The beaches in Albania are one of Europe’s best-kept secrets: as stunning as Greece’s or Croatia’s, yet a fraction of the price.
Most of the most beautiful Albanian beaches are clustered around Saranda and the Albanian Riviera, which stretches through the coastal regions of Saranda and Vlora. However, the north of Albania does has a few pretty beaches as well that are less well-known, such as Shengjin Beach with its beautiful sand dunes, Rana e Hedhun.
While many people have covered writing about the best beaches in Albania, we’ve thrown in a few secret beaches as well as island beaches (yes, Albania does have a few islands!) that you can visit for a more off the beaten path Albanian beach experience.
Note that Albania is getting more popular year by year, and as a result, things along the coast change quite rapidly, as Albanians try to meet the demands of tourists. While we do our best to keep this content up to date, we welcome feedback from your experience visiting Albania’s beaches so we can keep this resource as useful as possible!
Best-Known Albanian Beaches
There are actually several beaches right near Saranda, the largest city in Southern Albania, all with crystal clear waters, with amenities to make your beach trip extra comfortable. Most beaches in Saranda have sunbeds, loungers and umbrellas for you to rent so you can relax comfortably and not worry about getting too much sun.
We won’t detail every beach individually here, because they’re all really close and offer similar amenities. Some of the most popular Saranda beaches are Pasqyra (also known as Mirror Beach), Pulebardha Beach, and Monastery Beach.
Do note that these beaches can be crowded, full of a lot of tourists and locals during the summer peak season – and even more so on weekends! Most beaches have ample parking if you’re traveling around Albania with your own rental car, which is quite convenient, though be prepared as some have paid parking.
Ksamil Beach is located in Southern Albania, just south of Saranda and above the Roman ruins at Butrint, one of Albania’s two UNESCO sites.
There are plenty of beautiful beaches in this area, but Ksamil is quite popular with locals (and it tops the list of Albanian beaches for foreign tourists too!) because of its clear waters and four small islands – all with their own beach! – which you can even swim out to.
Boats are also available to take you there if you’re not a confident swimmer, or if you don’t have a dry bag to bring your belongings in while you swim otu to the islands.
As Ksamil Beach is one of Albania’s highlights, be aware that it can get very crowded, especially around the month of August, so it is best to avoid it in August if you don’t want to feel suffocated by the crowds or not be able to find a free sun lounger. The beach itself is also a bit on the small side, so you’d want to show up early enough to grab a spot.
The small islands in Ksamil can be reached by boat or even by swimming, and you can easily view them while sitting on Ksamil Beach – which is why Ksamil is so popular, that view is hard to beat! Two of the four small islands are connected to each other by a sandbar, which is why people call them the Twin Islands of Ksamil.
What’s so great about Ksamil is the availability of restaurants, cafes, and bars – it’s very commercialized, yet its original beauty is still preserved. Public transportation to the beach is also easily available from Saranda, so it makes it a perfect destination for a quick beach escape.
This Albanian beach is probably one of the country’s most beautiful — a hard task, as there are so many to choose from! It is said that it is also the largest beach in Albania, and judging by the looks of it, I’d believe it!
There are rolling hills visible from the beach, full of beautiful forest which adds a contrast to the gorgeous blue waters of Borsh Beach. It’s on the way from Saranda to Himara, about 20 minutes north of Saranda.
Despite its immense beauty, this beach is never all too crowded: mostly because you have so much space to spread out on, so it’s quite easy to get a patch of coastline all to yourself.
There are several restaurants (we love Solymar and recommend them!) long this stretch of coastline, all with ample parking. Many restaurants have music playing to add to the summer vibes as you swim or just bathe in the sun. Sunbeds and loungers are priced around 250-300 lek (around $2.50 to $3 USD) for the day as of 2018, but prices may have increased since then.
The road to get here is smooth and easy, which makes your travel very stress-free! If you plan on staying for the night, there are mostly budget accommodations available. There are also spots for campers and trailers – all you need is a perfect bonfire to make some s’mores or grill up some steak or freshly caught fish!
This beach has a rocky coastline with a soft pebbled beach that is around 1.5 kilometers long, with some of the most beautiful sea you can imagine. There are some cafés and restaurants serving up delicious seafood and Albanian food nearby, so you won’t have the hassle of preparing a picnic before you go.
Do note that the roads leading to the beach zigzag all over the place, so if you’re prone to motion sickness as I am, just make sure to bring some motion sickness pills to help you. However, if you’re in it for the adventure, then you will enjoy the views and the arduous road to get there. Lounges and umbrellas are available, but you would need to rent one. They are priced at 500 lek per day as of 2019.
