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Himara, a simply beautiful spot to while away the day

  • 7/1/2021 10:36 AM
 Himara, a simply beautiful spot to while away the day

Himara is a small sunny town located in the southern part of Albania. It hasaround 28,000 inhabitants including the villages around Palase, Dhermi, Ilias, Vuno, Himare, Pilur, Kudhes, Qeparo, Borsh, Piqeras, Sasaj, Lukove, Coraj, Kuc, Kallarat, Bolene and Vranisht.

The town of Himara consists of the old town, Kastro, situated on and around the old castle and the coastal region of Spilea, which is the touristic and economic center of the region. Other parts of the town are Potami, Livadhi, Zhamari, Michaili and Stefaneli.North of the town of Himara lie the villages of Vuno, Ilias, Dhërmi, with its coastal region Jaliskari, and Palasë. 

There are several Orthodox churches and monasteries in this area, built in the traditional Byzantine architecture, like the Monastery of the Cross, Athaliotissa, Saint Theodore, Virgin Mary in Dhërmi and Saint Demetrius. Moreover, a number of churches are located inside the castle of Himara, which was initially built in classical antiquity, like the Church of Virgin Mary, Episkopi, which is built on the site of an ancient temple dedicated to Apollo, as well as the Aghioi Pantes church, in the entrance of the castle.

The pebbly shores of Spile Beach, Himara’s main town beach, make a lovely place to flop down on the beach and relax, particularly in the morning and afternoon. Just a 20-minute walk through the forest north of Himara, you’ll emerge at Livadhi Beach which is another favourite in the area.

On the hilltop above town, Himara Fshat is a magical snapshot of traditional Albanian life. A curious web of twisting cobbled laneways that weaves through a tight cluster of timeworn homes beneath a canopy of grapevines. It’s the kind of place that’s simply made for getting lost and is certainly worth a visit, even if just for an hour or so. Atop the hill, you’ll find the ruins of Himara Castle which offers beautiful views over the leafy surrounds and out towards Livadhi Beach. It’s a steep 3km walk uphill from Himara along the road or 2.5km from Livadhi Beach

The castle of Porto Palermo. Along such a picturesque thread of coastline, where ridiculously turquoise seas and sparking bays are abundant, it can be hard to differentiate between them. Dotted with tiny pebbled beaches, this wide arcing bay is undoubtedly home to the most vibrant shade of blue water. The spectacular water isn’t the only reason to visit though.

Porto Palermo Castle which crowds out the bay’s tiny island offers great views along the coast and has an interesting network of dark corridors and underground chambers to explore, while the gaping submarine tunnel that marks the military base in the bay’s north is a source of constant fascination among visitors. In summer and on weekends, Porto Palermo can get pretty darn crowded, but arrive early and you’ll have no problem snagging a prime spot. The beach here is also rockier than most so a renting a beach chair isn’t a bad idea. Aside from the main beach, the craggy coastline weaving south also hides a number of tiny coves where you can enjoy your very own slice of paradise without anybody else around.

Filikuri beach. Just 2.5km south of Himara lies Filikuri Beach – a perfect spot for those seeking a more secluded beach hideaway. Filikuri is wrapped in cliffs and has a rather rocky shore so is best reached by boat or kayak, though I did meet some rather adventurous beachgoers who instead decided to scale the rocks with the aid of a rope which is reportedly fixed to the cliff.

Traditional cookery

Paragozma: a traditional meal prepared during big Easters and it is prepared of cabbages, intenstines and paunch, olive oil and cheese.

Scordalia: mashed potatoes with olive oil and garlic.

Pispilia: corn-flou, onion and spinach grown in the area.

This area is singled out for the cultivation of citrus and in particular olive treesas well as apiculture.