A Guide To The Epic Albanian Riviera

What if I told you that you can find the most fantastic beaches in Albania? They are pristine, almost empty and cost absolutely nothing compared to other beaches in Europe. In this post, I’m going to walk you through the best beaches in Albania.

The Albanian Riviera is in the south of Albania, extending from Ksamil in the south to Vlorë in the north. The only cities along the riviera are Vlorë, Himarë and Sarandë, but there are several small villages along the road. The drive is breathtaking and I highly recommend it.

How to get to the Riviera
You have three options:

  • Fly to Tirana and go from there. It will take you five hours drive to Sarande if you rent a car, or by what sounds like terrible public transport anywhere between 6 and 9 hours.
  • Fly to Corfu (Greece) and take a 30-min ferry to Sarandë. This is the easiest option.
  • Rent a car.

Getting around is not the easiest because public transportation doesn’t always have a set schedule. So bottomline: You’ll need a car, or lots of patience for public transport, to really see the riviera.

Car Rental In Albania

If you’re coming from Corfu, the easiest would be to take the ferry to Sarandë and pick up your car there.

Ksamil Beach, Albania

Tropical beach

Ksamil is a small village south of Sarandë with several little beaches and coves. The three islands in its turquoise bay are an easy swim or boat ride away. Ksamil can get really crowded in summer, particularly August, so go for June and September instead. The best beaches in Ksamil are Bora Bora and Lori beach.

Pasqyrave (mirror) Beach

Hidden beach

Pasqyrave or Mirror beach is located between Sarandë and Ksamil. It’s a bit off-road with a small steep gravel road leading up a hill side. The beach is located on the other side of the hill and not visible from the road. There aren’t any signs so you’ll need to use Google Maps.


“Big” city beaches 

Sarandë is the unofficial capital of the riviera and the port to Greece. Sarandë does however have a nice esplanade with some great restaurants and bars. And it’s a great place to use as a base for visiting Butrint National Park, Ksamil, The Blue Eye and Gjirokastër.

Porto Palermo

Beach with a castle

If you want a medieval castle with your beach, you should head to Porto Palermo. It’s located just a few kilometres south of Himarë, which makes it a great day trip.

Llamani Beach (Himare)

Small beach

This little charmer of a beach is also located south of Himarë. It’s not so big, but the crystal clear waters make it worth checking out.

 Jala Beach

Crystal clear water beach

Jala beach is also known as “Glass Beach” for its crystal clear waters. Let’s just say that it lives up to its name. It can get a little crowded for Albanian standards, but it still doesn’t come close to what you’ll find in Croatia or Greece.