A new beach bar was recently added, where you can get some drinks or a cold beer to enjoy in the sun. It is a total escape from the town of Palase and you may also visit the Llogara National Park which is nearby. If visiting Llogara National Park, check out SkySport there, which offers amazing paragliding flights over the Riviera!
This beach is quite a favorite from locals coming from Tirana and of course, Durres itself. Locals from neighboring Montenegro and Kosovo also often come, as it’s an easy drive from both countries.
Durres gets quite crowded during the summer season because of its economical prices and very accessible location, close to the main highways in Albania. There are also some stunning beachfront hotels here, great to splurge on if you plan on staying in Durres: imagine staying in a hotel where you can wake up to spectacular views of both the city skyline and the Adriatic Sea!
Comfortable loungers are everywhere and you can also dine in some of the cafés and restaurants along the coast. Bring some watershoes or sandals that can go in the water, because the beach is primarily pebbly and some rocks are slippery. Sunscreen can be very expensive in the stores here, so if you don’t want to get burned by the hot sun, bring one!
This beach is located in Lezha in northern Albania and is both a beach and a port with a lot of history. It is also very accessible because the beach lies just beside the main road!
Prices are also very economical (especially the rooms and accommodations) as this is outside of the main Albanian Riviera stretch, perfect for a budget-friendly vacation.
The waves are usually still in the morning, but around afternoon or evening the winds and waves start to show up. It would be perfect to go for a morning walk just when the sun starts to rise!
In the summer afternoons, it can be a little noisy around some of the more commercial areas in the beach, due to the loud music the shops and restaurants play – best for people who love a fun party vibe rather than quiet relaxing.
There are options for restaurants around, but the best ones are of course, the seafood restaurants! Since you are already in town, you may also visit some of the local bars and admire how charming they are! If you want a beach bed Mykonos-style, check out the hip beach bar at Sueno Beach – the beds are pricy for Albania, but oh so comfortable and Instagrammable!
And of course, you can’t miss its gorgeous sand dunes, called Rana e Hedhun, which means “thrown sand.” These sand dunes slope dramatically directly into the sea, creating a beautiful contrast between the land and sea. Plus, as so many beaches in Albania are primarily pebbly, it’s lovely to have some soft sand to sink your toes in!
This is a small beach in Qeparo, nearby Porto Palermo and Borsh – so it’s ideal if you want to do a day beach-hopping around the Albanian Riviera.
Despite the Albanian Riviera’s growing popularity, there are still areas that are not commercialized: Qeparo is one of them. Plenty of people simply lay out their towels and relax so they don’t have to pay for sun loungers, but they are available (as well as parasols) if you want to beat the heat — just ask for one at the section of the beach, which also has two delicious restaurants.
Make sure that you are able to bring cash with you because there are no ATM’s in the area, and you don’t want to ruin a great day at the beach when you run out of money. It is also easily accessible via the National Road – making it ideal for road trips!
This beach is not quite as popular as others in the area, but it offers a great blend of quiet vibes, beautiful views, some basic amenities, plus hotels and accommodations nearby if you plan on staying for the night.
If you still have time, you can also check the so-called ghost village of Qeparo – you will see historic buildings and architecture that is beautifully preserved as if lost in time. However, there are still a few locals who live here, so it’s not totally a ghost village – it is still remarkable, though!
Orikum Beach is located south of Vlora, in a small town with the same name. It has a long beach with both sand and pebbles.
This lovely Albanian beach has retained much of its unspoiled beauty despite the presence of commercial establishments like hotels, restaurants, and shops. Transportation is easily accessible by bus, though you could also rent a car or hire a taxi from wherever you’re staying in the Riviera.
Note that there are no ATMs near the beach, so it’s best to first stop in the city center, then you can get some cash or maybe buy some snacks at the supermarkets.
Gjipe Beach is considered as one of the most beautiful paradise-like beaches in the entire Albania. It is another exotic escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The best part about being in this beach is the exclusivity due to its remote location – you might end up seeing less than 10 people. It can only be reached by car (or taxi) and it is truly an off the beaten path. It is very close to Himare, just around 16kms and around 30-40 minutes (as long as you don’t get lost!). If you’re planning to spend a night at Jale Beach (which is nearby), you can get here by boat. It has rocky cliffs with unique formations carved out by the ocean waves, plus there are also caves here, where you can explore, swim and keep yourself well shaded from the heat of the summer sun. Everything is just perfectly magical here, and if you were cast adrift on this beach, you wouldn’t mind!
Secret Beaches in Albania
Shpella Beach (which means Cave Beach) is located near Lukova, one of the most beautiful villages in Albania. The roads to get here zig and zag quite a bit, so you need to bring some motion sickness pills if that will make you dizzy.
There are also plenty of beautiful olive and orange trees found in the vicinity: an Albanian Garden of Eden, if you will!
