This is a preliminary page where I am just quickly throwing down things to remind myself to write about later – Amela is talking to me about very interesting things so I am having a hard time doing anything very serious. On the other hand, hopefully this is enough to get you started looking . . . . .
The First thing to know is that there are actually TWO coasts in Albania. The Adriatic coast runs N-S to Karabarun and is like the Italian coast. The Ionian coast runs W-E from Karabarun to Saranda and is like Greece – blue water and white sand.
On the Adriatic, our favorite place so far is Ishull e Lezhes, which is a little anchor-shaped spit of land sticking out near the town of Lezhe. The whole thing is technically a bird sanctuary, although I’m not sure how much it is actually managed. Anyhow there’s only 3 things on the WHOLE penninsula : two little hotels there each of which has its own little beach – our favorite is Laguna Blu – and one FANTASTIC restaurant called Trendafil Mistik. 355 (0)68 32 27 322 is the number for the ladies of Laguna Blu but I think they only speak Albanian. Anyhow it’s super quiet and nice for being pretty close to a whole bunch of big town/cities. There are also a bunch of hotels on the mainland at the beginning of the Pennisula (including on in Mussolini’s son-in-law’s former hunting lodge) but avoid these as 1) they are very swampy and 2) very dodgy.
We’ve never really had enough time to spend the night on or explore the Ionian coast, but the place everyone says the nicest things about is the Hostel at Vuno. I can’t really find a link that works right now, but that’s where I heard people all summer wishing they had spent more time/could go back.
The other two most popular beach places are Himarra (where there is what looks to be also a very nice hostel called . . . . yep, Himarra Hostel) and Dhermi, but I’ve heard that Dhermi is the only place in Albania where the locals are already jaded by tourism. Oh – also there’s Ksamil Beach which I don’t know anything about.
AND a 3rd cool thing are the Eco-cabins at Porto Palermo. You can rent a whole cabin and it’s all very sweet and far away from everything, except the castle of Ali Pasha Tepelene, which is across the road.