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A small country in the Balkan in South-eastern Europe, Albania is a hidden gem with wonderful landscape, tasty food and affordable prices. Its coastline, that runs along the Adriatic Sea in the east and the Ionian Sea in the south features unspoiled beaches to enjoy. Interesting rock formations, clear waters and hidden coves offer ideal conditions to explore the beauty of the sea while snorkeling in Albania. With this guide, we help you to find the best snorkel spots along the Albanian Riviera.
A little south of Vlora, Radhime is a true gem of with wonderful nature. An interesting fact that the history of the village can be traced back to the 3rd century since various gold ornaments and ceramic pieces were discovered here.
Radhime is one of the quietest beaches on the Albanian coast with clear sea and calm waters, perfect for a laid-back family vacation. There is camping here and also a few simple hotels (Hotel Sirena is a good budget option).
Karaburun-Sazan National Park
The country’s first and only Marine Park was opened in 2010 with the purpose of protecting and preserving the natural resources and biodiversity both at sea and on land. It is an area of 12,570.82 ha including Sazan Island, the Karaburun Peninsula and the surrounding waters.
Sazan Island -accessible by boat tours from Vlora- is the largest island off the coast Albania. It was a military zone for a long time. With extensive Posidonia meadows, underwater caves and shipwrecks, scuba diving is excellent here, but snorkelers can also enjoy the fantastic clear waters.
When on the island, you can go swimming at Shen Nicolo Bay which is just next to the port. Since not too many people to visit the island, it is quiet, perfect to relax and enjoy the country’s natural attractions and of course for snorkeling in Albania.
The Karaburun Peninsula’s coastline offers impressive caves (the most popular is the Haxhi Ali Cave) and several picturesque coves that are secluded due to the fact they are only accessible by boat from Vlora and Dhermi (or from land with long, 4-6 hours long hikes). The best Karaburun beaches for snorkeling are Gjiri i Brisanit (Bay of Bristan), Gjiri i Dafines (Dafina Bay), Gjiri I Grames (Grama Bay) and San Andreas Beach.
If you are a beach lover and wish to experience Albania’s welcoming atmosphere with a bit of party vibe, then Dhërmi is the place you need to visit. This small village 45km from Vlore surrounded by citrus and olive tree plantations along the Ionian coast.
The area offers various activities to keep you busy on your vacation: you can visit churches and monasteries, go hiking, explore caves (a popular one here is the naturally created Pirate’s Cave) and of course, enjoy the sea.
Dhermi’s stunning coastline features prime Albania snorkeling spots with pebbly beaches, crystal waters with fantastic mountain views in the background. Swim in the gorgeous blue waters among interesting underwater rocks formation surrounded by fish!
Tip: if you look for accommodation nearby, make sure to check the Royal Blue Hotel that offers seaview rooms and lies just 500 m from the center of Dhërmi.
With cliffs, canyons, caves but no development, Gjipe is probably the best Albania snorkeling beach near Dhermi and Himare if you search for some privacy. With its clear sand, white pebbles and warm azure water, it can feel like you are in a tropical paradise not in Southern Europe.
Gjipe is famous for its impressive natural rock formations, called The Canyon. It is a 800 meters long and 10-20 meters wide strait with lots of caves you can explore if you feel like. The fact that makes this beach even more unique is that this is the transition zone between the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, so you will be swimming in two seas at the same time!
Being famous for its intensively azure waters, Jale Beach is a must-visit spot when looking for the best snorkeling in Albania. It tells everything about the beauty of this place that it was that once it was the favorite summer destination of military and government officers.
This secluded, half-moon-shaped bay is located between Dhermi and Himare, about 5 km from Vuno village and features a picturesque setting: surrounded by cliffs and olive groves, it is a perfect spot to enjoy the Albanian Riviera. Although it is not that quiet anymore, since hotels have been built here, but it is still a worth-to-visit place when in the country!
Tip: our hotel tip here: Folie Marine Beach Hotel & Club – Soleil Resort
The small cove of Gjiri i Akuariumit is another excellent beach to go snorkeling in Albania that is accessible from Jale and Livade Beaches on a dirt track. For a while, only local people know about this hidden spot therefore it was really quiet, but lately it is getting recognized by tourists too thanks to photos posted on social platforms.
