This website is about Albanian Riviera, which is probably the best holiday destination in the whole of Albania. On this site you will find useful travel information, interesting facts, trip suggestions and very often our personal experiences. You’re welcome to leave a comment. You can also contact us directly via our contact page.
A version of this page in Polish is available here: Albańska Riwiera.
Albanian Riviera dubbed by some as “the last secret of Europe”, boasts stunning Mediterranean beaches of the Ionian coast. Geaographically, it’s a 120km stretch of coastline between Vlore and Sarande in the south-west Albania. This part of the coastline is regarded as the most beautiful in this country and it should not be confused with the rest of the Albania’s Adriatic coast.
In any other country, it would have been completely built up by high-rising hotels, but due to previous communism rule, the coast of Albanian Riviera is still relatively unspoilt by tourist industry, with many empty and deserted beaches and hidden rocky coves.
Discover Albanian Riviera
This feature alone would make it a perfect holiday destination for those who’d like to experience something new and extraordinary in this part of Europe. Despite its “freshness”, the Albanian Riviera has a lot to offer many different types of visitors. For example, those interested in archaeology would find the ancient city of Butrint very exciting. The site richly deserves its status as the country’s best known archaeological site, but there are many other fascinating ancient remains.
Outdoor lovers would be happy just about anywhere along the coast. Apart from obvious water related activities, the mountains of the Riviera offer fantastic hiking and cycling opportunities for those with more time at their disposal.
Albanian Riviera on the map:
Vlore is the biggest city in the Albanian Riviera and lies at a strategic location where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet. The town has a real Mediterranean feel to it, with palm trees along the main road and the beach starting practically in the city centre. Its geographical position – roughly midway between Tirane and Sarande, and only 75km (46 miles) by ferry from Italy – offers extremely convenient access into Albania.
Sarande, on the other hand is arguably the most beautiful entry point into the country. The town is clearly visible above its lovely horseshoe bay not long after your hydrofoil or ferry leaves the Greek island of Corfu.
The Albanian Riviera has an excellent climate, with hot dry summers and mild rainy winters. Some places average 290 sunny days a year with pleasantly warm temperatures, which only during summer months exceed 30 degrees C (85 degrees F).
The national road connecting Vlore and Sarande is the main communication artery in the Albanian Riviera. It is well maintained but sometimes steep and narrow (especially after you pass Orikum and Llogara Pass). As a result, the whole journey of roughly 130km (80 miles) by car takes about 5 hours. On the positive side: the road goes through breathtaking scenery, with mountains rising dramatically up from the coast and the deep blue sea shimmering in the sunlight.
The Ionian coast here is very rugged, with rocky coves along the narrow coastal strip and steep mountains rising almost straight up along much of its length.
The sea along this part of the coast has clear blue water and it is excellent for swimmers: warm enough to swim comfortably from May to October. Non-swimmers should be aware that the land slopes very sharply into the sea, unlike the gentle Adriatic coast further north.
The many beaches along the Ionian coast are usually made of small pebbles, and there are also many sandy ones, especially in the south. The best known beaches are those in Dhermi, Himara, Gjipe and Ksamili, but there are many hidden gems elsewhere for those with the time and passion to explore. Check this mini guide on top 5 beaches in Albanian Riviera.
We consider Albania a very safe place for foreign visitors. The tradition of matchless hospitality ensure that pretty much all Albanians will go out of their way to assist you however you may need. You will always be treated with utmost respect.
Our first experience with Albanian Riviera was in 2008. We liked it so much that we bought a holiday apartment. Since then we like to visit Albanian Riviera a couple of times a year. In just about every one of our visits we are lucky enough to explore many unique locations which often thanks to their remoteness or simply due to their inhospitable interior are genuine proof that the landscape of Albanian Riviera is quite spectacular for such a small country.
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