With summer just around the corner, you might be thinking ahead to where you want to spend your summer holidays. Whether you are lucky enough to live in Albania, or you are planning a visit to this largely discovered Balkan gem, these are the beaches you need to be sure to visit in Summer 2019. With 12 weeks of summer coming up, I have chosen a beach for each weekend so you can do a grand tour of the country and whilst lying back and topping up your tan.
One of the most beautiful beaches in the country, Drymadhes is uncrowded, laid back, pebbly and framed by the dramatic mountains and Llogara pass behind. This is a place where the mountains meet the sea, and you can lie back listening to reggae with a cocktail in hand, whilst watching the paragliders swoop down from the pass above. There is a great restaurant at the Drymadhes Resort where you can enjoy some of the best seafood the Albanian Riviera has to offer.
Located a short drive from Lezhë and not far from Shkodër, Shëngjin beach sits next to the town of the same name, as well as two lagoons. An up and coming tourist destination, it offers a few hotels and restaurants nearby where you can relax after a long, hard day at the beach. The water here is stunning and safe for swimming in and with three kilometres of beach to choose from, even in peak season, you will find a spot to pitch your towel!
Cape of Rodon
Situated a short drive from Tirana, the Cape of Rodon is a hugely popular beach destination for locals and tourists alike. The cape stretches out into the sea and extends along the Adriatic coast, offering stunning views as well as interesting historical and cultural monuments along the way. Churches and castles are complemented by fine white sand, and azure waters, creating the perfect place to spend the day, a week, or even the whole summer.
Not far from Jalë, Gjipe beach is accessible via water, or by trekking 30 minutes or so along a path. Secluded, stunning, and with a distinctly hippy vibe- this is the perfect beach to camp out and enjoy a long weekend of Albanian summer. The beach is mainly pebbly and it is flanked by a number of small caves and coves as well as interesting rock formations that are great for snorkelling. You feel truly cut off from the world when you are here and it is, until now, one of Europe’s best kept beach secrets.
One of the most beautiful beaches in the country, Jalë is also known for throwing wild beach parties and being a playground for some of the country’s young, rich, and beautiful. Daybeds here can cost hundreds of euros (including champagne) and some of its bars are considered as the most exclusive in the country. For us mere mortals however, it is also a great place for watersports- you can go paddleboarding, sea kayaking, rock climbing, sailing, or snorkelling and there are a number of secret beaches nearby that are only accessible via sea.
The longest beach in the country, measuring in at seven kilometres of unbroken paradise, Borsh remains one of the most dramatic and beautiful stretches of coastline in the country. The beach is still relatively uncommercial with just a few bars and restaurants dotted nearby, but due to its prime location and stunning views- this is undoubtedly set to change. Come and while away the summers days on this remarkable beach.
Three kilometers north of Himara, this long, white, stone beach is one of the best kept secrets of the Albanian riviera. Adjacent to it is the beach of Potami which is also picturesque with inviting, calm, and crystal clear waters. Here you can rent a daybed for around EUR 5 and there is a great little restaurant built into the cliffs that offers unsurpassed views of the beach beyond.
Situated in the south of Albania, Sarandë is a popular tourist destination. Just a few kms over the sea from Corfu, it serves as a perfect base to exploring areas such as Butrint. Whilst the beach areas are not the most exquisite in the country, they do offer beautiful views of Corfu, and you can enjoy a great range of restaurants and shops, as well as long, relaxing walks along the promenade.
When you arrive in Ksamil, you might think that you have actually ended up somewhere in the Caribbean. White sand, easily accessible islands, and the most startling turquoise-blue water you have ever seen, all await you when you visit. These beaches get super-busy during the summer holidays so the best time to visit is May, June and September. Be sure to check out one of the restaurants by the water’s edge and sample local mussels, before swimming out to one of the three islands and sitting on a jetty, soaking up the idyllic surroundings.
One of the most famous beaches in the country, Dhërmi enjoys several kilometres of white sand, flanked by crystal clear water on one side, and bars and restaurants on the other. Whilst the beach gets pretty busy in the summer months, it is big enough to accommodate and if you venture far enough, you stumble across hidden bays and coves that offer a bit more tranquillity. There is a good range of budget and higher-end hotels nearby as well as lots of activities including jet-skis and snorkelling schools to help you pass the time.
The beach at Porto Palermo may be small, but when surroundings include Ali Pasha’s 19th Century Castle, and the dramatic Thunder Mountains- who is complaining? This tiny bay makes you feel like you are swimming in a lagoon and the whole area is pretty much unspoilt with just a small restaurant nearby. During the communist regime, the area was closed off to civilians but now it is one of the must-visit locations on the Albanian Riviera.
Something of a well-kept secret, Bunec is quiet and secluded with a pebbly beach divided by a small river that flows from the mountains beyond. This is known as being a great place to watch the sun go down, and you can either camp or rent a room right to the water’s edge. If you are looking for somewhere quiet and tranquil, this is the place for you.
This article was originally published on The Balkanista.