Travel and Leisure — October 30, 2014 at 5:00 am

The Albanian Coast: A Secret Sweet spot for Beach Lovers

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istockphoto/PeskyMonkey

istockphoto/PeskyMonkey

Sometimes you want to go to the beach, but you’re just tired of the same old experience.  It’s times like these where you should consider a less traveled locale, such as Albania.  With about 450 km (280 miles) of coastline, there’s a little something for everyone in this country.

Two Sea
One benefit of the long coast is that part of the country is on the Adriatic Sea while some of it touches the Ionian.  These two bodies of water help contribute to natural differences that result in a diverse offering of beaches and other geographic features.

Sand and Swimming
The northern part of the coastline has the sand and sun filled settings where you dream about holding a drink with a little umbrella in it.  The water is relatively shallow making it more conducive to swimming, and it’s an area that’s very favorable for a family vacation.

Mountains and Water Sports
Traveling south will see a change of landscape, and it’s here that you’ll find rugged mountains and rough terrain.  Instead of sand, the beaches are more often full of pebbles.  The good news is that you’ll find a lot more opportunities for more activities like diving and other more adventuresome water sports.

Driving is Possible
There has been some road work done in recent years, so the quality of the asphalt is higher than you might expect.  Not only does this make it easier to access many of the more remote spots, but it also opens options for road tripping into neighboring Greece.

Less Developed, Less Crowded
Being in an underdeveloped beach area can be a good thing.  The accommodation choices are slightly limited, but you’re basically guaranteed to have a good view and a feeling of remoteness.  Plus, it leads to less other tourism, so you’ll get a lot more peace and quiet.

Quiet Nights, If Desired
Your hotel options are mostly limited to smaller villages, so it’s very easy to get some quiet sleep.  However, if you want to get a little party going, there are a few spots to look.  A local favorite is the town of Dhermi, where not only will you brush shoulders with most of the Albanian youth, but also many celebrities and government officials.

Castle Walls
Although the modern buildings are limited, there are still a lot of ancient castles sitting around.  The most popular castle among tourists is the Rozafa in the city of Shkodra.  However, if you head south to the town of Durrës, you’ll find yourself in close proximity of three old fortresses.

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