The beaches in Saranda are known as some of the most spectacular and pristine beaches in all of Europe. Saranda is the largest town located on the Albanian Riviera and it’s quickly becoming a tourist hotspot due to the beauty of its surrounding landscapes and unspoiled beaches.
That’s right, Albania is no longer the hidden gem that it once was as tourist numbers climb higher every year. It’s no surprise though, Albania’s friendly locals, affordable prices and stunning beaches make it a very attractive destination for those seeking to explore a new country.
The beaches around Saranda are home to clear turquoise water and backed by towering cliffs which results in some of the most unique and beautiful beaches you have ever seen. Whether you’re planning an Albania road trip or simply looking for your next beach holiday, this post is for you!
Having recently spent 3 months living in Saranda, I have made it my mission to visit as many Saranda beaches as I possibly could. From the breathtaking white-sand beaches of Ksamil to the dramatic cliff-backed beaches along the Albanian Riviera, the choices are truly endless.
So come with me as we uncover some of Albania’s hidden gems and explore the incredible beaches in and around Saranda!
Table of Contents
The Best Beaches in Saranda and the Albanian Riviera
Best Beaches in Saranda
Saranda Public Beach
Nestled between the bustling promenade and the crystal-clear ocean, the public beach in Saranda is a hotspot for both locals and tourists.
This lively beach stretches from the ferry terminal to the end of Saranda’s Promenade and is busy with sunbeds and people at any given time of day throughout the summer months.
While it is certainly not the most beautiful beach in Saranda, it’s convenient location and free public access makes it a popular choice for those staying in the center of Saranda.
There are many great restaurants and cafes near this beach so you can easily grab some lunch or enjoy sunset cocktails at Jericho Bar. Don’t miss Marini, Limani or Haxhi which are a few of my favourite nearby restaurants.
Plazhi Era (Era Beach)
This small private beach is tucked away in the Kodrra district, about 20 minutes walk from Saranda’s town center. It will cost 10 euros (1000 lek) to rent an umbrella with 2 sunbeds for the day as it’s not open for free public beach access.
There are a few restaurants and cafes where you can order drinks and food right on the beach. The water is crystal clear and lovely for swimming however keep in mind that this beach has pebbles instead of soft sand.
During peak season, this beach gets extremely crowded with people so if you want to get a good spot, it’s best to arrive early in the day. It’s worth sticking around until the evening to enjoy some cocktails and a plate of fresh seafood with a view at Sunset Beach Bar.
As you follow the coast away from the center of town, you’ll find yourself in an area full of hotels and apartments. There are a few more Saranda beaches to check out along Rruga Butrinti, Flamingo Beach is a popular choice here.
With plenty of sun loungers and a beach bar serving food/drinks, it’s a convenient beach to spend the day at for those staying in the area. To get there from the center of town, you can take a short taxi ride or walk for around 20 minutes.
Another popular beach in Saranda located very close to Flamingo Beach. Mango Beach is also packed with sun beds and home to several restaurants and beach bars.
This beach offers a vibrant atmosphere which is ideal for those seeking some music to accompany a day of sipping cocktails in the sun. The water is clear and beautiful and you’ll get a nice view looking back at Saranda from this beach.
The price for a set of beach chairs and umbrella here will set you back 20 euros, making it a little pricier than the other beaches in Saranda. The vibe at Mango Beach is quite fun, especially around sunset hour with music and DJs playing late into the evening.
Due to the often loud music, this beach is not really suitable for families. For those seeking a quieter and more laidback beach experience, keep reading!
Best Beaches Near Saranda
Plazhi i Manastirit (Monastery Beach)
When you leave Saranda and start making your way toward Ksamil along Rruga Butrinti, this is when the beaches start to get increasingly more beautiful and dramatic. This is where you will find some of the very best beaches in Saranda.
The first beach you will come across is Monastery Beach which is only a 15 minute drive from the center of Saranda. The turquoise water is calm and sheltered making it very inviting for a day of sunbathing and swimming.
You can access this beach by car or bus. When you get on the bus in Saranda toward Butrint, ask the driver to let you off at Monastery Beach. It’s a short walk from the main road making it easier to access than the other beaches between Saranda and Ksamil.
