PORTO PALERMO – RIVIERA

PORTO PALERMO - ALBANIAN RIVIERA
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However, Porto Palermo had been an ancient Greek port-town named Panormos (Πανόρμος), and it served the fortified city Cheimarra (Χειμάρρα, now Himarë); now, the area around Cheimara was inhabited by Greek-Chaonians before the 5th c. BCE. Panormos is also mentioned by Strabo and by Ptolemy. Most likely, Panormos was renamed during the Byzantine era (perhaps by people from Palermo, Sicily) as Porto Palermo; the original name of Palermo in Sicily was also Panormos.

Hotels to Stay

Popular Destinations

Best ways to travel around Albanian Riviera

Traveling between the main towns in the region, like Sarande, Himare, Borsch, Dhermi or Vlora shouldn’t cause any major problems. There are buses and mini vans that quite frequently, especially in the season, run along Albanian Riviera at a very low fare.

However, there are no public buses to the particular beaches and places of interest. To get there, you’ll have to either walk (if it’s possible), take a taxi, rent a car or take a tour. Me and my friend traveled around with a local couple who offer tours in Albania for a very good value. It was absolutely amazing, we’ve seen so many great, off the beaten path places which are popular with locals only. 

The easiest way is to fly to Corfu in Greece and then take a ferry from Corfu town to Sarande. From Sarande, you can visit Ksamil, Blue Eye Spring and Gjirokaster and then head north along the coast. Check my article about Sarande and Ksamil to find out more about the area.

I’m going to describe the Ionian Sea Albanian riviera from Sarande up to Vlora. If you continue up north beyond Vlora (towards the Adriatic Sea), the coast is less attractive, especially in the most popular among tourists (I wonder why!) town of Durres – the beach there isn’t nice at all and doesn’t even come close to the beaches of Albanian Riviera! However, it’s full of massive hotels and resorts. I would skip Durres whatsoever.

After spending an amazing weekend in Ksamil and enjoying white sand beaches with crystal clear – tropical looking sea, it was time to head north along the Albanian coast and explore probably the least known riviera in Europe. Ksamil had surprised me so much with the color of water and white sand (much better than in popular Corfu) that I was sure the rest of the coast couldn’t get better. During the season, the beaches at Ksamil might get busy – however, I was lucky to be there in June and it was absolutely perfect and pretty quiet. But what I was about to discover traveling north along Albanian riviera exceeded all my expectations! Cover photo: Borsh Beach.

Albanian Riviera – Is it worth it!?

Albanian Riviera is so exciting, surprising and its beauty can be easily compete with other popular destinations like Greece, Croatia, Spain and more exotic destinations. Note, however, that the only beaches with white sand are at Ksamil. The rest are pebble beaches – but not less spectacular – the sea is even clearer! There are a few things that make Albanian beaches superior to others in more popular countries:

First – If you’re like me, and can’t stand beaches with the crowds of people lying on sunbeds squeezed so tightly that the only thing you see is the back of the person in front, Albania is the place for you! In Albania you can enjoy space!

Second – if you like unspoiled beaches, the most crystal clear turquoise waters surrounded by canyons from one side and the endless sea from the other – and you want it all “private style” just for yourself – without hotels, resorts and annoying tourists – you can have it in Albania! The best example of it is Ghipe beach which I will describe in the second part of the series on Albanian Riviera.

Third – Food, drinks and… prices! In Albania, you can have an amazing, superb quality seafood meal with a pint of beer at a local restaurant for 5 EUR (5.50 USD)!

If you like parties, more typical beaches with parasols and beach clubs – you can also have it in Albania. (unfortunately more and more beaches are turned into private zones with resorts, hotels etc… just like in the rest of Europe – so enjoy the freedom while it lasts!)

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