A small yet incredibly impressive landmark of Albania: the Llogara Pass. Situated on the coast near the Karaburun National Park, let me tell you everything that tourists need to know about this place. There are hidden gems here, away from the eyes of travelers.
The stunning mountain road, SH8
The Llogara National Park and the Karaburun National Park are located close to each other, along the Albanian coast in its central part. Only one road, SH8, connects both parks. Here are some facts to help you understand the essence of this place:
- SH8 road runs along the Albanian coast.
- It connects two cities:
- Vlora – on the Adriatic Sea, with an elevation of 0 meters above sea level.
- Dhermi – on the Ionian Sea, with an elevation of 0 meters above sea level.
- The length of the SH8 road segment between these cities is 55 km.
- It is considered the second most beautiful road in Albania as it passes through a mountain pass.
- The most beautiful road in Albania is SH75. However, it runs through the mountainous part of the country, far from the sea. You can find more about this road in the provided link.
Useful to know:The segment of the SH8 road between Vlora and Dhermi starts and ends at sea level (0 meters above sea level). The highest point of this road is at an elevation of 1100 meters above sea level. It is a true mountain road with winding turns and breathtaking views, just like in the movies. Your ears will pop, and your head will spin here.
One of the advantages of this road is its easy accessibility. It is the only road along the southern coast of the country to Saranda and Ksamil. Probably 90% of all travelers in Albania use this road.
- SH8 road is toll-free.
- The drive by car from Vlora to Dhermi (55 km) will take about one and a half hours. Yes, the average speed here is slightly above 30 km/h – it’s true. Plan your travel time accordingly.
Karaburun National Park and the Llogara Pass
The Karaburun Park and the pass itself may not be of particular interest to tourists. Yes, the scenery is beautiful, but the actual pass at an elevation of 1100 meters looks like this:
- A 1 km stretch of the road.
- Surrounded by coniferous forest.
- The temperature is about 10 degrees lower than on the coast due to the altitude.
- There is a parking lot.
- 3-4 restaurants where you can stop for lunch or have a coffee.
- Several hotels.
- And about 20-30 km of hiking trails in Karaburun Park.
Useful to know:There are no particularly stunning views at the actual Llogara Pass. You’ll feel like you’re in a forest, nothing more.
The Llogara Pass: the viewpoint and a bunker
If you are driving from Vlora to Dhermi, the most beautiful views and interesting places for tourists will be beyond the Llogara Pass. Once you have crossed the pass and started descending, you’ll be treated to magnificent views of the sea. Besides the beautiful SH8 road, you should also make stops at:
- The Llogara Viewpoint, where two seas meet – the Ionian and Adriatic.
- On a clear sunny day, you can even see the boundary between the seas.
- Coordinates: 40.188250, 19.599307
- Elevation: 950 meters above sea level.
- There is a parking lot, plenty of benches for resting, and in-season, a stall with drinks and snacks. The view is breathtaking, providing a 360-degree panorama.
- Plan to stop here for at least 15 minutes.
Useful to know:From this viewpoint, you can also go paragliding in tandem with an instructor. And in about 30 minutes, you can descend to Vlora Beach. However, for paragliding, you need to arrange it in advance since there won’t be anyone waiting for tourists with ready-to-go paragliders at the viewpoint.
Read more about all the activities in Albania and extreme ones in the article: Tours and excursions in Albania.
- Just after a couple of turns past the viewpoint, you’ll find another interesting spot.
- There is a complex of abandoned buildings on the edge of a cliff with a stunning view.
- Coordinates: 40.184515, 19.592909
- Notably, if you leave your car and descend about 50 meters towards the sea, you’ll find a large abandoned military bunker with a view of both seas.
- Allow 15-20 minutes for the bunker.
The SH8 road and the Llogara Pass are usually included in the itinerary when traveling from Tirana, Durres, or Vlora to the south. The road surface is good, and traffic intensity is relatively low.
- Plan a minimum of 2 hours for the entire stretch from Vlora to Dhermi, including stops. It might even take up to 2.5 hours.
- Be prepared for many motorcyclists on this road, and they won’t be traveling at 30 km/h.
- I haven’t seen as many bikers in Albania as on this road. It’s like they have this road listed in some popular ranking of the most beautiful motorcycle roads in Europe.
- From the viewpoint towards the Ionian Sea, you’ll see beautiful beaches of Dhermi and even Himara. You might consider stopping by these places on your way. This coast after the Llogara Pass and towards the south is known as the Albanian Riviera. Most of Albania’s most beautiful beaches are located here.
- If you plan to walk or hike around the pass, or if you want to go paragliding, bring a sweater.
In conclusion, the Llogara Pass and the Karaburun National Park are of interest to most travelers primarily due to the Llogara Viewpoint and one of the most beautiful roads in Albania, SH8. Be sure to plan your day in a way that allows you to enjoy this place at a leisurely pace, rather than rushing to get to Greece today 🙂
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Albania
- Flights at the best prices with juicy discounts
- Car rental in Albania (cheaper – only by bus):
- Hotels and apartments throughout the country: Booking
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual sim card in Albania
- Taxi and transfers: Intui.Travel