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7-Day Itinerary in the South of Albania

Discover the ultimate 7-day guide to Southern Albania, featuring key attractions, restaurants, and accommodation recommendations. Start your adventure here!

If you’re planning to visit the south of Albania soon, you’ve come to the right place! This ultimate 7-day itinerary covers everything you need to know, from exciting activities and must-visit attractions to top-rated restaurants and comfortable accommodation options.

Ready for an unforgettable adventure?

Day 1: From Tirana to Vlora

If you’re planning a week-long itinerary in Albania, we highly recommend including Vlora in your travels. It’s the starting point of the Albanian Riviera and a popular destination loved by expats and tourists.

The coastline known by the name ‘Uji i Ftohtë’ in Vlora, Albania

How to Get to Vlora

A trip from Tirana to Vlora is around 2h:30 min by car. Common methods of transportation include renting a car, getting a taxi, or taking a bus or minibus (known as ‘furgon’ in Albania).

If you rent a car, keep in mind that driving in Albania can be challenging. We’ve covered a guide on how to drive safely in Albania that you might want to check out.

If you’re looking for car insurance in Albania, you can get an instant quote now from our partner, Albsig. They offer both mandatory TPL insurance and comprehensive Kasko insurance for full coverage.

Getting a taxi is another convenient way of getting to Vlora. However, this can be expensive and not the best transportation option if you’re on a budget. If you opt to travel by bus, you can find services departing from the South and North Bus Terminal.

What to Do in Vlora

First things first, enjoy a pleasant breakfast at a local café, or look out for bakeries, known in Albanian as “furrë buke” (where they usually sell traditional pastries like byrek). Once energized, go for a swim on one of the beautiful beaches of Vlora.

Other activities to consider are:

Visit the Independence Monument and Museum

The museum opens every day from April to September (9:00 AM – 5:00 PM), and Tuesday to Sunday from October to March (9:00 AM – 5:00 PM on weekdays, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM on Sundays).

Speedboat Tour and Hidden Spots

You can explore bays, caves and other hidden places around Vlora to get the most out of your experience there. Get your guide is one of the agencies that offers such tours.

Visit St Mary’s Monastery

This is an optional activity idea. The trip takes about 23 minutes from downtown Vlore, and there’s no public transport, so the only way to get there is by taxi.

Where to Eat

Miku Traditional VlorË (4.9)(⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

This restaurant is located along the waterfront of Vlora. The delightful menu features meat, appetizers, and other authentic dishes. What makes the food taste even better, is enjoying it by the view of the Adriatic Sea from the restaurant’s cosy terrace.

Paradise Beach Restaurant (4.9)(⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

‘Pasta la vista,’ anyone? This Italian steakhouse began its journey in 1997 as a quaint restaurant where patrons could enjoy delicious food and experience an intimate, “at-home” atmosphere. Pasta, risotto, and Mediterranean dishes made with fresh local ingredients offer a taste of everything for food lovers.

KripË dhe Piper (4.9)(⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Italian, Mediterranean, sushi and more. If you’re in Vlora craving sushi or pizza, look no further than this restaurant. Good food, good service & good views.

Where to Stay

We have listed some of the best hotels to stay in Vlora that you might consider.

Regina Blu (⭐⭐⭐☆☆)

Hotel Miramare (⭐⭐⭐⭐☆)

Vala Boutique Hotel (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Villa Gaudium (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Hotel Central (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Maritim Marina Bay Resort & Casino (⭐⭐⭐⭐☆)

Also, if you’re interested in hostels you can check out the options here.

Day 2: From Vlora to Dhërmi

Sunset Above Dhërmi Beach – Dhërmi, Himarë, Vlorë, Albania

Along your way to Dhërmi, pass by the beautiful Llogara Pass. Stop at one of the restaurants to enjoy the peace of nature and have a tasty traditional meal or maybe just an energising snack (yoghurt with honey is a popular choice).

What to Do in DhËrmi

When you visit Dhërmi, your first stop should be the beach—after all, it’s likely the main reason for your visit! The 2 main beaches you should check out are Dhermi and Drymades beach.

Explore DhËrmi Old Town

The cobblestone streets and orange rooftops will leave you amazed. This is your chance to learn more about the history of this beautiful village.

