Albanian Riviera: Dhermi, Himare, Qparo, Borsh and Palase


Do you know the southern Albanian Riviera? You have probably already heard of it if you are planning to organize beach holidays in Albania as here are some of the most beautiful beaches in Albania.

In fact, Albania is a coastal country , so you will be spoiled for choice on where to organize a beach holiday. However, continuing along the coast from north to south of Albania once you pass Valona – Vlora in Albanian – you will leave the Mediterranean Sea and enter the Ionian Sea, skirting what is called the Albanian Riviera. This means that the colors will change but also the beaches, which from the sand of Durres will turn into stones and rocks, until they return to sand again in Ksamil .

Today we will tell you about the southern Albanian Riviera but if you have not done it yet before leaving, get yourself a good travel guide and a map of the beaches of Albania , so as to better organize your holiday.

  1. Organize a holiday in the southern Albanian Riviera
  2. The quietest Albanian Riviera: Borsh
  3. The forgotten Albanian villages: Qparo
  4. The most beautiful seabed of the Albanian sea: Porto Palermo
  5. The little pearl of the southern Albanian Riviera: Himare
  6. The Movida of the Albanian Riviera: Dhermi
  7. Julius Caesar’s beach: Palase
  8. The Llogara Pass
  9. Best beaches on the Albanian Riviera with children
  10. Sleeping in the Albanian Riviera with children
  11. Tips for a beach holiday in Albania
The Albanian Riviera - The bay of Porto Palermo
The Albanian Riviera – The bay of Porto Palermo

Holidays in Albania on the southern Albanian Riviera: organize

The Albanian Riviera, that is the stretch of coast that, after passing Vlora and the Llogara Pass leads to Bunec, is one of the best known areas of southern Albania, for the beauty of its sea and for its scenic landscapes. The coastal road in fact offers wonderful views, which make it difficult not to stop and take a photograph. In fact, from the top of the Llogara Pass you descend headlong to the sea, with a road not very suitable for those suffering from vertigo. There the blue of the Ionian stands out against the white of the long beach of Palase, so scenic that it makes you want to stop for a dip.

After Palase the towns of the Albanian coast follow one another and the panorama changes again , with the red of the Canyon of Gjipe that stands out against the green of the woods and with the mountains that end in the blue waters of Himare. And then the olive trees, terraces and aloes in bloom on the sides of the mountains that enter the sea. In this stretch of the southern Albanian Riviera each village here has its dhoma plazhi – or houses with a sea view – for rent and the coves alternate with longer and more crowded beaches, with hotels in some cases very VIP.

We spent a few days in this area, returning from the extreme south of Albania and we liked the colors of the Riviera very much.
For this reason my advice if you have organized a holiday in Albania in Ksamil or Saranda , to choose the coastal road for the return, stopping for a couple of days along the way . It will certainly take longer but the road is very spectacular and the Albanian Riviera deserves to be seen.

Below, therefore, I indicate some of the possible stops for a beach holiday in Albania along the Albanian Riviera.

Borsh, the Albanian Riviera for families

Borsh is one of the first towns on the Albanian Riviera that you will encounter coming from Saranda. It is still a little developed tourist village and therefore less expensive, very popular with families with children, with an ancient castle and many olive trees.

The pebble beach is long, wide and very quiet , also frequented by campers. The sea in my opinion is not the most beautiful of the Albanian Riviera but it is certainly very quiet and you will not risk finding foam parties on the beach or loud music! 😉

To sleep we recommend the Residenza Luisa , a very quiet structure, with wooden houses and a large garden.

Qparo, the forgotten country

Qparo Fshat, or the upper part of Qparo, is a tiny village perched on the mountain where I recommend you go at least once. Here you go up a steep road surrounded by olive trees and the village, with a Greek majority, is almost uninhabited, even if you can still see the old ladies sewing on the doorstep or the elderly in shirts and long trousers chatting at the bar.

At the time of our last visit, there were no accommodations at the top and the town would need funds to restore the many abandoned houses, but walking between the two streets is, despite this, very suggestive. I also advise you to stop at the bar for a drink, a way to make a contribution to a country that, if someone does not intervene, is destined to die.

The town “by the sea” instead has a long quiet beach, with pebbles and little sand, but there is a river that enters right at the right end of the promenade. To sleep in Qparo we recommend Qparo Pano Rooms , with a beautiful sea view.

