The coastal route leading from Vlora to Saranda is very scenic. From Vlora, the road climbs up through dense forests over the Llogaraja Pass, more than 1000 metres high. When the woods are left behind, there are fantastic views across the blue Ionian Sea towards the Greek island of Corfu. After 57 kilometres, the road leads past the small village of Dhërmi, clinging to the Ceraunian Mountains at an altitude of approximately 200 metres. Dhërmi is inhabited by mainly ethnic Greeks who call it “Drymades” and speak an archaic Greek dialect.
A side road leads down towards Dhërmi beach, wonderfully quiet and mostly unspoiled (apart from the ubiquitous small round concrete bunkers dating back to the Communist regime of Enver Hoxha). The sea is crystal clear here, and there are small hotels to stay.
From Dhërmi, the road continues further towards Saranda, 71 kilometres further south. It leads to the small town of Himara (or Himarë), with its old town, Kastro, situated on and around the old castle and the coastal region of Spilea, with an attractive promenade. It is also inhabited mainly by ethnic Greeks. South of Himara, the road ascends again, offering stunning views over an unspoiled coastline with its deserted beaches. After descending to Qeparo, the road remains close to the coast, heading to Saranda.