Ksamil is the Top Beach Destination in Albania
Ksamil is a hidden-gem. Albania as a country is new and upcoming tourist destination within Europe. When you visit Albania, you cannot miss the highlight Ksamil Beach!
Ksamil is a paradise-like beach destination in the south of Albania. The Albanian Riviera has many pretty beaches. But this beach gives you that bora bora beach feeling. Only here you feel like you are in the Maldives, without the hour of flying or the high expenses.
Unlike other beaches in the Mediterranean, Ksamil is still a quiet and secluded place. The water is crystal clear and turquoise color. The beach site offers white sand and fantastic views of the Ionian coast. Furthermore, the beach is surrounded by stunning Mountain scenery. This beach is the star of the Albanian Riviera.
Ksamil is perfect for a fun day on the beach or a romantic holiday. You can spend the day sunbathing, and swimming. You can even swim to one of the uninhabited islands in front of the coast.
Ksamil beach and its little islands are one of the best beach destinations in Europe. Have a look at some of the Ksamil images, Ksamil pictures and the gallery just below. Below you can see some photos and tips on accommodation, how to get here and the top things to do in Ksamil. I hope you will enjoy this Ksamil blog.
What airport should you fly to if you want to go to Ksamil?
The nearest airport to Ksamil is the Corfu airport. Corfu is a Greek Island close to the Albanian coast. Unfortunately, Ksamil airport or Saranda airport does not exist (yet). Therefore, you should book a flight ticket to the nearby Corfu island instead. If you are interested in flying to Corfu, check out my full guide here.
When you arrive in Corfu, you can take a ferry across the sea to Albania. The ferry takes you to the Albanian City Saranda. From Saranda, you can travel by bus or by taxi to Ksamil beach. The beach village is located only 12km to the south of Sarande. The taxi ride will take you roughly 10-minutes and it will cost you only 10 euros. Or alternatively, you can travel by bus from Saranda to Ksamil. The bus journey takes roughly 30-minutes. But the price is considerably lower, since it will cost you less than 1 euro.
Another option is to fly to Tirana International Airport. I have written a full-guide about flying to Tirana Airport, which you can visit here. From the capital city Tirana, you can travel by road to Ksamil. The bus from Tirana city to Saranda takes 6-7 hours.
Flying to Tirana is a good option, if you plan to make a tour though Albania. Check out my perfect itinerary for an Albanian Riviera tour here!
How to get to Ksamil?
If you plan to visit only Ksamil in Albania, it easier to fly to Corfu airport instead of Tirana International Airport. Corfu Airport offers several low-cost flights operated by budget airlines. Your next step will be to travel from the Corfu airport to the Corfu ferry port. From the Corfu ferry port, you can take the ferry to the Albanian city Saranda. And then from Saranda, you can travel to Ksamil by bus or by taxi.
When you are booking the ferry tickets, please remember that Greece has a 2-hour time difference with the United Kingdom. And Albania only has a 1-hour time difference with the United Kingdom. As you can imagine, little time miscalculations can mean you miss your ferry.
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What is the price for the ferry from Corfu to Saranda?
The ferry journey from Corfu to Sarande takes 30 min on a high-speed boat or 70 min on a ferry boat. The ksamil corfu distance is 18 km. The price of the boat ride is €23.80 in high-season or €19 in low-season . The boat will stop in the Albanian city Saranda. From Saranda you can take either a taxi (10 euros) or a bus (1 euro) to reach Ksamil.
How long does the ferry journey from Corfu to Ksamil take?
Ionian Seaways operates daily ferries between Corfu and Albania. The journey starts from the port in Corfu and travels across the sea to the port of Saranda. There are two types of boats crossing the Ionian sea. Firstly, the Flying Dolphin high-speed boat, which takes 30 minutes. And secondly, the slower ferry boat, which takes 70 minutes.
At what time does the ferry from Corfu to Sarande leave?
Depending on the season, the ferry boat from Corfu to Sarande leaves between once and five times a day. From October until Mid-April the ferry only departs once a day at 9:00. From Mid-April until Mid-May there is an additional ferry departure from Corfu to Saranda at 18:30. Then from Mid-May until the End of June there are three departures a day at 9:00, 13:00 and 19:00. There are five departures a day in the high season in July and August. And just after the summer, the ferry from Corfu to Saranda departs three times a day at 9:00, 13:00 and 19:00. These are the operating times of Ionian Seaways. If you Google for the ferry operators, you will also find Direct Ferries and Finikas-Lines, these are all working together / selling tickets for each other though.
- It is a less discovered holiday destination. Therefore, you can visit the beautiful paradise beach, and have it to yourself.