It is a virgin beach, there are no facilities here so make sure to bring your own beach gear, food and drinks!
Livadi is probably the most wonderful beach of the Himara area. It is a very long and wide beach with some rocky areas at the beach edges that offer basic snorkeling.
What most people like about Livadi is that it is not overly developed. There are no big resorts here, just a few smaller hotels and camping areas, sunbed rental, beach bars and mini markets, so it still feels pristine compared to the main Himare Beach.
Tip: the beach’s newest hotel is the 5-star Miamar Hotel
The small cove of Buneci lies between Lukova and Pigeras in an ex-military zone. This beach is often overlooked by tourists heading to Saranda, therefore it’s not too crowded.
Buneci is a place where you find everything you need for a perfect beach day: beautiful views of mountains, transparent waters and good restaurants offering fresh seafood! What else could you wish for? If you seek for total relaxation, this is a place to go!
The beach of Krorez (and also the nearby Kakome) is one of Albania’s virgin beaches and often referred as one of the Top 3 beaches of the country. Thanks to the crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery, it is a prime Albania snorkeling spot.
Kroreza Bay is accessible with boat from Himare and Saranda. A full-day trip usually costs about 30-50 EUR per person for a shared boat and about 150-200 EUR if you want a private tour. The beach is accessible from land too, but now the entry is restricted, and you may be asked to pay 10-15 EUR, so it is better taking a boat.
Tip: from time to time, there is wasp invasion in the area, so prepare accordingly!
Bay of Saranda
Sarandë is a popular resort town with a picturesque setting: offering views of the Ionian Sea and surrounded by olive groves, it is the perfect location for those who prefer to vacation at lively, authentic places.
It is often considered as the capital of the Albanian Riviera where there are many things to do. You can visit archaeological sites, go hiking to spend time in nature, or enjoy the beaches.
You find many small rocky coves along the town’s coast where you can put your mask on to see what lies under the sea, but those who look for an advanced snorkeling experience can visit the Italian cargoship in the Bay of Saranda.
The 115 m long vessel lies on the port side 300m from the shore (marked with buoy) at depths of 18m, but its top point is just 3m under the surface, so if the visibility is good, you’ll be able to observe this mysterious wreck. But again, you need to be professional snorkeler with some freediving skills to visit this spot.
Tip: Saranda has a wide range of accommodations. We love the Hotel Magllara that is a family-owned, comfy small hotel at an unbeatable location.
If you look for a classical Albania snorkeling beach near Saranda, then head to Plazhi i Manastirit (Monastery Beach) that is about 8km (15 minutes drive) south of the town. With fantastic rock formations, clear, vibrant blue water, this beach is usually relaxed and quiet, but gets crowded in the main season.
There is restaurant and bar here serving food and drinks at affordable prices, moreover changing rooms and bathrooms are also available. When at Monastery Beach, it is worth to visit Butrinti, the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site too.
Tip: there is even a simple hotel on the spot if you decide to stay here: Hotel Kristal
Featuring fine sandy beaches, clear waters and a family-friendly atmosphere, Ksamil in southern Albania was locals’ favorite summer vacation destination that became popular by tourists in the recent years.
The idyllic, small village lies just 30 minutes away from Corfu by boat and offers affordable hotels and guesthouses to stay (we love the Meta Ksamil guesthouse that is just 300 far from the beach) as well as lots of lovely restaurants to try the Albanian cuisine.
Ksamil Beach consist of small coves that are taken over by bars or restaurants. There are so many coves that you can easily choose a different one every day to make the most of the landscape and atmosphere.
If you prefer to spend your time actively, head to the Ksamil Islands! With amazingly clear waters and rich marine life, these 4 rocky islets situated within the Butrint National Park belong to the top spots to go snorkeling in Albania. You can rent a canoe or boat to get to the island, but to the nearest ones you can swim too.
The most popular are the two outer ‘Twin Islands’ that are connected by a narrow sand belt. There is umbrella and sunbed rental on them, however they can get crowded in the main season, but if you visit them in June or September, you can enjoy privacy.
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