Clear waters, soft golden sand, scorching summer afternoons slipping lazily into long, dreamy evenings – the Albanian riviera paints a beautiful backdrop for enjoying the delights of the coastline without the crowds and price tag of Italy and France.
Once you figure out the endlessly changing location of the Tirana bus station, it’s fairly simple to make your way down to the sea. It’s also reachable from nearby Greece – both by land or by way of a quick and cheerful ferry ride over from Corfu to Sarandë.
Go, you must go my friends told me when I was living in Greece. We were all volunteers, living amidst an overwhelming humanitarian crisis with so much heart but very little cash. Many had travelled down Europe this direction, passing through the Balkans on their journey down to help out there.
Everyone raved about Albania. Underrated, affordable, kind and welcoming they claimed. It’s not a country I’d thought a lot about, but the recommendations echoed in my mind.
A while later, long after I’d left Greece with my heart in pieces I would make my way back to Europe, but this time it came at the tail end of an overland train journey across Asia, one spanning many months and ending in Ulaanbaatar, where, oddly enough I was able to get my hands on plane tickets from Ulaanbaatar to Tirana, Albania.
All of those encouraging words danced back into my memories as I planned a new adventure after Asia, one where I would catch busses across the Balkans. It would all begin in Albania, this country I’d heard so much of and knew so little about.
Where is the Albanian Riviera?
Affectionately nicknamed Bregu, the Albanian riveria stretches across Sarandë and Vlorë in the Southwestern coastal region of Albania. In simpler terms, it’s in the lower corner tucked up against the Greek border & the nearby Greek island of Corfu, and with the toe of Italy just across the water.
How to get to the Albanian Riviera
This region of Albania is pretty accessible – you could catch the bus from Tirana , a ferry from Corfu (a very nearby Greek Island) a ferry from Brindisi (a much further away port of Italy), or busses from some of the bigger cities in neighbouring countries such as Skopje (North Macedonia)