Here is Culture Trip’s pick of Albania’s most beautiful beaches, which range from sandy lagoons and unspoiled sands to the splendours of the Albanian Riviera. The southern coast of Albania is a picturesque area of the nation, with hamlets scattered throughout and little Orthodox churches dotting the landscape. More awaits you inland, including serene natural springs close to Saranda and lakeshores close to the Macedonian border. Most importantly, there are plenty of stunning beaches, rivalling adjacent Greece with their pure white sand and transparent Adriatic waters, where you can vacation for half the cost.
It is possible to observe flaming sunsets over Southern Italy from Drymades looking across the Adriatic Sea. However, things can wait because the day is beautiful from the moment it begins, with almost Maldivian-blue waters contained in a tiny harbour. The location is never crowded, even in the summer; it has a sandy stretch and a pebbly stretch that are divided by a huge rock. So, if you’re looking for a manic-depressive pharmacological alternative, this is it.
Due to its picture-perfect appearance, Dhermi, a stretch of white sand and rocky outcroppings lapped by turquoise waters, is one of the most well-known locations in Albania. It is located close to Drymades. This beach, which is among the longest on the Albanian Riviera, is probably the busiest and loudest throughout the summer, with music blasting over speakers and lodging stuffed to the gills. However, even in August, you should be able to find a place for yourself alone if you’re willing to wander a little.
This may be Albania’s most well-known beach town; you can catch a glimpse of it when you ascend the majestic Llogara Pass and see it sprawl below. Even though it is one of the most popular tourist destinations along the Albanian Riviera, it still exudes charm. Near the town, there are several exquisitely wonderful stretches, including Livadhi, a bay of fine white pebbles bordered by olive trees, and Potami, which is charmingly positioned between the sea and a river.
Albania’s longest beach is absolutely impressive: a pristine magic carpet of snow-white stones running for 7 km (4.3 mi) along the Albanian Riviera, bathed by the impossibly blue Ionian Sea. It is surrounded by a rural landscape of peaks, olive groves, and grazing goats. In the town of Borsh, which is located around two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the seashore, reside Albanian Muslims. Castles and modest mosques can occasionally be seen tucked away in the surrounding green slopes.
The seaside village of Saranda serves as the unofficial capital of the Albanian Riviera. For several reasons, including the town’s proximity to Greece’s border and its location just over the Ionian Sea from the island of Corfu, it is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in the country. Pulebardha, one of our favourites, is reachable by bus. Pulebardha offers a memory of the Mediterranean as it was before the onset of mass tourism with its pebbly beach and clear shallows teaming with fish. We stop at Saranda on the way to our Greek island-hopping vacation, which starts in Athens and concludes in Santorini.
The Ionian Sea and Adriatic meet at a bay where Vlora, Albania’s third-largest city, sits atop. You can access some of the best-undeveloped beaches in the nation from this historic town, which served as the nucleus of the country’s independence. You can reach the pristine bays of Karaburun and Sazan from the port of Vlora with Teuta Boat Tours, but if you’d prefer to go it alone, drive in a southerly direction and lay on the shores of Radhime or Orikum. Both are textbook illustrations of the Albanian coast, sparkling in pastel blue and white.
One of Albania’s most popular beach towns is Ksamil, which is located south of Saranda. It has been termed “the Ionian pearl” because of its exquisite beauty. The location couldn’t be more dramatic—it’s a bay with three little islands that can be reached by local boat or, if you’re up for it, by swimming across breathtakingly blue waters. One word of caution: If you’re thinking of visiting in August, reconsider. Bronzing tourists from Tirana occupy every available place.
Gjipe is a magnificent beach and, in essence, a byword for peace and leisure, yet it is hidden from view by sheltering mountains. You will need to walk for at least 30 minutes to get to the bay because it is quite removed from the road. Despite this, the route is really pleasant to look at, passing through aromatic natural settings that offer tantalising glimpses of the seaside to hasten your progress. There are camping alternatives on the beach, so it’s understandable why some guests want to remain for one or two nights.
Marta is a stunning sandy lagoon with technicolour-blue waters that are peaceful and pleasant, making it ideal for families. It is only 15 minutes by vehicle from Vlora. Beyond swimming and tanning, the primary draw of a day excursion to this location is the amazing late-Byzantine Monastery of St. Mary, which is accessible along a recently built timber walkway but hidden by billowing clouds of tall, dark pine trees.
Syri I Kalter
Technically speaking, Syri I Kalter is not a beach but rather a natural spring; the name means “blue eye” in Arabic. But it doesn’t matter. This stunning, seemingly bottomless location is ideal for a quiet, private swim in one of the nation’s most breathtaking natural settings. It may be found between Saranda and Gjirokaster, and if you don’t stop, you’ll kick yourself later when you see postcard pictures of this incredible natural phenomenon.
Albania has some of the most gorgeous coastline beaches in the Mediterranean, but it also has one of the oldest and most picturesque lakes on the continent. Lake Ohrid technically has two nationalities because it crosses the border into North Macedonia. There are numerous must-see beaches in the area of Pogradec, the main town on the Albanian side, which, while crowded with sunbathers in the summer, are lovely in the spring or at the end of the summer.
There is enough for everyone on this 8km (5km) long stretch of sand that extends just south of the coastal city of Durrs. The majority of beachgoers only venture as far as the groups of umbrellas and sun loungers closest to Spille’s little village centre, but if you move a little bit to the north or south, you’ll find that the crowd quickly thins out, making it easy to claim your semi-private stretch of sand. For a mid-afternoon snack or coffee, you won’t have to go far because there are cafes and eateries dotted throughout the entire path.
Making the best of this well-liked region of Albania’s northern shore requires travelling near the end of the shoulder season. The beach in this vacation destination is a big, empty stretch of blonde sand that gradually falls into a rippling, shallow sea in late May and early June. Even though there are many sun loungers and you can purchase one for roughly £1, they are not packed onto every square inch of sand like you would find them to be during the height of summer.
This beach, which has pure, a bone-white shingle that slopes into mirror-clear water and magnificent mountain views in either direction, is somewhat of a hidden gem in Albania’s quieter southern region. It’s comparable to getting a portion of the Amalfi Coast for half the cost. You’ll be left alone to unwind amidst the soft frothy sound of waves lapping up the rocks and the music playing in the beachside apartments behind you because it is both smaller and less accessible than neighbouring Borsh beach.
It looks like Seychelles meets the Mediterranean where rows of sun loungers are shaded by palm trees planted in the golden sand and a path on stilts leads to a small island with a restaurant. It’s a 35-minute drive from Durrs, and most beach-goers will have stopped at Durr’s or Golemit, so even during the busiest months, it’s generally fairly quiet. There are also lots of other beaches to choose from if you can’t get to one of those rented recliners.
This tiny but nicely sculpted beach is tucked into a crevice in the hills between Hilmar and Porto Palermo and is a must-stop at the southern end of the coastline. The shallows lazily lap the thin shingle while you feel as though you’re staring through a magnifying glass due to how pure the water is. If you don’t want to pay the little cost, there is room at each end of the central stretch of the beach where you can throw your towel down. In high season, rows of sun chairs are spread out under tiki parasols.