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10 Coastal Gems: The Best Beaches in Albania for 2024

Discover Albania's top 10 best beaches, carefully ranked based on water quality, nightlife, tranquillity, and amenities.

Whether you are an expat, retiree or tourist, Albania’s beaches are a prime reason to visit the beautiful Southern European country. Crystal-clear waters, vibrant nightlife – or the opposite, secluded quiet – can be found along the coastline. But where’s the best beach in almost 500km (300mi) of coast, not to mention the lakes?

In our pursuit to guide you to the finest sands and the clearest waves, we’ve meticulously analysed water quality data from the past two years. Our analysts have combed through water quality reports for the whole country and paired them with the personalised recommendations of travel experts.

With 124 spots evaluated, from the serene shores of Himarë to the bustling beaches of Ksamil, our report offers an easy-to-understand ranking system. Join us as we unveil the “Top 10 Best Beaches in Albania,” your ultimate guide to the country’s coastal paradise.

Our data analyst Eliseo Kolicaj worked alongside Sara Alimehmeti in crafting this guide.

First Things First: Water Quality Vs EPA Standards

Before we dive into the usually popular “Top 10” list, just a few words about the water quality data. Our methodology incorporated a rigorous and systematic approach. We looked at 124 beaches in Albania and found 71 (57% of the total) to meet international guidelines for water quality. The others, in some cases by a significant margin, did not make the cut.

In order to do this, we analysed data from INSTAT, focusing on key indicators of water cleanliness and safety: levels of Fecal Coliform and Enterococci, both of which are crucial markers for assessing potential health risks in swimming waters. Each beach was evaluated against stringent EPA standards to ascertain its safety rating. The data was then processed and ranked, not just on safety metrics but also considering factors like the consistency of water quality over time, to provide a clear and objective picture of the best beach destinations in Albania. You can view the top 10 entries below, or register for free to view the entire ranking.

Snapshot of Albania\'s Beach Water Quality (2021-2022). FC = Fecal Bacteria Level; IE = 2021 Enterococci Level; Confidence level = 95%. Data source: INSTAT.

Register for a free account to see the entire ranking.

The Top 10 beaches in Albania are also ranked for:

  1. Nightlife: Rates the availability and quality of nightlife options like bars, clubs, and evening entertainment.
  2. Quiet: Measures the level of tranquility at the beach. A high rating indicates a peaceful, serene environment.
  3. Infrastructure: Evaluates the quality and availability of facilities like parking, restrooms, accessibility, and nearby accommodations.

The Top 10 Ranking of Best Beaches in Albania

1. Plazhi i Palasës, Himarë

Palasa Beach, located just 38 minutes from Himara, is a must-visit gem in Albania. Its crystal-clear waters and sandy shores make it a favorite spot for beach lovers. The perfect combo of sun, sea, and sand, all in one place, speaks for itself!

Aerial view of Palasë Beach, Himarë

Palasa Beach Rated:

  1. Nightlife: ⭐⭐⭐ – Himare has a growing reputation for its lively bar and small-scale nightlife, suitable for a more laid-back evening. Palasa itself, however, is rather quiet.
  2. Quiet: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Being remote and less frequented than other beaches, Palasa offrs a quieter, more serene experience, though it’s not completely secluded.
  3. Infrastructure: ⭐⭐⭐ – Himare, while develping, is still a small town. The infrastructure around Palasa Beach is pretty basic.
  4. Water Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This THE top ranking beach for water quality in our database.
  5. Good For: Nature lovers, peaceful retreats – With its clear waters and sandy shores, it’s ideal for those seeking a natural, peaceful beach experience away from the hustle and bustle.

2. Jalë Beach

Jalë Beach stands along the Albanian coast and is another haven for beachgoers. Famous for its golden sands and azure waters, Jale offers it all, whether a dose of relaxation, the coastal beauty of Albania, or super fun water activities.

Beautiful picture taken in Jalë, Albania

Jalë Beach rated.

  1. Nightlife: ⭐⭐ – While Jale does have a few local haunts, like restaurants and bars, the main nearby settlement is Himare some 25 minutes away.
  2. Quiet: ⭐⭐ – The beach can be quite lively and noisy in the peak season, especially with live music from nearby bars. In the shoulder season, the din will largely subside.
  3. Infrastructure: ⭐⭐⭐ – The beach is well-equipped with various amenities like restaurants, bars and parking.
  4. Water Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This beach ranked in the top 10 beaches by water quality in the entire country.
  5. Good For: Families, Couples, Water Activities – Despite the lively atmosphere, it’s frequented by families and couples, and the clear waters make it ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

3. Paradise Beach, Vlorë

Imagine a beach called Paradise – soft sand, cool waves, and a name that says it all. Vlorë’s Paradise Beach is your ticket to a perfect seaside getaway.