- It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. The beach is picture perfect; There is crystal clear water and perfect white sand. The nature and mountains surrounding the beach are stunning as well.
- Visit an uninhabited island. You know that saying, what would you take with you to an uninhabited island. In Ksamil, there are four little islands right in front of the beach. You can swim to the nearer islands or rent a canoe or boat.
- It is a small village and the locals are incredibly friendly and kind. If you need any assistance they will be more than happy to help you out! I can assure you that you will feel welcome in Albania!
- The crystal clear water is full of sea-life, which makes it an excellent place for snorkeling.
- The Ksamil albania restaurants at the beach offer an abundance of fresh seafood. The restaurants along the beach offer excellent fish-menus and grilled dishes. Albanian cuisine is a mixture between Mediterranean, Greek and Turkish.
- It is a very affordable beach destination. The Guardian included the beach in the list of the 20 best bargain beach holidays of 2013. On TripAdvisor someone wrote: Why would I spend the money on the Maldives if Ksamil is like the cheap Maldives?
- Ksamil beach is one of the cleanest beaches in Europe and excellent for swimming.
What are the best things to do in Ksamil?
- Visit the Ksamil Islands. There are four little islands just across the beach. If you have always dreamed of visiting an un-inhabited island, this is your chance. Moreover, if you are looking for privacy the islands are absolutely worth a visit!
- One of the best Ksamil things to do is to swim between the Ksamil islands. It is a really cool and enjoyable experience! The water is perfectly clear and excellent for swimming.
- Watch the sunset of the Ksamil islands is really beautiful and picturesque.
- Go snorkelling. The bay is full of sea-life, which can make for excellent place to go snorkelling.
- Sunbathing on the beach. Rent a long chairs and a parasol for 4 euros and spend your day doing absolutely nothing!
- Visit the nearby Monastery beach or Mirror Beach. These hidden gem beaches are incredibly close to Ksamil and even more secluded. Mirror beach is my absolute favorite beach, find out why in this article.
- Make a trip to Butrint. The most important UNESCO World heritage site in Albania, is only 20 minutes from the village. Therefore, make sure to plan a morning trip to Butrint, and return to the beach for a dinner at sunset!
- Spend a day in the historic city of Gjirokastra. This city is on the UNESCO World heritage list, due to the beautiful historical houses and stone streets. Gjirokastra is also a great place for shopping. You can buy all your souvenirs on the massive bazaar market.
- The Blue Eye Spring is just a short trip away from Ksamil. The beautiful spring has clear blue water and is truly a miracle. Find out why the Blue Eye Spring is a sight you cannot miss, in this article.
- Go on a Mussel tour. The area is famous for its mussels, therefore book a trip and explore the waters. The mussel tour takes you by boat to the mussel beds, where you will learn about mussel cultivation. You will get the opportunity to taste two kinds of mussel dishes with a glass of locally produced white wine.
- Go on a Mandarin tour. Learn all about the national treasure fruit on a lovely tour with the producer.
- Spend a day in the vibrant city Sarande.
- Book a Ksamil boat trip, which takes you along the most beautiful beaches of Ksamil. You can find more information below.
Ksamil boat trip
A Ksamil boat trip is one of the best things to do at Ksamil beach. A six-hour boat trip takes you along the most beautiful beaches in Ksamil. First, the boat trip stops in Pema e Thate beach, which is a beautiful paradise-like sandy beach. Then the boat takes you to Buka, which is a famous fishing area. And finally, the boat stops at Ftele beach, which is the most southern beach in Albania, close to the Greek border. At Ftele, you will see a truly unspoiled and undiscovered beach with a small island.
What to eat in Ksamil?
Ksamil offers plenty of little restaurants along the coast. The restaurants are mostly grill bars, Mediterranean cuisine and fresh seafood restaurants. You can expect to pay around 1 euro for a beer and between 4-7 euros for a main dish.
Is ksamil beach near saranda?
Yes, Ksamil beach is near Sarande. From Saranda it only takes 10-minutes by taxi to reach Ksamil, which costs only 10 euros. Or you can take the ksamil bus from Saranda, which costs less than 1 euro and takes you roughly 30 minutes.
Saranda ksamil distance
The Saranda ksamil distance is 15 kilometers or 9 miles. Ksamil is located 15 km to the South of Saranda. You can reach Ksamil by driving along the road from Saranda to Butrint.
How much costs a taxi Saranda to Ksamil?
A taxi from Saranda to Ksamil cost roughly 10-15 euros.
