Adventure along the wild road to Gjipe Beach in the Albanian Riviera
Located in the Albanian Riviera, Gjipe Beach is said to be the most beautiful beach of the country. The road is terrifying: steep (up to 9%) with dangerous drop offs. It's best not to look down. One mishap and you plunge off the cliff and into the sea. It’s one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world.
Where is Gjipe Beach?
Gjipe is a white sand beach in the Albanian Riviera remotely located at the Gjipe Canyon, between the towns of Dhermi and Vuno in Vlorë County, on the southern part of the country.
How to get to Gjipe Beach?
The road to the shining aquamarine beach, otherwise called as “The Gods Garden”, is 4km (2.48 miles) long starting at the paved SH8 road. Getting to the beach might be the most defiant part of the experience. The first 2.5km, on the way to the Manastiri i Shën Theodhorit (St Theodor’s Monastery), are paved. At this point there’s a parking lot. You have to pay to park.
Is the road to Gjipe Beach challenging?
If you have a 4wd vehicle with high clearance, you can drive all the way down to the secluded beach, at the end of a canyon called Gjipe Canyon. The second part of the drive running through the lush forests is 1.4km (0.86 miles) long on a very narrow path with dangerous drop offs, and there are no guardrails. The road is unpaved, sandy, and full of hairpin turns. It is recommended that beginner riders avoid this very challenging steep road with huge rocks: be prepared for a precarious cliff road with very soft sand. It is totally impassable for 2 cars at the same time.
How steep is the road to Gjipe Beach?
Expect a trail pretty steep. Starting at Manastiri i Shën Theodhorit, the descent is 1.5km long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 135 meters. The average gradient is 9%. The weather changes quickly near the sea. If heavy rains come, the water will surge down the canyon and come out on the beach.
Is Gjipe Beach worth it?
There are 2 cafes working on the beach selling some refreshments and food in the summer months. Remember to be mindful and don’t do stupid things like picking up rocks because there are snakes on the area. Gjipe beach is squeezed between high cliffs of a canyon. The drive is very beautiful with lots of bunkers (built by the communists during the Cold War to protect the coastline) along the way. If you are a nature lover, make sure you visit this amazing beach surrounded by towering rock formations. It is said to be one of the best beaches in Albania. Due to its remote location, totally secluded in a beautiful canyon with spectacular rocks and amazing turquoise waters, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the splendid coast.
Pic: Andrzej Pochopień