Summer is the season of the road trip, and that’s no surprise there. Warm weather, bright sun, festivals and carnivals around the country make for an eventful trip. You can’t get a few hours down the road without passing many little towns, some interesting people, and hidden land marks.
The line of villages along the Albanian coastline is known a Bregu to the locals, and the Albanian Riviera to the rest of the world. Starting in Palasa and ending in Lukove, it is filled with many isolated pockets of undeveloped nature, quaint villages, incredible night life, history and culture, and some of the most incredible vistas in the Balkans, so it’s no wonder this hidden gem is gaining in popularity.
How to get there?
The best way to quickly get to the Riviera and thoroughly explore it is by car.
It goes without saying in Albania to be careful and keep a close eye on slow moving vehicles, pedestrians, undisciplined drivers, and road signs. Some of the roads can be quite dangerous as they are narrow at spots, high elevation means constant braking or frequent gear changes, tight turns and lack of barriers at some places. The typical Mediterranean coastal roads are very satisfying. However, don’t be surprised to see old ladies dressed in black carrying heavy loads of wood for the winter, people riding on donkeys, shepherds walking undisturbed with their flocks of sheep, or just cows chilling for the sake of it – all along the road. Once you reach your final destination you can consider yourself true Albanian driver.
Check out routes here.
The 6 Best beaches:
Palasa: A new access road takes you from the main road to the beach itself, a glorious stretch of white sand and rock with no development to speak of apart from a nightclub which brings in crowds at the height of summer.
Dhërmi: The beach at Dhërmi is one of the most famous in Albania, a dazzling strip of white rock several kilometers long that is lapped by deep blue water. The sea around Dhermi is famous for its blue color and clarity. Deserted rocky coves, orange and olive groves.
Ksamil: Ksamil is often the first and most exciting day excursion. Many of the beaches are privately owned and charge a small admissions fee but it’s the perfect spot for those looking to be centrally located.
Bunec: A cool little river runs down the middle of a beach that remains pleasantly quiet even in high summer. A couple of cafés will keep you fed, and there is also a hotel right by the water.
Himara: The sleepy town of Himara is a well-established stop on the tourist trail. Despite its growth in the past decade it hasn’t lost its charm, although the town beach is now crowded in summer.
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