Albania Itinerary | 7 days in the Albanian Riviera

Albania Itinerary | 7 days in the Albanian Riviera
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The Albanian Riviera is one of the most up-and-coming destinations in Europe, offering something for everyone. With the perfect blend of stunning beaches, charming coastal villages, rich historical sites, and next level hospitality, there are so many reasons why you should visit. This 7 day Albania Riviera itinerary will dive into all the best spots for you to visit in Albania, with insider tips on where to go and what to do in Albania, and act as the perfect Albania Road Trip Guide for you.


PS – Useful Travel Resources that will help you plan better for your Trip to Albania – 


 

7 Day Albania Road Trip Itinerary 

 

 

Days 1-3: Ksamil

Your Albanian Riviera holiday will likely start in Tirana, the country’s main airport. From here, we recommend you hire a car to drive to the first stop in this 7 day Albania itinerary: Ksamil. It’s a 4 hour drive from Tirana, though there’s several places you can stop along the way, including Vlore, Gjirokastra, and the Blue Eye.

Gjirokastra | Photo by Abenteuer Albanien on Unsplash

Once you arrive, check into your hotel and freshen up before heading straight off to the beach for sunset. As the Albanian coast is west facing, you’re almost guaranteed spectacular sunsets right over the sea every night. 

Ksamil is known for its vibrant beach clubs and spectacular beaches.

Spoiler alert: these are the most beautiful beaches in the whole of Albania in our opinion!

With white stony sand and sparkling turquoise sea, it honestly feels like you’ve been transported to South East Asia, not the Mediterranean! 

On your first full day in Ksamil, we’d recommend heading slightly out of town to either Pulebardha or Pasqyra beaches. They’re a little quieter than the beaches directly in town and, in our opinion, are the most beautiful. 

Hire a sun lounger for 1000 Albanian Lek each, lay back, and relax with the sound of the waves lapping at the shore. Both of these beaches have onsite restaurants which we can highly recommend – the food is fresh and delicious! Plus, you can have drinks and ice lollies brought directly to your sunbed: pure bliss.

Ksamil | Photo by Bleron Salihi on Unsplash

Once you’re done sunning yourself, spend a few hours in the afternoon wandering around Butrint National Park. This UNESCO world heritage site offers a unique insight into the history of the area, as it brings together Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Venetian influences.

Butrint National Park | Photo by Bleron Salihi on Unsplash

In the evening, head to one of the many trendy beach clubs lining the seafront for a cocktail (or two) in beautiful surroundings. We’d recommend Poda Beach House for its chic vibe and plenty of insta ops – in fact you’ve probably seen it on social media yourself!

Start your third day with a dip in one of Ksamil’s main beaches, with views over one of the four islands. If you get up early, you’ll be treated to pure serenity, with the beaches completely to yourselves. Spend the morning relaxing at the beach before taking a 1hr 15 minute drive to your next destination.

 

Days 3-4: Borsh

Borsh is just a 1hr 15 minute drive from Ksamil, and yet it offers a completely different vibe to the popular beach town. Borsh beach is huge, stretching for over 7km. Unlike Ksamil, there are plenty of spots in Borsh where you can lay a towel and relax on the sand, rather than having to hire a sun lounger.

There is plenty of parking at Borsh beach itself, with several quiet beach bars offering food and drinks, with amazing hospitality. 

Borsh is the perfect place to just spend a day chilling after Ksamil. We found there were very few tourists in Borsh, with the vast majority of people being Albanian, offering a really authentic feel and a chance to immerse yourself in the Albanian culture. We were told by a tour guide in Tirana that this was his absolute favourite beach in the whole of Albania, and we have to agree, it’s beautiful. 

Check into your hotel, spend some time relaxing in the family-friendly ambiance and interacting with the locals, before setting off again around midday the next day.

 

 

Days 4-6: Himara

For days 4-6 of your Albanian Riviera itinerary you will be basing yourself in Himara, a little further up the coast. It’s approximately a 25 minute drive to Himara from Borsh, though we’d recommend stopping halfway to checkout the fortress of Porto Palermo, built by Ali Pasha in 1804. Head inside to learn more about the fascinating history of Albania.

The Fortress of Porto Palermo

Once you arrive in Himara, find a space to park your car up and head straight into the trendy town to explore. Car parking should cost between 300-500 lek for 3-5 hours. With a beautiful promenade along the beach, lined with cafes and restaurants, it’s the perfect place for a stroll. Pick up some souvenirs and postcards to send home, before heading to Pasticeri Delight for the best ice cream in Himara! It costs just 100 lek per scoop and it is honestly divine. 

On day 5 of your Albania itinerary, get up early and drive to Livadhi, just a few minutes down the road, before hiking to Aquarium Beach. It should take you around 30 minutes to reach Aquarium beach and the hike is not too strenuous, though we would recommend sensible footwear as the path is a little uneven. 

