The secret is starting to get out! And that secret is the beauty of the Albanian Riviera. This corner of the world is home to some of the best beaches in Europe and the world!
Not only is this one of the cheapest places in Europe to explore but it is still considered a hidden gem, with many of the most beautiful beaches in Albania totally secluded and unspoiled.
Imagine impossibly clear turquoise waters, white cliffs and green-topped cliffs. This is what you can expect from the Ionian and Adriatic coastline of Albania.
While many beaches are frequented by local and international tourists in summer, there are still many lesser-known beaches and wild coves for you to explore in Albania. Rest assured you will leave Albania knowing that you truly have found heaven on Earth.
Continue reading to discover the best secret, unspoiled and secluded beaches in Albania (and Europe!).
1. Dhermi Beach
Dhermi Beach is located in a gorgeous village on the Albanian Riviera that is built into the hillside. It is known for orange-tiled roofs and white washed buildings. This is a quieter option than Saranda and Ksamil but also has plenty of gorgeous Albanian beaches to enjoy.
Dhermi beach lies below the village is known for its, mountainous views, rugged cliffs that drop into a white pebbled beach and crystal clear waters.
Dhermi is considered to be a luxury destination in Albania so expect to find a higher standard of accommodation and higher prices.
2. Gjipe Beach
This incredible wild beach is renowned as being one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Albania. Get there before it is not so hidden anymore!
Gjipe Beach is accessible only via boat or hike. It is always the beaches that are the hardest to reach that are the best and the least crowded! Gjipe Beach is a totally unspoilt and secluded bay with towering cliffs and a steep canyon leading to the electric blue sea. Prepare to believe you are looking through an Instagram filter!
This beach is very popular for wild camping and is one of the best places in Albania to be completely immersed in nature.
The only way to reach this beach is via car and then walking 1.5km or by taking a boat from Himare or Dhermi during summer.
3. Jale Beach
Jale Beach is another incredibly beautiful unspoilt beach in Albania. Located just north of Himare and near the traditional Albanian village of Vuno, Jale Beach itself is becoming quite popular however there is a more secluded part of the beach known as North Jale.
These beaches are small but simply breathtaking and one of the best-secluded beaches in Albania.
4. Aquarium Beach
If you are taking the time to visit Jale Beach then do not miss the even more secluded and wild Aquarium beach. Aquarium Beach is a tiny secret beach hidden inside a crescent shape cove and surrounded by rocky cliffs.
Aquarium beaches can be accessed via hiking back from either Livadhi or Jala Beach.
5. Gjiri i Filikurit Beach (Secret beach)
It is located a couple of coves south of the main beach in Himara. This is a secret beach that is also completely inaccessible by road. You either have to drive and walk through some bush and climb down a steep cliff or go via boat from the main beach in Himara.
This beach has crystal-clear water and dramatic rock, cave and cliff formations. There is cold fresh water running down the cliffs on the side of the beach which mixes with the warm sea. This is a very special place!
Image credit: Chasing Coconuts
6. Porto Palermo Beach
Just south of Himara on SH8, you will find the beautiful deserted bay of Porto Palermo protected by the Porto Palermo Castle. This Venetian Fort overlooks a small beach that remains mostly untouched by tourism, except for a charming cafe. This is well worth a stop and a swim.
7. Qeparo Beach
Just around the corner from Porto Palermo, you will find the gorgeous village and beach of Qeparo. This is a small beach that is less crowded but equally as beautiful as other beaches in Albania. Fall in love with the beach and don’t forget to explore the upper village which is half abandoned!
8. Borsh Beach
Located south of Queparo you will find Borsh beach. This beach isn’t exactly secret or secluded however it has the longest stretch of beach on the Riviera. This means there is lots of space to find your own secluded perch without being crammed in like sardines. Borsh is a beautiful place to relax, swim and enjoy local olive oil which the area is known for.
9. Bunec Beach
Continue south on the Albanian Riviera and you will find the stunningly secluded beach of Bunec. This is a great place to stop off on your way to Sarande or Himara.
10. Palasa Beach
Located 40 minutes north of Himara you will find the beautiful beach of Palasa. This is a 1.5km pebbled beach with a stunningly beautiful blue sea.
Palasa isn’t a wild beach and there are some options for cafes and restaurants however it is still relatively undiscovered. Plus Palasa is the gateway to reach some of the more wild and off-the-beaten-path beaches in Albania.
11. Shën Andre Bay
A hike to Shen Andre Bay (Sant Andres Bay) is for the fit and adventurous souls! You can hike from Palasa to Shen Andre along the coastline, which on its own is one of the most beautiful things to do in Albania. You will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful and untouched beaches you have laid your eyes on.
Make sure you are fully prepared before embarking on this adventure!
12. Grama Bay
From Shen Andre Bay you can continue north to Grama Bay which is located in the Karaburun National Park. This is a secluded and secret pebble beach in Albania with pristine waters, dramatic cliffs and no people. It is a hidden paradise and can be thought of as Albania’s answer to ‘The Beach’.
The hike to get here takes over 8 hours, however, there is the option to hire a boat instead. It is always the places that are the hardest to get to that are the most rewarding and that is a fact!
This is one of the best secret beaches in Albania that still not many people have had the privilege to experience.
