Himare – A guide to our favourite Albanian beachside town

Himare albania

The seaside town of Himare sits in the heart of the Albanian Riviera. Situated in a small cove, we spent a few days in the wonderful Himare. With sparkling blue waters and an energetic promenade, you could easily forget you were in Albania and think this was Croatia, Italy or Greece. However, what Himare offers that it’s more popular aforementioned counterparts do not is emptier beaches and cheaper prices. Additionally, the beaches offered some of the clearest water in the world (that we have seen). Should you consider adding Himare to your European summer adventures? We think so! Read on for a few of our highlights, memories and recommendations for this Albanian gem!

Why Himare over Sarande, Ksamil, Vlore or Dhermi

Himare struck the perfect balance of relaxing holiday with enough vibe to keep you entertained. The beach and town were family friendly, but also perfect for those wanting to stay out and enjoy nightlife. Himare is located around 1.5 hours north of Sarande (the main port city on the Albanian Riviera) and 30 minutes south of Dhermi or 2 hours south of Vlore. If you are entering Albania via a ferry from Corfu like we did (we recommend this as the easiest route), Himare is within driving distance. Additionally, Himare is close enough to one of our other favourite Albanian towns, Gjirokaster (see our trip to Gjirokaster here). Himare or Ksamil? If you want beach clubs, sitting on a sun lounge all day, and access to water sports like jet skis, Ksamil is the best option! If you want to relax on the beach and complete day trips to some of the best beaches along the coast (e.g. Gjipe Beach, Porto Palermo), then Himare is likely a better option. The coastline north of Himare up to Dhermi and Vlore is also very picturesque however is further away from Sarande, so isn’t likely the best option if you are entering this way (possibly better if you are heading south from Tirana).

The beaches of Himare and the Albanian Riviera closeby:

Himare Main Beach:

The main beach of Himare was one of our favourites! The water was warm and incredibly clear (especially for a main town beach), and it was located right on the promenade. We found the water clearest on the left end of the main beach, just below the Privat Lounge/Acta Restaurant. This beach was a daily stop for us. Pro tip: Head to the main beach in the afternoon when it’s a little quieter and the sun is still out. There are many umbrella’s available which you can just set up for free (we think.. there’s no one there collecting payment).

Porto Palermo Beach:

The little strip of sand that makes up Porto Palermo beach is one of our favourites in Europe! Big call, we know! The beach is located a little south from the main beach, port and fort of Porto Palermo. The water is so clear, and the beach isn’t very crowded. If you have had enough time in the sun, head to the little café/restaurant for some great coffee, a beverage, or some fresh seafood (like we had!). If we had stayed longer we would definitely have returned for a second visit.

Gjipe Beach:

We visited the famous Gjipe Beach on our second day in Himare. Located around 30-45minutes north of Himare, the easiest way to get here is with your own car. There are busses but they looked infrequent and relatively chaotic. The beach is located at the base of an impressive canyon which opens up onto a wide sandy beach. The azure waters are stunning and paint a wonderful picture against the bright umbrellas that line the sand. To reach the beach you need to walk 20-30minutes down a rocky but relatively easy path (note: it can get hot during summer so be prepared). There are multiple beach bars and sun lounges to hire, along with areas of sand to perch yourself. We loved the clarity of the water and the impressive nature of the beach situated in the canyon. Interestingly, camping is allowed on the beach. We arrived on a Sunday morning, with the beach lined by tents from primarily Albanian campers. This added a ‘different vibe’ than we expected, with a little more rubbish, people and ‘chaos’. than we’d expected for relatively early in the day. If you are visiting during summer, be prepared for the campsites, and possibly visit outside of the weekend if possible.

Other Beaches:

Due to the length of our stay, and our love for the Himare main beach, we didn’t venture to the other beaches along the riviera. However, our research online and with the locals, along with photos online, show the coast is littered with numerous stunning beaches. A few of the more popular beaches are mentioned below, however if you are visiting and want to road trip along the coast, we encourage you to do some research to find the beaches that will best suit your interests.

  • Jale Beach: This popular beach is ~30minutes north of Himare, and located very close to Gjipe. A little more ‘built up’ than Gjipe, this beach doesn’t require as much of a walk, and has more beach club/bar options.
  • Borsh Beach: The strip of beach at Borsh is much more expansive than some of the others. This is a popular place for Albanian families to visit for the summer.
  • Filikuri Beach: This ‘hidden beach’ is located just out of Himare. The best way to reach it is via kayaking from Himare.
  • Others including Dhermi Beach, Drymades Beach, Livadhi Beach and more.

Some recommendations for eating and drinking in Himare:

TOP PICK: Lefteris Tavern – this is the oldest tavern in Himare, and definitely worth a visit. We recommend visiting for lunch, as you get access to the cheaper (and tastier) lunch options. In particular, the moussaka we had at Lefteris Tavern was one of our favourite meals of the trip! They also do dinner options including a range of seafood.

BEST COFFEE: Head to Pasticeri Delight for the best coffee in Himare. Situated a few minutes off the main promenade, don’t be put off by the ‘low key’ look of this bakery. The coffee was significantly better than the offerings on the main street.

GRILLED MEAT: For some grilled meat options, check out To Steki Sti Gonia. We enjoyed the chicken and pork skewers for 170 lek each (~2AUD, 1.5EURO) with a Greek salad!

CUTE OUTDOOR SETTING: The restaurant Merkur Merkuri was another we enjoyed. The outdoor terrace had good vibes, and the food was better than on the promenade. We enjoyed some fish, grilled vegetables and salad. Worth a look.

CHEAP OPTION: If you’re keen on cheap, check out I Love Souvlaki for a 280-300 lek gyros or souvlaki.

THE BEST VIEWS: If you want a stunning view for dinner or a drink, check out Acta Restaurant, located on the hill with a view of the bay. The Privat Lounge bar also offers excellent views sitting adjacent to Acta Restaurant.

THE BEACH CLUBS: The best beach clubs sit at the left side of the Himare bay, about 10minutes walk from the main promenade. These offer excellent bars on the beach, and an array of sunbeds and umbrellas for hire.

Want to stay in Himare?

We would recommend you stay in Himare, especially if you want a beach vibe, good entertainment and day trip options. We stayed in a lovely little Bed & Breakfast 5-10minutes out of the town. The place was excellent for budget travellers, and the host Niko was very welcoming. Take a look here if interested. However, we will note that our room had some shower drainage issues, we are unsure if this is all the rooms, but it’s worth considering. For those looking for a little more luxury, or want to browse other options, take a look below:


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Want to see more of Albania? Take a look at our memories and travels in Albania!

Visiting the nearby Greece? Check out some of our thoughts on the Greek Islands we visited:

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