Plazhi i Pasqyrave (Mirror Beach)
Continue along the same road and you will soon come across this tranquil little gem called Mirror Beach. With sparkling turquoise water, it’s easy to see how this gorgeous beach got its name.
Colourful umbrellas line the azure shores of the Ionian Sea creating a post-card worthy image that welcomes you to Mirror Beach. It’s a little more challenging to reach this one as it requires driving along a steep bumpy gravel road with potholes or walking for 20 minutes from the road if you take the bus.
For a set of beach chairs and an umbrella it will cost you 15 euros (1500 lek) for the day. Like most Albanian beaches, there is a restaurant serving fresh food, cold drinks and a toilet available for customer use. The water is incredibly clear and it’s worth bringing a snorkel here to spot fish near the rocky outcrop.
Shpella e Pëllumbave
This is quite possibly my favourite beach in Saranda if I had to choose one, the scenery is simply spectacular. Getting down to this beach requires descending a steep cliff via a set of stairs and a 10 minute walking trail from the parking lot. It’s worth the effort though, trust me.
From the bus stop on the road, it will be a solid 30 minute walk on a gravel road to get there. Once you reach the beach, you will be greeted with Gatorade-coloured water to spend the day floating in. There is a restaurant with toilets and beach chairs so if you wish to make a day of it, you can certainly do so.
Instead of paying the 25 euros (2500 lek) they were asking for two sunbeds, I decided to leave my stuff on the beach (as many others were doing) and hop in for a swim. This doesn’t seem to be an issue here and it’s great if you simply want to make this a short stop before heading elsewhere.
This may only be possible outside of peak season as I visited in October, keep that in mind if you visit any of these Saranda beaches during summer. Due to the difficult access, this beach is definitely not appropriate for elderly people or those with mobility issues.
The last of the dramatic, cliff-side beaches that I will recommend checking out is Pulëbardha Beach which is yet another hidden gem that you’ll find before entering the town of Ksamil.
As with the previously mentioned beaches, the water is clear and turquoise and there are beach chairs available to rent for the day for 20 euros (2000 lek).
It’s worth mentioning that space is limited at this beach which means it fills up very quickly and gets crowded during peak season. Some people might find the pebbles (instead of soft sand) uncomfortable to walk on.
If you’re driving, you’ll follow a gravel road to get there until you reach the lower parking lot which should be free. The restaurant at this beach serves fresh seafood with a fantastic view over the beach and surrounding coast.
This secluded turquoise bay is located along the coast just north of Saranda. Kakome Beach is a stunning remote bay with the most vibrant coloured water I’ve ever seen, it is easily the most beautiful beach near Saranda.
Due to the remote nature of this bay, the only way it can be accessed is by taking a boat tour. As you walk along the beachfront promenade in Saranda, you’ll see many boats offering tours which include a stop at Kakome Beach.
There are several large pirate-style ships but also many small private boats which take people to the best beaches on the Albanian Riviera. When I did the boat trip, I took a small boat and paid 20 euros (2000 lek) and we stopped at Kakome and Krorëza Beach.
Located right next door to Kakome Beach, Krorëza Beach is often the next stop on the itinerary of the boat tours that depart from Saranda. This untouched stretch of paradise is framed by imposing cliffs that lead to the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea.
Krorëza Beach can only be reached by boat which adds to its charm and makes for a lot less crowds than the other beaches in Saranda. You’ll find a few restaurants, bars and umbrellas available to rent at 10 euros (1000 lek) each.
To be honest, I found the food to be overpriced for what you get at Krorëza but it’s to be expected when there are no other options. Something that you might want to confirm before booking your boat tour, is how many stops will be included in the day trip.
The tour company that I went with, Kristi 21 Boat Tours, advertised 7 stops on the day trip however we only stopped at 2 different beaches. We spent 4 hours at Krorëza Beach, which is great but not at all what we were expecting.
If you begin driving north from Saranda and keep going for around 20km, you will see a turn-off in the road that leads to the spectacular Lukova Beach. This is yet another one of my absolute favourite beaches near Saranda and a hidden gem of the Albanian Riviera.
