6th - 13th September 2023

The time is near!

The time is near, ION Festival is around the corner and we will soon be en route for our long awaited debut. A week of sun, sea and sound all located on the beautiful setting of the Albanian Riviera.

We have created this document so you have all the information you need ahead of your trip in one place, including transfers, accommodation checking in and accreditation. Please read through and if anything is still unclear drop us an email at [email protected]

Please read through as this page contains key information about:

  • Travel & transfers
  • Where to collect your wristband
  • How to check into your hotel
  • Festival info & getting around
  • Cashless and top ups

As explained below, Albania is not on the EU roaming list and it’s likely you won’t have access to the internet on your phone when you get there.

What to do in advance

Check your passport expiry date

Your passport should be valid for at least three months from the date of entry into Albania.

If your passport expires before the end of December 2023 you need to get a new one asap!

Check in online

Remember to check in online and get boarding passes for all passengers for both the outbound and return leg of your flight, otherwise the airline may charge you.

Make sure to check your baggage allowance for both cabin & hold bags as some airlines have updated their policies recently.

Get travel insurance

We highly advise that you book travel insurance that includes Covid cancellation cover. The Global health insurance card (GHIC) is not valid in Albania and any healthcare costs can be expensive if you do not have insurance.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, please make a ION staff member aware. The emergency numbers in Albania are listed below. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Emergency numbers

  • General emergency: 112
  • Emergency at sea: 125
  • Police: 129
  • Ambulance: 127
  • Fire brigade: 128
  • Road police: 126

Don’t forget to pack

  • Passport: We are going abroad!
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat: It gets hot during the day - expecting around 25ºC 😎
  • Beach towel and swimwear
  • Party shoes
  • A couple of warmer layers for evening and boat trips
  • Fitness clothes if you decide to take part in our wellness classes
  • EU travel adapter and phone charger. A power bank is never a bad idea!
  • Waterproof mac - weather is meant to be good but better to be prepared!
  • Mosquito repellent

Spending money

The main payment method on site will be your festival wristband, although you will need to bring cash to cover the security deposit of your accommodation plus the usual pocket money.

Festival wristband

The festival bars operate a cashless system. Your festival wristband has an RFID chip where you can top up credit to spend at the bars.

You will also be able to use your wristband to pay at some restaurants and corner shops surrounding the festival site.

Please check the cashless section below to find out how to top up your wristband.

Debit and credit cards

Most of the restaurants in town take card payments.

We recommend bringing some cash and a Revolut or Monzo card with you to save on card fees.


The local currency is LEK. However, Euros are accepted in many places around Albania. If you bring Euros you will be able to exchange them at the local currency exchange office.

There are a couple ATMs on site but bear in mind they charge a 8€ fee to withdraw money.

Hotel security deposit

As with any other holiday accommodation, a security deposit may be required at check-in.

If this is required, it is likely it will have to be paid in cash as most hotels don’t have the facilities to take card payments.

Deposits vary depending on the accommodation type but on average they are between €50 - €150 per person. We recommend bringing this amount in cash.

This amount will be refunded providing the accommodation is left just as found.

On departure, if your transfer leaves early in the morning, make sure to arrange the deposit refund the day before directly with the hotel. It is your responsibility to arrange this, we won’t be able to collect it for you.

Check your roaming plan

Albania likely won’t be included in your roaming free destinations, which means you will be charged for internet data by your phone provider - and probably quite a lot.

The only reason you should really need your phone at ION is to locate your accommodation but not to worry, you can save your accommodation location on Google maps so you can access it offline.


As of May 1st 2022, all Covid-19 related travel requirements have been lifted. This means travellers no longer need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test, nor complete a Passenger Locator Form in order to enter Albania or Greece.

Even if not legally required, we invite everyone to take a test before travelling to keep our community safe.

Booking changes

As we need to confirm all final details with the hotels, we will need to adhere to the following deadline for changes to your booking

16th August - Date changes on your booking
27th August - Name changes on your booking

Unfortunately we will not be able to make any changes to your booking past these dates.

Transfer Information


Once you land in Corfu, you need to make your own way to Corfu port (Kerkira). The best way to get there is by taxi - there is a taxi stop right outside the airport, the journey takes about 20 minutes.

