If you say Albania, we say Riviera. There are some really nice beaches in Albania you can visit. Preferably you will have a car so more beaches are accessible, but you can still get to a lot of beaches by public transport.
Vlore has the second largest port in Albania. From here you can take the ferry to Italy. Vlore has a very nice boulevard with lots of cafes and restaurants. They also have a long shopping street. Vlore has not a lot of things to do except the beaches. We went to the beach on the south and north side of the harbour. North of the harbour the beach was cleaner and less crowded.
We loved Orikum. This is a perfect getaway village on the coast. It’s small, but you have everything you need to have a relaxing holiday. The water is clear, there are some nice restaurants along the seaside, bakeries and a few supermarkets. The beaches are not so crowded, but you can still get umbrellas and sunbeds. There is a lagoon with some very special birds and some reptiles, frogs and crabs.
Orikum is easily reachable by bus from Vlore (only 20-30 minutes) and tickets cost 100 lek per person.
Edir restaurant is highly recommended.
Saranda has 30.000 residents, but in summer this can get up to 300.000 so be prepared for some crowds. We still liked the vibe. There is a nice boulevard parallel to the water we you can walk without being disturbed by cars. The part were we went to the beach only had a very small pebble beach with some umbrellas, but the water was clear even though it was close to the ferry. You can catch the ferry here to Corfu (Greece).
We got from Vlore to Sarande by bus, the price of the ticket was 800 lek per person.
Borsh is a cute little village along the main car route from Sarande to Vlore. It’s small and we slept in a guesthouse on the road. If you do that you need to walk 2.7 kilometers to the beach, but the beach is worth it. With it’s 7 kilometers is the largest beach on the Ionian coast. We were there in the beginning of September and we had the beach almost to ourselves.
We hitchhiked to this place from Sarande and from Borsh we hitchhiked to Vlore. There are buses but they are not very regular. There are some buses that pass Borsh but you need to wait a long time.