Visiting the albanian riviera
Our base to explore the Albanian Riviera was Himarë. We liked this small town so much that just after our first relaxing afternoon at Himarë beach we decided to revise our original travel plan and skip the most touristic area of Sarandë to make Himarë the longest stop-over of our Albanian journey: a big four nights out of 13!
Of course, we didn’t spend all four days lying down on Himarë beach (although Silvia would have loved that!) but we explored both the Northern part of the Albanian Riviera (and so Gjipe, Vuno and Jalë) and the southern area (Porto Palermo, Borsh and Qeparo).
The first thing I couldn’t help noticing about the Albanian Riviera is that it is dotted with abandoned bunkers from the Enver Hoxha era. The former Albanian dictator was so consumed by his fear of a military invasion that he literally covered the whole country with concrete bunkers, which still guard both the coast and the hinterland like a neglected army of untended beetles.
Another quintessential feature of the Albanian Riviera is that the Albanian mountain chain runs very close to the coast. Sometimes those rounded, sensual mountains end straight into the sea, forgetting to leave some room for the beach; but when they do remember, you will spot many narrow, secluded beaches nestled among the rocky cliffs.
The downside of this beautiful landscape feature is that to reach the next beach you should drive up to the mountain and then back down again. Undoubtedly, this contributes to the bad reputation of Albanian roads but -at least- the State Highway running along the coast is paved, which is not something you can say for all Albanian state highways!