Be sure to ask your taxi driver to take you to the International port for Albania rather than the domestic one for the rest of Greece.

We advise bringing water with you to the port. There can be a slight wait in passing through passport control and boarding the boat, and temperatures can reach 30-35 degrees. Staff will be on hand with water when necessary but it is best to be prepared.

The boat ride

Boats go from Corfu (Greece) to Himarë (Albania). The standard Ferry takes about 2hr 45 and the Dolphin (speedy transfers) only 1hr 15.

Enjoy the view while you cruise the Riviera. If you are lucky you may see some dolphins!

Please note that if the sea is particularly choppy or stormy, the ferries may be redirected to Saranda instead of Himare. This is because the crossing is a lot shorter to & from Corfu, meaning your journey time should be fairly unaffected.

The final leg

Once you get to Albania, our festival reps will escort you to the Albanian Customs desk for passport control, then direct you to the coach park before leaving for Dhërmi. This will take between 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending where your hotel is located.

What happens if my flight is delayed?

If your flight is slightly delayed and you miss your boat, we will do our best to accommodate you on the next ferry. If you are on the last boat and your flight is delayed by more than 30 - 45 minutes you may need to stay in Corfu overnight - check with your travel insurance. If that happens, come to the port the following day so you can hop on the first boat.

If you are going to miss your boat, feel free to whatsapp this number to let us know:

Travel and accommodation emergency +​​355 0696851877

Transfers Via Tirana

Once you land in Tirana, you’ll need to check in with the team members wearing pink hi vis who will be waiting directly outside of the arrivals hall. The team will check you in for your transfer and walk you out to the vehicle outside. The journey will take around 3 ½ hours.

You will receive an e-ticket the week before the event. This will contain the name of the transfer stop that is closest to your accommodation. Make sure to check your E-ticket so you know which shuttle stop you will need to be dropped at.

What happens if my flight is delayed?

If your flight has been delayed and you’re concerned you will miss your transfer, please speak to a member of the festival team in the arrivals hall once you’ve landed.

If you have missed the last transfer of the day, please contact the Travel and Accommodation team on +355 0696851877. The team will put you in touch with alternative transfer options to get you to Dhermi as swiftly as possible.

Arrival Information - Check in procedure

Locate your accommodation

Before travelling, please check the accommodation map below and locate your accommodation and the nearest transfer drop off point in advance.

Bear in mind that you might still have a 10-15 min walk before you arrive at your hotel so it’s vitally important that you know the name of your hotel and how to get there from the shuttle stop.

It’s very likely that you won’t have internet access on your phone when you get to Albania so please do this before travelling!

Pro tip: save this map on your offline maps so you can access anytime. Check here to do that 🗺️

Your accommodation name is detailed on your booking confirmation email - if you cannot locate it you can re send it via manage booking.

Upon arrival

Once you have been dropped off, please head to your accommodation to check in. Festival reps will be at the transfer stop to help you locate your accommodation. Don’t hesitate to ask them for help if you need it.

If you still cannot locate your accommodation, and you cannot locate anybody to assist you please contact the Travel and Accommodation team on +355 0696851877.

Accommodation check in

If you are travelling with us, we have notified the accommodation of your arrival time and they will be ready to receive you, even if you are arriving late.

If you are not travelling with us, please check in between 15:00 and 23:00.

For check out times, please speak to the hotel directly upon arrival.

Security deposit

As with any other holiday accommodation, a security deposit may be required at check-in.

If this is required, it is likely it will have to be paid in cash as most hotels don’t have the facilities to take card payments.

Deposits vary depending on the accommodation type but on average they are between €50 - €150 per person. We recommend bringing this amount in cash.

This amount will be refunded providing the accommodation is left just as found.

If your transfer leaves early in the morning, make sure to arrange the deposit refund the day before. Please arrange this directly with the hotel. It is your responsibility to arrange this, we won’t be able to collect it for you.

Accommodation FAQ

Can’t find accommodation?
Check the interactive map (make sure to save it on your offline maps). If you still can’t find it check with festival reps at the shuttle stops.

