Ksamil Albania and the Gorgeous Ksamil Beaches
If you’re thinking of visiting Ksamil Albania, you already know the secret of unbelievably beautiful beaches tucked away on the Albanian Riviera. You are so right! Ksamil beaches are truly awe-inspiring. Picture, the crystal clear Ionian Sea with incredible azure shade and hidden beaches framed by rolling hills.
Albania is a fascinating country with friendly people, amazing food with plenty of vegetarian options, which I loved, and incredible landscapes. It is still a largely underrated destination, so visit soon before it gets mainstream! I have slow-travelled Albania through the summer, and I fell in love with this amazing country (and its food!).
This post is a complete guide to visiting Albania Ksamil town and the Ksamil beach scene as well as to the best Ksamil Albania hotels, best Ksamil restaurants, awesome things to do in Ksamil other than beaches and insider Albania travel tips. Happy trip planning!
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Where is Ksamil Albania?
Ksamil Albania is located on the southwestern coast of the Albanian Riviera and it’s a part of Butrint National Park and municipality of Sarande, which is situated 14 km north from Ksamil town. The Greek island of Corfu is located just a few kilometres off the shore of Ksamil, Greece’s mainland is also nearby.
Ksamil Albania Map
Ksamil Albania Quick Guide
✈️ Check Expedia for Cheap Flights to Albania
🏨 If you’re haven’t done your Ksamil booking yet, here are the best Ksamil Albania Hotels:
Best Hotel Luxury Ksamil | Blue Water Hotel Ksamil Albania
Best Ksamil Apartment | Hotel Mira Mare Ksamil
🚗 If you’re planning to rent a car in Albania, check Discover Cars for the best deals.
⛵ Best Ksamil things to do – Paddleboarding in Ksamil
🧳 Don’t forget your travel insurance, check World Nomads
*World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
Ksamil Albania – What to expect?
Ksamil Albania is a small seaside resort with family-owned hotels and guesthouses serving an increasing amount of tourists that visit Ksamil every summer. Our host in Ksamil told us that in the past Ksamil was a military base of the Albanian communist government and even Albanian people were not allowed to enjoy Ksamil beaches. It was only after the communist regime collapsed that Ksamil opened first to local tourism and in recent years to international visitors.
Check out some more fun facts about Albania here.
Today, Albania Ksamil is one of the most visited coastal resorts on the Albanian Riviera. During the months of July and August, the town is flocked with tourists mainly from other Balkan countries and Poland that want to enjoy the gorgeous Ksamil Albania beaches. Perhaps for that reason, Ksamil town is a little more expensive than other seaside towns such as Himare Albania, Saranda and Dhermi Albania. Having said that, Ksamil holidays are still way cheaper than holidays spent in Greece, Spain or Italy. Also, during the high season, most beaches in Ksamil are taken up by sun loungers and umbrellas.
However, despite being touristy and more expensive, Ksamil is still a place to visit! There is no other place in the country like Albania Ksamil beach. The powdery, soft white sand and the azure water, so impossibly clear that it resembles a tropical beach in the Caribbean!
TIP | If you rather avoid the crowds, I can’t recommend enough visiting Ksamil Albania outside of the busiest months of July and August!
Best Hotels in Ksamil Albania
Are you looking for where to stay in Ksamil? This section includes some of the best luxury Ksamil resorts, midrange and budget hotels to make your Ksamil booking easy. Without further ado, here is the list of the best hotels in Ksamil Albania
Blue Water Hotel Ksamil Albania – Stylish luxury hotel Ksamil with pool
This Ksamil Albania hotel features an outdoor pool + sun terrace and free parking, bar and a restaurant. The property features tastefully decorated double and triple rooms as well as a suite that can sleep up to 5 persons. This hotel in Ksamil is 9 minutes walk to Ksamil Beach 9 and 15 minutes to Ksamil Lori Beach.
Hotel Artur Ksamil – Beachfront Ksamil Albania Hotel
This Albania Ksamil hotel boasts a beachfront location with private sandy beach access. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast, free parking and an onsite restaurant. A range of rooms includes double, triple and quadruple rooms with balcony and fridge.
