Albania Balkans Road trip

Road tripping the Albanian Riviera

One of the best things from my recent trip to southern Albania was the road trip along the Albanian coast. After Mike and I waved goodbye to our friends at the port from our villa (we weren’t kind enough to walk with them to the port), we looked into how we could see more of the coast since we had a couple of extra days in the area.

The easiest way to make a trip along the coast is to rent a car or taking your own if you have it with you. Car rental in Albania is quite economical and honest. It costs about 30-35 euros a day if you want just a small basic car which was fine for us. I recommend these guys if you are doing it for Sarande. They let us bring it in the morning for no extra charge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are several options to take. Many others go from Vlore down to the Ksamil. We did the typical Sarande to Dheremi route. The bright side to the lack of highways in Albania is that it is pretty hard to get lost once you are one. It’s pretty hard to screw up direction-wise when it comes to Albanian roads. Although, there are quite a few other ways to screw up Albanian roads. BE CAREFUL! The roads can be a bit overwhelming. As someone who seldom drives I would be a bit nervous driving on Albanian roads., but Mike being the German he is found the roads to be fun to drive on. I swear Germans are like Americans and their guns when it comes to driving.

 

Pretty much the entire ride is a jaw-dropper. You will want to get out at every other overlook. So I recommend trying to start early or better yet make this a two trip ordeal instead of a day trip and book a place or camp somewhere between Vlore and Sarande.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We even made some friends on the way 🙂

Places to see

Qeparo

This is a quiet sleepy village, but breathtaking and worth a stop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Himari

If I was going to stay in southern Albania, I would pick this place. I am not so much into party beaches myself or posh things. The beach here was nicer than Sarande. It had a more chill and mellow atmosphere to it but didn’t seem dead. I even saw a little honky-tonk bar that would be enticing if we weren’t pushing to be back in Saranda by dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just before Himari, we found a gorgeous tiny beach that I can’t remember the name. It is about 5lm before if you are coming from Sarande.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jala beach

This beach is known for being one of the biggest party beaches in Albania. Though, once the calendar hits September, it is the deadest beach in all of Albania. It was rather creepy. There were deserted beach bars and hotels. It gave me some abandoned Olympic village feeling. It looked cool driving towards it. When you go during high season, you can take a boat to a stunning secret beach.

 

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Vuno

This is a beautiful town in the mountains. It looks like one of those generic Italian village paintings that you find at every single home and decor shop that is probably in your mom’s kitchen.  You are going to pass through this town anyway. It is kind of cute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dhermi

If you are into more posh places, this is it. Although once again, if you come in the offseason, it might be a little bit dead. The good news is you have the entire beach to yourself, and it is cheap to get one of these more expensive villas. The bad news is that nearly everything is closed. It depends on what your priorities are.  For us, it was great this way.

 

 

Ksamil

I won’t elaborate too much on this as I already went here for a full day trip from Sarande and it was not part of my road trip. This beach also deserves its own day.  But I can’t NOT talk about the Albanian coast and not mention Ksamil. I’ll write more about Ksamil in the next post when I discuss Sarrande more.

 

So stay tuned next time to hear about Saranda, Ksamil, and other things to see and do in Southern Albania!

 

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