Albania is still one of the most underrated holiday destinations in Europe, but every year more visitors are discovering the beauty that the country has to offer, especially its beaches. The Albanian coastline is split up in two parts by the Ceraunian Mountains, with the beaches to the north facing the Adriatic Sea and the southern beaches facing the Ionian Sea. The Ionian coastline is also called the Albanian Riviera, and consists of many smaller and larger beaches. Some are full of life with bars, restaurants and hotels, and some are hidden and can only be reached by boat or via a hiking trail. To help you navigate to the best spots, we have listed the 10 best beaches of the Albanian Riviera.
1. Saranda Beach
Of course Saranda Beach can not be missed on this list, so let’s start with the obvious. If you arrive to Albania by the ferry from Corfu the beaches of Saranda are the first things you see. Saranda is the largest city in the south of Albania, so you can expect a bustling environment and a good nightlife with many beach bars. There is a public beach along a pedestrian promenade, but there are also many smaller private beaches around the town.
2. Ksamil Beach
Bora Bora? Zanzibar? No, it’s Ksamil, a small resort town in the south of Albania, close to the Greek border, but it almost looks like you’re not even in Europe at all! With pretty sand beaches and amazingly blue water and some small islands you would almost think you’re in the Caribean. No wonder Ksamil Beach is considered one of the best and well known beaches of Albania. But this also means that it can get busy during the summer months. At the same time, there is a lot of life since Ksamil is full of restaurants, beach bars and it even has a surprisingly good nightlife.
3. Mirror Beach
Mirror Beach is a smaller beach between Saranda and Ksamil. It is beautifully located between some rock formations which make it a nicely hidden gem. The Albanians consider it one of the best beaches of the country so it’s no wonder they call it Mirror Beach, as it feels like a magical place when the sun reflects like a mirror in the clear blue waters.
4. Pulëbardha Beach
Pulëbardha Beach is another hidden gem which is a narrow beach strip squeezed between the rocks and the turqoise waters of the Ionian Sea. The beach is also located between Saranda and Ksamil and from the restaurant on top of the rocks you have the most spectacular views at the beach on one side and the coastline of Saranda on the other side.
5. Krorëza Beach
Krorëza Beach is located a few kilometers north of Saranda in a beautiful green environment. It’s a real pristine beach that can only be reached by boat or via a long hiking trail. If you like some adventure, you can book this hiking and camping tour. Most people actually get to Krorëza Beach with a boat tour and you can find many boats offering this trip from the beachfront boulevard in Saranda.
6. Lukova Beach
Lukova Beach is a large, but quiet beach, not far north from Saranda. Since the beach is located away from the town of Lukova which is up the hill, it’s a nice getaway from the crowds of other beach towns in the riviera. Still there are some beach bars and restaurants on the beach so you can easily enjoy a full day here.
7. Borsh Beach
Located in front of the town of Borsh, Borsh Beach is the largest beach on the Albanian Riviera and stretches over a length of about 7 kilometers. There are plenty of facilities, but due to its size and lack of mass tourism, it’s a quiet and peaceful environment, surrounded by green fields and spectacular mountain ranges.
8. Gjipe Beach
Gjipe Beach tops many lists of best beaches and not without a reason. The virgin beach is quietly located in the natural environment of the Gjipe Canyon, away from any town. To get to Gjipe Beach you need to take a bit of a hike from the nearby parking lot for about 25 minutes, but it’s well worth the effort to reach this paradise.
9. Aquarium Beach
Aquarium Beach is by far the smallest beach on this list, but it definitely deserves a mention for its unique characteristics. If you really want to get away to a hidden and pieceful beach, this is your pick! Aquarium Beach is located to the north of Himara and can be reached via a hiking path from either Livadhi Beach or Jala Beach. What makes this small sand beach unique is that it is surrounded by rocks which stretch out into the sea, creating a tiny hidden bay that looks like an aquarium.
10. Drimades Beach
Drimades Beach is one of the larger beaches in the northern part of the Albanian Riviera, in front of Dhermi town and just before the Ceraunian Mountains. Drimades Beach has a nice variety with more quiet spots but also more happening places with trendy beach bars, restaurants and hotels and some nightlife. Throughout the spring and summer there are also several festivals taking place here and on surrounding beaches.
Looking for more beaches? Check out our full list of beaches of the Albanian Riviera.
Want to get to the best beaches by yourself? Why not rent a car? Find the best car rental deals here.