Traveling the South of Albania

Albania is really an underrated European travel destination, it has it all, from high mountains to turquoise water beaches, a scenic Riviera, a unique culture with friendly locals and fresh food harvested from the nearby sea and garden. And the best part - compared to the rest of Europe it is utmost affordable. My partner and I visited the Southern parts of Albania during the summer of 2022. After arriving in Tirana, we took a bus till Vlore and went to our further adventure by car.

Tips for Traveling to Albania

Here are some things you should take in consideration while planning your trip:

  1. In the summer it is very, very hot - make sure that your hotel room or AirBnB has an AC. Maybe consider going at the end of September or late Spring. We will definately do next time.

  2. You might have seen viral videos from hidden Albanian beaches - in reality, they are often occupied with empty sunbeds and you may be forced to buy one in order to spending your day there.

  3. If you prefer a plant based diet - be prepared - in the Albanian Riviera the most common vegetarian options were Greek salad and Margharita pizza. Vegan food is rarely available and if then mostly in bigger cities and few places. Gjirokastra and Berat, however, provide a traditional veggie paradise.

  4. We highly recommend renting a car - that way you can access many locations that otherwise would be unreachable. Please make sure that your car is powerful enough to drive up steep mountain roads of 45° angle. Unfortunately we made a mistake by renting out an old Fiat, in hopes to be more budget friendly, but in exchange we lost some nerve cells, especially driving the SH8 road and the budget friendliness was still not a given. We rented our car in Vlore, but if it is possible - rent it already in Tirana, the choice there is much better and thus also the pricing.

  5. If you choose to travel by public transport keep in mind that it may be difficult to find schedules in English and there is a lack of proper signage, however, it is very affordable. A 150km bus ride Tirana to Vlore cost 600 lek (around 5.15 euro) per person. Usually I checked the google map photos of the exact bus station, most of the time the schedule is published there.

  6. In general, don’t trust google maps - the roads may look build out and drivable by car, but in reality, if you are unlucky, only donkeys can get through these ''main roads'' (by example road SH78). I recommend Tripadvisor for checking the experience from other travelers

Must visit places in South Albania


The beginning of the Albanian Riviera. A great place to find a nice restaurant and have a first swim in the Ionian Sea. For us it was good place to start and we stayed one night to have some rest. Make sure to book a hotel at the southern part of Vlore closer to the beach.


The pearl of our trip! It is little village next to crystal blue water - nice promenade, restaurants and great view from the apartment. It is a very child friendly place, but keep in mind - due to underwater streams swimming may be colder than in other areas.

Saranda and Ksamil

Two most popular places that everyone recommends visiting, but for us it wasn’t a vibe - very touristy and overcrowded beaches. But if you you want to drive a scooter - rent it here and have a nice drive between the two cities. Anywhere else it is more dangerous and almost impossible due to elevation (we saw only few locals who ride a scooter, and only in the cities, not outside).

We loved our stay in a little village between the two cities. The apartment was on a little mountain top and provided the most beautiful sunset view. The evening walk, meeting goats, nearby beaches and many bunkers made our stay magical.

Butrint Archeological Park

Great place to spend half a day - historical sites, museum and of course a cafe to get and stay refreshed. Would visit again. Also a insider location for Pokemon Go players ;).

The Blue eye

The natural wonder, highly recommend going there as early as possible best around 8:00. Around 9-10 am most parking places will already be taken. Also - it takes around 20min to walk there. Take this into consideration. There are some cafes available, so feel free to drink your morning coffee while enjoying tranquility of extra blue, refreshing mountain water, however don't dip more than your feet.


A beautiful city with an Oldtown to explore, to make photos, to shop souvenirs and try traditional Albanian food. Just be aware that walking is very tiring due to steepness and google maps will not be your best friend, better ask locals. On the map it might look few minutes - in reality.. well you can imagine. Anyways, a must visit!


At first I was sceptic about this city, but oh boy it exceeded my expectations. Unique architecture, welcoming hosts, the breakfasts and exploring possibilities made the end of our trip special.

Albania is a unique, undiscovered and beautiful country located next to Greece, Montenegro and the Ionian Sea. It is best suited for adventurous couples or families that are open to authentic experiences including traditional accommodation and food, steep walking environments and a welcoming population.

I would highly recommend a visit!