Aquarium Beach is the most stunning little cove, with warm, sparkling turquoise water, cliffs to jump off, and fish to snorkel amongst. As it is relatively inaccessible by car (unless you have a 4×4), it remains quiet until around 10am, with no sun loungers, noise pollution, or facilities. Find a spot to lay your towel, grab a good book, and relax in this Mediterranean oasis. 

The beauty of Albanian Riviera

Around midday the beach will start to get very busy and, honestly, not so tranquil. At this point, walk back to Livadhi where you can either spend the afternoon sunbathing on Livadhi beach, a beautiful sandy beach with deep sea to swim in, or head back to Himara beach. Both of these beaches are super chilled, and you have the option of hiring a sunbed if you wish. Himara beach even has free beach umbrellas for you to use!

The food in Himara has strong Greek and Italian influences, and for dinner, we’d recommend heading to Valentino Restaurant. The food is fresh and delicious, the views over the sea are incredible, and the staff are so friendly.

 

Days 6-7: Dhermi

Set another early alarm on day 6 of this 7 Day Albania Road Trip Itinerary, and drive around 40 minutes to Gjipe Beach, a gem along the Albanian Riviera. You’ll need to park near the Holy Monastery of St. Theodore as the last stretch of road is only accessible by 4×4. The walk from there should take no more than half an hour.

Gjipe Beach is nestled at the end of a 2km canyon, with cliffs towering high around it, and the deep blue Ionian Sea lapping at the shore. The natural beauty of this beach, surrounded by lush greenery, is why it’s absolutely worth visiting. It’s quite popular, hence we recommend arriving early, and has a small restaurant and toilet facilities.

After spending a couple of hours on Gjipe Beach, hike back to your car and continue driving for around 20 minutes to reach Dhermi, where you’ll spend your last night on the Albanian Riviera.

Before heading to your accommodation, park in the Old Town where you’ll be able to explore a sleepy authentic Albanian hill side town, with the most stunning views over the sea. Climb up to the Monastery of St. Mary at the top of the Old Town for the best vantage point.

Head to Dhermi beach, a short drive away from the Old Town, for a late lunch in a luxurious beach-front bar that will have you believing you’re in Bali. 

Dhermi beach is similar to Himara in that there are sections that are covered in sunloungers for you to hire, and sections that are kept clear for sunbathers who’d rather relax on a towel (and save a bit of money!). It offers the perfect balance between luxury and authenticity, with locals loving to stop for a chat and offer you tips on where to visit. This is without a doubt the best place to end your 7 day Albanian Riviera itinerary, and flying out of Albania to your next travel destination.

 

7 Day Albania Road Trip Itinerary – FAQ’s

Do I need a car to visit Albania?

Whilst a car is not essential to explore the Albanian Riviera, we would highly recommend one in order to make the most out of your time and to avoid hassle. Many beaches are only accessible by car, and the bus system in Albania is notoriously unreliable, so we would highly recommend hiring a car in Tirana before starting this trip.

 

Where is the best nightlife in the Albanian Riviera?

The award for best nightlife in the Albanian Riviera has to go to Ksamil. With numerous trendy bars and nightclubs, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself and meet other travellers on a night out. With venues getting busy around 10pm, head out early to get the most out of your night.

 

Is Albania expensive?

When compared to other popular beach destinations in the Mediterranean, Albania is a relatively affordable country. In fact, it is one of the Cheapest Countries in Europe. With accommodation costs starting at just £20 per night and a meal out setting you back less than £10, it is very easy to travel Albania on a budget. That being said, if you prefer something a little fancier, there are plenty of high grade hotels and restaurants to splurge on. Albania really is as cheap or as expensive as you make it!

 

 

7 Day Albanian Riviera Itinerary – Summary

Day 1 | Arrival in Albania | Head to Ksamil

Day 2 | Explore Ksamil

Day 3 | Relax in Ksamil | Head to Borsh and spend the day by the beach

Day 4 | Head to Himara

Day 5 | Drive to Livadhi | Hike to Aquarium Beach

Day 6 | Drive to Gjipe Beach | Head to Dhermi | Explore Dhermi

Day 7 | Departure from Albania

The Albanian Riviera, located in southwestern Albania, is a beautiful stretch of coastline known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and impressive cliffs. It’s a favourite spot for tourists worldwide, offering something for everyone.

This 7-day Albania Road Trip itinerary, which has been rated as one of the Most Scenic Road Trips in Europe, sees you visiting four of the most beautiful and popular towns: Ksamil, Borsh, Himara, and Dhermi. Each town has its own unique character and charm, and you’re sure to have a wonderful time exploring them all.

Feel free to adjust the plan based on your interests and budget. If you love hiking, consider more time at Gjipe Canyon. If you’re on a tight budget, you could stay in hostels or guesthouses and cook your own meals.

No matter how you choose to spend your time, you’re sure to have the best time on the Albanian Riviera. It is a beautiful and affordable destination with something to offer everyone.

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