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13 Beautiful Islands In Albania To Add To Your Bucket List

When you think of idyllic island escapes, the usual suspects might pop into mind: the Maldives, the Greek Isles, perhaps the Caribbean. But what if I told you there’s a lesser-trodden path in the Balkans beckoning the bold and the curious? Islands in Albania, my friend, are like that hidden track on your favorite album—the one you didn’t know you needed until you stumbled upon it.

Islands In Albania- Hidden Gems of Albania’s Coastline

albania coastline

Albania is a land not just of intriguing history and mountainous terrain but also of a coastline that whispers tales of ancient mariners, hidden coves, and sapphire waters. Nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean, Albania’s coastline is a splendid stretch of the Riviera, often overshadowed by its more renowned neighbors like Greece, Montenegro, or Italy. Yet, this gives it a raw, untouched beauty that is unparalleled.

Unlike most other countries where coastlines are heavily commercialized or well-charted tourist hotspots, Albania’s coast offers a refreshing change. It’s where untouched meets unexpected. Imagine rugged cliffs standing tall against the backdrop of the Ionian Sea, secluded sandy nooks that haven’t felt a tourist’s footprint in years, and waters so clear you’d mistake them for the sky on a cloudless day.

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Last but not least, if you want to save on your stay, use this Booking offer to save up to 10% off on all Booking properties in Albania.

That being said, let’s cover the 12 most beautiful islands in Albania and teach you some important things you should know before visiting. We’ll start with…


sazan island

We’re starting this bucket list of islands in Albania with Sazan Island. Ever wondered if there’s still a place in Europe that hasn’t been hashtagged to death? Let me spill the beans: it’s Sazan Island. Nestled right at the mouth of the Bay of Vlorë, Sazan is not just any island—it’s Albania’s largest and, dare I say, most intriguing.

Clocking in at around 5.7 square kilometers, you’d think a quick jaunt would do. But, nope! Sazan is a treasure trove of stories. Flashback to the Cold War, and this sunny paradise was all hush-hush, operating as a covert military base. Imagine sunbathing next to remnants of old bunkers—quite the holiday tale, right?

But let’s talk present day. Aside from its intriguing past, Sazan is a cornucopia of nature. Think olive groves that have seen centuries come and go, and marine caves that dolphins might as well call home. This is not your run-of-the-mill island adventure.

Eager to set foot on Sazan? Pack your bags and head to Vlorë. Whether you fancy the wind in your hair on a ferry or prefer the charm of a private boat tour, you’re in for a treat. And when you disembark on Sazan’s shores, remember to breathe—it’s not every day you discover an almost-undiscovered gem. 


kune island albania 2

Fancy a trip to an island that’s a bird-watcher’s daydream and a beach lover’s delight? Look no further than Kune Island. Sandwiched in the Drin River’s delta, this island might not top every Albanian postcard, but it surely should!

Kune Island, with its gentle sprawl of 4.2 square kilometers, is a delightful juxtaposition of sandy stretches and dense forested patches. And while the sun, sea, and sand might beckon many, it’s the avian spectacle that’s the real MVP here. From pelicans practicing their elegant dives to curlews serenading the sunrise, Kune is an ornithological concert waiting to be experienced.

But there’s a twist to this tale. Unlike other islands in Albaniawhere the focus is often the shores, Kune’s heartland is where you’d want to meander. Here, amidst the rustling reeds and whispering willows, you might find a traditional Albanian fisherman casting his net, stories of the island’s past in his eyes.

Dying to dip your toes into Kune’s allure? Set your compass towards Lezhë. Once there, hitch a ride on one of the local fishing boats—they often ferry visitors over. Be prepared for spontaneous sea shanties or a crash course in net casting!

Enjoying this post? Then you may also like our list of islands in Montenegro and cities in Macedonia.


malsori islands in albania view

Ever dreamt of discovering a hidden gem that hasn’t been splashed all over social media? Meet Malsore Island, where the tales are as tantalizing as the tides. Nestled on the Albanian coastline, Malsore is the whisper in the wind most travelers have yet to hear.