Hotel Mira Mare Ksamil – Ksamil Apartments with kitchenette close to the beach
The property features a range of newly furnished apartments that can sleep up to 4 persons. All units come with a fully equipped kitchenette, a dining area and a terrace, some feature a sea view. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast and free parking.
Hotel Mare Ksamil – A Ksamil Albania Hotel right by the main beach
Hotel Mare Ksamil is an excellent midrange pick situated right by the main Ksamil Albania Beach called Sunset Beach Ksamil. The available rooms can sleep 2-4 adults and come with a balcony. Complimentary breakfast and free private parking are also provided.
Ksamil Apartments – Best Budget Ksamil Accommodation with kitchen & pool
This apart hotel in Ksamil Albania features studios with a kitchen and balcony that can sleep up to 4 persons. The property overlooks Butrint lagoon and it’s situated a 12-minutes walk from Bora Bora Beach Ksamil.
Which Ksamil Beach is the best?
For a small seaside, Ksamil boasts many gorgeous beaches. Below, you’ll find the best beaches in Ksamil Albania; all within walking distance from Ksamil town. Most of the beaches require payment for sun loungers and an umbrella during the high season of July and August. The prices vary between 500 LEK and 2000 LEK (€4 to €17) depending on the season. I can’t recommend enough to avoid coming to Ksamil in July or August. If you can choose May – June or September – October time when the weather is still good enough for a beach day and you can actually enjoy the beautiful Ksamil beaches without the crazy crowds.
Sunset Beach Ksamil – Ksamil Best Beach for Convenience
Sunset Beach or Ksamil Beach (Plazhi Ksamil in Albanian) is the main beach in town. The beach area is divided into sections belonging to different beach bars and clubs that offer umbrella and sun loungers rental. This is the best beach in Ksamil for convenience as it is close to all the main attractions in town. Just walk along the shore and pick the spot that you like the most. During the high season, get here early to choose the best beach spot. The best sun loungers are located on small jetties with an exclusive area for guests!
Ksamil beach is busy but also super beautiful. It has soft, white sand and calm water that is perfect for swimming. As you will have to rent an umbrella and sun loungers, you will also get access to facilities such as a shower and toilet as well as drink and food service brought to your sun lounger. Kayaks and water pedalos are available for rent here as well.
*During high season, there is no public area where you can stretch your towel here at all.
Location | Saranda Ksamil Beach
Sunlounger rental cost | Anything between €10 and €20 per day, depending on the beach club and season
Plazhi Ksamil 7 or Bianco Lounge Ksamil – Best Beach in Ksamil
There is a reason why Plazhi Ksamil 7 is called Albanian Maldives! The beach is just wonderful with perfect white sand and stunning blue azure water. This is also the beach where the famous jetty is, which you have probably seen on Instagram. The jetty photo also comes up first when you type Ksamil Albania on Google.
There are a few beach bars and restaurants nearby selling drinks and food, and toilet facilities inside the Bianco Lounge.
Ksamil Beach 7 is super close to the four Ksamil islands, so close that you can even swim to the first one. Alternatively, you can hire a pedalo to explore all of them.
The beach is private though, and you may be asked you leave if you don’t pay for a sun lounger. I also heard stories that during the high season of July and August, this beach is reserved for Albanians only and if an international tourist asks for an umbrella rental, the staff says they are all booked up even if they are standing empty. If you’re travelling outside of those two months, you most likely will be fine! But, just in case, prepare for the rejection and don’t worry, there are many more cool Albania beaches Ksamil to choose from!
Location | Plazhi Ksamil 7
Ksamil Islands Albania
Three islands beach Ksamil is the beach that you can find between two small islands that are located just off the shore of Ksamil by Ksamil beach 7. You can either rent a pedalo to get there or hire a boat taxi to get you there and back which normally also includes two sun loungers and an umbrella for the day. You can find the men offering this service just by the shore in that area. Obviously, renting out a pedalo will be much more pleasant because you’ll get to explore all the Ksamil islands!
TIP | If you want to hire a sunbed, arrive early in the morning to choose a perfect spot for sunbathing.
