood near the sand.
Spille is a 5-mile-long sandy beach that means you’ll never feel crammed in, even during the hottest summer days. Sections of the beach have sun-loungers and parasols available, and there are restaurants.
The village of Spille is also a charming spot to visit, with friendly locals and quaint cafes to enjoy a coffee.
27. San Pietro Beach
San Pietro Beach’s golden sands and crystal waters make this a stunning shoreline in Plazhi San Pietro (Durres). The beach itself is long, leaving lots of space for sunbathers and beach volleyball players.
Lifeguards are on duty here, and bathrooms, cafes, chairs, and umbrellas are available.
The beauty of Karpen will blow you away. Not only is it pretty quiet, but the white sand and impossibly blue sea are ideal for days enjoying the sun, and sun-loungers and parasols are available. There is also a tiny island with a restaurant you can walk to via a stilted wooden way.
You can reach the island by car from Durres, which will take around half an hour.
Which of these Albania beaches will you relax at?