When you think of the best beaches in Europe, countries such as Greece, Italy, and Croatia probably pop to mind. Yet, a common theme among these destinations is that they can be overcrowded and over-priced.
However, what if I told you that there was a county with beaches that could rival all of these destinations while being very affordable and a lot less touristy?
Welcome to Albania!
The Albanian coastline stretches for 450km and covers the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, making it one of the best reasons to visit the country. This Mediterranean gem is nestled between Greece and Montenegro and is home to some simple outstanding beaches. After spending several weeks exploring the Albanian Riviera, we’ve rounded up the 15 best beaches in Albania that you simply HAVE to visit.
15 Best Beaches In Albania
1) Bora Bora Beach, Ksamil
As you may guess by the name, Bora Bora Beach, or Plazhi Bora Bora, is a true paradise and is easily one of the best beaches in Albania. With white sand and crystal clear blue water, this gem of a beach is located in the heart of the Ksamil coast.
If you’re after the perfect Albanian beach destination, with luxury hotels that don’t break the bank, plenty of amenities, restaurants and bars, and the most stunning beaches, Ksamil is for you!
Known as the ‘Pearl of the Ionian’, Ksamil is the perfect location to soak in the delightful Mediterranean sun. As well as a relaxing place to sunbathe with a good book, Bora Bora Beach is also a great place for snorkeling, with schools of fish to be seen even in the shallows. You can also rent a boat or paddleboard and explore the three beautiful small islands just off the shore of Ksamil. Bora Bora Beach is the perfect place to spend the day for the whole family.
2) Plazhi i Pasqyra, Ksamil
“Plazhi i Pasqyra” or Mirror Beach is heralded as one of Albania’s best beaches, renowned for its breathtaking beauty and unique features. Nestled along the scenic Albanian Riviera, just north of Ksamil, Mirror Beach lives up to its name with pristine turquoise waters that reflect the surrounding landscape like a mirror.
The beach is characterized by its fine white pebbles, creating a picturesque setting against the backdrop of lush green hills.
The tranquility of Mirror Beach is further enhanced by the absence of extensive development, allowing nature to take center stage. The lack of bustling tourist infrastructure adds to the charm, attracting those who seek a peaceful escape amidst the beauty of the Albanian coastline.
Dhermi is a picturesque seaside town located a short distance north of Himara. The town itself is a beautiful coastal gem, with highlights including the Mosque of St. Mary and the cobblestone streets of the Old Town. However, the main attraction of Dhermi is the stunning beach that lies just a short walk from the Old Town.
Dhermi Beach is one of the best beaches in Albania due to its stunning crystal blue sea and multiple restaurants and café that line the beach. Whilst it has a laidback vibe in the daytime, the beach comes alive in the evenings, with cocktail bars and a vibrant atmosphere that is hard to not be drawn to. Dhermi has the best mix that will make it appeal to every type of traveler.
4) Borsh Beach
Arguably the most beautiful beach in Albania, and one of our favorites, is Borsh Beach. Stretching for 7km, this remote sandy beach lies between Himara and Saranda and is a favorite among locals. With a small selection of delicious restaurants that are scattered along the beachfront, Borsh Beach is a great place to relax and break up the drive to Himara.
As one of the last remaining beaches in Albania that isn’t overrun with beach umbrellas, this is the perfect place to relax and spread out your belongings while still having the peace of mind that your stuff is safe.
Borsh is perfect if you want a beautiful place to relax in the sun, whilst getting a true local experience.
5) Gjipe Beach
As one of the most remote beaches in Albania, Gjipe Beach is worth the effort that you have to put in to get there. Only accessible by either a 2-kilometer walk or by 4×4, we’d recommend getting there as early as possible as it can get quite crowded as the day goes on.
There is a small selection of restaurants and wagons where you can get some food and drinks, but the options are quite limited, so make sure you bring some food and water for the hike up and down.
Once you reach the small beach, there are plenty of things to do. You can hire a kayak or paddle board to explore the water, hike up Gjipe Canyon, or simply relax in the warm sun and take in the beauty of the Albanian Riviera. Due to its remote location, Gjipe Beach can be considered one of the best beaches in Albania.
