Are you looking for a quiet beach in Albania that still has a hint of wildness? If so, Gjipe Beach will be the perfect spot to visit. It is hidden from the world in a canyon carved by a river, which falls into the sea. The high rocks surrounding it from all sides make it difficult to access but at the same time give it a little bit of mysteriousness. The beach is covered in white pebbles which make the crystal clear water look even bluer. No wonder that in many rankings Gjipe is listed as one of the most beautiful beaches of Albania.
What will you find in this article?
HOW TO GET TO GJIPE BEACH?
If you are in the North of Albania (e.g. in Tirana) then you need just to follow the road to the South going along the coastline. Be careful though, the road can be sometimes very mountainous. For example, the section around Panorama Llogara has a lot of sharp turns, but you can also enjoy breathtaking panoramas ❤️. Especially the last kilometres before Gjipe are offering some beautiful views with small towns located on steep slopes – make sure you drive there during the day!
After leaving the main road, the last section that can be driven by a normal car is very narrow, so you have to pull over to the coves or on the side of the road to let other cars pass. On the way, you can do a short break and see the ruins of the Saint Theodore Monastery.
At the end of the road, there is a parking lot. We had to pay a fee of 200 Lek to a woman who was “looking after” our car while we were gone. For the last kilometre, we walked on foot. It took about 15-20 min. The road down to the beach is very rocky and sometimes steep (on the way back), so it’s good to have some more comfortable shoes than flip-flops. Theoretically, there is a road leading directly to Gjipe Beach but due to large stones, it is accessible only for off-road cars.
WHAT TO DO ON THE GJIPE BEACH?
The best choice is to sunbathe, chill, enjoy the crystal clear blue water and drink a cold beer. There is no shade on the beach, so an umbrella may be useful during the hot season. While researching I came across the information that deckchairs and umbrellas are available on the Gjipe Beach during the high season – in May there were just a few deckchairs and no umbrellas though. Because the beach is a large open space, the wind likes to go crazy. You may consider taking water shoes with you since the beach is made of small rocks and it’s quite unpleasant to walk barefoot on them.
Once you get bored of lying on the beach, you can go for a short walk in the direction of the Gjipe Canyon located at the back of the beach. You can also do longer trekking inside the canyon. Here you will find an exemplary route. It’s a nice place for people how like outdoor activities. I even saw some guys climbing the walls of the canyon. They were doing it on their own but you can ask at the camping if they offer any activities like this.
WHERE TO EAT ON GJIPE BEACH?
There are no proper restaurants on the beach. Only two simple bars where you can buy alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as small Bake Rolls and other snacks. Especially the second “white” bar on the right is noteworthy – some of its furniture is made out of pallets, and some abstract figures are painted on its white walls, which gives the place a unique, hippie atmosphere. I read that sometimes parties are organized on the beach.
There is also a campsite but I didn’t saw any restaurant there. However, I came across a few comments on Google Maps about grilled fish, which is occasionally sold there in the main season. You can also make a bonfire on the beach. EDIT: Gjipe Eco Campground opened a small restaurant in June 2020 and is offering now pizza and pancakes, among others.
If you are more demanding when it comes to food and would like to eat a proper dish then you can go to the nearby seaside town of Jala. Its beautiful beach is almost completely empty during the off-season. In May, there were only two restaurants open, one of which offered only fish with salad and fries for 800 Lek, and the other was able to cook only one dish for our whole group (some pasta). A little bit further away there is also a bigger town called Himarë, where you will most probably find a better choice of restaurants.
WHERE TO SLEEP ON GJIPE BEACH?
If you are an adventurous person and want to feel the real atmosphere of this place, I recommend staying there overnight. You can sleep on the beach in a tent. Two toilets are available at the bars (the first – a hole in the ground, the second – a normal toilet). There is also Gjipe Eco Campground at the beach, where you can rent tents. This is a quite convenient option because you don’t have to take it with you. The campsite also offers showers and toilets, which you can use for a small fee even while wild camping on the beach and not on the campsite. People with off-road cars can also drive directly to the beach with their campers or caravans. I wrote about my experience while travelling through Albania with a tent here.
In case sleeping on the beach in a tent is not an option for you, you can easily find accommodation in the nearby towns of Jala or Himare and come during the day to Gjipe fleeing from the crowds of tourists.