The coast of Lukova has several beaches, though Shpella is the largest and best for swimming. Some beaches are just small strips of sand, and other parts of the coast are just forested area.
The waters have a cool blue color and taking a dip in the pure, salty seawater can truly energize you during your vacation. It can have some local tourists during the summer season, but it’s usually not so crowded — it is truly a jewel that’s worth seeing.
A beautiful virgin beach near the heart of Saranda, that has an awesome tranquil ambiance. You may reach this wonderful location by boat from Kakome Beach, where there are several cheap boats during the day. If you have the energy, you can also go by foot from Lukova Beach, which is about a 5-kilometer hike.
Because it’s not possible to get here directly with a car (a boat or a long hike is required), it’s extremely beautiful and undisturbed. People who want a quiet and less crowded beach should definitely give it a visit. There are some huge rocks and fine white sand with a backdrop of the green mountains.
Boat trips, hiking, and camping are some of the most popular activities here. Sometimes the beach will be almost totally empty and you won’t see more than a few people. Long walks are required to get to the beach from the town if you choose to hike, and the trail is a little rocky – some say it can take up to around 2 hours. Once you get there and see those views, though, you’ll surely find it’s all worth the walk!
Itan Kreyziu Beach
The location of this beach can be quite difficult to reach, but it’s worth it! Once you are there, you will be amazed by the extremely clean blue waters of the sea and the pebbly shore.
It is truly an escape and who would have thought that something like this could be found so close to Saranda – only about 2 kilometers away! You won’t find any chairs or loungers here, so you must bring one if you can (or lay out a towel, though it’s not so comfortable on a pebbly beach like this). However, the solitude and stunning views make it worth it!
Portonovo Beach near Zvernec is a popular destination for tourists who want to escape the crowds and are tired of all the highly-trafficked beaches along the Albanian Riviera. Despite how quiet it is, it is only 15 minutes from the heart of Vlora, and the water here is just electrifyingly beautiful and clear.
Some areas of the beach have rock formations and also huge rocks that have been eroded from the crashing sea waves. There is also Narta Lagoon here, where you will find a wooden bridge that will lead you to Zvernec Island, where you can explore a monastery!
On some areas of the beach, you will see beautiful rock formations that seem like they have been swept by the changing tides and rushing waves of the sea. It is also another peaceful escape and you will love the beautiful isolation it gives you, because of its magical and unique beach and off-the-beaten-path location.
Located in Delvine District (a former military area), this private beach boasts white sand and pebbles and azure blue waters. There’s also a lot of lush vegetation growing here and a picturesque mountain view.
Some investors wanted to use the location for tourism and build a hotel, but the villagers of Nivice protested to keep it free for all to use without havign to pay, and the project was stalled.
Come prepared with all that you need for the day because there are no shops or restaurants here, so bring water and food with you. You may also want hike on the nearby hill in the area so you can get a good view of the entire bay! If you still have time and want to hop onto a nearby beach, you can definitely visit Krorezi Beach: occasional boats leave from here, so it’s a great way to pair the two stunning beaches!
This is one of the most incredible wonders of nature you will see from Vlora! If you can, it is best to reserve an entire day to enjoy Grama Bay and camp overnight here.
There’s a lot of history and culture located in the town of Grama, so it’s worth visiting the town as well as its stunning cerulean bay.
Note that it is quite difficult to hike here – the trails appear to just have been made haphazardly by people coming to visit the beach, rather than by any organized fashion. Do not forget to bring food, water, and important stuff with you like sunscreen with you, as the location is quite remote and you won’t find a place to buy anything!
However, it’s all worth it. The rocky cliffs, crystal blue water, and the mountains with their shrubs all combine to create one of the most stunning sceneries in Albania – a true nature lover’s paradise.
Cape of Rodon
This rocky cape is where you will also find the Rodoni Castle (which is in ruins) with a long stretch of beach and several resorts. The trail is a little grassy and unkempt, but once you’re there, you will truly fall in love with its sandy beach and turquoise waters!
You may also want to visit the small church, the Monastery of St. Anthony, as it has historic pieces that make it one of the most famous churches in all of Albania. Every 13th of June, patrons of St. Anthony will flock to the church. It also has a nice view from there.
There are some restaurants and makeshift cafes here, so if you fail to bring some food then you’ll be fine! A must-try are the food shacks selling grilled seafood – yummy and all so fresh! With all its enchanting beauty, it will make you wonder why this beach doesn’t have plenty of visitors (even though it’s only an hour away from Tirana).
Playa del Este Karpen
Rocky and dusty roads lead you to Playa del Este Karpen in Golem – it can a bit hard to find, so make sure to follow the road signs or you will end up getting lost!
