Llogara National Park
This park is located 40 km southeast of Vlora on the border between the Adriatic and Ionian seas. The park starts at 470 m above sea level and climbs to 2018 m. Close to the peak of Llogara Pass visitors may notice beautifully-shaped trees formed by air currents. Ask for the tree locally-known as “Pisha Flamur” (the Flag Pine) located by the road.
From the Llogara Pass one can clearly see the Ionian Sea three kilometers away, the steep rocky sides of Vetëtima (Lightning) Mountain and large parts of the Riviera. Running through the park is the national road, Vlora-Himara-Saranda.
However, it is recommended that eco-tourists should stop in the park and take one of the many foot paths to its interior. There is a very rich flora and fauna with 105 different kinds of birds and animals such as foxes, wild cats, deer, etc. The climate of the park is highly valued thanks to a virtuous combination of fresh mountain air and sea air. It is considered one of Albania’s most valuable tourist attractions and it offers possibilities of eco-tourism, air sports, hiking and picnics. Palasë Beach
Palasë Village is the first village to the south of the Llogara Pass, on the side of Çika Mountain. A century-old plane tree can be found in the village center. The narrow stone roads lead to white houses with courtyards full of grapevines and flowers. The 1.5 kilometer long Palasë beach is part of this village. It serves as landing strip for practitioners of air sports that start their flight from Llogara Pass.Dhërmi
Older inhabitants call this village Drimades which comes from the Greek Drymades (Oak Forest). The village was built in the seventh century on a number of hills. Dhërmi is a large and beautiful village with about 30 old churches picturesquely placed on the rough mountainside. A typical village of the Ionian coast, this is also one of its oldest settlements. Well-known for its lovely beaches, the Gjipe Beach is one of the finest, formed by a creak streaming down the mountain close to the national road.Cave of the Pirates
The cave is located on the hill of St. Todhri’s Monastery in the village of Dhërmi. The name comes from the pirates that would use it as a base for themselves and their ships. Visiting it on calm seas is highly recommended as it offers wonderful views.Ionian Beaches: Qeparo, Borsh, Lukovë and Kakome
Just south of Palermo Bay visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of the green Qeparo valley, the beach, the new village of Qeparo, the field above it, the Karos castle and, further south, Kudha village. The name of Qeparo comes from qiparis (cypress tree). Known for its fine sand and shallow sea is Skalome Beach, in front of Qeparo village. The small bay contains the ancient pier, a stone bank, Frëngu (Frenchman) cave and the Great Nose. The national road goes through the olive groves to the village center. Above it visitors can stopover at the St. Mitri Monastery built in 1881 or the St. Mitri Church built in Byzantine style in 1760 with beautiful wooden icons.
About two kilometers from Qeparo is the village of Borsh that in ancient times was called Meandria. It has plenty of green fields, beaches and sea. The village is located on a narrow pit formed by the delta of the Borsh creak which comes out of a rock in the middle of the village. High above the village, Borsh castle (fourth century B.C.) is worth visiting. Take the road among the olive groves to get to the beach which is the longest beach in the region. The national road also passes by the Stenoi steps, a picturesque Borshi neighborhood.
Driving from Bunes through the orange groves, visitors arrive at Lukova commune. The dwellings here are connected with roads to great and isolated beaches as well as caves. Houses have large courtyards with pergolas and flowers. In the village center, the St. Thanas church is worth a visit. The name Lukova comes from the Albanian luk and the Slav suffix “ovo.”
From the Krekëza valley, get off the national road and drive towards Kakome on a narrow dirt road. Kakome is a picturesque bay with a monastery surrounded by high walls. In its center is St. Mary’s church in the form of a cross. With its fine sand and pebble beach, Kakome truly is a paradise worth visiting. From Kakome through the sea, you can get to the two wonderful Krorëz beaches. Clean sand, rocky coastlines and creeks make this an ideal resting place.Ksamil Islands
These islands are located only 7.5 to 15 meters above sea level. To get there, take the Saranda-Ksamil road and then sail to the islands. They are small and rocky with typical Mediterranean vegetation. Ksamil village has long been an important center of family tourism. The economy of the village is highly dependent on summer tourism when hundreds of families rent apartments for their holidays.Blue Eye
A “blue eye” is a karstic water source located 18 km from Saranda, recognized throughout Albania for its crystal blue waters. To find it, one must first locate a small road turning off of the national road that leads to Gjirokastra. Pass the Bistrica I hydro power station, turn left on the side road and, after about two kilometers, you will find the “blue eye” in the midst of green vegetation. . On average, six cubic meters of water pass through it daily.