Pedalo Rental | €10 an hour
Location | Ksamil Islands Beach
Plazhi Ksamil 9
Ksamil beach number 9 is located about a 10-minutes walk north of the main Ksamil beach. The beach is sandy and framed by calm water of the sea with a beautiful turquoise colour. Again, during the high season of July and August, the beach is entirely taken up by the sun loungers and umbrellas and it’s busy. The prices vary from 500 to 1,500 LEK (€4 to €13) depending on how busy it is and the time of the year.
A few beach bars sell drinks and snacks, and there is a toilet facility too. If you rather buy your own snacks, a grocery shop is also super close, just on the main road. If you’re into jet skis, there is also a jet ski rental available on this Ksamil beach.
Location | Plazhi Ksamil 9
Paradise Beach Ksamil – Best Beach Ksamil for DYI Beach Day
Paradise Beach in Ksamil is the best beach for bringing your own towel and avoiding paying for an umbrella and sunbed rental. This large beach is divided into two parts. Half is covered with sunbeds and umbrellas and the other half is a public space where you can stay for free.
The water has a lovely turquoise shade like anywhere else in Albania Ksamil and it’s shallow for a long time before it gets deep enough to swim. The beach is a mixture of sand and small stones, it is not the softest surface to lie on. But, this is probably your best choice of a free beach in Ksamil. On each side of the beach, there is a wooden jetty for small boats. On the left side, there is also a stretch of sand along the water, where you can place your towel away from the people.
The beach has a large parking area and a restaurant on the right side with nice outdoor seating overlooking the beach. On the side, there is also a free toilet. You can find Paradise Beach on the northern edge of Ksamil town.
Location | Plazhi Paradise Ksamil
Lori Beach Ksamil Albania
Lori Beach is situated just a few minutes walk to the left from Paradise Beach and a 15-minutes walk from the main Ksamil Beach. It is a private beach that charges 1,000 LEK for a set of two sunbeds and an umbrella for the day. It is also a hotel beach where guests of Delight Hotel and Green House Hotel can enjoy free of charge.
Lori Beach is tucked away in a small bay and because of that, the water is shallow, kids-friendly and popular with families. The beach is sandy and there is a small jetty where jet skies and small boast stop.
Lori restaurant situated right on the beach provides cold drinks and light meals for lunch. There is also a toilet for the guests of the beach. Lori Beach is an excellent choice outside of July and August, but during the peak season, unless you’re a hotel guest, there is no good reason why would you choose this beach over other Ksamil Albania beaches.
Location | Lori Beach
Puerto Rico Beach Ksamil Albania
Further down the shore from Lori Beach, tucked away in a peaceful bay and surrounded by trees, there is Puerto Rico Beach. The beach is perfect for swimming as its waters are calm, shallow and super clear. The beach has also nice white sand mixed with tinny stones.
Like most Ksamil beaches, Puerto Rico beach is private where you need to pay for a set of sunbeds and an umbrella. The rental price is similar to other beaches in Ksamil and vary depending on the season from 1000 to 2000 LEK.
The beach facilities include toilets, a shower and a pleasant restaurant serving Albanian and Italian cuisine.
Location | Puerto Rico Ksamil
Ohana Beach – Best Adult-only Ksamil Beach
Ohana Beach is a small, private beach located a few minutes walk further down from Puerto Rico beach. Because it is located further away from the Ksamil town centre, the beach tends to be quiet. This is the perfect beach to escape from the crowds and screaming kids 😉 of other Ksamil Beaches. Especially, if you’re travelling in season, choose this beach for peace and quiet.
The wooden sun loungers with cushions are comfy, and if you arrive early you may get the first row, right by the water or on a small jetty. Ohana Beach Bar serves excellent cocktails and wine for 250 LEK (€2) served straight to your sunbed so you can stay here all day without moving. When you get hungry, Ohana also has some good menu options for a refreshing salad or something more substantial.
Location | Ohana Beach Ksamil
Augusti Ksamil Beach (The Last Bay Ksamil)
Augusti Beach is the last beach in Ksamil, in the northmost part of the town and for that reason, it is also referred to as the last bay. As you can imagine, because the beach is situated about a 20-minutes walk from the main Ksamil Beach and the town centre, Augusti Beach stays quiet even during the high season. Also, the sunbed prices are a little lower compared to other Ksamil beaches that are more accessible.
