Albanian Riviera Tour – 3-Days from Tirana, including Ksamil beach
During the Albanian Riviera tour, I will guide you to the most secluded and isolated beaches of the Albanian Riviera. The Albanian Riviera tour is a great combination of gorgeous beaches, sightseeing along the route and a great roadtrip.
Why should I go on an Albanian Riviera tour? The Albanian Riviera tour gives you the chance to explore the Albanian Riviera. The Albanian Riviera is known for its stunning secluded and isolated beaches. You will drive along the coastal road, to visit little beaches, islands, castles, historical sights and natural wonders, like the Blue Eye of Albania. The tour includes a visit to Ksamil beach.
Whereas many of the European coastlines are very well known, the Albanian Riviera is still a hidden gem and off-the-beaten-path for many travellers. During a the 3-day tour, you will see some of the most stunning and isolated beaches in Europe. Are you ready to experience the Albanian Riviera?
Albanian Riviera Tour Details
During the Albanian Riviera Tour, you get the chance to experience the most beautiful beaches of the Albanian Riviera.
The Albanian Riviera is one of Europe’s last secret coastlines. You will travel along the 120 kilometer long stretch of coastline in Albania’s south and visit the most secluded beaches. The beaches are known for the turquoise water, perfect white sand and enclosed bays.
One of the highlights of the Albanian Riviera tour is your visit to Ksamil beach. Ksamil beach is a paradise-like beach, set on a little peninsula. Moreover, there are four little uninhabited islands in front of the beach, that you can visit by swimming, peddleboat or kayak.
During the tour, you will travel to the south along the coast. From the main coastal road, you will have stunning views of the beaches below. And you will make stops to visit, swim and sunbathe at the most pretty beaches, like Dhermi beach, Jale beach, Himare beach and Borsh beach.
Apart from beaches, the Albanian Riviera has so much more to offer. Along the route to the south, there will be stops for sightseeing. For instance, you will discover the castle of Ali Pasha, which is set on a little island in the Bay of Porto Palermo.
Furthermore, you will also explore the Blue Eye of Albania, which is a fresh water spring with a mesmerizing blue color. And you will stop at Gjirokaster city, which is a historical city on the Unesco World Heritage List.
By far the best part about the Albanian Riviera tour is that it is a private tour. You will travel with a private tour guide and private transportation. Therefore, you have the freedom to customize the itinerary as you please and spend your holiday the way you prefer.
Are your ready to explore the most isolated and secluded beaches of the Albanian Riviera?
I am an Albania Tour Guide, who organizes 1-day, 2-day or multiple day private tours in Albania. I arrange your transportation and I am your English speaking guide. So that, you get to experience the most beautiful places in Albania!
Kind regards, Manon
Albanian Riviera Tour Itinerary
During the Albanian Riviera tour, you get to see the best beaches, islands and sights in Albania’s south in only 3 days!
On the first day, you will travel from Tirana to the Albanian Riviera by car. From the coastal road, you will see many stunning panorama’s and we will turn of the road to swim, sunbathe and explore the little beaches along the way.
On the second day, you will travel to the ultimate south of Albania for the highlights like Ksamil beach and Sarande.
Then on the third day, you will visit the magical Blue Eye spring of Albania. And walk through the historical city of Gjirokaster, which is on the Unesco World Heritage list.
Pick-up for the Albanian Riviera Tour
The Albanian Riviera tour starts in Tirana city. You will be picked up from a location of your choice in Tirana.
When you make the booking, you will be asked to type your pick-up location in the box. It is completely up to you. You can enter your hotel in Tirana, the airport or a location in the city center of Tirana.
The Albanian Riviera tour starts at 8:30 AM.
Pick-up service in Tirana is included in the price of the Albanian Riviera tour.
Day 1: Durres, Vlore beach, Zvernec Island, Llogara Pass & the Albanian Riviera
After departing Tirana, we stop for a short coffee break in Durres. Durres is one of the most famous seaside cities in Albania, because it is only 45 minutes from the capital city Tirana. We will have a coffee in a cafe with seaside view towards the Adriatic Sea. And we will pass by the Roman Amphitheathre of Durres and the Venetian Tower for about 30 minutes.
