Today’s drive through Llogara National Park and along the Albanian Riviera will spoil you with impressive coastal views. You’ll drive through the Ceraunian Mountains along the serpentine Llogara Pass Road that reaches a height of 1,027 meters. There are a few cafés and restaurants at Llogara Pass that offer a pleasant place to rest and enjoy the view. As you descend from the pass, the shimmering Ionian Sea stretches out to the horizon.
The Albanian Riviera is becoming more and more attractive to beach travelers, because it’s less saturated and more economical than neighboring countries. Albania’s coast is developing and there are many beaches to choose from. As you travel south today towards Himara, we recommend carving out a few hours to enjoy Gjipe Beach.
Stop in Dhermi for lunch
Dhermi (also spelled Dhërmi) is a small coastal village, just south of Drymades. We suggest stopping here for lunch, or to dip your toes in the water. If you’re debating whether to base yourself in Dhermi, or Himara, we highly recommend Himara. Dhermi is lovely, but it’s small.
Best beach in Albania: Gjipe Beach
Squeezed between cliffs, this beautiful beach is an oasis that promises solitude and relaxation. You can only reach Gjipe by boat, or by foot, which means that only the motivated venture here. As you continue the drive south along the coastal highway SH8, look for a road on your right signed Manastiri i Shën Theodhorit (St Theodor’s Monastery). Follow this narrow road until you see a tiny parking lot on the left. There will be a sign indicating “Gjipe.” This is where the trail to the beach begins. There may be a parking fee of 200 Lek, but when we visited in September, no one was there to collect. From the parking lot, it’s a 25-35 minute scenic hike down to the beach. At the beach, you can rent a set of chairs and umbrellas for 500 Lek.
Himara Castle Ruins & Post-Byzantine Church
Before heading to your guesthouse or hotel in Himara, make one final stop: Himara’s Old Town. Crowning a hilltop high above the coast, the Himara Castle looks more like a pile of crumbling rocks than a castle, but it offers a beautiful view of the coast. After exploring the ruins, check out the post-byzantine church of Sergji and Baku. You might expect this historical place, which traces its existence back to the Bronze Age, to be lifeless and altogether removed from modern life. But, it’s still inhabited.
Stay 2 Nights in Himara
We recommend staying two nights in Himara (also spelled Himare), so that you can fully relax into your trip and enjoy Albania’s most charming beach town.
We stayed at Calliope Apartments, which is walking distance from Livadhi Beach and a quick drive to the town center of Himara. Though communication was limited, our hosts were very kind and welcoming. Our room was beautiful and equipped with a small kitchenette. Bonus: free laundry service.