It’s not the largest, nor the most flamboyant of islands in Albania, but Malsore carries an aura of understated elegance. Picture rugged coastlines juxtaposed against soft sandy beaches, each curve of the shore narrating tales of the bygone eras. Malsore’s essence is its untouched nature—a refreshing rarity in our modern world.

So, what’s the buzz about Malsore? For starters, it’s the island’s profound historical significance. While you won’t find grand castles, the subtle imprints of ancient settlements give the island a mysterious allure. It’s said that every grain of sand has a story to tell—if only we’d listen!

But Malsore’s magnetism isn’t limited to its history. If you fancy a spot of local interaction, wait until you stumble upon the island’s fisherfolk, their faces lit up with tales from the sea, sharing stories more intoxicating than the finest of Albanian rakis.

Planning a rendezvous with this elusive beauty? The town of Vlorë is your starting point. From here, a sprinkling of local boats ply to Malsore. And here’s a little secret: befriend a local, and you might just get invited for a home-cooked meal upon arrival.


zvernec island

Sitting calmly within the Narta Lagoon, just a hop away from the town of Vlorë, Zvërnec is not your quintessential sandy island escape. It’s the closest thing to tropical paradise you’ll find in this part of the world, wrapped in its dense pine forests and surrounded by tranquil waters.

Unlike other islands in Albania, Zvërnec’s main claim to fame are not its beaches but a Byzantine-era Monastery of Saint Mary, with weathered walls and solemn bell tower that’s one of the most iconic historic landmarks in Albania.

Another thing that sets Zvërnec apart is its wooden bridge; a seemingly endless stretch, connecting the island to the mainland, and passing it is an experience in itself. Every creaky step on its worn-out planks feels like a step back in time, with panoramic views of the lagoon that can make even the most seasoned traveler’s heart skip a beat.

The best way to reach the island is from Vlorë, where you can easily find local guides eager to escort curious souls to this hidden treasure. And while the journey is straightforward, the experience is anything but ordinary.


ksamil islands albania

Located in the vast embrace of Lake Shkodër, the largest lake in Albania, Shurdhah is one of the most unique islands in Albania. Shurdhah is most famous for the ruins of the medieval town of Sarda and for its underwater allure that can be found in the waters next to the island.

Due to prolonged seismic activity, a large part of the old town, now lies underneath the surface which means snorkeling and diving at Shurdhah is like diving into the pages of a living history book. 

To get to the island you need to hop on a local boat from Shkodër, that will take you through the lake’s shimmering waters, straight to the heart of Shurdhah Island. 

Islets of Ksamil

ksamil islets albania

Picture this: You’re reclining on a sun-lounger, a hat tilted just so to shield your eyes, and in front of you is an expanse of cerulean waters gently lapping at four gorgeous islets, each more inviting than the last. No, it’s not a postcard, and you sure haven’t drifted off into a daydream. Welcome to the islets of Ksamil!

Tucked away in the southern edge of Albania, close to the border with Greece, these four little wonders are like the coolest kids on the beachy block of the Ionian coast. They’re part of the reason why Ksamil is affectionately dubbed the “Ionian Pearl”. Each islet has its own personality, yet all share the same sparkling turquoise waters, secluded beaches, and a taste of untouched nature.

So, what makes them the talk of Albania? For starters, two of the islets are so close to the shore, you could literally swim over! (Or paddle in style on a rented kayak, if that’s more your speed.) The other two? A wee bit farther out, but that’s where boats or pedalos come into play.

But here’s the real tea: One of the islets hides the ruins of an ancient Roman wall. It’s like getting a side of history with your beach day. And if you’re a fan of seafood (who isn’t?), the waters around these islets are teeming with mussels. Fresh seafood, anyone?