Roman Amphitheatre of Durres
The Roman Amphitheatre of Durres was built in the 2nd century AD. At the time, Durres was called “Dyrrachium” and it was a part of the Roman empire. The Roman Emperor Trajan was leading the empire and Rome was flourishing.
The Roman Amphitheatre of Durres used to host gladiator spectacles and other events. It was an attraction for the citizens, travelers and merchants. The theatre could seat approximately 15000 to 18000 spectators. The theatre was re-discovered only recently in 1966. We will walk along the pathway above the theatre, from where you can look down onto the arena.
The Venetian Tower of Durres
The Venetian Tower of Durres is a large round tower which remains of the former Durres Castle. The castle was initially build in the 5th century by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius. The Venetians extended the castle in the first half of the fiftheenth century, when Durres was ruled by the Republic of Venice. Today, few structures of the castle remain, only the tower and one ancient wall can be seen.
After visiting Durres, we drive south towards the large coastal city Vlore. Vlore is a very popular and large beachside city. It is also the starting point of the Albanian Riviera, which leads from Vlore southwards to Saranda.
The city is built around a large horseshoe bay in the sea. Along the bay, there is a popular beachside promenade called Lungomare. Along this promenade, you can find many shops, restaurants, clubs, coffee houses and bars. You will have your first chance to swim in the Sea at Vlore beach.
Sightseeing at Zvernec Island
After spending some time at Vlore beach, we will make a 30 minute stop at Zvernec Island. Zvernec Island is a little island in the Narta Lagoon. A long bridge leads you from the mainland to Zvernec Island. On the island, you can visit the little Zvernec monastery. The island is a beautiful location to make pictures.
From Vlore, we will start our drive along the coastal road in the direction of Saranda and make a stop at the Llogara Pass. The Llogara Pass is a mountain pass on the coastal road.
It is the highest point on the coastal road, at a height of 1027 meters. It has a beautiful viewpoint, where you can make a stop to take pictures. From the pass, you will have a spectacular view of Palase beach, the Dhermi village and the Ionian Sea.
After visting the Llogara Pass, we will drive down the winding road towards the most beautiful beaches of the Albanian Riviera. The riviera has Mediterraenean villages, historical castles, Orthodox churches, white beaches, hidden caves and hundreds of olive threes.
Dhermi beach is one of the most famous beaches in the Albanian Riviera. Dhermi is a lovely little village with hillside houses and a long stretch of beach. During the summer months, it attracts young people and it has a vibrant atmosphere. We will stop to relax and swim in the sea, before continuing our journey.
Jale beach is a little beach village in the middle of the Albanian Riviera. The beach of Jale is known for its incredibly clear water. The beach is surrounded by hills on both sides and it is usually one of the quieter spots in the Albanian Riviera. You will have some free time to explore the beach in the afternoon.
In the late afternoon, we transfer to the village of Himare. Himare is a larger village in the middle of the Albanian Riviera. There is a traditional village on the hillside, from where you can look down onto the beach and sea. There is a small walking tour of the old village, which is on the hill. You can see some of the traditional houses, which are on the hillside. Moreover, since the village is on the hill it offers a beautiful view towards the Ionian Sea.
Overnights stay in a 3-star hotel in Himare
Day 2: Porto Palermo, Borsh Beach, Ksamil beach and Saranda
Breakfast at the hotel in Himare
Porto Palermo and the Castle of Ali Pasha
Porto Palermo is a large blue bay in the Albanian Riviera. In the middle of the Bay of Porto Palermo, you can visit the Castle of Ali Pasha.
The castle of Ali Pasha is a triangular-shaped fortress on a little island in the Bay of Porto Palermo. The castle is very picturesque and from the rooftop, you have a stunning view of the sea.
Although, many guidebooks state that the castle was build by Ali Pasha, the Albanian governor during the Ottoman empire. It is actually not true, and the castle was build by the Venetians. Because it gave the Venetians easy acccess by sea and it has the same triangular design as the Venetian castle in Butrint.
It is very likely that the written history was changed during the communist period. The communists wanted to believe that the Albanian Ali Pasha constructed the castle. Because it is more in line with the communist nationalist ideas. During the communism, the castle was used as a Soviet submarine base.
