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The Albanian Riviera, a stretch of land from the Llogara Pass to Ksamil, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe. With its pristine beaches, ancient hamlets, and gorgeous vistas, this region of Albania is a must-see destination along the Balkan trail. Here’s our list of reasons why everyone should visit the southern coast of the Land of the Eagles.
Albania’s coastline, with rugged mountains, traditional hamlets, golden beaches, and crystalline waters, offers visitors views that seem only possible in dreams. The best way to admire these fabulous views is to reach the hilltop villages by sunset. One of the best panoramas you’ll see in the Riviera is from Kisha e Manastirit të Shën Mërisë, a lovely small Orthodox church located on the top of Dhërmi, which is quite possibly the nicest village on the Riviera. Don’t forget to bring your camera with you!
If you love to spend your summer holidays in total relaxation, surrounded by olive groves and crystal clear waters, well, the Albanian Riviera is the right place for you. It offers travelers the best beaches in the country, and some of the best in the Balkans, for half the price of other neighboring countries like Italy, Greece, Montenegro, and Croatia.
Another great reason to spend your holidays at the Albanian Riviera is the food; Albanian food is full of flavor and is extremely versatile. At the restaurants on the southern coast of the country, you will find tasty fish and seafood menus, as well as vegetarian dishes and typical Albanian gastronomy, such as tavë kosi (lamb cooked with yogurt sauce) and other traditional delicacies. The best part is, it will cost you only a few euros.
The coastal hamlets of the Albanian Riviera may not be as famous as some Italian villages or Greek towns, but they certainly have their charm. From the mountain pass of Llogara to the enchanting beach of Ksamil, (the last destination on the Riviera), you’ll find plenty of hamlets to explore, such as Dhërmi, Vuno and Qeparo. Walk along cobblestone streets, smell the blooming bougainvillea, visit small Orthodox churches, and take photos of the colorful and decorative doors that adorn homes and buildings.
If you are planning to visit this area of Europe, you need to know that every year in spring and summer there are several big outdoor events like the South Outdoor Festival, an event held in Vuno every April, and Kala Festival, a music festival that takes place in Dhërmi at the end of June. Remember that the city of Saranda, the main town of the south of Albania, is a vibrant summer destination with many cafés and clubs too. You won’t be lacking in things to do.
Despite locals and travelers frequenting the more famous beaches of the area, like Dhërmi Beach, Borsh Beach, and Ksamil, the Albanian Riviera has plenty of hidden bays that are just as pleasant. Since they are hidden, they are not crowded, not even in the peak of the season. Don’t miss the chance to relax at Drymades, Gjipë, or Jalë, three of the most beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean Sea.
Albania offers the chance to have a beautiful holiday without breaking the bank. Compared to other neighboring countries, here you can spend your nights in great hotels without spending a fortune. The area has excellent accommodations to choose from, such as Hotel Orange in Dhërmi, a beautiful hotel that is only a few steps from the enchanting Drymades beach, or Blue Days Hotel in Borsh, located in front of Borsh Beach, Albania’s largest beach.
Despite the gorgeous beaches and vibrant nightlife, this area of Albania has a very ancient and fascinating history. Throughout all the Riviera, you will find plenty of old Orthodox churches, monasteries, and ancient castle ruins, such as the Ali Pasha castle, hidden in forests. Behind the beach of Ksamil, there is the largest and most important archaeological site of Albania, the archaeological park of Butrint. The park is a not-to-miss destination for those who are interested to learn more about the history of this beautiful country.