The Albanian Riviera is a real paradise for beach lovers. And Vuno is once more proud to offer some of the most fascinating beaches for you to enjoy. You will find beaches with white sand, small round rocks, huge rocky formations, canyons and even caves where pirates used to hide their treasures. Some of the beaches are populated; you will find restaurants, clubs, hotels, tent campings, parkings and mini-markets in them among other things. But some of them can offer little that has to do with human activity, they are just as nature created them and we want them to stay like that! Some of these beaches are large and some are small, some have a road you can access them and some can be accessed only by boat, jet-ski or canoe.
Well, maybe you should know something else, a few beaches not mentioned here are located inside caves that can be only entered by diving under the sea. Their location we cannot tell, but if you are an adventurous explorer equipped with a diving gear, you might surely appreciate the challenge! They are within the coastline shown in the map after all.
Below you will see some of the main beaches of the area with a short description for each one of them. We recommend you to visit all of them, it is definitely worth it.
This is the most famous beach of Vuno. You cannot miss this one; before exiting Vuno by car there is a road going downhill through the olives and vegetation. This 5km-long road takes you straight to the beach. Once you arrive there you can park on the side of the road next to the beach or in one of the private parkings next to the road. Everything is located within walking distance: hotels, camping, restaurants, bars, clubs, mini-market, etc but don't expect any luxury. You can rent canoes, pedal boats and jet-skis as well as get a diving course and diving equipment.
This idyllic beach located on the right side of the main beach of Jali, has become quickly one of the favorite touristic attractions for young people. The elegant sunbeds with straw umbrellas, the closeness of the bar near the shore as well as the fantastic natural properties of this beach, make it a very attractive place to spend your day under the sun, but not only. As a matter of fact you can spend the whole night here as this is the place to be if you are a party rocker! This beach which is since 2011 fully privately managed by Folie Marine is often the visiting place of world class DJs and singers from all around the world. House, electronic and dance music will keep you up all night.
This small and isolated beach is accessible mainly by sea, 15 min by canoe. There is also a footpath that leads there from the land, but being known only by the locals and also being a little dangerous because of the steepness, we don't recommend it. What we do recommend though is to put lots of sunscreen, get some drinking water with you, take your camera in a waterproof bag and head to this fantastic place with a canoe, jet-ski or small boat. This very small aquarium-shaped bay has some small cool water sources from below the water, that keep it amazingly transparent. There are also some rocks you can jump from, but be cautious also from the rocks subsea - you don't want to hit them. On the left side of this beach there are some more rocks formations, some of them forming caves, so don't forget your camera.
The beach of Gjipe, the second largest beach of the area, is created in a very special way. Its shore is formed by a creek and on both sides of the beach there is a magnificent canyon (the canyon of Gjipe) with high rocky formations up to 70m high. It is quite a picturesque view and the almost total lack of human activity is obviously welcome here, although there is a road that can take you there, provided you have an off-road car. Fisherman also prefer to fish with small nets relatively close to the shore as the waters of Gjipe are quite deep. If you are lucky, you can witness some fishing too.
Here below you will see some of the main attractions of the village with some short description of them. Everything is located in close proximity to the village square.
Vuno is believed to have a total of 25 churches, which are quite a lot for a small village, especially considering that today Vuno does not have a priest of its own anymore. The biggest churches, those of Saint Spyridon and Saint Mary, were built respectively in the 18th century or earlier and today are in need of urgent restoration. Frescos, engravings and other precious artifacts created by anonymous authors have been severely damaged and some of them forever lost. Although the Saint Spyridon Church has been restored twice, it has been on fire there after, unfortunately getting severely damaged. The Saint Mary Church is located in an elevated location exiting Vuno called Skutara. This church actually used to be a monastery built by the migrants coming from Shkodra, located in the North of Albania. The church, as its appearance tells, was Catholic in its beginning, but later on has been adopted with changes as an orthodox church.
In contrast with the other south-coast villages of Albania, where it is common for people to also speak Greek (before it was common to speak Italian instead of Greek) as a result of a long history of trade relations and migration, the inhabitants of Vuno are not particularly keen in speaking the language of the neighbors, thus proclaiming their pride for their Albanian roots and belonging that they and the whole region of Himara possess. Vuno has always been seen as a symbol of the Albanian resistance towards invaders and patriotism through the centuries, which gives the natives great pride of their origin.
In old times but also during the 20th century, despite its very small population, Vuno has given to the Albanian society several art directors, actors, writers, important politicians, administrative employees as well as parliament members. Oh yes, the current prime minister of Albania is also from Vuno. All these personalities are a significant indicator that underlines the desire that the natives have cultivated towards education and knowledge, this also being shown throughout the culture and history of the village and its 200 year old school.
In June 1939, on the side of one of the walls of the school, a cypress tree was planted where it still stands today. The pecularity of this cypress tree is that during all these years it never grew up. It always had the same size. For all these years nobody has taken care of it, not even watering it and it still stands there, all by itself, proud. Nobody really knows how a tree can survive so long with as much soil as there is in a flower pot for so many incredibly hot summers, but obviously the tree itself must know since it is doing it perfectly.
The inhabitants of Kaonia, as they used to be called in antiquity, constructed their own houses on the mountains, in order to protect themselves from the pirates coming from the sea, as well as, set aside the small homesteads which they struggled to create. This is how most of the Albanian Riviera villages were created, one by one, stone by stone, each more beautiful than the other, like small towns, all of them, respecting a surprising harmonious architecture which distinguishes them across the country. The village of Vuno is situated on the shoulders of the “Mjegullosh” mountain, with two or three story stone houses. All the village’s buildings have a sea view, without obstructing the sunlight to each other. They relate to one another through cobblestone streets, creating a perfect configuration, and often, they snake down the vaults over which the residential stone homes rise. The stone tunnels that are supported on huge stone houses, create an architectural style that cannot be found even in the towns of Gjirokastra and Berat, two Albanian cities that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The stone constructions in Vuno, carried during a period of several centuries, requiring enormous work, great engineering and skilled workmanship, are still used for serving the urban space of the village as well as the dwelling needs of the villagers, many of which have even today the privilege to live in miniature castle-like homes (called “Kulla”, Albanian word for tower). These fortified dwellings or towers – “KULLA”, exist not only in Vuno, but on the other Riviera villages as well. The tower located in the lower neighborhood of the village, which has a three story vertical design, a rectangular base, several turrets, was declared a cultural monument for several years.
The nature in Vuno is simply spectacular. In the same location you can see high mountain peaks, beautiful lanscapes filled with olive trees, breathtaking beaches, canyons and rocky formations diving in the sea. But the sight is not the only special thing here. The air too! It is so fresh and smells so good! When the soft breeze coming from the sea meets the parfume of flowers, pines, olives, rosmarine and all kinds of mediterranean plants that thrive here, then you feel like you never really breathed before this moment. People in Vuno live quite long, reaching the 90s is quite common in Vuno. Now there are some secrets to this: Breathing fresh air, drinking cold water and eating the natural local food are the main ingredients. In addition people get a lot of exercise by going up and down the stone pathways from their homes towards the village center and back, several times a day. It surely is a great way to keep fit. Last but not least, to keep an active mind they use the oral tradition. People never run out of amazing stories, poems, songs and jokes. The nature is indeed very inspiring in Vuno.