Located in the Albanian Riviera, Gjipe Beach is said to be the most beautiful beach of the country. The road to the beach 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.
Tucked away between the towns of Dhermi and Vuno in Vlorë County, in the southern part of the country, the road to the beach, otherwise called as “The Gods Garden”, is 4km (2.48 miles) long starting at the paved SH8 road. 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.
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. 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. Gjipe beach is squeezed between high cliffs of a canyon. 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 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.
Pic: Andrzej Pochopień