Getting to Ksamil? That’s a breeze! It’s about a 20-minute drive from the town of Sarandë. From there, the islets are just a pebble’s throw away from the shore.


maligrad island church

This list of the best islands in Albania couldn’t be complete without Maligrad. Nestled within the serene waters of Lake Prespa, Maligrad Island might just be one of Albania’s best-kept secrets. It’s not just an island; it’s a repository of tales, myths, and fascinating geological wonders. This isn’t your everyday island getaway; it’s more of a journey into an Albanian chronicle.

Picture a landscape where dramatic cliffs rise proudly from azure waters, and caverns beckon the curious. But it’s not just the natural splendors that make Maligrad an enigma. It’s the centuries-old St. Mary’s Church, hidden away in a cave, that really gets the island gossip going. Adorned with ancient frescoes, this church whispers tales of bygone eras, and trust me, you’ll want to lean in closer to hear them.

What sets Maligrad apart? Well, have you ever been to an island where wild pelicans are your nosy neighbors? In the right seasons, these majestic birds grace Lake Prespa, turning the area into a birdwatcher’s paradise. And if you’ve got an explorer’s itch, the island’s caves, complete with intricate stalactites and stalagmites, are a spelunker’s delight.

Making your way to this hidden gem? It’s all part of the adventure! The easiest route is taking a boat from the small town of Pustec. Just a heads up: Don’t forget to pack a picnic, a camera, and that insatiable sense of wonder.


osum Albania

“Island” and “river” aren’t words you’d usually pair together, right? But hey, Albania isn’t your typical holiday spot, and Osum Island isn’t your run-of-the-mill landmass. Nestled snugly in the middle of the Osum River, this little gem proves that sometimes, size truly doesn’t matter.

Now, before you start imagining white sandy beaches and coconut-laden palms, pump the brakes. Osum Island leans more into the rugged charm, wild foliage, and that untouched feel – kinda like your grandparent’s attic but with more birds and less dusty heirlooms.

So, what makes a pitstop here so tantalizing? It’s a mix of peace, history, and the “I’ve been to a place most haven’t” bragging rights. Osum Island’s crowning jewel has to be its old monastery, whispering tales of faith and times when monks sought refuge amidst its quiet ambiance.

Oh, and for the “unique” factor? How about being surrounded by the canyon walls of the Osum Gorge? As the river waters rush by, you’re cocooned in a natural amphitheater. Drama, anyone?

Embarking on this island escapade isn’t as complex as cracking the Da Vinci code. From Berat, the ‘City of Thousand Windows’, it’s a scenic boat or kayak ride down the Osum River. As you glide, soak in the canyon’s grandeur and maybe pen a poem or two—Osum Island has that inspiring touch.



When mapping out islands in Albania, one can’t forget about Tongo. If you ever thought Albania was just about sweeping coastal views and sun-kissed beaches, think again. Tucked away from the typical “islands in Albania” narrative lies Osum Island, a little nugget that’s as intriguing as its elusive reputation. Let’s dive into this lesser-known piece of Albanian allure, shall we?

Nestling quietly in the embrace of the Osum River, this island isn’t about sandy shores or cocktails under palm trees. Nope. Instead, it’s all about raw, unfiltered nature, an uncanny serenity, and a history that doesn’t scream for attention but gently whispers its tales to those who lend an ear.

A headline act on Osum Island? An old, stoic monastery that stands like a silent guardian. This place has witnessed monks seeking solace, prayers echoing through time, and nature’s seasons painting its walls. It’s not just bricks and mortar; it’s a chronicle in itself.

Now, what sets Osum Island apart from the usual islands in Albania? Imagine being encased by the dramatic embrace of the Osum Gorge’s walls, where the world outside feels distant and you’re in nature’s own VIP lounge. The rush of river waters, the occasional bird song, and that undeniable sense of being somewhere truly unique.