Hike to Gjipe

For adventure lovers, this is a must-do activity. It’s fun, exciting, and rewarding. After an hour of hiking, you will reach Gjipe beach, where you can relax on the shore, swim in the sea or explore the canyon. Gjipe is also a famous camping summer spot, so if you’re down for some more adventures, you may consider spending the night right across the beach.

Enjoy the Nightlife

There are many lively bars, clubs and restaurants in Dhërmi where you can enjoy a cocktail, food and good music. Havana Beach Bar and Luciano Beach Lounge are popular spots. For a more relaxed evening, you can visit one of the local taverns in the old town, where you can savour traditional Albanian cuisine and enjoy live music.

Water Sports and Activities

Some activities you can do in Dhermi are jet skiing, parasailing, and paddleboarding. In Drymades Beach you’ll also find options like kayaking and snorkelling.

Where to eat

Azul by Havana (4.3)(⭐⭐⭐☆☆)

Located in Dhërmi Beach, Azul by Havana is known for its Italian, European, and seafood dishes. The restaurant is a perfect spot for a relaxing meal while enjoying the pleasant views of the Ionian Sea.

Vela e Bardhë (4.6)(⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Vela e Bardhë is a seafood restaurant, famous for its shrimp and truffle linguine. The service is amazing and the staff is friendly. They often offer personalized dish recommendations.

Splendor del Mar Beach Bar & Restaurant (3)(⭐⭐⭐☆☆)

Part of a 5-star hotel, Splendor del Mar serves Italian and Mediterranean cuisine throughout the day. Its stunning decor, featuring lantern-lit tables, and its location with views of the Ionian Sea make it a great choice for an unforgettable experience in Dhërmi.

Yamato Drymades (3.9)(⭐⭐⭐⭐☆)

For sushi lovers, Yamato Drymades is the go-to spot. Positioned on the beachfront, it offers a mix of Japanese cuisine and vegetarian options. The friendly staff and variety of cocktails make it an ideal destination for a summer evening, whether you prefer dining inside or outdoors.

Taverna Fevan (4.1)(⭐⭐⭐⭐☆)

Taverna Fevan is a cosy, family-run restaurant. The restaurant specializes in traditional Mediterranean and Albanian dishes, the best of both worlds. You can taste the delicious dishes while enjoying the beautiful coastline views.

Where to stay

Gogo’s Boutique Hotel (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

La Brisa Boutique Hotel (⭐⭐⭐⭐☆)

Elysium Hotel (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Rahoni Park & Suites (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Golden View Residence (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

For hostels and campings close by Dhërmi, check out this list.

Day 3: From Dhërmi to Himara

Himara is a small pleasant village a lot of tourists tend to miss out on because they prefer visiting Saranda and Ksamil. However, I highly suggest stopping by if you prefer a quieter atmosphere.

What to do in Himara

The Castle of Himara – Vlore, Albania, Europe

Explore the Beaches in and Around Himara

In Himara you’re about to find some of the most beautiful beaches! The main beaches around the area include the beach near the centre, Potam, and Marachi. A bit further away, you can explore Livadh, Jale, Llaman, Filikur, Porto Palermo. Find out other beaches here.

Take a Walk Around the Castle of Himara

The castle of Himara is an open space that promotes ruins from the village’s past and history. Walking through the ruins, you can explore old stone walls, churches, and houses, all while enjoying the views of the sea and the mountains.

There is no entry fee.

Tip: Don’t visit during the peak hours, as it can be too hot and uncomfortable.

Visit Porto Palermo Castle

A short drive from Himara, Porto Palermo Castle is a must-visit spot built by Ali Pasha of Tepelena in the early 19th century. This fortress sits on a small peninsula jutting into the sea. The castle is well-preserved, and visitors can walk through its rooms and ramparts while learning about its history. The surrounding bay is perfect for photography and exploration.

The entry fee is affordable.

Snorkeling and Diving

Time to explore the underwater gems! The clear, turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea around Himara are perfect for snorkelling and diving. Several diving centres offer equipment rentals and guided tours. Underwater, you can explore not only the marine life, but also underwater caves, and ancient shipwrecks.

