The Octopus takes you on an itinerary of the best anchorages in Albania. This Mediterranean destination, less popular than its neighbors, nevertheless offers sublime anchorages to explore, in a peaceful atmosphere that cannot be found anywhere else!
Without further ado, here are three good reasons to take a cruise along the Albanian coast and our selection of the best anchorages based on the reviews and photos of the Navily community.
3 good reasons to go cruising in Albania
1- Stunning coastlines
Albania boasts more than 450 kilometers of coastline that houses numerous paradisiacal coves, sheltered bays, and white sand beaches bordered by crystal clear waters. Albania’s beaches are often less crowded than those of neighboring countries, making them ideal for those seeking to avoid summer crowds. In summary, the Albanian coasts offer you numerous possibilities to find an isolated place to drop anchor and enjoy the natural beauty and calm of the region. Some of these isolated spots are among the best anchorages in the country.
2 - Fascinating history
Albania has a rich cultural heritage that is unique thanks to its diversified heritage. The archaeological sites of Butrint and Apollonia, as well as the historic towns of Berat and Gjirokaster, classified with Butrint as UNESCO World Heritage sites, are must-sees for history and culture enthusiasts. Albania has a rich and complex history dating back to ancient times. The country was occupied by the Romans, followed by the Byzantines who were themselves ousted by the Ottomans, leaving behind a unique cultural and historical legacy. Visitors can explore ancient ruins, medieval castles, and of course, the numerous bunkers to learn more about Albania’s history.
3 - Traditional cuisine
Albanian cuisine is a fusion of Turkish, Greek, and Italian flavors. Typical dishes include grilled meats, fresh vegetables, and regional cheeses rich in flavors. Along the coast, fresh seafood is also a real treat for lovers of marine cuisine. Visitors can taste these dishes in local restaurants.
Customs and landings in Albania
When traveling in Albania, it is advisable to have an agent to handle clearance upon arrival and departure. The easiest locations for this are Durrës in the west-central part of the country and Sarandë, which is situated opposite Corfu.
The agent highly recommended by our users and considered efficient in Sarandë is Jelja, who runs a company called Sarandë Summer Tours. She offers affordable rates for boat services and can also assist in finding competitive prices for berths. Jelja provides various services, including gas bottle refills, car rentals, and even diesel delivery.
Welcome to the Vlora anchorage, our first stopover in Southern Albania! The area is protected from west to east winds by the north, and the sandy and muddy seabeds offer a comfortable anchorage. Mooring buoys are also available, but poorly maintained, and Navily boaters prefer to use their anchor. Once well anchored, you can enjoy the panoramic view that unfolds before you.The gently rolling hills of the Albanian coastline overlook crystal-clear waters and the city of Vlora. It may not be the most natural setting, but it offers you a good first impression of this country and exclusive access to a typical and strategic city.
It was in this city that the country’s independence was proclaimed in 1912, so Albanian identity is very pronounced there. During this first stop in Vlora, you will have the opportunity to discover the country and its culture, and to meet its inhabitants on a walk through the streets.
English is sometimes spoken, but a large majority of Albanians speak Italian! Finally, if you need marine supplies and refueling, Vlora has everything you need to meet your needs. A good stopover for a first contact with the locals and to stock up before heading to wilder lands to the south!
For our next stop, we head to the wild beauty of Albania! Shengjergj Bay offers good holding on sandy bottoms and protection from the west to the east by the south.
Once securely anchored, enjoy the remarkable calmness and take time to appreciate the eroded curves of the Albanian coast mountains. You are in the country’s only marine park, which harbors astonishing biodiversity, including endangered and protected species. It’s a less frequented place where nature offers you a warm welcome and an unexpected encounter with turtles, dolphins, or seals!
Boaters have spotted a walking trail starting from the beach as well as caves (including one with a pirate legend, ahoy!) around the cape. You’ll likely come across bunkers, a distinctive sign of Albania’s communist past, which is abundant in the area.