Reaching this uncharted wonder isn’t a trek to Mount Everest, but it’s an adventure nonetheless. From the picturesque town of Berat, a boat or kayak becomes your magic carpet, gliding you through the river, with nature performing its best symphony just for you.


stillo Albania

Hear the phrase “Albanian island” and your mind probably conjures up images of shimmering beaches or bustling cafes along sunlit shores. Now, let me introduce you to Stillo Island—a place that doesn’t just march to a different drummer, it’s got its own jazz band.

Nestled just a stone’s throw away from the mainland, Stillo isn’t your typical sun-and-sand destination. Instead, think of it as Albania’s cozy nook—a place where time seems to take a leisurely sip of coffee and stroll by. Its name might suggest stillness, but this island is brimming with tales that are anything but quiet.

Stillo is best known for its vibrant artisan community. Pottery, weaving, and age-old crafts aren’t just hobbies here, they’re a way of life. Wander around and you’ll see locals engrossed in their crafts, offering a live-action insight into Albanian traditions.

But what really sets Stillo apart? It’s the island’s commitment to sustainability. While much of the world is only just catching on to eco-friendly practices, Stillo has been there, done that, and got the hand-woven t-shirt. Organic farming and sustainable fishing aren’t buzzwords; they’re just how things are done around here.

Planning a trip? Hop on one of the quaint wooden boats from the nearby port of Vlorë. It’s less of a ride and more of a mini-adventure, with azure waters bidding you hello and the island’s silhouette teasing from a distance.


page albania

Tucked in Albania’s embrace, Paqe is that untouched piece of parchment waiting for nature’s poetry to be written upon. It’s not a vast sprawling mass; instead, imagine a petite jewel sparkling amidst the vast ocean expanse. And like every jewel, Paqe has facets that make it gleam uniquely.

But what’s the buzz? Or rather, the peaceful lack of it? Paqe Island is a sanctuary for rare birds. It’s like Mother Nature’s VIP lounge for our feathered friends, a place where they can kick back, strut their stuff, and be unabashedly avian. For the ornithologist in you, or simply those who love a good bird-song, this is your front-row ticket to nature’s concert.

What sets Paqe apart isn’t just its residents, but its ethos. The island stands as a testament to harmonious living. Locals and nature co-exist, ensuring the isle remains a pristine paradise. Think of it as the world’s gentlest handshake between man and mother earth.

Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty: how do you get to this avian Eden? Embark on a boat ride from Sarandë, and let the gentle waves guide you. The journey is an appetizer, setting the stage for the island’s main course of wonders.

Pelican Island

pelican island albania

Now, don’t imagine golden beaches dotted with sun loungers. Instead, picture a canvas painted with marshy hues, where the star-studded night isn’t above but below—on the shimmering water, as white pelicans drift in moonlit squadrons. That’s right, this island is a pelican paradise! If ever there were an Oscars for the bird world, this place would sweep the ‘Best Habitat’ category.

The stars of this show? The Dalmatian pelicans. These feathery celebs are not just the largest among their kind but also one of Europe’s rarest birds. With their snazzy beaks and that air of ‘I woke up like this’ elegance, they’re the heartthrobs of the avian realm.

So, what’s the Pelican Island backstory? Well, it’s Mother Nature’s nod to avian luxury living—a tranquil nook ensuring our long-beaked buddies have the peace they need. No paparazzi, please, just pure unadulterated bird business.

Navigating to this feathery fiesta isn’t akin to a maze. From the nearby town of Shkodër, you can charter a boat. As you glide over the water, imagine it as a VVIP (Very Very Important Pelican) passage, leading to the most exclusive bird gathering in all of Albania.

Honorable Mention- Franz Joseph Island

Last but not least, we round up this list of islands in Albania with an honorable mention of Franz Joseph Island. I say honrable mention because the island does not exist anymore (since 2011). Franz Joseph Island was another river island on Albania’s Buna River in the northwestern part of the country. The island which was discovered and named by Austro-Hungarian cartographers was completely flooded and submerged by the waters of Buna and no longer exists. 

How did you like this list of islands in Albania? Did you ever visit any of them? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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