THE SCENE

Over the water from Corfu is the Albanian Riviera. Albania is one of the last European sunspots that hasn’t been spoiled by mass tourism. The undiscovered gem recently attracted festival promoters with its stretches of unexplored coastline and the potential for welcoming DJ’s, tastemakers and festival goers to some of the world’s most breathtaking stages and unique dance spaces. Albania’s festival scene emerged in 2018 with the successful launch of electronic music festival, Kala. The next decade will see Albania’s emerging and trendy festival scene grow to become a hotspot that rivals Croatia.

ion-festival-albania

Local dishes:

Albanian food is the meeting point between Italian, Turkish and Greek cuisines. Pride is taken on the use of fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Seafood restaurants are popular along the coast.

Currency and spending:

The Albanian Lek is the currency of Albania. The Euro is widely accepted. A lot of places don’t accept card, so cash is a must.

FESTIVAL DESTINATIONS IN ALBANIA

Dhërmi

Dhërmi is a village in Vlorë County, Albania. It is part of the municipality of Himarë. The village lies 42 kilometers South of the city of Vlorë and about the same distance North of the Southern city of Sarandë. The Ceraunian Mountains descend to the Southwest into the Ionian coast and Corfu in the distance to the South. Dhërmi can be accessed by car from Tirana Airport, or by boat/ferry from Corfu Airport.

The Riviera

The Albanian Riviera is a rugged stretch of coastline offering secret beaches, hidden coves, small villages, castles, abandoned shipwrecks and mountainous backdrops.

FESTIVALS IN ALBANIA

Kala

Debuting in 2018, Kala was the first international music festival to take place in Albania. Held at the idyllic beach location of Dhërmi, the week-long festival – set to return for it’s third edition in 2021 – combines an array of DJs and electronic live acts with paradisiacal landscapes, heavenly food, and wellness activities.

ION

From the team behind London’s Junction 2 festival and Printworks and The Drumsheds venues, ION is a brand-new week-long festival coming to Dhërmi in 2021.

Set against the visual drama of its stark, rugged coastline, there will be eight varied and unique stages at ION Festival 2021, providing the ideal environment for the world’s leading artists from house, techno and electronic music.

TOP TIPS

My top tip for Albania is to go with an open mind and explore as much of the hidden, unspoilt coastline as possible. It won’t stay a secret for long.