The beach of Borsh is an impressive sight, because the beach is extremely long. You can choose to stay amongst other people, close to the restaurants. Or you can walk along the beach to be by yourself. The beach has perfect clear blue water and there is a good restaurant at the beach as well.
Ksamil beach is a paradise-like beach in the South of Albania. Therefore, the Albanian people describe Ksamil beach as “the pearl of the Albanian Riviera”. Without a doubt, Ksamil beach is the prettiest beach in the country. The beach is set on a little peninsula with perfect white sand. And the water in the bay is a bright green colour and the clearest water you have ever seen.
At Ksamil beach, there are four little islands in the sea close to the beach. The most famous are the twin islands, which are connected to each other by a narrow strip of land. If you have always wanted to visit an uninhibited island, this is your chance. From the beach, you can swim to the nearest island. Or you can rent a boat or kayak to visit the islands, which are further away.
Saranda is a vibrant coastal city in the south of Albania, close to the Greek border. The city is often called “the unofficial capital of the Albanian Riviera”. The large coastal city has a variety of restaurants, bars, clubs and coffee houses. In the evening, the entire city lights up and you can walk along the promenade by the water. You will have some free time in the evening to explore Saranda.
Overnight stay in a 3-star hotel in Saranda
Day 3: The Blue Eye of Albania & Gjirokaster UNESCO sight
Breakfast at the Hotel in Saranda
Blue Eye of Albania
The Blue Eye of Albania is one of the most beautiful places to see in Albania. The Blue Eye is a natural fresh water spring. The natural spring pumps bright blue water to the surface of the river. The Blue Eye has become a touristic attraction, since the water of the spring is a magical blue colour. The water is so bright, that you won’t believe it is all natural.
Moreover, the spring resembles a human eye. The dark underwater cave looks like the black pupil of a human eye. And the bright blue water looks like the iris of a human eye. If you dare, you can jump into the Blue Eye spring, which is more than 50 metres deep. But bare in mind that the water is ice cold all year long.
Gjirokaster is a historical city, which is on the UNESCO heritage list. Walking through Gjirokaster gives you an insight into what the city was like during the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The city has typical stone houses and cobble stone streets. Therefore, Gjirokaster is also knows as the “stone city”.
The city of Gjirokaster is known in Albania as a “museum city”, because it has beautiful historical buildings everywhere. It is a lovely city to stroll through.
The Gjirokaster Castle is a large fortress on the top of a hill in the city. The fortress has a spectacular view of the historical city and the traditional stone houses of Gjirokaster. It is one of the biggest hilltop castles in the Balkans and it therefore dominates the city.
The castle was originally build in the 12th century by the local Byzantine government. But it was renovated and additions were made during the Byzantine rule, the Ottoman empire and the government of King Zog. From the 1930 onwards, it was mainly used as a prison for people who were resistant against the government.
Old Bazaar of Gjirokaster
The Old Bazaar of Gjirokaster is the traditional market place in Gjirokaster. The bazaar was originally build in the Middle Ages. There are a variety of craftsmen, souvenir shops and coffee houses along the Bazaar. You can buy handmade wooden pieces, handwoven rugs and delicate lace items. The street of the Bazaar is made of cobblestones and it set on a steep hillside.
Drop-off service after the Albanian Riviera tour
After the Albanian Riviera tour, you will be dropped off in Tirana city. It is completely up to you, we can either drop you off at your hotel, the airport or a central location in the city center of Tirana.
Drop-off service in Tirana is included in the price of the Albanian Riviera tour.
Albanian Riviera Tour highlights
The Albanian Riviera tour leads from Tirana down to Sarande in the South of Albania. Along the route to the south, you will have a chance to visit many stunning beaches and touristic highlights.
One of the highlights of the Albanian Riviera tour is simply driving along the coastal road and discovering the little villages and beaches along the way. From the coastal road, you will have stunning panoramic views. The best view can be seen at the Llogara Pass, which is the highest point on the coastal road.
Moreover, you get to explore several islands along the coastline during the Albanian Riviera tour. You can swim or rent a boat to visit the little Ksamil islands in front of the beach. You will explore the castle of Ali Pasha, which was built on a little island in the Bay of Porto Palermo. And you will visit the little monastery on Zvernec island.
Apart from beaches, you will also explore sightseeing highlights, like the Blue Eye of Albania!