6) Aquarium Beach
Only accessible by walking from either Livadhi Beach or Jale Beach, this hidden cove is a great place to unwind and enjoy the Albanian weather. Unlike most beaches in the country, this hidden paradise isn’t littered with sun-loungers and restaurants. Make sure to bring all the food and water you may need for the day, as there are no facilities on the beach to buy any.
Just north of the town of Himara, this beach is an ideal place for someone who wants to escape the crowds of the cities and larger beaches. There are also some cool rock formations that you can climb and jump off into the inviting crystal blue water.
We’ve honestly never seen water this crystal clear, turquoise, and sparkling. It’s incredibly beautiful.
We would recommend getting to the beach as early as possible, as by midday the beach can become quite busy, particularly for its small size.
7) Livadhi Beach, Himara
Another beach located just a short distance from the coastal town of Himara is Livadhi Beach. This beach also spreads over a few kilometers of coastline, meaning that there are some areas where you can enjoy some peace, allowing you to set up your beach town and relax on the sand, rather than paying for a sun-lounger.
From this beach you are also able to go on a few hikes to explore the surrounding area, for example, you can reach the nearby beaches of Aquarium Beach and Jale Beach. Another hike takes you inland to the 3,500-year-old Himara Castle, where you can learn a bit about the area’s history, whilst taking in stunning views of Livadhi Beach.
Livadhi Beach also offers a range of restaurants and bars, as well as a few accommodations options including hotels, guest houses, and camping.
8) Porto Palermo Beach
Another one of the best beaches in Albania is Porto Palermo Beach lying just 6-kilometers south of Himara. This small beach joins the Albanian mainland to Porto Palermo Castle. This secluded spot is a great place to relax and enjoy watching the fishermen sail out to sea.
This small bay is unspoiled with limited facilities. However, there is a nearby restaurant and café where you can relax and get great views of Porto Palermo Castle with a cold refreshing drink.
The fortress which sits upon the rocks overlooking the sea was built by Ali Pasha during the 19th century. For a small fee, you can explore the fortress and learn more about its fascinating history.
9) Shpella e Pëllumbave, Ksamil
One of our favorite beaches in Albania is Shpella e Pëllumbave. Located a short drive north of Ksamil town center, this hidden paradise is not on most tourists’ radar. Accessible by walking down a hillside and some steep steps, this beautiful beach needs to be added to your Albanian itinerary.
As one of the only non-private beaches in Ksamil, there is no need to rent a sun-lounger. However, there is still a small café where you can buy some food and drinks.
For sunset, we would recommend climbing the steps to the viewing platform over the beach, as the view from here is incredible. Shpella e Pëllumbave is the best place to watch the sunset over the sea. We’ve never seen a sunset as beautiful as we did here.
10) Plazhi Ksamil
Ksamil is one of the best towns along the Albanian Riviera, just south of the city of Saranda. Scattered with multiple picturesque beaches, this is a great place to spend a few days soaking up the Mediterranean sun.
With pure white sand beaches and calming turquoise water, there are many ways to enjoy your day, from swimming, kayaking, and taking a boat ride to the three nearby islands.
Each beach in Ksamil has its unique charm, but our personal favorite has to be beach number 9. This beach is located a little further south than some of the other beaches, making it a little more remote and a little less touristy.
Whether you want to spend a day or a week there, you will never get bored when you are visiting Ksamil. There are countless bars and restaurants where you can enjoy some delicious Albanian cuisine and watch a beautiful sunset over the water.
Ksamil has to be home to some of the best beaches in Albania.
11) Palasa Beach, Vlorë
Located in the town of Vlorë, just north of Dhermi, sits Palasa Beach. Stretching along the sea next to the winding Llogara Pass, this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania.
We’d highly recommend driving the Llogara pass, which is arguably the most beautiful road in the whole of Albania, with winding roads and incredible views overlooking the stunning Palasa Beach.
With a few restaurants, cafes, and even a nightclub, this is a great place to enjoy a day or two. This beautiful Albanian beach is relatively quiet, but by no means any less stunning than any other of the beaches on this list.