Once you turn off the highway, a twisting mountain road (keep an eye out for goats here!) will lead you down toward the beach. While there are still bars, restaurants and beach chairs here, Lukova Beach really has a remote feel to it.
For those who prefer to escape the crowds of the busier beaches in Saranda or Ksamil, I can highly recommend adding this to your Albania bucket list. It also makes a great stop if you’re planning to take a day trip from Saranda to Himare by car.
Getting here is easiest done by car however you can catch the bus that runs to Himare and ask to be let off in Lukova, from the village it will be a 35 minute walk to the beach.
Best Beaches in Ksamil
Plazhi Ksamilit (Ksamil Beach)
When you see images of Ksamil Beach with its white sand and bright blue water, it’s easy to compare this beach to the likes of the Maldives. The beaches of Ksamil really are that beautiful however there are some things to know in order to make the most of your time there.
The good thing about Ksamil’s beaches is that they are easily accessible by car with many hotels and restaurants nearby. This also means that the crowds can get very heavy here during the months of June – August (and even the beginning of September).
This is, after all, the most popular beach in Albania and the main draw for tourists visiting the Albanian Riviera. If you want a chance to experience this stunning place with less crowds, I would highly recommend planning your trip for September/October.
Plazhi Ksamilit is the main beach of the town and home to some of the most popular beach bars and restaurants. There are beach chairs and umbrellas stretched out along the entire length of Ksamil Beach ranging in price from 1000 lek to 2500 lek for the day.
If I had to choose a favourite spot to rent a sun lounger for the day, I’d recommend heading to Tre Ishujt where you’ll get a prime view of the Ksamil Islands and idyllic water for swimming. There’s free parking for guests and beach chairs are discounted for those who eat lunch at their restaurant.
My absolutely favourite restaurant in this area is called Guvat, I ate here so many times during my stay in Albania. With an outstanding view from its patio, you can dine looking out at the turquoise waves of Ksamil Beach. The food is also delicious here and the service is super friendly, try the Guvat Salad (easily the best salad I had in Albania).
Another gem nearby is Restorant Korali which is right next door to Guvat. This lovely restaurant also has a great traditional menu with tables that overlook the beach.
Bora Bora Beach
The entire village of Ksamil is actually full of gorgeous beaches which is great when the main Ksamil Beach is totally packed. Just continue to follow the shore, exploring each bay until you find a less busy spot to spend the day.
The neighbouring bay is where you’ll find the popular and equally beautiful Bora Bora Beach. This is yet another excellent place to spend a beach day with plenty of beach chairs to pick from and stunning views of the Ksamil Islands.
Bora Bora Restaurant is where you can order food to have at the restaurant or be delivered right to your beach chair.
The next Ksamil Beach that you’ll come across on this coast is called Castle Beach. You’ll find all the typical things that make up an Albanian beach here like sunbeds with umbrellas and beach cabanas for daily rental.
A selling point for this beach is that Hotel Castle is perfectly located at the beachfront making it the ideal choice for the ultimate beach holiday. Wake up to the white sandy shores of Castle Beach at your footstep and get the first choice of sunbed for the day.
Sun loungers and umbrellas on this beach are free for hotel guests. Find more great Ksamil hotels here.
If you’re looking for a more lively beach scene, check out Paradise Beach which is home to popular beach club Principotes & Tulum Resto Lounge. This upscale beach club is known as a hotspot for Instagram influencers and models who are often seen posing around the various sculptures/statues.
The rest of the beach however is open to the public for swimming and sunbathing with a parking lot conveniently close by if you’re driving from Saranda.
Located on the far end of Ksamil, you’ll find the gorgeous Lori Beach with its calm shallow water and laid-back vibes. I spent the day here in September when it seemed to be busy everywhere else. I found a quiet and non-crowded place to relax at Blue Diamond Beach Bar.
I paid 10 euros (1000 lek) to rent a beach chair for the day which is on the cheaper side for Ksamil. You’ll notice that a lot of bars around Ksamil like to play loud music, but not at Lori Beach (at least when I was there in Sept 2023!)
Puerto Rico Beach
Right next to Lori Beach is Puerto Rico Beach which is the place to rent private seafront gazebos with a net that hangs out over the ocean. Ideal if you’re seeking that picture-perfect Instagram shot.
