"Dhërmi and the Albanian Riviera" Dhermi by JLBG
Dhermi Travel Guide: 39 reviews and 150 photos
This page is under Dhërmi as it is the place where we slept and we visited partly the village, but it follows actually our itinerary from Saranda to Vlora, as can be seen on the third picture.
I always build my pages following our paces and I advise you to view it in author’s order (as usually with my pages but it is even more important here).
The main part of this page was built after our 2007 travel. I have added several new tips after our May 2009 travel.
From Saranda to Dhërmi, a great part of this road, was in 2007 narrow and in bad condition. However, this is one of the must drive in Albania. In many parts, the landscape is outstanding. We had not enough time to visit each village, to take each road going towards the see, and I suppose that it will be the same for you, but you must know that you might spend several days (and even more) on this route.
The road clings to the mountain slope and is almost a single track. Fortunately, the traffic is very low, and one has seldom problems to cross another vehicle (especially if it is a bus!). I found that the most difficult part was across Dhërmi as the road is tight between the houses and that you cannot view in advance oncoming traffic. Be ready to some rear driving! Trailors are not advisable!
The following villages will be found on the way. Between the name of two villages, I have added the distance between them :
Saranda -11 km- Shënvasije -8 km- Lukovo -6 km- Piqeras -9 km- Borsh -2 km- Qeparo -11 km- Spillës -2 km- Himarë -4.5 km- Vuno -4.5 km- Dhërmi -3 km- Palasë -11 km- Llogara pass.
The coast between Saranda and Llogara pass is also known as the Albanian Riviera.
For a long time it has been very isolated from the rest of the country. It explains why these villages, especially Himarë, Vuno and Dhërmi, have developed a specific character. A great part of the population uses Greek in daily life while all of their traditional songs and dances are in Albanian. This is a hot political issue but, though disputed, it seems that the most likely explanation is that, unlike the Greek minority in the southernmost part of the country, the inhabitants were at one time Albanian speakers. Given the insulation of this part of the country, they were able to resist to Ottoman domination for a long time and to cherish their religious belonging. As they were split from mainland Albania, they developed by sea tight links with nearby Corfu and the Ionian islands, which lead them to develop their singleness and to speak Greek instead of Albanian. They are not included in the official Greek minority of Albania but have been granted the double nationality by Greece and awarded pensions (which helps to feel Greek, of course!)
- Pros:almost no foreign tourists
- Cons:bad road in 2007. New road in 2009, should be finished soon
- In a nutshell:A must see
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