Bus Saranda to Ksamil
The bus from Saranda to Ksamil takes about 20-30 minutes and costs 100 Leke. The saranda ksamil bus departs from the Mother Teresa Square in Saranda. The Albanian name for the square is: Sheshi Nene Tereza.
However, in the summer the bus from Saranda to Ksamil can be very busy. Therefore, to get a seat on the bus, you can choose to get on the bus at the start of the route on the intersection of Jonianet Street and Mitat Hoxha street. The intersection is near the port of Saranda and the bus stops near the large tree.
How much does it cost to stay in a hotel in Ksamil?
The price you can expect for a hotel in Ksamil is between £25.00 and £45.00 pounds depending on whether you book a 3-star hotel or a 4-star hotel and depending on the month you are visiting.
What is the best time of the year to go to Ksamil in Albania?
The Ksamil weather is lovely for most of the year. In fact, the village has got over 300 sunny days a year and the least amount of rain in Albania. From May until October, the temperature is very pleasant. The weather is the warmest in July and August. The village also has the least amount of rain in the country. If it rains this is most likely in November and December. In June, July and August there is no rainfall at all.
Ksamil weather forecast is the best in the summer months. The temperature is above 30 degrees in July, August and September. However, in April, May and October, there is still a lovely temperature around 20 degrees.
Visit the Ksamil Islands
The main attraction in Ksamil is visiting the four little islands located in front of the beach. The four islands are uninhabited. It is possible to swim to the islands that are nearer to the coast. The islands which are a bit further away can be reached by boat, by canoe, by jet ski, by paddle board or by sea bike. I recommend that you visit the islands a bit further off the coast, so that you can enjoy complete privacy. All the islands offer a variety of plants and birds. You can also go snorkeling and explore the underwater wildlife.
Visit the Twin Islands of Ksamil
The most famous islands are the Twin Islands. The two islands are connected to one another via a narrow sand belt. Furthermore, the dense greenery resembles a tropical paradise. You can also enjoy food and drinks in the small cafes and restaurants on the Twin Islands.
In front of Ksamil beach there are four rocky Ksamil islands Albania. The Ksamil islands are also known as the Tetranisi Islands. The Islands of Ksamil are located between the most southern part of the Albanian Coast and the Greek Corfu island. Moreover, the islands are a part of the Butrint National Park, which is protected by UNESCO World Heritage. Although the ruins of Butrint are very special, the nature surrounding the ruins of Butrint is also protected. The national park is 94.24 square meters large and it has wetlands, salt lakes, lagoons, rivers and open grassland.
The four islands of ksamil are uninhabited and they are covered with beautiful nature. On the islands, you can see Mediterranean plants, like laurel, heather, kermes oak, forsythia, butcher’s broom and wild olives. The lush, green nature makes the islands feel like tropical islands. There are several birds that you can see on the islands like seagulls and wild doves.
The forbidden Ksamil islands
During the communism in Albania, it was forbidden to visit the Ksamil Islands. Since the communist regime was isolating Albania from the rest of the world, it closed all the foreign borders. However, the islands of Ksamil are located very close to the Greek Island of Corfu. Therefore, the Ksamil islands became an off-limits area for Albanian people.
The Ksamil islands during communism
During the communist period, the government used the Ksamil islands for two purposes. Firstly, the islands were planted with medicinal plans, like laurel leaves. Some female workers were sent to the islands to harvest the plants. But the harvesters were closely guarded by military personnel, because the government was afraid, that the workers might escape and flee to Greece. And secondly, a few deer and wild goats were released on the islands, so that high ranking government officials could go hunting on the islands.
Protecting the Islands
After the communist regime, two of the four islands were damaged by fire and illegal construction. Any construction on the islands has been banned for many years now. To protect the nature on the islands, the Ksamili islands became a natural monument in Albanian in 2002.
How to get to Ksamil islands?
There a several ways to visit the little islands. You can rent a peddle boat, which costs roughly 10 euros. Or you can rent a canoe or kayak for roughly 7 euros. It is also possible to go on a hop-on-hop-off boat that brings you to the island and picks you up later in the day. If you simply want to swim, the nearer islands are at a swimming distance from the coast, so that is possible as well. The islands are great if you a looking for privacy and solitude. Moreover, there is a little bar on the twin islands, that sells some drinks & chairs. And finally, the sunset over the islands is beautiful, so be sure to stay until the end of the day! Have a look at the Ksamil islands map on the left side.
Ksamil islands map
On the Ksamil island map you can see how little the four Ksamil Islands are. The combined areas of the four islands is only 8.9 hectares. Moreover, the Ksamil map will show you that the two outer islands are connected to each other by a narrow strip of sand.
Should I stay in ksamil or sarande?