The reviews on Google however are rather negative stating that it costs up to 5000 lek for a gazebo rental and that food and drink prices are also significantly higher than other Ksamil restaurants. The majority of reviewers didn’t feel that it was worth the money.
I did not spend time here however I did notice that you can rent regular beach chairs with an umbrella for 1000 lek for the day which is reasonable for Ksamil.
Best Beaches of the Albanian Riviera
This hidden gem is located just up the coast from Lukova Beach and offers the perfect escape for those looking to get off the beaten path. You’ll find significantly less tourists here than other beaches near Saranda.
While you still have the choice of renting a beach chair, there is plenty of space here so you can easily find your own space to sit. For those seeking a peaceful beach day without the blaring music of the Ksamil beach clubs, Buneci Beach might be the perfect choice.
This gorgeous stretch of coastline is known as the longest beach of the Albanian Riviera, stretching out over 7km. The scenery at Borsh Beach is absolutely breathtaking with sparkling turquoise water, thatched beach umbrellas and the coastal mountain range in the background.
There are plenty of restaurants, beach bars and affordable hotels in Borsh giving you the option to spend the night to break up your drive. However it’s also a popular place to stop for a few hours while driving along the riviera from Saranda to Himare.
Getting to Borsh Beach from Saranda will take around 1 hour by car or bus.
Just before you reach the town of Himare, you’ll come upon this little gem nestled in a secluded bay surrounded by stunning landscapes. The clear water is calm and inviting for a chilled out day of swimming and relaxing.
Llamani Beach is not located in the near vicinity of a town giving it a remote feel yet you’ll get amenities such as several nice restaurants, clean bathrooms and beach chairs for rental.
This beach is best accessed with a car as you will follow a gravel road to the free parking lot before arriving at the beach. As this is a private beach, you will be asked to pay for a beach chair and umbrella on arrival which cost 10 euros (1000 lek) for a pair.
The traditional fishing town of Himare has become an iconic stop on any road trip through Albania. This is a lovely place to spend the night or even take a day trip from Saranda.
Himare is a charming beach town with a laid-back vibe offering visitors the perfect seaside escape with a quieter atmosphere than Ksamil or Saranda. The town has much more to offer than just a nice beach with plenty of history to discover and great seafood restaurants to try out.
Some of the best things to do in Himare include visiting the hilltop castle, taking a boat tour to explore nearby beaches, spending a relaxed day at Himare Beach and taking an evening stroll along the promenade to watch the sunset.
Continue your drive north of Himare for around 40 minutes and you’ll get to one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania, Gjipe Beach. Sheltered by the imposing cliffs of the Gjipe Canyon and the typical azure water of the Albanian coast, the scenery is unique and jaw-dropping.
Getting to Gjipe Beach requires more effort than the other beaches which results in fewer people, adding to its charm. If you arrive by car, you will leave your car in the parking lot (300 lek per day) and continue to the beach by foot for 40 minutes on a narrow gravel path.
There are some small restaurants at the beach where you can enjoy fresh seafood with a cold drink. You can rent sunbeds and an umbrella for the day for 1500 lek. SUP and kayaks are also available at a fair price to explore the surrounding coast.
The historic white-washed village of Dhermi is built into the hillside just above Dhermi Beach. It’s another essential stop on your Albania itinerary where you can explore the charming village and then enjoy a refreshing swim at the beach.
Dhermi Beach is very beautiful with its clear water and white pebbles. It’s much easier to access than Gjipe Beach which makes it a popular choice for local families and tourists. There are many restaurants, cafes and guesthouses nearby if you choose to spend the night.
Just north of Dhermi is the longer stretch of sand called Drymades Beach. This beach is yet another stunning gem of the Albanian Riviera with pristine water for swimming, rock formations and tall verdant mountains as a backdrop.
Drymades Beach has the best of both worlds. It’s quite a long stretch of sand/pebbles with beach bars and restaurants yet it also has plenty of quiet spots where you can enjoy some peace and quiet.
This area is currently under development with new hotels and restaurants being built. Drymades Beach accommodates every type of traveller, you’ll find a range of options from campgrounds to luxury hotels and everything in between.
