Road Tripping Through Albania
When planning our European trip, Albania wasn't somewhere we had ever thought of going - not until our close friends had mentioned how much the loved it. There really is never much talk about the country though, & my only perception was that it was a dangerous, underdeveloped and out of reach. That is why this incredible place has surprised me the most - and I'm so excited to share with you all our experience.
Our first stop was in a small town just across the border called Shkoder, where we glamped out in a large hippie tipi on the shores of the lake ⛺️ (Lake Shkodra Resort). It was a little more expensive to rent the tipi at €20 a night, rather then choosing a pitch for €12 a night; but it was worth every penny! Our stay was overly relaxing, spending our day laying in the abundance of hammocks, reading books & eating the cheapest, tastiest & freshest seafood at the campsite restaurant. One of my all time favourite campsites that we stayed in across Europe!
From there we spent almost a whole day driving directly down to Vlore where the riviera coastal route begins. The roads in Albania aren't as bad as you hear, but they are a little dodgy & usually add an extra hour or so onto your journey. Although the drive can be long and tedious, there is lot of bizarre things to see on the side of the road that will keep you entertained the whole way. For instance you may have to stop while a dozen little pigs cross the road - and even in the most bizarre cases small turtles 🐢😂.
Approaching Dhermi was a draw dropping site. Surrounding the beaches are tall rugged mountains with windy roads leading you from the top to the bottom without ever leaving you shy of a magnificent view. If you're exploring Albania in a camper van like us, you should know that the first beach you reach in Dhermi called Drymades Beach doesn't allow for camper vans, only tent sites. We were told we could free camp along the beach down the very end, but decided to find a spot with power so we could camp comfortably for few days.
Livadhi beach is the next beach along from Dhermi, where we were welcomed with open arms to the many camper van sites along the beach front. For the next 4 nights we camped and chilled out at a small campsite called Camp Kranea, offering a laid back friendly vibe at a small price of €15 a night. The owner is super friendly & always up for a chat over a cold beer at the bar. The beach its located on is extremely beautiful. A secluded piece of paradise for a very low cost. Be aware that most the beaches are quiet littered, which is a major disappointment! But apart from that the water is an amazing turquoise colour with literally no floating rubbish. We spent hours on end just swimming & jumping off this little wooden jetty that sat a small swim out at sea.
Little secret tip to finding an off the beaten track beach. Take a walk up over the mountain on the right of Livadhi beach and you will come across a magnificent little cove that hugs crystal clear turquoise water. Don't forget to pack a bottle of water and some snacks because theres literally nothing else around.
My absolute FAV beach in Albania is definitely Gjipe beach! The long & steep walk down the side of the mountain is so so worth every step when you reach the water that is Gjipe beach. Some of the clearest & bluest water we swam in throughout Europe. The surrounding mountains and large beach canyon tie the whole setting in together as the perfect location. Please put this undiscovered slice of paradise on your must see travel list before its untouched beauty is taken over by crowds.
Our last stop along the riviera was the small beach village, Ksamil. So many reasons to love this amazing place! So cheap for accommodation, at €10 a night we camped right on the beach and only a 10 minute walk to the main beach and restaurants. For the price of nothing, you can eat oh so well with some of the freshest and tastiest food we tried throughout Europe. Beach Bar Restaurant Korali is up there with one of my favourite restaurants EVER. For €20 we both got starters, seafood mains and a beer each. Not to mention the super quick and friendly service I can not recommend this place enough. Make sure you order the bruschetta 🍅. Mouth watering omg! Although Ksamil is much more touristy and crowded than the other beaches we stayed at, we still absolutely loved it. I mean whats not to love about repeatedly running and diving off a jetty into crystal clear blue water 💦.
We visited Albania in September, which in my opinion is the perfect time to visit. Summer was over, yes, but that meant less people and cheaper prices. I left this country feeling so happy with the memories and experiences we had gained. The people are so friendly with constant smiles on their faces, making you feel welcome wherever you go. Thank you Albania, I can't wait to meet again!