Himara or Himarë is a bilingual (Greek and Albanian) town located between the Ceraunian Mountains and the Ionian Sea. It is part of the Albanian Riviera with the most beautiful beaches in the area: Spile and Marachi beach are local in Himarë; Livadhi and Jali beach are close by and pretty too - especially in the low season when you have the beaches all to yourself! Thanks to its seclusion, the nature around Himarë is still relatively untouched. The crystal blue waters make Himara a popular holiday destination and remains a relatively undiscovered part of the Mediterranean.
The region of Himarë is predominantly populated by an ethnic Greek community. There are a lot of Greek traditional taverns or fish restaurants in the centre of Himarë - all serving tasty food.
Public transportation buses connect from Vlorë or Tirana (there are few a day depending on the season). It is the cheapest but not the fastest way (from Tirana 1000 lek and approx. 6 hours bus ride). Furthermore, there is a direct line from/to Gjirokastër, Athens, Elbasan daily. There is no bus station in Himarë, let the driver know where you'd like to get drop off.
Himarë is located on the SH8 highway (next to the riveria).
- Tirana (4.5 hours - 220 km (140 mi))
- Vlorë (2 hours - 70 km (43 mi))
- Sarandë (1.15 hours - 53 km (33 mi))
Following the road from Tirana or Vlorë, you will pass the Llogara-path and 1 Maja e Çikës (2,045 m) which has a wonderful view of the Ionian Sea. You will find a few restaurants where you can stop for a quick bite before continuing on the road. The road also borders the beautiful Parku Kombëtar Llogara National Park.
- Himarë old town, Kastro (relaxed 30 minutes walk from Himara center up the hill): built around the ruins of the old castle, a magical place where you can watch the sunrise over the sea, meet the love of your life or enjoy the peace of your own companionship. It was built in the Illyrian period and is still partially preserved. Where today many of the buildings have fallen apart and rather persist as a ruin. In addition to the old buildings, there is also a very old church.
- Himarë center & promenade: You can walk next to the beach and drink coffee in one of the coffeebars in the center.
- A few miles south of Himara, in the bay of Porto Palermo, a small peninsula, there is a fort that is said to have been built by Tepedelenli Ali Pasha at the beginning of the 19th century. However, it is likely to be much older, probably built by the Republic of Venice at about the same time as the similarly constructed fortress in Butrint.
- Porto Palermo Cave - The cave of Porto Palermo is located near the former submarine base that is still under the patronage of the army. It is a karstic cave created by limestone activity and its length is only a few meters from any direction. Entry is severely damaged and there have been no formal excavations or researches of its history. It is mainly famous for its scenic and tourist attractions as well as the idyllic surrounding beaches. It is also a very interesting destination for exploration and diving.
- The Stone in the Sky - At the top of Mount Mesimer there is a giant stone, several tones, erected horizontally and standing on two vertically raised stones. From the locals it is called The Stone In the Sky" and from researchers he is estimated to be a Dolmen. So this object seems to have been raised in prehistoric periods as well as some others across Europe and beyond (similar to Stonehenge) has been an object of worship, the cult, for the ancient inhabitants of these parts. To date, Vranisht Dolmen is considered to be the only one, not only in Albania but perhaps even wider in the Balkans.
- Ali Pasha's Tower - Ali Pasha's Tower or Vlashaj's Tower is located in the village of Qeparo about 1 km north of it. There is no reliable data on the reasons why Ali Pasha built this beautiful villa in this area as close to the coast and a small Ionian harbor, as well as near the rugged mountain terrain of Labëria, difficult to overcome and penetrate in depth. It is not excluded that this flat in the form of a fortress, in a geographic position that controls very well the possible stretches that can be approached from the village of Qeparo, with a large yard and with high perimeter walls, separated from the village and in a strategic position, it can hardly be taken lightly by aggressors. It, in a simple analysis, seems to have been built as a base with special strategic interests for Pashain of Ioannina, for the shadows of an eminent danger when she would have to abandon the country and go to the west through the sea, as it is not so far from here, is Porto Palermo, where Ali Pasha also built a coastal military fort, which he considered important for Ionian control and as a possibility for his departure to the west. Another possibility should have been the need to have a cottage near the coast, for vacations, as not far from here he had completed his marriage ceremony with Vasilic, exactly at the Church that is at the entrance of Porto Palermo.
- Pirates' Cave - It is a natural carstic cave made famous by the book of Petro Marko and then by the film of the same title. It is on the same hill with the Monastery of St. Theodore. Set on steep rocks, in a deep sea, the cave has important tourist values that remind you the Middle Ages. According to the legend, the cave was once a haven of pirates and ships. It can only be reached by the sea.
- Hiking 1) Gjipe beach: Walk along the beach, start in Himara cross to Livadhi beach and Jala beach until you reach Gjipe (walking distance approx. 4 hours - the hiking trail is not well marked). Gjipe beach is an incredibly natural landmark with an untouched canyon next to it. 2) Pilur: a sleepy mountain village with a beautiful view over the scenery of the Albanian Rivera. To reach Pilur, there is a hiking trail inland, which is not always easy to spot, but the view is worth it.
- 1 Himara Hostel. It is set in a recently renovated traditional stone house with a peaceful garden full of fruit trees. It is just a 5-minute walk from the main beach and they offer private rooms (from €29 per night), dormitories (approx. €10 per night) and camping (€7 night) for those with a tent (to rent available). Bikes and kayaks are available for rent (€8 per day). It is open all year.
- Vuno - sleepy and small mountain village with adorable view and traditional atmosphere (just 30 minutes from Himara)
- Sarandë - bigger city on the seaside with a ferry port (ferries go to the Greek island of Corfu)
- Tirana - vibrant and contrasting capital of Albania
- Athens - ancient and modern capital of Greece
- Gjirokastër - a city in stone, an absolutely must see during your trip through Albania