Located in the Albanian Riviera, Gjipe Beach is said to be the most beautiful beach of the country. Drive with care as this is a terrifying steep road (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.
Located between the towns of Dhermi and Vuno in Vlorë County, southern Albania, starting from SH8 road, the drive to the beach, which is otherwise called as “The Gods Garden”, is 4km long. The first 2.5km, on the way to the Manastiri i Shën Theodhorit (St Theodor’s Monastery), are asphalted. At this point there’s a parking lot. You have to pay to park.
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. It is recommended that beginner riders avoid this very challenging steep road with huge rocks. There are 2 cafes working on the beach. Remember to be mindful and don’t do stupid things like picking up rocks because there are snakes on the area. The road is totally impassable for 2 cars at the same time.
The second part of the drive through the lush forests is 1.4km long on a very narrow path. Gjipe beach is squeezed between high cliffs of a canyon. The road is very rough: gravel, rocky, tippy and bumpy at times. Great trail for experienced wheelers. The drive is very beautiful with lots of bunkers along the way. If you are a nature lover, make sure you visit this amazing beach. Watch stunning views of the splendid coast.
Expect a trail pretty steep. Starting from Manastiri i Shën Theodhorit, the descent is 1.5km long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 135 meters. The average gradient is 9%. Avoid driving in this area if unpaved mountain roads aren't your strong point. 4x4 required. Stay away if you're scared of heights. Wet conditions may make for tough driving along the muddy road. The weather changes quickly on the sea. If heavy rains come, the water will surge down the canyon and come out on the beach.
Pic: Andrzej Pochopień