Picture taken in Vlorë, Albania
  1. Nightlife: ⭐⭐ – Nearby nightlife is rather subdued, but the large town of Vlorë is some 20 minutes’ drive away.
  2. Quiet: ⭐⭐⭐ – A calm and peaceful experience off-season, but can get crowded at peak times.
  3. Infrastructure: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Basic but well-maintained facilities, with sun loungers, umbrellas, restaurants, and snack places available.
  4. Water Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Ranking 17th in the national water quality data survey.
  5. Good For: Relaxing Getaway, Families, Couples – With its mix of sand and stones, clean waters, and generally peaceful environment, it’s suitable for those looking for a relaxing beach day. It’s also family-friendly and appealing for couples.

4. Drimadhes, Dhërmi

Drimadhes, in Dhërmi, is actually one of the most famous beaches in Albania, and it’s easy to see why! A lot of people love this destination, not only as their beach getaway, but also as a “work with a sea view” spot.

Dhërmi, Albania
  1. Nightlife: ⭐⭐⭐ – Nightlife is moderate and seasonal.
  2. Quiet: ⭐⭐⭐ – A mix of quiet, off-season experiences and crowded, busy periods. Best enjoyed in the shoulder season!
  3. Infrastructure: ⭐⭐⭐ – The beach has basic amenities like sunbeds, umbrellas, and bars. Recent concerns around overdevelopment have surfaced.
  4. Water Quality: ⭐⭐⭐ – While ranking a very respectable #26 country-wide, Drimadhes pays for its popularity with occasionally less-than-ideal water quality.
  5. Good For: Nature Lovers, Families – Its clear waters and pebble shores make it appealing for those who appreciate natural beauty. Accessibility and facilities make it suitable for families.

5. Qeparo, Vlorë

Qeparo is one of those quiet spots with cool views a book lover would adore! Just picture this, the sound of the sea mixed with the fresh air while reading your favorite author – perfect if you’re into beach vibes without the big crowds.

Qeparo Beach in Albania
  1. Nightlife: ⭐⭐⭐ – Restaurants, bars and a promenade offer options for a pleasant evening, but more on the relaxed side than on the wild party side.
  2. Quiet: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Visitors love Qeparo’s quietness, especially post-summer season, making it a serene destination.
  3. Infrastructure: ⭐⭐⭐ – The beach offers basic amenities like parking, sunbeds, and a promenade with restaurants and bars. Some concerns about cleanliness and facilities like restrooms were mentioned.
  4. Water Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Qeparo shows up at number 23 in our ranking of best water quality in Albania.
  5. Good For: Relaxing Stays, Nature Lovers – Its tranquility, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, and clear waters make it suitable for those seeking a peaceful retreat and appreciating natural beauty.

Qeparo Beach offers a mix of serene natural beauty and basic amenities, with its appeal varying depending on the season and visitor preferences.

6. Limion, Sarandë

Limion Beach in Sarandë is like a postcard come to life – stunning views, calming waves, and a place where time slows down. For a city beach, it offers remarkably clean water, but it can get busy.

An early morning in Sarandë Albania
  1. Nightlife: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Our top 10 is finally honoured by a beach graced by the presence of numerous cafes, bars, and restaurants.
  2. Quiet: ⭐⭐ – The lively nightlife and urban setting come at a price – it is a busy city beach, often crowded, especially in peak season, which can affect its tranquility.
  3. Infrastructure: ⭐⭐⭐ – The beach has essential amenities and is in close proximity to the city’s facilities, but cleanliness and the presence of rocks and pebbles can be a problem.
  4. Water Quality: ⭐⭐ – Not to sound like a broken record, but in light of the fact that this is a city beach, it acquits itself well in our national ranking, coming in at #63.
  5. Good For: Urban Beach Experience, Socialising – Ideal for those who enjoy city beaches with easy access to urban amenities, restaurants, and a bustling atmosphere.

7. Kristi Complex, Shëngjin

Beach time in Shëngjin is like stepping into a vacation dream – sandy shores, clear water, and good vibes all around.

Picture taken in Shëngjin, Albania
  1. Nightlife: ⭐⭐⭐ – Nearby beach bars offer some evening activity, and the main town is a walk away.
  2. Quiet: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – The beach is relatively tranquil, family-friendly, and serene.
  3. Infrastructure: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – The beach is well-maintained, with sunbeds and parking (albeit paid). There is a mix of sandy and rocky shores.
  4. Water Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – The beach comes in at a solid 18th position in our national water quality rankings.
  5. Good For: Family Outings, Nature Enthusiasts – Its clear waters, fine sand, and tranquil environment make it suitable for families and those looking for a peaceful beach experience.