Zvernec island is a tiny island about 13 kilometers from Vlore city. The island is located in the Narta Lagoon. The small island is connected to the mainland via a 270 meter long wooden bridge.
Zvernec island has become a touristic attraction, because the tiny island is gorgeous. It is very small in size, as it is only 430 meter long and 300 meter wide. And it is almost completely covered with pine trees. As it is surrounded by water, it has a very picturesque look.
From the mainland, you can walk across the wooden bridge to visit the Zvernec island. On the island, you can visit the Zvernec Monastery. The monastery was built in the 13th and 14th century, whilst Albania was a part of the Byzantine empire.
During the communist period, the monastery was closed. Since in 1967, the communist dictator Enver Hoxha announced that all religions were illegal. Therefore, the monastery was closed for more than 33 years. During this time, the government used the monastery to house prisoners, who did not agree with the political regime.
After the communism, the St. Mary monastery was restored. And locals hold a pilgrimage on the 15th of August every year, to honor the birth date of Saint Maria.
The Llogara Pass is the highest point on the mountain road along the Albanian Riviera.
The Albanian Riviera is a 120 kilometer long stretch of coastline in the South of Albania, with the most beautiful beaches. The beaches are connected by the main coastal road, which leads from Vlore beach to Sarande beach.
When you travel south from Vlore, on the way to Dhermi beach, you will pass over the impressive Llogara Pass. The mountain pass is 1027 meters high.
It is a perfect place to stop for a coffee break, with the most amazing view. From the pass, you can see the Ionian Sea, Palase beach, Dhermi beach and the village of Dhermi. Although, you can take beautiful pictures, the pictures do not quite capture the real-life magnificent view from the pass.
In the past, the massive mountain pass isolated the Southern coastline from the rest of the country. Because the Southern Albanians had an easier connection with Greece and Corfu island. But with the reconstuction of the coastal road in 2009, it has become one of the most spectacular roads in the country.
Porto Palermo is a large blue bay in the middle of the Albanian Riviera. In the middle of the Bay of Porto Palermo, there is a little island with a triangular castle. The island is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land.
Many guide books state that the castle was built by the Albanian governor Ali Pasha, during the Ottoman rule. It is actually much more likely that it was built by the Venetians, since it could be accessed from Sea. Moreover, the castle has the same triangular design as the Venetian castle in Butrint.
Most probably, the communists rewrote the history, because an Albanian constructing the castle fit better with their nationalist ideas.
Jali beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Albanian Riviera.
The highlight of Jali beach is the incredibly clear blue water. The beach side is set in a small half-moon shaped bay. The beach itself has perfect white sand and lovely little parasols. And it is all surrounded by olive groves and mountains.
During the communist period, Jali beach was a getaway for the government officials and military officers. The former hotel that the communist elite used is still in tact. From the beach, you can see the communist hotel on the top of the hill looking down at the beach side.
If you enjoy snorkelling or diving, then Jali beach will be a highlight for you. Because there is penty of underwater life to be discovered.
Ksamil beach is the most beautiful beach in the Albania and it is the highlight of the Albanian Riviera. Because of its beauty, the Albanians call Ksamil beach “the pearl of the Albanian Riviera”.
The beach of Ksamil is very romantic. The sandy beaches are set on a little peninsula. Therefore, instead of one long beach, there are all these little coves and hidden beaches surrounding the charming Ksamil village.
But what makes Ksamil beach truly unique are the four little Ksamil islands. The islands are located right in front of the peninsula.
Therefore, the best thing to do at Ksamil beach is visiting the little Ksamil islands. The islands are uninhabited and overgrown with nature. You can swim to the closer islands, but it very popular to rent a kayak or a pontoon boat to visit the Ksamil islands.
The most special islands are the twin islands, where two little islands are connected to each other by a narrow strip of land.
Ksamil is a paradise-like beach and a hidden gem. On your tour of the Albanian Riviera, the beach Ksamil is an absolute highlight.
The Blue Eye of Albania
The Blue Eye of Albania is a natural, touristic attraction. It is a water spring with a stunning bright blue color in the South of Albania.