Ksamil and Sarande are close to each other. Therefore, if you stay in Sarande, you can easily visit Ksamil during the day (or the other way around). However, the experience of staying in Sarande or Ksamil is completely different. Sarande is one of the biggest coastal cities in the Albanian Riviera. And Ksamil on the other hand is a little village. Simply said, Ksamil is never going to be the vibrant city that Sarande is. If you should stay in ksamil or sarande, ultimately depends if you prefer staying in a city or a village? Do you need all the facilities and clubs of Sarande or are you looking for a smaller place.
What are the best beaches in ksamil?
Apart from the main beach and the islands, there are several amazing beaches in Ksamil. The best beaches in ksamil are: Monastery beach, Mirror beach and Pema e Thate beach.
Monastery beach is a small hidden gem beach. The beach is named after the St. George Monastery located on the top of the hill. The Monastery is definitely worth a visit on your way to the beach. You can climb down from the Monastery to reach the isolated monastery beach. The beach is completely enclosed by hills from all sides. And finally, there are a several springboards by the sea, which you can use to dive or splash into the crystal clear seawater.
Mirror beach is a magical place. The sun reflects on the cliff sides, therefore sea water look like a shining mirror. The beach is a miraculous place. As a result of its beauty, mirror beach receives hundreds of reviews on Trip advisor every year. I went to Mirror beach myself, and found out why it is such a hidden gem in Albania, read my post here.
Pema e Thate Beach
Pema e Thate Beach is a small sandy beach close to Ksamil. The English name for “Pema e Thate” is “Dry Tree beach”. The beach is called Dry Tree, because there used to be an old tree in the water near the beach that was a few hundred years old. The distance from Ksamil to Pema e Thate is about 6 kilometres. From Pema e Thate Beach you can see Corfu Island clearly, because it is the closest point between Albania and Corfu Island. The beach is the perfect place to visit with children, because it has shallow water and the sea bottom is all sand. Moreover, there is a seafood restaurant about 50 meters above the beach, which serves excelled sea food and mussels.
Butrint is an archaeological site located just 20 away by bus from Ksamil. Alternatively, you can walk to Butrint in around 1 hour. I can recommend the walk, because you will pass many beautiful olive groves and secluded beaches along the way. Butrint is a UNESCO world heritage site. In the past, Butrint was an ancient city which first belonged to the Greeks and later on the Romans. It will take you around 2 – 3 hours to explore the site. Entry to the site costs only 700 Lek. I recommend that you visit Butrint in the early morning, because the sun can be overbearing in the summer months. Butrint is located on a hill and surrounded by spectacular lakes. Furthermore, there is a medieval fortress on the top of the hill, which has been turned into a museum.
Albania is off-the-beaten-path, therefore it has many hidden gems. Click here for my guide on the hidden gems of Albania!
Gjirokastra is a city located approximately 2 hours by car from Ksamil. The town is a UNESCO world heritage site. In fact, the city is so beautiful that it has been crowned a museum city. The town has picturesque setting between high mountains. Gjirokastra offers two main attractions. Firstly, you can admire the magnificent architecture of the traditional stone houses. And secondly, there is an old fort on the top of the mountain, which overlooks the town. After exploring these attractions, you can finish your day in one of the amazing restaurants covered in grapevine.
Visit the Blue Eye
The Blue Eye is a spring with beautiful blue water. The Blue eye is a magical place, check out my full guide here, including why you cannot miss this! The spring is called the blue eye because it resembles a human eye. The water is pumped upwards from a cave. The cave looks like the black pupil of a human eye. The surrounding blue water is the iris of the human eye. The Blue Eye is a fairy-tale like place, located in a forest. The many dragonflies will ensure, you will never forget visiting this place.
Go on a Mussel Tour
The mussel tour is a truly unique experience. In the beginning of the day, you will meet the captain at the lake site. The boat trip will take you to the mussel beds. You will learn about the mussel cultivation from a local guide. The boat trip will take you back to the coast. Afterwards, at the coast you will taste two kinds of mussel dished served with locally produced white wine in a beautiful setting.
Go on a Mandarin Tour
The area is known for the production of Mandarins. The Mandarin tour will start at the plantation. You will meet the farmers, who will explain you how to gather the tangerines. Afterwards, you will be served a traditional lunch made of local produce. In the afternoon, there is an opportunity to learn more about tangerines, the seasons, the soil, the climate and to hear some old stories.
I am an Albania Tour Guide, who organizes 1-day, 2-day or multiple day private tours in Albania. I arrange your transportation and I am your English speaking guide. So that, you get to experience the most beautiful places in Albania!
Kind regards, Manon
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