8. Borsh, Sarandë

We may ruffle some feathers with the inclusion of Borsh Beach at only position 8 in our ranking! 56 min away from Saranda and 28 from Himara, Borsh Beach is a sun-soaked haven – clear waters, golden sand, and a spot where the worries of the world seem to disappear.

Borsh beach with beautiful landscape in Albania
  1. Nightlife: ⭐⭐⭐ – While not a major nightlife destination, beach bars and restaurants offer variety in the evening.
  2. Quiet: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Tranquility and spaciousness are the top traits of Borsh Beach, even when it’s quite busy.
  3. Infrastructure: ⭐⭐⭐ – The beach has basic amenities, with sunbeds and umbrellas available for rent. Occasional issues with cleanliness.
  4. Water Quality: ⭐⭐⭐ – Borsh Beach features at position 53 in our ranking – not bad by all means, among 124 beaches of Albania, but not at the very top.
  5. Good For: Nature Lovers, Families – Its clear waters, natural setting, and family-friendly atmosphere make it suitable for those seeking a relaxing beach experience.

Borshi Beach offers a mix of natural beauty and basic amenities, making it a popular choice among visitors who appreciate quieter, less commercialised beaches.

9. Lukova Beach

Lukova is another nice beach that not everyone knows about. Soft sands, gentle waves, and a peaceful atmosphere make it a perfect spot for a quiet escape.

10 Coastal Gems: The Best Beaches in Albania for 2024 23
  1. Nightlife: ⭐⭐ – This is a pretty quiet spot. While food and drinks can be found nearby, it is not the main focus of this pretty beach.
  2. Quiet: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Despite its (relative) popularity, the beach is not overcrowded and relatively tranquil.
  3. Infrastructure: ⭐⭐⭐ – The beach has amenities like sunbeds and nearby restaurants. However, access to the beach is challenging due to rough roads.
  4. Water Quality: ⭐⭐⭐ – The beaches at Lukove appear at the respectable positions of 28 and 44 of our ranking.
  5. Good For: Adventure Seekers, Nature Lovers – Its wild and natural setting, combined with the challenging access, makes it appealing for those looking for a more adventurous beach experience and appreciating natural beauty.

10. Gjiri i Lalëzit – Fshati Turistik Lura 3

Head to Gjiri i Lalëzit and find the tourist complex Lura 3 – it’s like a beachy wonderland where the sun, sand, and sea dance together, creating a dreamy destination.

Morning in Gjiri i Lalëzit, Albania
  1. Nightlife: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Lively atmosphere with food, drinks and music options, suitable for those looking for some evening entertainment.
  2. Quiet: ⭐⭐⭐ – The beach is normally peaceful, especially off-season, but can get crowded and a bit noisy during peak months.
  3. Infrastructure: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – With multiple beach resorts, restaurants, good toilet facilities, and a family-friendly environment, the infrastructure is well-developed.
  4. Water Quality: ⭐⭐⭐ – Ranking at 55 out of tested 124 tested beaches in Albania, Lalëzit offers worry-free water quality.
  5. Good For: Family Holidays, Nature Enthusiasts – Its clean beaches, proximity to mountains for hiking, and family-friendly amenities make it ideal for family vacations and nature lovers.

Lalëzit offers a balance of natural beauty and convenience, with its clean beaches and variety of resorts, though it can get busy during peak season.

Conclusion and Further Reading

We hope you enjoyed our overview of the best beaches in Albania’s Riviera – a treasure trove of diverse and splendid strands, each offering its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural charm, and a range of amenities. From the tranquil and serene Palasa Beach to the lively and vibrant Jale Beach, the choices cater to every taste. Borshi Beach stands out for its natural allure, while the family-friendly environment of Lalezit Beach is perfect for those seeking a relaxing getaway with loved ones.

Despite the varying infrastructure and accessibility challenges, these beaches share a common thread – unspoiled natural beauty and the warm hospitality of the local communities. Whether you’re a solo adventurer, a family on holiday, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat by the sea, the Albanian Riviera promises an unforgettable experience. As Albania continues to develop and enhance its coastal offerings, it is undoubtedly set to become a premier destination for beach lovers worldwide.

You may also be interested in reading:

Sources

Bacteriological pollution of sea water in Albania, INSTAT

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