The Blue Eye spring has become a touristic sight, due to it’s magical beauty. The water is such clear blue color, it is hard to believe it is all natural. The Lonely Planet describes it as “magical and hypnotic” and Atlas Obscura calls the spring “breathtaking and mesmerizing”.
The Blue Eye spring pumps water from an underwater cave to the surface. The spring is extremely powerfull, it actually has a discharge rate of 18400 liters per second.
The spring actually looks like a human eye. Through the clear water, you can see the dark underwater cave, which looks like the pupil of a human eye. And the bright blue water surrounding the underwater cave, resembles the iris of a human eye.
Divers have tried to dive to the bottom of the Blue Eye, to find out how deep it actually is. Although it is known that the spring is more than 50 meters deep, none of the divers have been able to get to the bottom. Because the spring has a very high pressure, and any diver must push against the water to get deeper.
Some adventurous tourists dare to jump into the Blue Eye, although it is actually forbidden. One thing is for sure, jumping in the Blue Eye is certainly refreshing, with a water temperature of 10 degrees celcius throughout the year.
What is included in the Albanian Riviera tour?
- Private transport with a/c vehicle
- Private tour guide
- Hotel pick-up and drop off in Tirana
- 1 night stay in 3-star hotel in Himare
- 1 night stay in 3-star hotel in Saranda
- 2 x breakfast
What is excluded from the Albanian Riviera tour?
- Lunch and Dinner
- Tips and gratuities
At what time does the Albanian Riviera tour start?
The Albanian Riviera tour starts at 8:30 AM from Tirana city.
You will be picked up from a location of your choice in Tirana. When you make the booking, you will be asked to enter your pick-up location in Tirana. You can either enter the name of your hotel, the airport or a central location in the city center.
What is the duration of the Albanian Riviera tour?
The Albanian Riviera tour lasts 3 full days.
On the first day, you will travel from Tirana to the Albanian Riviera. Along the route, there will be plenty of stops for sightseeing, swimming or a coffee break.
On the second day, you will travel to the ultimate South of the Albanian Riviera. You will visit both Saranda, which is the “unofficial capital of the Albanian Riviera”. And you will visit Ksamil beach, which is the “pearl of the Albanian Riviera”.
On the third day, you will start with sightseeing at the Blue Eye of Albania and Gjirokaster city. Afterwards, you will travel back to Tirana, which is appoximately 4 hours of driving.
Therefore, you will return to Tirana late on the third day.
Where is the pick-up location for the Albanian Riviera tour?
When you make the booking for the Albanian Riviera tour, you can enter a pick-up location of your choice in Tirana city.
When you fill out your booking details, there will be a box, where you can specify your pick-up location. It is completely up to you, you can enter the name of your hotel, the airport or a central location in Tirana as your pick-up location.
The Albanian Riviera tour starts at 8:30 AM.
Pick-up service in Tirana is included in the price of the Albanian Riviera tour.
Where is the drop-off location for the Albanian Riviera tour?
After the Albanian Riviera tour, you will be dropped off in Tirana city. You can be dropped-off at your hotel, in the city center of Tirana or at the Tirana International airport.
Drop-off service in Tirana is included in the price of the Albanian Riviera tour.
On the Albanian Riviera tour, how long will it take to reach the Albanian Riviera?
From Tirana, it takes between 3 – 5 hours to drive to the Albanian Riviera.
The Albanian Riviera is a 120 kilometer long stretch of coastline between Vlore beach (in the north) and Sarande beach (in the south). From Tirana, it takes approximately 3 hours to travel to Vlore. And it takes approximately 5 hours to travel from Tirana to Saranda.
On the first day of the Albanian Riviera Tour, you will travel to Vlore. Moreover, you will travel further southwards to some nice beaches, like Dhermi beach, Jale beach and Himare beach.
On the second day, you will travel to Sarande in the ultimate south of the Albanian Riviera. Since you have stayed overnight in Himare on the first night, it will only take about 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive to Sarande. Of course, there will be sightseeing stops along the way.
On the final day, you will travel from Sarande to Gjirokaster for sightseeing early morning. In the afternoon, you will travel back from Gjirokaster to Tirana, which takes around 4 hours by car.
Can I bring luggage on the Albanian Riviera tour?
Yes, you can bring 1 or 2 pieces of luggage on the Albanian Riviera tour.
