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Getting There & Away

The best way to explore this part of Albania is with your own wheels. Buses do connect the towns along the coast, but they're irregular and sometimes full – give yourself plenty of time and be patient when things don't go to plan. Also note that many beaches are not on the main road, but several kilometres downhill, which can feel like a huge distance in the summer sun. Most long-distance buses now take the new inland road between Saranda and Vlora, which means that there's even less traffic along the narrow – but stunningly beautiful – coastal road.

From Tirana, buses to Saranda (1300 lekë, five hours) leave at 6am, 9am and midday and take the coastal road via the Riviera villages. From Saranda, a daily bus travels up the Riviera to Vlora (1300 lekë, three hours, 7am) and can drop you anywhere along the way, while there are also Vlora buses (900 lekë; also three hours) at 7.30am and 1pm that go via the coast. An 11.30am bus from Saranda heads to Himara (500 lekë, two hours) via the coast.