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The Ionian Coast is the perfect escape with its idyllic beaches, rugged nature, and sheer variety of destinations to explore. While there are plenty of very popular beaches around the Riviera, there are some lesser known ones which only a select group of locals and tourists venture out to. With plenty of ancient caves, intimate bays, hiking trails and villages, there is much to explore and discover along the treasure-filled Ionian coast. Because the choice can be overwhelming, we have taken the liberty to select some of the most exclusive destinations that you absolutely must visit!
Located between Potam and Llaman, the two most popular beaches of Himarë, this small bay can only be reached by boat. You will find no shops, cafes, or restaurants here so you have to take food and refreshment along. But, it is this kind of hard-to-find intimacy that makes Filikur worth experiencing. Here, it’s only you, the turquoise sea, the generous sun and gleaming cliffs.
Gjipe is known as the most coveted summer spot of the entire coast! There is an unspoken competition among locals as to who will be the first to reach this heavenly bay. Surrounded by white cliffs reaching a height of about 70 meters, the water here is as clear and invigorating as it gets. You can either reach this bay by boat (which you can take from the bay of Jala) or hike along a forest trail up on the cliffs. An ideal spot for camping, take everything you may need with you and enjoy the virgin shores of this paradisiacal bay.
Exactly as its name suggests, this particular cave feels like you are entering another world. Famous for its mysterious appeal and legends, the famous Albanian writer Petro Marko has written an entire book on this beauty. A must-see of the Riviera, this cave can be reached by taking a boat from Dhërmi. Be prepared as the grand entrance of the cave inspires strong emotions! Truly spectacular and awe-inspiring, the cave’s teal, cobalt and emerald waters are warm enough to swim in and the beautiful perpendicular cliffs surrounding it appear mythological.
For a major part of the 20th century, this former military base was prohibited to the public. Fortunately, this allowed the area to be left untouched, making it into one of the most stunning virgin beaches in the entire country. Off the coast of Vlorë, this is where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet. The peninsula cannot be reached by car but there are many boats that regularly take tourists to the site. Keep in mind that the Karaburun Peninsula is the only national marine park of Albania, with a lot of hiking opportunities among the rich and lush wildlife.
It is one of the most beautiful and exotic beaches of Karaburun, with turquoise waters and spectacular surrounding landscape. On the cliff sides surrounding the beach, you will find over 1500 ancient Greek and Latin inscriptions which were placed there throughout the centuries by seamen who found shelter from the stormy seas. For a small taste of this amazing place, view this video here.
St. Andrew’s Bay (Gjiri i Shën Andreut) is a small but intense bay! It is perfectly isolated by the steep cliffs surrounding it, which not only emphasize the deep cobalt colors of the crystal waters but make this area perfectly peaceful and secluded. If we could pick the one place along the Riviera that will make you feel like a true explorer, this is it!
Known as the highest cave along the Albanian coast, this cave has a height of 60 meters. This majestic site is positioned on the westernmost point of Albania, at the edge of the Cape of Gjuhëz. The Cave of Haxhi Ali is known as the “home” of pirate Ali, who is thought to have used the cape as a strategic point of attraction during sea battles. Within the cave, you will want to dive into the clear, refreshing waters of an elliptically shaped lake.
A truly unique beach rests within this gorgeous cave! This one is for the hottest summer days where you would like to swim in fresh waters, away from the intense heat of the southern Albanian sun. The waters are as crystal clear as they get and the surrounding scenery mesmerizing. For an idea of what the cave looks like, check out the snorkelers in this video.
Of the countless untouched beaches of the Karaburun Peninsula, this one is definitely worth adding to your list of destinations. Perfectly exclusive, this wonderful secluded area is perfect for camping and some alone time with the sea and the beauty of nature. Watch this small preview of the turqoise waters of Brisani Bay.
Located on the Adriatic coast and only a 30-minute drive away from the capital of Tirana, the beach of Durrës is the longest and most populated one in Albania. Modern architectural structures, like the Sphinx, the vibrant promenade and delicious seafood restaurants are a serious part of this city’s charm. Durrës is also home to [...]
A city rich in history and spectacular landscapes, in addition to being one of the gastronomic centers of the entire country, Lezha packs a full day of valuable and delicious amusement. After you have enjoyed your morning coffee in one of the many cafés in town, head to Lezha Castle, from where you will get [...]
The City of 1001 Windows is a national cultural and heritage center that reserves beautiful strolls along cobbled alleys in its famous Mangalem, Gorica and Castle neighborhoods and much more. One of the most historic and oldest cities in Albania, Berat will fill your entire day with beautiful landscapes in addition to its rich culture [...]
The last coastal city along the famous Southern Riviera is one of the most ideal places to spend your day In reality, the legendary coastal city of Saranda would ideally require more time to be fully experienced. However, if you only have 24 hours to spend here, we can suggest the absolute must-sees of this [...]
Tirana has been Albania’s administrative center for almost a century but this city’s history goes even further back in time. While the toponym Tirana was first mentioned in the 15th century as “Plenium Tyrenae” (“Field of Tirana”), the city became an established settlement almost two centuries later, in 1614, with the establishment of a mosque [...]
The vibrant coastal city of Vlora is a requisite stop for every tourist visiting Albania during the summer. Vlora marks the boundary between two seas – the Adriatic and the Ionian – which, in turn, are simultaneously shared between three countries: Albania, Greece, Italy. Boasting an enviably long and beautiful coastline, the ideal exploration of [...]
Pogradec is the quintessential nostalgic city! This particular sensation arises as you cruise down the national road and an image of utter calm and timeless beauty unfolds before you. The smooth, creamy blue surface of Lake Ohrid, punctuated by lively swans and seagulls! This is the lake of a certain delicious fish called koran, found [...]
This southernmost city in Albania is quite the multifaceted place! An ideal destination for your holidays, year-round. A location full of virgin beaches and delicious seafood. Sharing a border with Greece, Saranda is also a gateway to this other significant cultural destination. Last but not least, entry fees in the most wonderful parks and destinations [...]
Most refer to Dibra’s northeastern highlands as Albania’s roof. This region’s highly diverse nature is due to the high peaks and low valleys found along Dibra’s rugged landscape. As one of the largest geographical areas of the entire country, Dibra boasts more than 50 spectacular natural monuments. Countless caves hidden among beautiful mountains, small lakes, [...]