Swap Greece For This Underrated Country For Your Next Beach Vacation

When nothing sounds better than a sunny beach getaway, many travelers are immediately inclined to turn their sights towards Greece. Beautiful, rich in history, and endlessly alluring, Greece is a decidedly fantastic destination. However, if you happen to be looking for fewer crowds and equally impressive landscapes, Albania is the place to be.

While it may not be a destination that comes to mind first when you're planning a European journey focused on the coastlines, it shouldn't be overlooked. From castle-dotted hills and mountains to gorgeous shorelines that easily rival Mediterranean escapes, Albania is rich in opportunities for sun-seeking travelers excited to spend time at the beach. The country's coastline stretches nearly 280 miles along the Ionian and Adriatic Seas. Upon arrival, visitors will find plenty of sugary soft sand, deep blue waters, and surrounding pine forests to enjoy.

When it comes to annual visitor numbers, Albania also gives beach travelers plenty of reasons to head this way. According to Statista, Greece welcomed nearly 30 million travelers in 2022. At the same time, the Institute of Hospitality reported Albania welcomed just 7.5 million tourists in the same year. This is a good indicator that, for the moment, Albania remains off the well-worn tourist trail. It's a country that can provide beachgoers with a beautiful, refreshing, and delightfully uncrowded experience on the sand.

Top shorelines to explore

Customizing your beach vacation to Albania is a simple task thanks to the diverse options for fun and adventure available along the Albanian Riviera — not to mention the stunning views. This beautiful region boasts a coastline that stretches from Ksamil to Vlore. Whether you're looking for a tranquil cove where you can dig your toes in the sand and watch the waves roll in, or you're more in the mood for a getaway where you make a high-energy resort your home base, the Albanian Riviera has it all.

While you really can't go wrong with any beach that calls the Albanian Riviera its home, Dhermi has earned a reputation among travelers and locals alike as a particularly popular place to land and soak up the sun. In addition to palm trees, inviting sunbeds, and great ocean views, this beach puts you well within reach of local mountain trails when you're ready to explore further. It's also a great starting point for a journey to the Canyon of Gjipe.

If you do head to the canyon from the beach in Dhermi, you can include more shoreline fun into your adventure. Simply set your sights on the stretch of coastline between Dhermi and Vuno known as Gjipe Beach. This beach is beloved among travelers for its captivating collection of towering cliffs, natural caves, pristine white sand, and an isolated vibe that lets you relax and unwind at your own, uninterrupted pace.

Beach luxury and historic ruins to enjoy

If you're looking to enhance your beach getaway in Maldives-inspired style without the soaring price tag, the Albanian Riviera offers its own version in the form of Ksamil. This picturesque retreat is a place many beach adventurers choose to pair sunbathing with paddle boarding or kayaking in the turquoise waves. There's also an array of savory seaside eateries to enjoy here as well as wooden boardwalks to stroll at sunset.

Taking time to enjoy the many beaches of Ksamil puts you in the ideal place to explore nearby Butrint National Park. Here, you'll have easy access to an impressive collection of Roman and Greek ruins that bring the past to life in a one-of-a-kind way. Structures and artifacts on-site date back to the Iron Age and include a Roman theater, castles, city walls, and a baptistery too.

Realizing an amazing beach getaway is waiting for you in Albania is certainly exciting. However, knowing how to get here first is essential. One of the easiest routes to accessing the most beautiful beaches of the Albania Riviera is to fly into Tirana International Airport and drive two hours from Vlore. Planning a trip sooner rather than later is highly recommended as a report from EuroNews states the Albanian Ministry of Tourism is projecting tourism numbers to jump to 10 million by the end of 2023. That makes now the time to savor a beach trip while the shorelines here remain refreshingly tranquil.