No one at the accommodation or reception is closed?
Travel and Accommodation +355 0696851877

Any issues with your accommodation?
Please refer to the customer service team at info point at your earliest convenience

Any emergencies related to your accommodation?
Please whatsapp / call this number Travel and Accommodation +355 0696851877

Wristband Collection

Once you’ve checked into your accommodation and dropped off your luggage, head to the wristband collection desks, located just outside of the main festival entrance (E1 on the map).

You will need your photo I.D and your e-ticket to collect your wristband as well as any cashless top up vouchers ready to be scanned.

Your e-ticket will be emailed to you the week before the event. If you have bought a shuttle bus pass you can collect this here too, so it’s best to purchase this in advance - if you do need to buy a shuttle bus pass on site, you can do this at the Info Point.

The wristband collection desks will be open during the below times:

Wednesday 6th September 14:00 - 02:00
Thursday 7th September 09:00 - 01:00

If you arrive outside of these times, you will still be able to collect your wristband from the main festival entrance at any time, apart from the hours of 06:00 - 10:00.

Please note you must have collected your wristband by 22:00 on Sunday 10th September, no further customers will receive their accreditation after this time. Each member of your group will need to come individually with ID, you cannot collect accreditation on anyone’s behalf.

Festival Information

Info Point

The information desk is located by the main entrance to the festival site, outside the Grand Boutique Hotel. Head here for:

  • Event information
  • Accommodation queries
  • Tickets for local activities like Dhermi Village Tour, Gramma Bay Boat trips & more
  • To purchase a shuttle bus wristband
  • Customer service queries

Opening Times

  • Wednesday: 14:00 - 02:00
  • Thursday: 10:00 - 01:00
  • Friday: 10:00 - 23:00
  • Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 - 22:00
  • Monday 09:00- 18:00
  • Tuesday 09:00- 14:00

Contact details

Email: [email protected]

Customer service: +355 0692267615

Travel and accommodation:+355 0696851877

Festival site

There are two entrances to the festival site:

The main entrance is by Grand Boutique Hotel - E1 on the map. The Info Point cabin can be found before you reach the main entrance and will be signposted to your right.

The second entrance to the festival site is by Splendor Hotel - E2 on the map.

Most of the restaurants are located by the main entrance along the water edge. You will also find a couple shops, an ATM and a currency exchange office in that area.


There are four stages in Dhërmi, plus Gjipe, which is outside of the main festival area and can only be accessed by boat.
The Main Stage

An ode to open-air clubbing of old, featuring a wooden dance floor, well stocked bars, a chill- out area with day beds, its own private beach and a stunning mountain backdrop, our Main Stage hosts some of the most in-demand acts in electronic music. Part of the Empire hotel, its beachside location and stunning sound system make it the perfect place to witness the sunrise.

The Deck

A serene beachside bar by day, The Deck transforms into an unforgettable raving experience during the night. As the waves crash against the beach just metres away, you can soak up the sounds of some of dance music’s most gifted selectors, and watch the moon turn to sun just above the booth.

The Cove

The Cove is the ideal place to relax during the day or get your boogie on at night, feeling the beach beneath your feet and swimming in the crystal blue waters as you take in daytime sets or getting your groove on to some of our favourite DJs by night.

Yacht Club

Another stunning location, The Yacht Club is a terrace bar flanked by gorgeous beaches, jutting out into the water for some incredible views along the way. It’s perfect for chilling out with friends during the day or shaking a leg during the night.

The Bunker

The Bunker is our warehouse space, designed for you to get fully immersed in the music, smoke and lasers. Step away from the world as we take you underground to experience an audiovisual masterclass from some of our heaviest-hitting performers.

The Canyon

Our hidden stage, accessed easily via boat, The Canyon is undoubtedly one of the greatest party locations on earth. With spectacular scenery, including a forest, waterfalls and lush, white-sanded beach, The Canyon is a one-of-a-kind spot that you will never forget, featuring some truly special sets from our performers.

The canyon is only accessible by boat, thus requiring an extra ticket. It opens Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday between 12:00 - 18:30, with DJs playing including Craig Richards, Helena Hauff, Sonya Moonear, DJ Masda and more.