Porto Palermo and the Castle of Ali Pasha

Porto Palermo is a famous destination on the southern Albanian Riviera for the Castle of Ali Pasha di Tepelene, which still today attracts the eye from its island in the middle of the sea. The area is also known for its seabed and this stretch of Albanian sea is known to divers and snorkelers.

The stone road that today connects the Castle of Porto Palermo to the Albanian coast originally did not exist and the site, which can be visited for a fee, was built by the sultan in honor of his wife. If you have organized your holidays in Albania in a camper this is a good place to stop as free camping is allowed and you will sleep in a fabulous place.

The Albanian Riviera - The village of Qeparo
The Albanian Riviera – The village of Qeparo

Himare and the sand of the Riviera

Less famous than Dhermi, little Himare was a discovery for us along the Albanian Riviera . The town has a beautiful seafront, which comes alive in the evening with street vendors and small restaurants where you can eat excellent suvlaki and byrek at a low price, and a small historic center that is worth visiting.

Himare Fshat – the upper part of Himare – is in fact not far away, with the ruins of the Castle and a tiny but suggestive church where you can stop and reflect for a moment in the semi-darkness before going out again and admiring the sunset over the sea. Around there are some of the most famous beaches of the Riviera such as Llamani and Livadh. To sleep in the Scala Bungalow area offers mini wooden bungalows among the olive trees and a beautiful view.

Dhermi, the VIP and young Albanian Riviera

Dhermi is defined as the most beautiful and famous resort of the Albanian Riviera and is especially frequented by a young clientele, eager to experience the Albanian nightlife.

Dhermi has one side full of pebble and rocky coves, with boutique hotels and scenic restaurants overlooking the sea, while on the other side there is a longer and wider beach. The town appears frequented by a “wealthy” clientele as evidenced by the luxury cars parked on the seafront.

The ancient village is worth a visit, with its white houses facing the sea, the blue gates in Greek style and the church of Santa Maria that you cannot miss on top of the mountain and which is beautifully frescoed. Very beautiful is the Drymadhes beach , with an intense blue sea even when it is rough. To sleep check out the Golden View Residence with swimming pool and sea view.

Palase, the wildest beach on the Riviera

The Palase beach will be the first you will meet coming from Vlora, once you have passed the Llogara Pass, and seen from above I think it deserves the title of “most scenic” among the Albanian beaches. For this alone it is worth stopping to discover that it is also one of the wildest , at least until the mega resort they are planning is built …

It was on this beach, starting from Brindisi, that Julius Caesar landed with his soldiers, avoiding Pompey’s fleet that patrolled the Karaburun Peninsula and then climbing up the Llogara pass. In the area, the Summer Dream Hotel offers accommodation with splendid sea views.

The Llogara Pass and Julius Caesar

The Llogara pass you will have to cross if you want to visit the Albanian Riviera and, although the road is really challenging, with its many curves that lead to the top, I assure you that the view is breathtaking (and that the asphalt is in excellent condition!).
While you are there, however, my advice is to stop for a break in one of the many restaurants that you will find immersed in the green of the flag pines . This area is in fact park and is very famous for its cuisine, in particular for yogurt and meat on the spit.

Llogara is called “the step of Caesar” because it was here that Julius Caesar passed, after landing with his ships in Palase, before arriving in Oricum during the Civil War with Pompey and here is a National Park characterized by flag pines. .

If you are traveling with children, the Alberti bar-restaurant also has some swings and a plastic house for them to play a little before resuming their journey. To sleep instead, the Llogara Tourist Village offers bungalows with mountain views located in a large park.

The Albanian Riviera - The spectacular view from the Llogara pass
The Albanian Riviera – The spectacular view from the Llogara pass

The beaches of Albania along the Riviera with children

The Albanian beaches where we have been along the Riviera are mainly of pebbles and rocks. Here are the ones we liked the most, from south to north :