Augusti Beach is tucked away in a small cove with calm water with a beautiful turquoise shade. You can bring your snorkel to this beach because there is lots of fish on the side of the bay. The beach has a pebbly bed of different sizes so it may be also a good idea to bring water shoes. There is a small beach bar serving cold drinks and snacks.
All in all, if you’re travelling during the peak season in July or August, this beautiful beach will allow you to escape from the crowds!
Location | Augusti Beach
Plazhi Cubana Beach Ksamil – The Quietest Ksamil Beach
Cubana Beach is located between Augusti and Ohana beaches in the northmost part of Ksamil Albania. Cubana beach and bar area is the most secluded part of Ksamil with plenty of space between sunbeds. The beach has pebbles and small stones and rocky descent to the sea. There is however a small wooden platform, to access the water more easily. Otherwise, you can also bring water shoes. The water is crystal clear around here – perfect for swimming as well as snorkelling.
Cubana Bar serves cold drinks and cocktails and the staff can order you food from nearby restaurants for no extra charge. If you can, stay here for the golden hour – the beach is facing the right way for a fantastic sunset view!
Just along the shore from Cubana Beach, there is another quiet beach with some sunbeds and also a free space!
Location | Cubana Beach Bar Ksamil
Public Beach Ksamil Albania
Sadly, the public Ksamil beach Albania is the least attractive out of all the stunning beaches available in Ksamil. It is actually hard to call a beach at all. It is more like an area under the trees on the opposite shore from the main Ksamil beach (Plazhi Ksamil) with a rocky descent to the sea. The public beach is covered in gravel so it is more like sitting on the dirt track than on the beach, but if you just here for a quick swim, it does the job.
Our hotel host told us that a while ago the city council of Ksamil leased all the beach space to the restaurants and beach clubs without leaving hardly any space for the public beach. So, today most of the Ksamil beaches are taken up by the sun parasols and loungers and to access those beaches, you need to pay for the rental. This is also really bad for the locals that don’t have a free beach to enjoy in their own town! But, hopefully, this will change in the future.
Location | From the main road turn towards Plazhi Ksamil (Sunset Beach Ksamil) and at the end of the road instead of going left, go right and follow the coast to find the public beach Ksamil.
Best Ksamil Beaches Albania (outside of town)
Monastery Beach Ksamil Albania
How to get there |
Ksamil Monastery Beach is located 7 km from Ksamil town or about a 15-minutes drive by car. It is the furthest beach out of the three Ksamil beaches that I recommend in this section. The easiest way to get here is by car. But, there is also a Ksamil Saranda Albania bus that connects booth towns with a regular schedule. Basically, the bus leaves from Butrint every hour between 7:30 and 19:30 and on the way back from Saranda between 8:30 and 18:30. The bus will stop by the main road from where there is a 5 minutes walk downhill to the beach. On the way back add about 45 minutes to the time when the bus leaves Saranda and wait for it on the main road. You can also get here by taxi, which will cost about €10 one way.
What to expect |
Monastery Beach is relatively small and is surrounded by rocks from both sides. The beach is covered with large, round pebbles and because the beach is sheltered from both sides, the water is calm and lovely to swim in with stunning azure colour. Most of the beach is filled with sunbeds and umbrellas for rent and there is a small space on both sides of the beach to stretch your own towel. But, if you want to do that, I recommend arriving early in the morning during the high season. Outside of July and August, there is way more space. The pictures of the beach are taken at the end of August when Ksamil was still busy. Monastery Beach is way quieter compared to the Ksamil beaches during the high season.
Beach Facilities |
A beach restaurant serves well-priced Italian and Albanian dishes including salads, pasta and seafood and boasts a nice outdoor seating area overlooking the beach. The restaurant is closed offseason.
Location | Plazhi i Manastirit
Sunbeds Price | 1500 LEK (€12)
Greek salad | 400 LEK (€3.3)
Seafood pasta | 800 LEK (€6.6)
Mirror Beach Saranda ( Plazhi i Pasqyrave)
How to get there |
Mirror Beach is situated around a 25-minutes drive from Ksamil. The beach is a little hard to get to because of the difficult road that is narrow with steep hills, and at the end, it turns into a steep dirt track. I highly recommend leaving your car at the top of the hill and walking down.
