How to visit Ksamil Islands from Sarandë, Albania

The Albanian coastline is a beautiful, wonderful place. Looking at photos, it’d be easy to mistake it for Italy, or a Greek Island, or another European country known for its coastal beauty. Not that many people know just how amazing the Albanian Riviera is, but once you’re there I guarantee you’ll never want to leave.

Most travellers flock to Sarandë, and for good reason. It’s near the Greek border, and it’s just a short ferry ride away from Corfu. While it’s not super well-known on the international level, summers can see it get pretty busy with Italian, Greek, and Albanian tourists. And while Sarandë is stunning, the area of Ksamil is on an entirely other level. About 45-minutes south of Sarandë, you can choose to stay there overnight, but it can be a bit more expensive. Here’s how to make the most of a day trip to Ksamil.

Getting there: There’s a bus to Ksamil that leaves every hour and costs 100 lek (just under a Euro). The route starts near the ferry terminal, at the intersection of Rruga Mitat Hoxha and Rruga Jonianet. If you can, get on here to guarantee yourself a seat. You could also get a taxi for around 700 lek depending on how well you bargain.

Ksamil Mainland Beaches

The area is made up of beaches and islands. The beaches are pretty much all beach clubs, meaning you have to buy drinks to sit and use the chairs/beds laid out. While the prices are still cheap (this is Albania, after all), you’re going to be paying double what you would in a normal bar – so about 3-5 Euro a beer. Just sitting on the beach and admiring the (abnormally?) blue water is almost enough to make it a great day. But to make the most of it, I reckon you should definitely head out to the islands.

Visiting the Islands

Just off the coast, you’ll be able to see a couple of islands covered in trees. They’re super easy to access: you can swim, or rent a kayak or paddleboat. Be wary while renting that a lot of people might try to rip you off: don’t pay more than 500 lek an hour for a paddleboat. There are hardly any waves so it’s really easy to get out to the islands, and once you’re there you can park up on the beach and enjoy the amazing nature. The water here is INCREDIBLE – photos don’t do it justice. It’s vibrant, bright blue, and impossibly clear.

Ksamil is definitly the kind of place you want to dedicate at least a day to. As well as the beaches and islands, there’s a national park with ruins and UNESCO-protected ancient buildings. Because of a bus schedule fuck-up on our behalf, we only had a day in Sarandë so could only visit Ksamil for an afternoon.

Have any specific questions about Ksamil or Albania? Let me know in the comments!

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