  • The beach of the Panorma Restaurant Bar:  this beach is located just before the Castle of Tepelene, coming from the south, and is a quiet cove of pebbles with beautiful waters that slope down quite slowly.
  • Llamant beach: This cove is located before Himare coming from Borsh and you will see it along the road. It is a pebble beach with very beautiful colors, equipped with bars, restaurants and a large car park.
    However, it is frequented by a young clientele and if you want to avoid loud music you should head to the right, away from the disco clubs. On the left there is a stretch of free beach that remains in the shade until the early afternoon, but the sea immediately becomes deep.
  • Himare Beach: This village has a sandy beach with a surprisingly clean and blue sea right on the promenade. The beach is very quiet and free for large sections.
  • Jal Beach:  This is a large and sheltered bay with crystal clear waters that remain calm even in the afternoon and small pebbles. There are actually two beaches but the one on the right is more stony.
  • Drymades beach : This is Dhermi beach going towards the Llogara Pass. It is a long beach with an intense blue sea, behind there is sand while closer to the sea there are small pebbles. You will find many bars and umbrellas but also some free stretches, but in the afternoon the sea can be rough.
  • Palase beach: Extremely long and with white stones, it is one of the wildest also because for now there are no hotel houses here (but there is a resort planned!). However, the afternoon is windy and the sea is rough.

Where to sleep on a holiday on the Albanian Riviera with children: our top picks

There is no shortage of accommodations along the Albanian Riviera even if compared to the offer of Saranda and Ksamil here there are fewer hotels, and above all fewer unfinished houses, almost as if tourism were more “mature” here. If you are looking for a holiday accommodation in Albania with children, below you will find our advice in some of the resorts of the Albanian Riviera.

Hotel in Borsh

The structure we booked in Borsh is called Residenza Luisa. It is a building with some small wooden houses on two floors, a few meters from the sea, surrounded by greenery, with a beautiful garden where some barbecues and tables for outdoor dining are placed . All around there are sheep, turkeys and chickens scratching free in the parking lot and the houses are full of little families with children. Borsh beach is a short walk away and although it’s not our favorite it’s a really peaceful place to stay.

The houses are well equipped and there is also a dirt parking for the guests of the structure, the only flaw is the shower in the bathroom that floods everything but nothing insuperable! 🙂

Hotel al Llogara for children

If, on the other hand, you decide to stay overnight at the Llogara Pass, perhaps to break the journey north, I recommend the Llogara Tourist Village , suitable for families, with swimming pool and play areas for children. There at the pass you absolutely must try the meat and yogurt, really excellent and the area is also very beautiful for trekking lovers. The beaches are not far away but keep in mind that the road is that of a mountain pass so with many curves.

Hotel in Saranda with children

To sleep in Saranda check the availability of the Sunny Apartment which is located in the city but outside the center and has well furnished and spacious sea view apartments. From the White City by car you can reach the villages of the Albanian Riviera perhaps stopping at some of the most beautiful Albanian beaches that you will find along the way. If you are looking for specific advice for a holiday in Saranda with children, follow the link.

Hotel in Ksamil with children

If you prefer to go further south to Ksamil we recommend the Baci Apartments which is located just outside the village and has large apartments equipped for cooking and private parking. The owners are very nice and wanting a nice beach is within walking distance. Usually those who arrive this far then move little because they prefer to explore the many beaches of Ksami but if you want to move the villages of the Albanian Riviera such as Qparo and Himare can be reached easily by car.

The Albanian Riviera - The castle of Porto Palermo
The Albanian Riviera – The castle of Porto Palermo

More information for going to the beach in Albania

So far some practical indications for a beach holiday in Albania along the Albanian Riviera. However, keep in mind that Ksamil and Saranda are not far away, there the sea is more sandy and very beautiful. The only caveat is that August is a very busy month for Albania especially in the south, so if you can choose June or July better!

And if you are looking for some other information to organize your trip to Albania  scattered around the blog you will find several articles that could be useful to you. We put some of them below:

  • Itinerary for a trip to Albania : here you can find our itinerary in Albania .
  • Costs for a holiday in Albania : everyone says that Albania is cheap but if you are wondering ” how much does a holiday in Albania cost” here you will find some information on costs.
  • The most beautiful beaches of southern Albania : if there is one thing to see absolutely in Albania it is the beaches. In this article we bring you some of the ones we liked the most.
  • Going to Albania with children : this article is dedicated to those who travel as a family and are wondering if Albania is a suitable destination for children.

You will find other articles that tell of our trip to Albania from south to north, from the most known to the most forgotten destinations you will find them in the blog! And if you don’t find what you are looking for, Comment below 🙂

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