There are a handful of tickets left on the manage booking portal.

Music schedule

You can see the set times here. Please note they are subject to change. Keep an eye on our Instagram stories to be updated live.

House Rules

ION is a space for people to connect through music and shared experiences overseas. We welcome people from far and wide with open arms, regardless of races, genders or sexualities, as long as they come with a positive attitude.

Here are a few but essential house rules. Please read through:

Be inclusive:

People at ION are free to dress how they want, be who they want to be and love who they want to love. We want everyone to be able to freely be themselves without judgement. Please look after each other, treat everyone with respect, embrace the openness and celebrate together.

ION operates a zero tolerance policy towards any kind of harassment or sexual assault weather it is racial, homophobic or gendered. If you or someone you know has been subjected to harassment please inform one of our members of staff wearing a pink armband, the pink team will be able to help you with reporting your experience so that the festival management team can take action.

In addition to this, we operate welfare as a safe space in which members of the public can come and report or just talk about any experiences around harassment or sexual assault.

We will take every report seriously and investigate fully, ION is a safe space and we protect it preciously.

Be open:

At ION you will be able to enjoy a wide and eclectic selection of artists. From the biggest international acts to obscure selectors and unsung local heroes, this is a great opportunity for you to discover new music, genres and artists.

If you see an act you haven't heard before playing a peak time slot, rest assured there are reasons for it. We put a lot of care on the programming and the music curation. Step out of your comfort zone, your new favorite act may be waiting there.

Be present:

ION is an escape from the everyday, make the best out of it. If you are on the dance floor, put your phone away. Dance, interact with the people around you, let loose and enjoy the moment.

Respect the locals

Albanians are incredibly welcoming but remember that we are here as guests. Be kind to our hosts, keep the noise down outside the music venues, and leave the place in the same or better condition as it was when you arrived.

Respect the environment

Be mindful of your surroundings and look after this place. We are incredibly lucky that we have the opportunity to spend a week here enjoying gorgeous beaches and our favourite music so don’t take it for granted.

Having fun can be sustainable. Don't throw away your cigarette butts, use the recycling and waste bins provided, refuse plastic bags & straws from local shops & restaurants, collect any plastic you see on the beaches, and help us keep this beautiful place in pristine condition.

Anti-harassment - The Pink Team

ION operates a zero tolerance policy towards any kind of harassment or violence whether it is racial, homophobic or gendered.

Our Pink Team will be throughout the festival site, easily spotted with their bright pink armband. This team provides you with a direct link to our wonderful welfare team. If you ever feel uncomfortable in a situation, find a member of our pink team who can help you with assistance from our welfare and/or security team.

If you ever want to come and have a chat with our welfare team directly, they can be found on the main route between Yacht and Cove.

We will take every report seriously and investigate fully, ION is a safe space and we protect it preciously.

Getting Around

Shuttle bus

If your accommodation is located outside the festival area you will need some sort of transportation to move between the festival and your accommodation.

We operate a shuttle bus service between Dhërmi and Drymades. The weekly pass costs only £28 per person and provides unlimited shuttles. You can get this in advance via manage booking (up to 48h before the festival) or at the Customer Info point for €35

If you book this in advance, you will be able to collect your shuttle pass wristband when you collect your festival wristband. If you want to purchase on site or are not travelling with us you will have to make your own way to the info point to get your shuttle pass wristband.

If you are unsure whether you need a shuttle pass, please check the accommodation map to see where your accommodation is located. Anything in Dhërmi is walking distance to the festival. Perivolos and Drymades areas will require a shuttle pass.

Shuttle times

The shuttles will be looping continuously between the stops roughly every 20 – 30 mins. Shuttles will run from Wednesday 6th at 16:00 through until 12:00 on Wednesday the 13th.

There are 4 shuttle stops between Dhërmi and Drymades, plus 3 on request stops where you will be able to get off the shuttle if you request so to the driver when you get on the bus. Note the shuttle won't be able to pick you up at those on request stops and you will have to walk to the nearest stop.

You will be able to collect your shuttle pass wristbands from the info point, you will not be allowed to board the shuttle if you have not collected your wristband ahead of time.