13. Dafina Bay
Another option for adventurous souls who love to go off the beaten path is Dafina Bay. If you are ready to get well off the beaten track to find the best beaches in the world, then add Dafina Bay to your list. It is a difficult and somewhat dangerous hike to this bay, there isn’t a proper trail, but you will be rewarded for your efforts. Dafina Bay is located in the Karaburun National Park and the nearest city is Vlore.
14. The Old Anchor Beach Lukova
Located on the coast between Himare and Saranda, you will find Lukova. The Old Anchor Beach is below the village of Lukova and isn’t to be confused with the more popular Lukova beach. A 15-minute walk from Lukova will bring you down to this unspoiled beach.
Here you will find a place to camp and a local restaurant called The Old Anchor, where you can also rent umbrellas and chairs if you desire. This is not compulsory, you can also perch wherever you desire for free.
15. Kakome Beach
Kakome Beach is a wild beach located just north of Saranda and offers a beautiful secluded beach. It is only accessible by boat or by a steep hike, ensuring it remains an unspoiled paradise.
Kakome Bay is a peddle beach surrounded by gorgeous greenery, cliffs and an impossibly blue sea.
16. Krorëza Beach
A stone's throw from Kakome Beach you will find another wild beach paradise called Kroreza Beach. This unspoilt paradise remains one of the most beautiful hidden beaches in Albania.
Kroreza is a beautiful cove which is hard to find, ensure it remains one of the best-hidden beaches in Albania. To reach this bay on foot you need to follow a 5km path from Lukova beach, but it is well worth the effort. It is best to set off early in the morning and take supplies for the day. You can also reach this beach via boat trip from Saranda.
17. Mango Beach
About 3km from Saranda, you will find the hidden gem of Mango Beach in a private and picturesque bay. This is a private beach and offers a scenic and secluded alternative to the busier beaches in Saranda.
The only catch is you need to pay to rent sun loungers and umbrellas to enjoy the beauty of this beach.
18. Monastery Beach (Plazhi i Manastirit)
Monastery Beach is located between Sarande and Ksamil and offers a more quiet and secluded experience. This beach is easy to access, being just 200m off the main road, meaning it can get busy but is still much quieter than beaches in Sarande and Ksamil.
You can also walk up to the monastery on the hill to soak up the spectacular coastal views.
19. Mirror Beach (Plazhi i Pasqyrave)
Mirror Beach is one of the most beautiful coves in Sarande. It gets its name from the calmness of the water which reflects the sun like a mirror. Located south of Sarande and north of Ksamil, it is the perfect spot to explore on a day trip.
The sandy beach and clear, calm waters make it the perfect place to swim, sunbathe and relax.
From here you can swim to the tiny island of Pasqyrave and explore its aquatic wonderland underwater caves.
20. Pulëbardha Beach
Pulebardha Beach is located just south of Mirror Beach towards Ksamil on the strip of land that separates the sea from Lake Butrint.
This is a much quieter option than the beaches in Ksamil and offers a tranquil atmosphere, beautiful cliffs and of course stunningly blue water. There is a restaurant and a place to hire loungers so it isn’t a wild beach but it is relatively unspoilt.
To reach this beach you need to walk (or drive) 1.7km from the main road down a dirt track.
21. Shpella e Pëllumbave Beach
Between Mirror Beach and Pulebardha Beach, you will find the beautiful Pellumbave beach. This secret beach in Albania is stunning! It is a short hike from Pulebardha Beach, which ensures it is always quieter.
22. Ksamil Beaches & Islands
Ksamil is the gem of the Albanian Riviera. To be honest, the Ksamil beaches and Islands and hardly unknown and secluded, however, they simply couldn’t be left off this list! Ksamil is considered to be home to the most beautiful beaches in Albania. Ksamil is a village which lies on a sheltered bay with islands. With its tropical vibe, white sandy beaches and warm clear waters, it is considered to be the Maldives of Europe.
While the main beach, Plazhi Ksamilit, can get very busy, there are other small beaches to explore.
Other beaches to explore in Ksamil are:
- Paradise Beach
- Lori Beach
- The Last Bay
From these beaches, you can swim, kayak or paddle board to the four Ksamil islands. These islands are perfect for sunbathing, relaxing and swimming and are more secluded than the beaches on the mainland.
To enjoy the splendour of these beaches (which are NOT a secret), the best time to visit is outside of the summer season but when it is still warm. (April to May & September to October).
BONUS: Drive the SH8 from Saranda to Himara
The coastal drive from Saranda to Himara of SH8 is simply stunning. Driving along this road and stopping by at any little turnoffs that look like they lead to the water is the best way to discover hidden gems and secret beaches that are totally wild and no one knows about.
The best time to visit the beaches of the Albanian Riviera
The best time to visit is of course when the weather is sunny and warm. This region is sunny most of the year however the warmest months are from April to October which June-August being the peak summer months.
While the peak months bring great weather and lots of energy and vibes from the other tourists, it means even the most secret beaches can be busy!
Therefore, the most recommended time is to visit the secluded beaches (and to also have access to better deals and more accommodation) and the months of April to May and September to October.
How to get to the secluded beaches
While there are lots of buses in Albania that can take you to most places, unless you want to hike a lot (not ideal in the heat), the best option to discover the hidden beaches is to hire a car. If you are a solo traveller this may be a more challenging option, however, you can use Facebook Groups and hostel connections to connect with other solo travellers to go on beach exploration missions together