Coastal Albania is a region of Albania along the western lowland and the southern coast bordering both the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea.
A beach in Southern Albania
From north to south:
- Shkodra — the biggest town in Northern Albania. The Rozafa Castle is a major tourist attraction here.
- Velipoja — coastal village with a curative sand shore and excellent bathing waters
- Shengjin — small resort and port town northwest of Lezhe known for curative beach sands, "Rana e Hedhun" beach dune, and Kune-Vain-Tale Lagoon area.
- Lezhe — a small city home to Skanderbeg's Tomb, panoramic Lezhe Castle, historic Mirdita and Zadrima regions, and several renovated churches
- Durrës — one of the oldest cities in Albania. Flooded three times during its history. The current city is built on the ruins of two previous ones. It has the largest amphitheater in the Balkans. It is currently the largest port of Albania and has the longest shoreline. Newly explored beaches include Bishti i Pallës, Gjiri i Lalzit, Spille, and Plazhi i Gjeneralit
- Fier — about eight miles outside the modern city of Fier are the early Greek and Roman ruins of the ancient city of Apollonia. Much of this ancient city still remains buried under the hills.
- Vlorë — lively seaside city, nice beaches south of town. Passenger ferries to and from Italy dock here.Museum of Independence from 1936. First Albanian museum.
- Sarandë — a city in southern Albania passed the Albanian Riviera (Bregu) known for its unforgettable beaches, and colorful spring blooms.
Golem beach south of Durres
From north to south:
- Skadar Lake — shared between Albania and Montenegro featuring small fishing villages such as Zogaj and Shiroke
- Divjaka-Karavasta National Park — incorporating the Ramsar List protected Karavasta Lagoon and the Divjaka Pines area.
- Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park — proclaimed in 2010 and the only marine park in the country, the park encompasses the surrounding coastal area of Karaburun Peninsula and Sazan Island. In 2014, the Regina Blu ferry was established by a Radhime-based hotel owner making trips to the national marine park and stopping along the secluded beaches. From mountain drops to the sea, ruins of ancient ships, secluded beaches, caves to spectacular coral reefs, this park is worth a sail or dive.
- Bylis — second largest archaeological site from Roman era in Albania
- Bregu — also known as the Albanian Riviera along the Ionian Sea
- Butrint — Largest archaeological site from Greek and Roman era in Albania. It lies on the coast in the southernmost tip of the country, near the Greek border. Minibuses are available from Saranda.
The coast between Velipoje and Shengjin in the north is characterized by curative sand beaches, and a few lagoons near Lezhe perfect for bird-watching. Between Durres and Vlore in Central Albania, the coast is characterized by long stretches of sandy beaches and several lagoons. Along the Albanian Riviera in the south, the coast is mostly rocky with either long or secluded shingle and sandy beaches, with the presence of several islands like Sazan, Zvernec, Ksamil, and Tongo. The total coastline of Albania is about 476 km long.
Due to migration and strong cultural influence, Italian is the most spoken language. English's well-known in tourist objects and sea resorts.
You can reach the part from Velipoja to Vlore from Tirana airport. If you want to chose Ionian coast you should fly to Corfu, Greece and then take a ferry to Sarande.
You can reach Durres by ferries from Italian cities like Ancona, Barletta, Bari or Brindisi. Vlore has a ferry connection with Brindisi.
The roadways along the beach are mostly new and in good condition. Velipoja, Shengjin, Durres, Golem, Vlora, Divjaka, "Bregu" and Saranda, all are connected very well with the national roadway.
"Rruga e Bregut" or SH8 is the roadway from Fier to Saranda. Alternatively, one can avoid the old SH8 stretch between Fier and Vlore by taking the A2 motorway featuring olive groves and the protected Narta Lagoon. Towards Llogora Pass the view becomes spectacular, and this is one of the most picturesque roads in the Balkans. To avoid the coastal road altogether, you can take the SH4 between Fier, Tepelene and Gjirokaster on to Saranda through the SH78 or Muzina Pass.
The SH4 road between Durres and Kavaja has been widened to dual carriageway and its up to par with the rest of the motorway. It is a bit crowded in summer, so be careful.
- Golem Beach. One of the biggest beaches in Albania. The touristic center for the tourists from Kosovo and Macedonia. Full of hotels and bars, but the cleanliness of the beach and water is lower than in the southern beaches like Vlora, Dhermi, Qeparo or Saranda. edit
- Velipoja. The touristic center of Shkodra and Northern Albania in general. The beach is long and wide, and a lot of hotels offer nice rooms. However, the beaches are crowded in August. If you prefer quiter beaches, you should go to Southern Albania edit
- Vlora. The biggest touristic city in Southern Albania. The beaches after "Uji i Ftohte" south of the city are the most preferred, as the water and beach are cleaner. Vlora is full of hotels and restaurants, where you can find great sea products. Very preferred from families as well as young people, even teenagers. edit
- Lushnje. Visit the Historical Museum of Lushnje showcasing various exhibits including those on the famous Congress of Lushnje that proclaimed Tirana capital of Albania. edit
- Lezhe Castle
- Zvernec Monastery
- Bashtova Castle near Kavaja
- Franz Joseph Island near Velipoja
- Scanderbeg Castle, Ishem Castle and Shen Ndout Church near Lalzi Bay north of Durres.
- Camping. All along the Albanian coast, there exist camping facilities at or nearby the coast.
- If you prefer active holidays, there is a great way to discover the Albanian coastline; try to paddle along the beautiful Ionian sea. This tour will let you explore some secluded beaches and caves that you can access only through water Paddling along the Ionian sea.
- Of course, bird-watching along the lagoons and tasting delicious seafood goes without saying
- Local specialties such as fresh fish, wild birds, roasted lamb, burek, and delicious dairy products.
The absolutely number one alcohol is Skanderbeg brandy. There's also a wide choice of beers.
Insect repellent is recommended as recently mosquito are a problem especially near swamps.
Due to recent history and being cut off of the world during communism time, standards in Albania're different than in other Mediterranean countries. The true nightmare can be view of rubbish and stray dogs, often looking for food. Dogs aren't dangerous, they're sterilized and vaccinated. Other problem can be diarrhea. The best way is to take your own food and chose small hotels, apartments or hostels and have meals there, be careful what do you eat. Fortunately the situation is changing for better.