sailing boat off the coast of Albania

Never really considered Albania as a a travel destination until a boutique music festival opened up shop there. Albania’s not really a hot tourist destination, but it might just become one. Right next to Greece, it boasts the same beautiful waters and coastlines, but it’s way less popular. Also a lot trickier to get to.

To get to Kala festival we caught a flight to Corfu, in Greece. From there it was a two hour party boat across the water, where I met a bunch of fellow Australian partiers, drank beer in the sunshine, and spotted dolphins playing in the water. Our boat landed at Sarandë, on the Albanian coastline. From there it was to coaches for another 2 hour journey, weaving through the mountains while the sunset. It was a spectacular journey that I couldn’t really capture through the windows of the bus.

The little resort town of Dhërmi was our home during the festival. Below is a snap of the hotels along the beaches, which were our home for the festival. Kala festival is only small, so we all stayed in hotels. The quality was much lower than you’d expect from a more developed, touristy country, but of course, they were much cheaper, too.

Dhërmi, Albania

The next few days were a blur of swimming in crystal clear water on white pebble beaches (very uncomfortable to walk on, but no waves!), and dancing at night to the amazing electronic music on offer at Kala. We also ate like kings. Me, as a vegetarian, initially went into Albania assuming I was going to keep eating vegetarian, but after meeting two vegans who decided to eat seafood for their stay, I followed suit. The seafood was insanely fresh and I basically lived off prawn linguine. It was amazing.

Kala music festival in Albania

One of the highlights was a side stage at the festival, only accessible by a 10min speed boat ride away from the main beach. Here lies Gjipe, the secluded beach in the shadow of looming red cliffs. We ate fresh fish in a tiny hut, swam in the ocean, and then danced in a forest to dreamy beats all afternoon.

Kala is quite possibly the best festival I’ve ever been to, and I can’t wait to go back next year. Might see you there!