In the evening, you can enjoy spectacular sunsets over the gently undulating Ionian Sea from the deck of your boat! A perfect scenery to wrap up an unforgettable stopover in Albania!
Grama Bay is an isolated anchorage protected from north to southeast winds by the east, once used as a refuge by sailors during Adriatic storms. Be careful when entering, as the entrance is narrow and the bottom is dotted with reefs that must be avoided. It’s a small challenge to enjoy this paradise-like anchorage, where only catabatic winds can spoil the fun. Fortunately, Navily allows you to check the weather at the anchorage up to 3 days in advance!
The setting of the anchorage is simply dreamlike. A sea inlet carved into the rocky coast merges with the gentle curves of a white sandy beach at the foot of imposing rock walls covered in sparse vegetation. In this earthly paradise, you can snorkel and explore the reef rich in aquatic life. pour explorer les récifs riches en vie aquatique du mouillage.
If you’re feeling hungry, a typically Albanian café-bar opens its doors during the high season. There you can enjoy the catch of the day or grilled meat and other local delights. Once you’re satiated, you can venture out on trails and appreciate a high view of the bay. The dancing water against the rock walls in shades of blue and green offers a fascinating spectacle.
In conclusion, “Grama Bay” is a wild and peaceful anchorage that delights passing sailors, probably one of the most beautiful in Albania.
At Kakoma, another natural setting awaits you, with one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania! The natural composition of the anchorage protects you from winds from the north to the southwest by the east. You can anchor in its sandy bottoms resting at a depth of about 10 meters. However, be careful during your maneuver to avoid seagrass beds and rocky plateaus, also present in the anchorage.
Although beach access is regulated during high season, you can still marvel at the natural beauty of this small bay. Turquoise waters embrace a long stretch of fine sand, surrounded by eroded and verdant mountains! Only the wooden pontoon reminds you of human presence in this wild setting. Lulled by the song of birds, you will enjoy the landscape and its tranquility.
For history and art lovers, just one kilometer from the beach, trails will lead you to monasteries adorned with ancient frescoes. If you prefer a moment of relaxation, the beach and its azure waters are an invitation to long hours of rest!
During the day and in high season, you may come across excursion boats, but in the evening, you will find the tranquility of the bay to appreciate impressive sunsets! A perfect ending to a successful stopover in Albania!
Gjiri i Rrojdhes
Gjiri i Rrojdhes is a typically Ionian anchorage. The bay offers protection against winds from the northwest to the southwest and the mud bottoms are of good holding. Be aware to avoid the seagrass beds also populating the area.
You will find a calm and peaceful sea, conducive to a restorative break. In addition to its ambient tranquility, Gjiri i Rrojdhes offers a magnificent view of the Greek island of Corfu. This view is particularly striking at dusk, when the warm colors of the sky are reflected on the calm water and the islands on the horizon.
For our last stop on this tour of the best anchorages in Albania, we take you to Ksamil. There, you will find one of the most beautiful bays in Albania, offering three anchoring options near the town. In any case, the bottoms will be composed of sand and posidonia (do not throw your anchor in the seagrass) at a depth of 5 to 10 meters.
The anchorages are located respectively to the north, in the middle, and to the south of the islands, each offering different wind protection.
Due to its popularity in high season, there can be a lot of people and a regulated swimming area accompanies the many beaches in the area, but the destination is a must-visit for a good reason. The setting is simply idyllic, with green hills and turquoise water on which the reflections of an unforgettable sunset will dance in the evening.
The anchorage also offers exclusive access to the town of Ksamil. There, you will find many practical amenities, small supermarkets, and local restaurants offering traditional cuisine as well as street food options. You can thus enjoy a variety of local dishes, including fresh seafood, grilled dishes, vegetable-based dishes, and much more.
This is how our adventure in Albania ends, but no need to be sad, you are only a few nautical miles away from the beautiful Greek territory of the island of Corfu, which also has very beautiful anchorages…
We hope you enjoyed this tour of the best anchorages in Albania, and The Octopus will be working on his next destination coming soon!