Alternatively, you can book a taxi to move between the festival and your accommodation. You can book an official festival taxi over WhatsApp on +355692391028. There will be two taxi ranks, one located next to Empire Hotel and one in Pirates Car Park (Shuttle Stop A).

Dhermi Beach to Drymades €15
Dhermi Beach to Dhermi Town €15
Dhermi Beach to Perivolo Street €10
Dhermi Beach to Himare €40
Dhermi Beach to Green Coast €30

Our shuttle bus and taxis will be branded so you know they are official. Please don’t walk home alone and don’t take unlicensed taxis. If you have any trouble finding transportation contact us and we will provide a trusted contact.

Food & Drink

Cashless bars and top up

We are operating a cashless system at ION. It’s safer and easier than using your bank card or cash. It also means less queuing and more dancing.

Your festival wristband will have an RFID chip that can be topped up and used like a prepaid bank card across all festival bars, the market area, the merch stand and selected restaurants. All prices will be in Euros.

You can top up your wristband by creating a cashless account either online before the festival, or at one of our top up stations across the festival site. These stations accept card payments only. When collecting your wristband any pre-loaded credit will be added at this point.

The top up stations will be busiest during the first few days. We advise topping up in advance online as much as you would like, as any leftover is refundable online after the festival.

Please take a photo of the 6 digit code on the back of the RFID chip as this will be required to claim your refund - it is a good idea to have a record of it.

Refunds will open after the festival finishes on the 15th of September at 12 midday & the refund system will close on the 27th September at midnight.

Please note there are some small fees to cover part of the costs of running the cashless system and the commissions charged by the credit card providers:

Activation fee: 1€
Refund fee: 1€

Opening hours

Top up stations will be located across the festival site and will operate from 11am - 5am. The top up locations and opening hours are :

  • Main: Thursday - Sunday from 22:00h - 5:00
  • The Deck : Thursday - Sunday from 22:00h - 5:00
  • Yacht club (Gjipe) : Friday - Monday from 11:30h - 15:30
  • Cashless cabin: Wednesday - Tuesday from 11:00h - 4:00

What happens if I lose my wristband?

Your wristband should remain securely fastened to your wrist. There shouldn’t be any reason for you to remove it, until the event has ended. You should treat your wristband as you would cash or your bank card.

From our experience, it’s very very rare for one of the wristbands to break. If you lose it, we won’t be able to recover any balance but if you have taken a photo of your 6 digit code on the back of the RFID chip you will be able to claim a refund after the festival.

Reusable cups

In order to reduce plastic waste, certain drinks such as spirits require you to buy a reusable cup the first time you order at the bar.

Your first cup will cost 3€. Once you have your reusable cup, you will be able to use this cup for your drinks.You will be able to exchange your reusable cup for a cup token at any of the bars.

Next time you need a cup, you will be able to get a fresh one with your token at any festival bars. This will massively help us reduce the amount of plastic used at the event so please hold on to your cup for the night or exchange it for a cup token instead of disposing of it. Cups are not refundable.

Restaurants and bars

There are some great restaurants and bars in Dhërmi and Drymades. Albanian food is the meeting point between Italian, Turkish and Greek cuisines. Above all, pride is taken on the use of fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Expect heavenly Mediterranean dishes, fresh salads, fish, pasta and delicious stone-oven pizzas.

Opening times are flexible and it is not rare to see some of them open until midnight.

Empire, Splendor, Gjipe, Grand Boutique, Dua, Pirate, Chilli Peppers, Platinium and onsite festival traders will be accepting RFID. All other restaurants accept cash and cards. Cash points are located on the map if required.

Further afield we have Yamato (Drymades), Ulliri & Nazar (Palase) in our list of recommended restaurants. These are not part of the festival so will require cash/cards.


The Canyon

Located at Gjipe beach, this is a hugely impressive hidden gem on the Albanian Riviera. Anyone who has ever been will confirm that this is one of the most incredible locations you will ever dance at, and the perfect place to spend the day.

The Canyon is only accessible by a short boat trip from the festival site, so you'll be back in time to catch the acts programmed in the evening.