There are usually few people on this remote beach, as it is not possible to get here by public transportation. There are sun loungers and beds plus umbrellas available and a restaurant and bar to keep you full if in case you get hungry or thirsty for some cocktails.
Rates are a little high compared to other places along the coast, but knowing Albania, even the pricy beaches in Albania are quite affordable.
This is also known as the General’s Beach (as its name translates to in English). The way to get to this beach can be quite difficult due to the roads (what’s that phrase about the bumpiest roads leading the most beautiful places? Whatever it is, it applies here!)
It still boasts a beautiful clean beach for tourists and locals to enjoy. It is next to Spille Beach, another lovely beach in Albania, and you can get a good view of the Albanian mountains as you frolic in the sand and dip in the crystal water.
There’s one restaurant, with so-so reviews, so it would still be best to bring some food and drinks with you… but considering the price, it is very affordable and can make it less hassle for you to bring food. Spille Beach (below) also has more food and restaurant options, if that’s a better choice for you!
This is probably the best option for adventurous travelers who want to take the road less traveled that leads to a majestic destination: a beach set in a pine forest and groves of olive trees, swoon!
The beach has very fine sand (even if it’s not like those white beaches). This is located close to Gjeneralit Beach; it it is quite small, but you will see some decent accommodations here. So, you might want to include this when you visit the neighboring beach, or plan to have lunch here before you go to Gjeneralit!
There are plenty of free showers and sunbeds, loungers and umbrellas for rent. There are several hotels and restaurants here and the buildings are not too tall, so you still get to see the greenery behind.
What’s good about the fine sand of the beach is that they rake it every day so you won’t step on sharp pebbles (something that you’ll notice is hard to find in Albania!). Try to bring a mosquito repellent lotion or spray if you plan on staying for the night — the mosquitos are quite pesky during that time.
Island Beaches in Albania
Sazan Island Beach
This is the largest island in Albania, and it actually was a military base for decades before recently being converted into a tourist attraction.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding this isolated military island. Some even say that there are secret tunnels and technology to withstand a nuclear attack…. and if you think about how neurotic Hoxha was, with his hundreds of thousands of bunkers scattered around the country, you’d realize that’s probably
After the decades isolation, it took time before some tourists realized the remote beauty of the island that has remained untouched for many years.
You will also see historic military buildings and of course, the beautiful and peaceful beach. The shore has small white rocks from shells and dead sea corals that have been drifted by the waves. You won’t see a crowd here and there is a small cave that leads you to the other side of the island with a lovely view!
Kunë Island Beach
If you are a fan of watching birds (it is Important Bird Area [IBA], which includes threatened species) and lovely blue coastlines, then you should visit this stunning island.
You will also find it inside the Kune-Vain-Tale Nature Park (which is a protected area). It lies in the Adriatic Sea, and there have been recent conservation and expansion efforts so that the residents can use the resources available.
The shoreline has beautiful cliff rocks and blue waters that hit the fine sand. Some areas of the beach have huge polished rocks where you can just sit and admire the skyline meeting the blue sea. Hopefully, the efforts to preserve the beauty of this island will continue. There are also a few people who camp here – especially those who want to watch the birds in their natural habitat!
Tongo Island Beach
The island is located in the southern part of Albania in the Ionian Sea. It is very rocky (with specks of lush vegetation) and it is best to visit the island on board a speedboat, which you can arrange from Ksamil or Saranda.
The waters are extremely clear and some tourists visit to go fishing because of the rich sea life here. Swimming is absolutely lovely here – the water is clean and refreshing! You will love how quiet and peaceful the beach is – very few and sometimes there’s even none!
It has one of the most romantic sunset views in all of Albania. From here, you will also see a good panoramic view of the mountains and the sea. If you’ve hired a boat, you may wish to ask them to also add Stillo Island (since it is near Tongo Island) and enjoy swimming off of its pure, clean shores. It is another island that was once part of Albania’s military zone that is now being converted into a beautiful nature spot.
It’s also actually just a few hundred meters away from the Greek mainland, which is wild!
The island is home to the Zvernec Monastery, which was built somewhere between the 13th and 14th century. What’s so cool about traveling to this island is that it is connected by a narrow wooden bridge to the mainland of Albania in the town of Zvernec!
The island is small but it is packed with sights you can’t miss. The monastery is named after St. Mary and it has Byzantine-inspired architecture and art. You may also check out the pine forest inside the island and enjoy the fragrant smell as you walk along the trails.
Taking a nice swim on the island is also possible, but admittedly, it is not quite as beautiful as the main beach, Zvernec Beach.
Originally from California, Allison has been living in Bulgaria for the last two years and is obsessed with traveling around the Balkans. She has been published in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, Matador Network, and the Huffington Post. She loves befriending dogs, drinking coffee, geeking out about wine, and cooking food from around the world.