Ruth at Silbersee Lake near Dulmen, Germany.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Dulmen, Germany.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Winterswijk, Netherlands.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Himara Castle and the Albanian Riviera

The coast south of the Llogara Pass to the Greek border is known as the Albanian Riviera. It's not very well known outside of Albania, but we think that's starting to change. There's a lot of new construction going on at some of the smaller beach towns along the way, and some new communities are being purposely built.

And no wonder. The scenery is spectacular, and the water is clear and a beautiful shade of blue.

Yesterday, we drove from Vlorë to Sarandë...

Yesterday's drive, 125 kms (78 miles).

It's only 125 kms, but with photo stops, a castle tour, and lunch it took us five hours!

We had done the first half of the drive on Monday, so the first half was a repeat. Good thing we had done that because it was overcast and drizzling with rain as we made our way back up Llogara Pass.

But as soon as we went through the pass and came down the other side, things cleared up!

Things are clearing up as soon as we got through the mountain pass.

Somebody painted this bunker like a happy face!

The new resort community of Green Coast.

We couldn't help but notice this huge construction project in the middle of nowhere. It's the Green Coast Resort and Residences. Not even close to what we like, but we've learned that we're not normal. 

We would rather be in the old part of town a few kilometers away!

Stopped for a break to enjoy the view.

It took us almost an hour and a half just to get to where we had been before. Then it was time for some new scenery. Our next stop was Himara Castle where they say there has been a human presence since 1,500 BC! 

This was a really good stop for us. We love these old castles, and to be able to explore at will with nobody else around is fantastic.

Heading up to the castle.

The sign says there is a 300 lek entrance fee, but there was nobody around and we were the only ones there. In fact, we didn't see anybody else the whole time we were up in the old town area!

Entering the old town.

View looking back down.

It's really pretty up here with little pink, white, and yellow wildflowers out everywhere.


Old castle walls.

The Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus. One of the walls dates back to the year 786 AD.

The church was locked, probably to preserve interior murals that date to the 11th century.

Views from the castle looking towards the sea.

Old castle walls.

View looking down on Himara Beach.

Through the castle wall.






Me, with a view of Himara Beach.

We sat and had our lunch up here.

Not much left of this old church.

Part of this image remains though.

Looking down on the village.

Me!

The back of the old church.



Ruth, standing in the wildflowers.

There are a lot of wildflowers!

I wish we could see what's behind this door.

What a great visit we had up there. But, we still had some driving to do, and with all of the twists and turns and viewpoints, it's pretty slow going. Good thing we aren't in a rush!

Plus, we had a lot more things to see!

This little chapel down the road was a lot newer, with a nice view.

Scenery along the way.

Our road ahead.

Palermo Bay.

In one corner of Palermo Bay is an old Albania Navy Station. It's still a restricted military zone, so even though it's not in use and most of what is there is very run down, there is still a flag flying at one of the buildings, and it's obvious that there is a guard stationed there. There is a sign at the entrance road warning of restricted entry.

The big attraction here is the communist era submarine station that is in view from the road.

The Pasha Liman Naval Base.



Interesting stuff.

On the island in the bay is Palermo Castle.
We hope to return there another day.

Looking back at Palermo Castle.

Nice colored water.

A little beach.

Borsh Beach.

Our road ahead.

Looking back at Borsh Beach.




Our road ahead.

We made it to Sarandë at about 3pm, five hours after we left. 

Sarandë is a beach resort town. Not sure that it's going to be our type of place exactly, but we've got a week here to find out. 

This blog post is long enough... we'll show you pictures of our apartment another day.

Ruth deserved a break from cooking, so we went out for dinner. The place we originally chose was closed when we got there, so we walked down to the beach area and found a very plain restaurant that had great reviews for the seafood and prices. 

We both decided on the seafood risotto. 

It was delicious.

So, two plates of food, and three glasses of white wine and the total bill for the two of us, including tip was 2,400 lek ($29 CAD, $24 USD).

Our daughter is in the food service business in Ottawa, and she says that including tax and tip that meal would have been well over $100 CAD ($80 USD) in Ottawa. 

The Sarandë waterfront at dusk.

It's starting out as another beautiful day here in the Albanian Riviera, and we've got lots of walking to do!

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And in Canada...



12 comments:

  1. This Albanian Riviera is a very pretty area ! Thanks for the beautiful pictures! It's a great feeling for me to discover this country through your eyes ... and steps! Enjoy!

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    1. You are so welcome, we are very happy that you are enjoying our posts and pictures of Albania ans we can't wait to show you more. We know that the best is still to come. :-)

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  2. The other thing about your dinner is that seafood probably came out of the water that day instead of being shipped to the restaurant!

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    1. There is a very good possibility that is was fresh that day but we can't say for certain. We do wish that the shrimp had been a bigger, the ones they used were tiny but the dish was still delicious. :-)

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  3. Nice day for exploring as you move to your next location. Beautiful Scenery.
    Dinner looks yummy.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. We enjoyed our day immensely!

      Dinner was delicious. :-)

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  4. It’s a good thing you are visiting now. In 5 years it will be another resort country.

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    1. And this is exactly why we love visiting off beaten path places, like Albania before they become known to the world. We do think that Albania is one of the up and coming countries that more people will start flocking to, it might take more than 5 years but it will start to get busy all the same!

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  5. We loved your photos of your travels today in Albania. We have followed you guys for 10 years. Today for you was an exceptional travel day. Keep up the good work.

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    1. We are so happy that you enjoyed this post and that you took the time to comment, we appreciate it. And thank you for following along with us all these years. :-)

      This was definitely a gorgeous drive and we look forward to more scenic drives as we get into the mountains.

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  6. Loved the castle,really old! What's next on your tour? Do most speak American, or Canadian? You 2 take care,Rawn

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    1. We love exploring old castle ruins like that, especially when we have the place to ourselves. :-)

      We speak Canadian but we are fluent in American as well, lol!

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