If you have more luggage, you might be able to store them at your hotel in Tirana and collect them upon your return from the Albanian Riviera tour.
Is the Albanian Riviera tour a private tour?
Yes, the Albanian Riviera tour is a private tour. Furthermore, you will travel from Tirana to the Albanian Riviera in a private vehicle.
Moreover, I am your private tour guide in the Albanian Riviera.
Since it is a private tour, you will also have the freedom to customize the itinerary to meet your preferences. For instance, we can spend more time at a touristic sight, if you wish to do so.
Can I customize the itinerary of the Albanian Riviera tour?
Yes, you can customize the itinerary of the Albanian Riviera tour. The Albanian Riviera tour is a private tour, which includes private transportation. Therefore, you will have the choice to customize the itinerary as you please.
Does the Albanian Riviera tour include a tour guide?
Yes, I will be your private tour guide during your Albanian Riviera tour. I will personally guide you during the sightseeing in the Albanian Riviera.
Moreover, you will travel by private transportation during the Albanian Riviera tour, therefore, you will have the flexiblity to customize the itinerary if you wish.
What should I bring on the Albanian Riviera tour?
The essential items to bring on the Albanian Riviera tour are:
- Comfortable walking shoes
Comfortable walking shoes
Although you will visit plenty of beaches during the Albanian Riviera tour, you will also do some sightseeing along the route. Many of the touristic attractions in Albania have cobblestone streets or uneven surfaces. Therefore, you will definitely need comfortable walking shoes, so that you can enjoy the sightseeing part of the tour.
During the Albanian Riviera tour, you will have plenty of free time to go swimming or sunbathing.
The sun in Albania is very strong, especially in June, July, August and September. Moreover, sunscreen can sometimes be rather expensive to buy in Albania. Therefore, it is best to pack some sunscreen before your Albanian Riviera tour.
When is the Albanian Riviera tour available?
To check the availability for the Albanian Riviera tour, you can press on the Book Now button below.
When you press on the Book Now button, you will first see a description of the tour and itinerary. If you scroll down, you will see another Book Now button, which will take you to a calendar with the available tour dates.
What is the best time to go on an Albanian Riviera tour?
The best time to go on an Albanian Riviera tour is between May and September.
Albania’s high season is in July and August. The benefit is that you will also have plenty of sunshine and the water of the sea will be lovely to swim in.
At the same time, it is also great to visit the Albanian Riviera just before or just after the high season. Ksamil beach for instance, is usually very quiet in June and September. So you will have the most beautiful places in the Albanian Riviera to yourself.
What if my preferred date for the Albanian Riviera tour is not available?
If you have pressed on the Book Now button, but you could not find your preferred date for the Albanian Riviera tour, you can get in touch by email.
You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org . Please specify the date, number of travellers and the tour you would like to book in the email. Then I will get back to you with a response as soon as possible.
What is the price for the Albanian Riviera tour?
You can check the price for the Albanian Riviera tour by clicking on the Book Now button below. First, you will see a description of the tour and itinerary and if you scroll down, you will see the tour price per person.
How can I book the Albanian Riviera tour?
- Press on the “Book Now” button
- You will see a pop-up with the tour description and itinerary. Scroll down and press “Book Now” at the bottom of the page.
- Select the date of your tour and pick your departure time.
- Select the number of adults and press “Add to Cart”
- Press the “Check-out” button to continue
- You can complete your payment with a credit card, a debit card or with Apple pay.
- As soon as your booking has been completed, you will receive a booking confirmation by email within minutes.
If you have any questions about your booking, you can email email@example.com . And I will personally respond to you as soon as possible.
How late can I make a booking for the Albanian Riviera tour?
You can make a booking with me up until the day before the tour starts. Just keep in mind that the Albanian Riviera tour may not be available, if you book at the last minute!
Especially, since I lead the private tours through Albania personally, so I cannot take more than one booking on each date.
I recommend booking at least one week in advance, in order to have the best chances of finding availability.
What is the cancellation policy of the Albanian Riviera tour?
We will charge a cancellation fee of 100% if booking is cancelled 1 day or less before the event.
Where can I ask a question about the Albanian Riviera tour?
If you have any questions about the Albanian Riviera tour, you can reach out by email. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will personally respond to your email as soon as possible.