Hiking and Nature Walks

Yes, you can hike around Himara as well! Some popular hiking routes include the hike to Gjipe Beach and the trail up to the Llogara Pass. Or if you prefer something lighter and less challenging, you can go for walks around nature.

Boat Tours and Water Activities

Boat tours are a fantastic way to explore the stunning coastline of Himara. These tours often include visits to secluded beaches, hidden caves, and nearby islands. Kayaking and paddleboarding are also popular activities that allow you to explore the coastline at your own pace. To book a tour, you can find lots of agencies that promote such activities in the centre of Himara. Or find tours online, like this one.

Cultural Festivals and Events

Festivals and events happen every summer in Himara and around it. You’re expected to find them mostly in the centre area, but also in other locations, like Porto Palermo.

Porto Palermo Festival is a project aimed at promoting sustainable tourism and providing a great cultural experience in Albania. Olen Cesari started this festival to add something special to this location. The festival happens every summer and brings together people who love both Albanian and foreign art.

Want to explore more summer events happening in Albania? Check out this article.

Where to eat

Restaurant Piazza (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Located in the heart of Himara, Restaurant Piazza is known for its delicious pizza and seafood. The restaurant offers an interesting Mediterranean menu, including fresh salads and fried zucchini.

Taverna Lefteri (⭐⭐⭐⭐☆)

A favourite among locals and tourists, Taverna Lefteri serves a variety of seafood dishes, including fresh fish and shrimp. Famous for its traditional Albanian flavours, it’s a must-visit for an authentic dining experience.

Taverna Pirosia (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Taverna Pirosia is a great spot for a cosy atmosphere with a menu featuring Mediterranean and Greek cuisine. Guests love the grilled meats and seafood, as well as the welcoming service.

Restaurant Kolagji (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Specializing in Italian and Mediterranean dishes, Restaurant Kolagji is known for its homemade pasta, fresh seafood, and pizza. You can enjoy the meal indoors or outdoors.

Where to Stay

Rea Boutique Hotel (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Sea View Hotel (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Wait ‘n Sea (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Artis Blue Relax (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Also, if you’re interested in hostels, you can check out the options here.

Day 4 & 5: 2 days in Saranda

Yachts in the bay at Saranda on the Albanian Riviera

From Himara, it’s time to head towards Saranda. En route to Saranda, consider stopping by more beaches like Borsh, or Qeparo if you prefer a more tranquil atmosphere.

What to Do in Saranda

After you arrive in Saranda, the next thing you must do is explore the beaches. It’s no news that Saranda has some of the most beautiful beaches in Albania. You can spend your day doing a variety of things, including swimming in the crystal clear waters, sunbathing, and trying water sports.

Visit LËkursi Castle

Lëkursi Castle is a castle situated on Lëkursi Hill, from where you can watch Sadanda’s view over the town and bay. Inside the walls of Lëkursi castle is a restaurant (Restorant Kalaja e Lëkuresit) with an enormous outdoor terrace. Although it can be busy in summer, it’s definitely a great spot for dinner or drinks, especially around sunset. Sometimes there is also traditional folk music and dance for a truly Albanian experience.

Take a Boat Trip

If you love adventures or want to explore the beaches then going on a boat tour might be a great idea. This is a fantastic opportunity to discover the coastline and nearby islands. You can snorkel, swim, or simply enjoy the panorama.

Visit Synagogue Complex

The Synagogue Complex is located in the heart of Sarandë, near the town center. It is easily accessible and within walking distance from many of Sarandë’s attractions. The site is open to visitors who are interested in exploring its historical and architectural significance. While relatively small, the synagogue complex provides an educational experience for those interested in ancient history and archaeology.

Water Sports

If you’re passionate about water sports then you can engage in water activities such as jet skiing, paddleboarding, or parasailing, available at various beachfront locations.

Visit Butrint

Butrint is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Albania. The ruins date back over 2,500 years and they show layers of civilizations including Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Venetian influences. Visitors can explore well-preserved structures such as a Roman theatre, Byzantine baptistery, Venetian castle, and ancient city walls.

blue eye

The Blue Eye, or “Syri i Kaltër,” is a stunning natural spring near Saranda and a very popular spot to visit. You can drive from Saranda, which takes about 30 minutes to reach this enchanting site. Alternatively, you can take a guided tour or hire a taxi.

