Albania is a beautiful country, but it can get really hot in the summer. When we visited the Albanian capital of Tirana in late June, it was over 90°F (approximately 32°C) and very humid every day. And since the city is landlocked, there isn’t really anywhere fun to cool off from the heat.
That’s when we found ourselves really craving a beach day. We were living in San Diego before we quit our jobs to travel full-time, so there’s nothing quite as relaxing to us as spending a day at the beach swimming and soaking up the sun. A quick google search revealed that the port city of Durrës was only a short 30 minute bus ride away…
So on a hot sunny Friday in late June, we boarded a bus to check out Durrës for ourselves. It was a short, inexpensive bus ride, and we absolutely loved the beach. The water was refreshing, there were comfy lounge chairs everywhere, and great restaurants and cafes are just steps from the beach.
In fact, we’d say that Durrës is a must visit for anybody spending time in Tirana during the summer. To help you prepare for your seaside adventure, we prepared the below guide for everything you need to know about Durrës.
About Durrës, Albania
Durrës, Albania is located about 30 kilometers west of Tirana. With a population of approximately 122,000, Durrës is the second largest city in Albania. With one of the largest ports on the Adriatic Sea, Durrës handles over 3 million tons of cargo every year.
Its beautiful location brings in approximately 800,000 tourists annually. It’s safe to say that most of these tourists are seeking a way to cool off from Albania’s beautiful yet hot summer weather. The beaches definitely fill up fast, making Durrës a fun summer destination.
How To Get There
We had to do a lot of googling to figure out how exactly we could get to Durrës. But in reality, it’s extremely easy to get there. There’s really only one means of transportation that we would recommend: The bus! Buses go between Tirana and Durrës all the time, so it’s quick, easy, and cheap.
You’ll need to catch the bus from the South Interurban Station at Dogana. It’s a couple kilometers past the international bus station. Buses leave every 30 minutes between 6:30 AM and 7:30 PM. The station is a little bit out of the main downtown area, but it’s still walkable. From Skanderbeg Square, it’s about a 30 minute walk.
Once you arrive at the station, it’s very easy to find the right bus. Each of the buses have big signs with their destination, so just find the bus with the “Durrës” sign. We found the bus right away, and it even left a few minutes early. For that reason, definitely plan to arrive at the bus station a little early.
The bus ride takes about 30 minutes, and it goes super quickly. You pay once on board the bus, and it only costs 130 lek per person each way, or about $1.30 USD! Once in Durrës, the bus will make one stop near the beach to let people off, then it will go into it’s final destination: The Durrës Bus Terminal.
We got off at the beach stop so it was a really quick walk to the beach. Just cross the street and follow the pedestrian bridge toward the ocean. From there, you’ll be able to take any of the alleys between restaurants and shops to the beach. The beach is located south of Durrës’ main downtown area, but there is still plenty of shops, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. on the main road next to the beach.
When it’s time to take the bus back, you’ll need to head to the Durrës Bus Terminal. Buses leave fairly frequently (supposedly every 30 minutes) so you won’t have to wait for long. A bus heading to Tirana passed us while we were still walking to the terminal and the driver even stopped to let us on!
What To Bring
We always say there are three liquids that you need at the beach: Water, sunscreen and beer 😉 All joking aside, just bring your basic beach necessities. The nice part is that they have lounge chairs and umbrellas everywhere, so you don’t need to bring a beach chair or anything like that.
The umbrellas are especially nice if you read on your iPad, like we do. It helps to reduce the glare, so you can enjoy your book while you lounge in the sun.
Since the sand gets really hot midday and there’s some slime in the water, we’d recommend bringing a good pair of sandals that you’re comfortable wearing into the water.
One very important thing to bring is sunscreen. We didn’t bring any and planned to just buy the sunscreen in town, but we regret doing this. They will price gauge you. We tried 3 different stores, and at each place it was at least $12 USD for a tiny tube. Very expensive, so avoid our mistake by bringing sunscreen with you.
What To Expect
The Durrës beach wasn’t what we were expecting. For one, there is a concrete platform that runs along the water’s edge. So you have to walk down stairs or a ramp to enter the water. It’s definitely not the most ideal beach environment, but it does make it pretty easy to get into and out of the water.
Also, we weren’t expecting there to be so many hotels and resorts right along the water. This one works out in your favor, because they put a bunch of lounge chairs and umbrellas by the water front.
It’s only 150 Albanian lek (about $1.50 USD) to rent a lounge chair for the day, so it’s a bargain. It also comes with a small table and umbrella next to it, plus the lounge chairs have sun shields that you can fold over your head.
They also have a bunch of vendors walking by with food, desert, drinks, sunscreen, beach toys, etc. for sale. This works out perfectly if you forget something, or if you get hungry/thirsty.
Where To Eat
There are a bunch of restaurants along Rruga Pavaresia, the main road that runs parallel to the beach. One of the places that we had intended to try out was Troy Piceri, a grill house very close to the water. We didn’t end up getting to try it, but it has great reviews and it’s super close to the beach.
Instead, we ended up deciding to find a place to eat near the bus station. There is a strip of cafes and restaurants right across the street, so we just walked until we found a place that looked good. Bar Restorant Brandi is the place we ended up chosing. We ordered a pita platter and some grilled veggies, which were absolutely delicious. The entire meal only cost 650 lek, or approximately $6.50 USD.
We are so glad that we took the bus out to Durrës. The bus ride from Tirana was so easy and cheap, and being able to enjoy a beach day in Albania was worth it. Bring cash with you since many of the shops/restaurants surrounding the beach are cash only, and have a great time!
Don’t forget to check out our video on our Beach Day in Durres!
Here are a few other posts to help you plan your trip to Albania:
- 17 Awesome Things To Do In Tirana, Albania
- Hiking to the Cave of Pellumbas in Albania
- 11 Top Attractions in Tirana, Albania
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