The Canyon is only accessible by boat, thus requiring an extra ticket. It opens Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday between 12:00 - 18:30.

Boats run every 30 - 45 minutes from the jetty at the far end of the Yacht club.

Boat check in opens: 11:30
Boat check in closes: 14:30, last boat departs at 14:30

Return check in from The Canyon opens: 17:00 / Return check in from The Canyon closes: 19:00

If you arrive outside of these times, we cannot guarantee travel.

If you already have a ticket, you will be able to collect your wristband before boarding the boat with proof of ID and your e-ticket.

If you haven’t got a ticket yet, there are a handful of tickets left for some of the days that you can still book via the manage booking portal, or head to the info point on site.



There will be a whole host of restoration activities available at ION to help soothe those aching limbs after a little too much dancing. We will run up to 4 sessions a day ranging from yoga to meditation, sound meditations and breathwork.

Our wellness activities start from £10, and 100% of the profits will be donated to SOS Children’s villages, a charity that provides homes, care and schooling for children in Albania.

Our wellness programme will be announced on the week commencing 21st August, with a booking link to follow.

Departure Information

Departure transfers will begin from Monday 11th September. The closing party for ION will take place on Tuesday 12th September until the early hours of Wednesday.

If you have booked your festival transfers with us, please get to your nearest shuttle stop 30 minutes before the bus departure time. You can find your transfer times on your e-ticket.

Do not forget that if you are leaving as early as 4.30am, you may need to arrange your checkout and security deposit return with your hotel the evening before.

If you have booked a private taxi back to Tirana via the Manage Booking portal, this will collect you from your hotel 5.5hrs before your flight departs Tirana Airport.

The return trip

The bus will pick you up at the transfer stop nearest to your accommodation to take you to your chosen departure airport, Corfu or Tirana.

Please make sure you have checked in for your return flight home to make your return journey as smooth as possible.

Basic Albanian Words & Phrases

Hello (General greeting) - Mirë se vjen
Thank you - Faleminderit
Yes - Po
No - Jo
Good morning - Mirëmëngjes
Good afternoon - Mirëdita,
Good evening - Mirëmbrëma
Good night - Natën e mirë
Goodbye - Paçim
See you later - Shihemi më vonë
Cheers! (Toasts used when drinking) - Gëzuar!
Have a nice day - Ditën e mirë!
Bon appetit / Have a nice meal - T'bëftë mirë!
I don't understand - Nuk kuptoj

Police processes

The laws in Albania are very similar to that of the EU, if you find yourself in any kind of trouble you should contact the relevant embassy for you. You should also check-out the latest advice on do’s and don’ts in Albania. For our British attendees, check out this link to the British Embassy.

Conditions of entry

The event is strictly an over 18's event

All admission is subject to search

The promoter reserves the right to refuse admission to any festival area

For promotion, safety & security reasons, customers may be filmed at any time. When entering Mainstage Festival’s venues you are agreeing to this condition of entry

Unauthorised photography, audio and video is strictly prohibited

Mainstage Festivals will not accept any responsibility for damages or loss sustained at the festival

Tickets are sold on the understanding that the event is subject to a licence from the appropriate authorities

All tickets including extras are non-refundable from the point of purchase

Security reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone wearing footwear deemed inappropriate for the environment

Swimming at night and jumping off boats may result in temporary or permanent eviction from the event

Prohibited items or any items that the Event or third parties acting on its behalf (such as security) deem to be either; a risk to the safety, security or enjoyment of others; unsuitable to be taken to the Event; or, may be used in an illegal or offensive manner (regardless of whether or not the item itself is illegal) are not permitted to be taken into any Venue or Stage.

Prohibited items

  • Illegal drugs, New Psychoactive Substances and Nitrous Oxide
  • Glass
  • Spray paints and pens
  • Drones
  • Items that may be used in a dangerous manner including sharps/blades, tasers and CS gas
  • Animals (with the exception of approved assistance dogs)
  • Alcohol & food items
  • Private sound systems
  • Flares, bangers, fireworks, sparklers, Chinese lanterns and naked flames Inc. tea lights
  • No unauthorised professional commercial photography