The final beach at the northernmost end of the Albanian Riviera, right at the end of the famous Llogara Pass. The lush green mountains drop vertically into the vibrant blue water of Palasa Beach making for a truly magical sight.
The beach is long and wide which gives visitors a chance to find their own quiet spot. Even at the peak of summer, this idyllic beach doesn’t get nearly as crowded as the beaches in Saranda.
The beach also provides sun lounger and umbrella rentals making it easy to spend the day in comfort while soaking up the sun. If you’re driving along the Albanian Riviera, don’t miss this hidden gem!
The Best Time to Visit These Beaches in Saranda
Once upon a time you could visit Albania at the peak of summer and not be met with crowds in Saranda and Ksamil. Nowadays, thanks to social media platforms like Instagram, tourism has massively increased over the years making the south of Albania extremely busy from June – August.
My favourite time to visit Albania to get the best out of Saranda’s amazing beaches is September/October. This makes it an excellent place to extend your European summer and enjoy the sun before winter sets in.
I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the weather was all the way through October. I spent a day at the beach in Ksamil on my birthday in October with no crowds and a perfectly sunny 28°C day.
While I personally have not visited Albania in April/May, I have heard positive things about this time of year as well. You’ll get all the benefits of low season such as lower prices, less crowded beaches and still have a high chance of good weather.
How to Get to the Best Beaches Near Saranda
Renting a car is by far the easiest way to get around the Albanian Riviera. This will give you so much more flexibility to stop where you want and easily access all of the Saranda beaches on this list, even the most remote ones.
If you’re staying in Saranda, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to car rentals which are all reasonably priced for the most part. You could either book your car rental online before you get there (highly recommended during peak season) or you can show up and ask around at the different shops.
I used Leka Car Rentals and had a hassle-free and positive experience. You can expect to pay anywhere between 25 – 35 euros per day for renting a car in Albania. Prices tend to be higher during the months of June – August.
Some people may tell you that it’s dangerous to drive in Albania but as long as you’re a cautious and safe driver, you shouldn’t worry. I have personally rented a car several times in Albania and feel that it is the most convenient option.
The only thing I will mention is that you should watch for crazy local drivers who overtake people on blind corners. Other than that, Albania is a pretty safe place to drive and doing a road trip in Albania is definitely the best way to see the country.
If you don’t have a driver’s licence or simply don’t feel comfortable with renting a car in Albania, then taking the bus is also a good option. Getting the bus around Albania is cheap and efficient, however it may not be the most convenient option to reach all of the beaches on this list.
Saranda to Ksamil Bus: This local bus departs frequently throughout the today from this bus stop in the center of town, it only takes 30 minutes and it costs 150 lek per person.
If you want to get to any of the beaches between Saranda and Ksamil, simply ask the driver to let you off near the trailhead for the beach. The bus will display Butrint on the front window however it stops in Ksamil on the way there.
Saranda to Himare Bus: This public bus is how you will reach any of the beaches on the Albanian Riviera located north of Saranda. You can buy tickets and get on the bus from this bus stop in Saranda’s town center. Tickets to Himare cost 800 lek and the bus departs at 10:30am and 1:00pm daily.
If you’re planning to take a day trip to Himare, be sure to ask about return bus times when you’re purchasing your bus ticket. This may change throughout the year and might mean that you will have to spend the night in Himare instead of return to Saranda on the same day.
Where to Stay in Saranda
Mariana Apartments – This clean and cosy apartment is well-located only steps from the center of town and offers breathtaking ocean views from its balcony. With a kitchen and free parking available, this is a perfect choice for the budget conscious traveller.
Hotel Mano – This stylish seaside hotel has everything you could wish for the perfect beach holiday. Hotel Mano offers stunning ocean views from the rooms, a great central location, and a tasty breakfast included, all for a very reasonable price!
Andon Lapa Hotel & Spa – If you’re seeking some luxury, don’t miss this amazing beachfront hotel with a beautiful outdoor pool and direct beach access. With a spa, gym and great breakfast included, you can relax in style at the Andon Lapa Hotel.
If you have any questions about visiting these beaches in Saranda or Albania travel in general, pop them in the comments below or shoot me a message on Instagram!
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