Where to Eat

Fish Restaurant Black Marlin (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Black Marlin is a restaurant specializing in Italian, seafood, and Mediterranean cuisine. Located on the main road of Saranda Port, this lovely restaurant offers an inviting atmosphere perfect for family gatherings, romantic dinners, or casual meals with friends.

Why Not? Burger Bar (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Are you a burger lover? Then this place is just for you. With its relaxed atmosphere and friendly service Why Not? Burger Bar is the perfect spot for a casual lunch, dinner, or a quick bite after exploring the beautiful town of Sarandë.

Sheqer Pikant (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

If you love seafood and Mediterranean cuisine, then Sheqer Pikant is a must-visit destination for you. Tasty food and lovely interior.

Where to Stay

Hotel Butrinti & SPA (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Glow Boutique & Suites (⭐⭐⭐⭐☆)

Buze Boutique Hotel (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Hotel Apollon ( ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Also, if you’re interested in hostels you can check out the options here.

Day 6: Explore Ksamil

Ksamil is a charming village about 14 kilometres south of Saranda, Albania. It has gained a lot of popularity lately, thanks to its stunning beaches and nearby islands, and even considered “The Maldives of Europe“.

WHAT TO DO

Visit the Ksamil Islands

Just off the coast, these small islands are perfect for a day trip. You can rent a boat or kayak to explore the beaches and enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters.

Relax on the Beaches

Ksamil is famous for its beautiful beaches, including Bora Bora Beach, Lori Beach, and Third Beach. What you’ll find there? Soft sand, turquoise waters, and plenty of beach bars and restaurants for a relaxing day by the sea.

But also, if you visit during the more crowded months like July and August, you’ll very likely about find lots of people, and it can get a bit messy.

Snorkelling and Diving

The clear waters around Ksamil are ideal for snorkelling and diving. Discover the marine life and underwater landscapes that make this area a paradise for water sports enthusiasts.

where to eat

Beach Bar Restaurant Korali (⭐⭐⭐⭐☆)

Known for breathtaking sea views and a wide selection of dishes, this restaurant is highly recommended for its ambience and friendly service. Prices are moderate.

Veranda Apollonia (⭐⭐⭐⭐☆)

This restaurant offers an intimate setting with delicious Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, including fresh seafood.

Fourth Island (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

A favourite of Italian and seafood dishes, Fourth Island, is praised for its reasonable prices and welcoming atmosphere.

The Mussel House (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Specializing in seafood, this restaurant offers fresh and flavorful dishes in an upscale setting, perfect for a special meal.

Poda Restaurant (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

With a mix of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, Poda is noted for its delicious food, beautiful sea views, and relaxed ambience.

where to stay

Hotel Luxury Rate (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Poda Boutique Hotel (⭐⭐⭐⭐☆)
Hotel De Luna (⭐⭐⭐⭐☆)
Hotel Olive Ksamil (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Hostels in Ksamil.

DAY 7: Visit Gjirokastra and head back to Tirana

Souvenir shop with the sale of colourful plates in the city of Gjirokaster or Gjirokastra. Albanian

Gjirokastra is a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site that deserves a visit. If you want to spend more time by the beach, consider making Gjirokastra your final stop before returning to Tirana. However, if you prefer to explore more of this historic city, you can adjust your itinerary to spend one less day in Saranda and enjoy an extended stay in Gjirokastra.

We’ve covered an article on what to do in Gjirokastra that you may check out.

Afternoon: Arrive in Tirana and explore any remaining sights you may have missed on your first day. Consider visiting Bunk’Art if you haven’t; it’s a museum housed in a Cold War bunker.

Evening: Celebrate the end of your journey with a dinner at one of Tirana’s top restaurants. Reflect on the week’s adventures and plan your next trip to Albania’s many other hidden treasures.

Until Your Next Adventure in Albania

We hope you enjoyed this detailed 7-day itinerary in the south of Albania. This beautiful country is filled with hidden gems and endless exploration opportunities that extend far beyond a single week. However, the itinerary that we designed makes sure you don’t miss out on some of the main spots that define the beautiful south of Albania.

Until next time, you may follow our Magic Towns community group on Facebook.

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