There are some small pools along the beach, which are shallow and calm, making it perfect for children to explore.
12) Golem Beach
Despite its name, Golem Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania. Located just 27 kilometers from the capital of Tirana, Golem Beach is a large and popular beach for locals and tourists alike, particularly in the summer months.
With clear water and golden sands, this is a great starting point for any trip exploring the Albanian Riviera. The water is shallow, allowing kids to be able to dip their toes in the inviting Ionian Sea. You will be spoilt for choices when it comes to bars, restaurants, and hotels, with amazing options for everyone.
Golem Beach makes the perfect day trip from Tirana for those wanting to swap the hectic city with a day of tranquility by the sea.
13) Drymades Beach
Calm turquoise water and a long stretch of sand. That is what meets you when you arrive at Drymades Beach. This is arguably one of the best beaches in Albania due to its laidback atmosphere and stunning natural scenery that surrounds the beach.
With a long stretch of golden sand, complemented perfectly by crystal-clear turquoise waters, Drymades Beach is surrounded by lush green hills, creating a picturesque backdrop that enhances its beauty.
What sets Drymades apart is its relatively untouched character compared to some more commercialized beaches. The absence of excessive development contributes to a more authentic and peaceful experience. The transparent waters are perfect for snorkeling and swimming, whilst the scenic coastline is ideal for strolls.
This beach is also one of the best places to watch the sunset along the whole of the Albanian Riviera, as the contrasting orange and blue create an outstanding view that you simply need to witness for yourself. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy when you visit. Whether you’re traveling with a family or with a partner, this beach has it all.
14) Lukova Beach
Lukova Beach earns its reputation as one of the best beaches in Albania through its unique combination of natural beauty and a tranquil atmosphere. Tucked away along the Albanian Riviera, just north of Saranda, Lukova Beach is the perfect mix of peace and tranquility.
Many tourists do not even realize this beach exists! With sapphire blue water to swim in, and plenty of space along the beach to relax, this has to be one of the most tranquil beaches in Albania.
Lukova is situated against a backdrop of rolling hills and olive groves, with a lack of commercial development that keeps the beach pristine. This is one of the best places for a relaxing escape along the Albanian Riviera.
15) Potam Beach
Last but certainly not least is Potam Beach, located near Himara and Dhermi at the northern end of the Albanian Riviera. With a stunning mountain backdrop and unique red pebbles that line the enticing Ionian Sea, this is not a beach to be missed.
With a large range of beach bars and restaurants to choose from, you will never get bored of exploring whilst trying the delicious Albanian cuisine. There are lots of activities to do when visiting Potam Beach, from kayaking to hiking, keeping you entertained for days
Albania Beaches FAQs:
Are there sandy beaches in Albania?
Yes, whilst many beaches in Albania consist of smooth pebbles you are still able to find beautiful sand beaches scattered along the coastline. Our favorites include Livadhi Beach and Dhermi Beach.
What is the best time to visit the Albanian Riviera?
There is no bad time to enjoy the beautiful beaches of the Albanian Riviera! We’d recommend visiting during the warm summer months of June, July, and August to get the best weather. However, you will have to share the beach with many other tourists which might not be for everyone.
If you want a more peaceful experience then we would recommend visiting during the shoulder season of April to early June, or September and October when the weather is still a lot warmer than in other places in Europe, and you won’t have to battle your way through the crowds to get a spot on the beach.
What is the best way to get around Albania?
The roads that run along the Albanian coast are truly stunning. To fully appreciate the beautiful country, we would recommend driving in Albania.
There are public transport options, that will allow you to explore the main coastal towns, but if you want to explore the more secluded spots, then driving is the way to go.
Does Albania have nice beaches?
This is a very easy question to answer. YES. The Albanian coast stretches for hundreds of kilometers, with picturesque beaches scattered throughout. People often say this is the ‘Maldives of Europe’ and it is easy to see why.
If you are after stunning beaches where you can relax all day long, while enjoying warm weather, then Albania is the place for you. With plenty of beaches to choose from, there will be no bad choice when it comes to deciding where you will stop on your trip to Albania.
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