Ksamil is a small town located about 15km (9 miles) south of Saranda and is known for having some of the only sand beaches in the area and small islands within swimming distance. This coupled with breath-taking scenery and the abundance of fresh seafood at very cheap prices makes it one of the best places to visit whilst you’re in Saranda.
Ksamil was built in 1966 and is part of Butrint National Park. In the summer this is the main beach for tourists and locals alike (currently ranked on TripAdvisor as the 3rd best attraction in Saranda), with beach bars and restaurants opening up throughout the town. Beach area is limited, especially on the sandy parts, so expect to pay around 500 leke for two beach chairs for the day. Paddle boats, jet skies and other water activities are also available. In addition, there are numerous hotels and guesthouses in Ksamil Village if you decide to stay overnight and not take the bus back to Saranda. During the offseason however, expect to have the beaches to yourself and less selection in restaurants and hotels, as many close around the end of September.
[adsense]Transportation via bus is frequent between Ksamil and Saranda, making it the perfect destination for a day outing. A one way ticket to Ksamil costs 100 leke (as of Jan 2015) and depending on the time of the year can take 20-40 minutes. Buses in summer will be packed, so it is recommended to catch the bus at the start of the route near the large tree at the intersection of Rruga Jonianet and Rruga Mitat Hoxha (near the port). You can also catch the bus near the casino, but in summer you will most likely not get a seat and be forced to stand the whole way in a very crowded and hot bus. During the high season there are usually two bus companies leaving within 30 minutes of each other, but to be safe make sure you grab one schedule (you can ask for one when you pay on the bus). Below is a schedule for one of the buses. Hitchhiking is also an option, which is easy in small groups and safe for female travelers. Make sure you walk far enough down the road leaving Saranda along the beach (Rruga Butrintit), everyone driving in this direction will be heading towards Ksamil.
Some tips and info on Ksamil
- You can see the Greek island of Corfu from anywhere in Ksamil.
- The waters in Ksamil are crystal clear and full of sea-life which can make for excellent snorkelling.
- There is wi-fi on the beach.
- In the peak season you can expect to pay a few hundred Lek for a sunbed or 500 Lek for two sun beds and umbrella but this is well worth it if you’re planning on staying for most of the day. If you’re going at the height of the season you’ll want to make sure to get to Ksamil early or after 3:30pm if you want a seat else they will be taken.
- You can walk from Ksamil to Butrint in around an hour. You’ll walk through many olive groves and pass secluded beaches, few people do this which makes it even better.
- There are 4 small islands in Ksamil. Two of them are within swimming distance and are very close. The other two “twin-islands” are a little further out and normally require a jetski, paddle boad or normal taxi-boat to be reached. The benefit of going to the further away islands is that you’ll likely have them to yourselves and avoid the crowds. There are a number of small cafés and restaurants on the Twin Islands too which offer good food, drinks and service.
- If you’re getting annoyed by the number of screaming children on the beach then consider heading over to a place called the ‘Lion Park’ where you’ll find chilled out music with a younger (but not too young!) crowd.
- You’ll look to pay around €1 for a beer and €4-7 for a main dish.
- Locals in the area speak good English, Greek and Italian
Video of Ksamil, Albania
Butrint is only another 5km (3 miles) down the road from Ksamil and is on the same bus route. Many people do both in one day, catching the bus to Butrint first (highly recommend to do this in the morning before the crowds and it becomes too hot!) and then either catching the bus or hitchhiking back to Ksamil. The bus from Saranda to Butrint costs 100 leke and returning to Ksamil is an additional 50 leke.
[adsense]Saranda to Butrint
5:15 (dept) – 6:15 (arrive)
6:45 (dept) – 7:45 (arrive)
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20:45 (dept) – 21:45 (arrive)