You can also get here by bus, but the bus will drop you off on the main road from where there is still a considerable distance to walk plus there are some steep hills to climb too. Our lady host took us here and she was super scared to drive and judging on the distance, it would take around 30 minutes to walk to the beach from the bus stop. You can also hire a taxi that will drop you off and come back to get you at the agreed time.
TIP| Leave your car at the top of the hill to avoid the dangerous steep dirt track road!
What to expect |
The beach itself is super gorgeous – covered with small white pebbles and surrounded by rocky cliffs from both sides. The crystal clear water with a lovely shade of turquoise stays shallow for a while which is good for the kids. The sea is not as calm as the Monastery beach and it experiences some waves, especially in the afternoon. During the months of July and August, colourful sunbeds and umbrellas fill almost the entire space. If you’re travelling during that time arrive early in the morning to reserve a good spot. There is also some space on both ends of the beach for stretching a towel for the early risers. Outside of the busy months, you can enjoy this stunning beach any time of the day or week. On the side, there is a small caved shape in the rocks and during the low tide, it is possible to walk to the beach next door called Seagull’s Beach through knee-high water.
Beach Facilities |
There is a parking space with a 200 LEK charge and a beach restaurant with a seafood menu and lovely outdoor space overlooking the unbelievably turquoise water. Other beach facilities include a shower and toilets.
TIP | During July and August avoid weekends and arrive early to reserve a good spot.
Location | Mirror Beach Ksamil
Sunbeds Price | 1200 LEK (€10)
Parking | 200 LEK
Seagull’s Beach – Pulebardha Ksamil Albania
How to get there |
Seagull’s Beach is located 5.5 km away from Ksamil town and about 15-20 minutes drive. You take the main road to Saranda and then turn off left where there is a dirt track road all the way to the beach. Despite being unpaved, this road is much easier to navigate and it’s a little safer compared to the road to Mirror Beach. If you wanted to get there by bus, again the bus drops you off on the main road, from where there is a long hike down the dirt road to get to the beach. You can also take a taxi.
What to expect |
The path to the beach leads through the restaurant, down the stairs. During the months of July and August, almost the entire beach is taken by sunbeds and umbrellas. If you want to get a good spot during the busy months, arrive early in the morning – 8 am sharp and avoid weekends. The pictures in this post were taken on Saturday in August and as you can see, the beach was packed. To the left, there is a smaller secluded beach where you can stretch your towel for free if you find the space. If you’re travelling outside of July and August, Seagull’s Beach is a peaceful slice of paradise. The water is super turquoise but not as calm as on Monastery Beach, in fact, waves are fairly common here, especially in the afternoon. And, the beach is covered with small pebbles which are a little hard to walk on.
TIP | Bring water shoes to walk on the pebbles with comfort.
Beach Facilities |
There is a beach bar serving cold drinks including cocktails and on Saturday afternoon loud music is played and the beach has a party vibe, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
The beach restaurant is decent, I had seafood pasta here and it was tasty but a little pricey compared to other restaurants in Ksamil Albania, but that is expected from a private, secluded beach.
Other facilities also include a toilet and changing rooms, but unfortunately, there is no shower.
Location | Pulebardha Beach Ksamil
Sunbeds Price | 1500 LEK (€13)
Parking | 200 LEK
Day Trips from Ksamil Albania
Visiting Butrint ruins is one of the best things to do in Ksamil if you enjoy exploring historic sites. Butrint was a grand ancient Greek city and later a Roman city that boasted some incredible monuments and castles including a colosseum, various temples and houses.
The first human settlement in this area dates back to the 12th century BC and during the 4th century BC, there was a Sanctuary of Asclepius here, which was a god of medicine. The worshippers visited this place to be healed because Butrint’s water was believed to have healing properties. Thanks to the sanctuary and the pilgrims, Butrint became famous in the ancient world.
Today, Butrint is a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognised for its historic importance and beauty and a super interesting place to visit.
When you buy your ticket, you will also get a map that comes in a few different languages that will take you through the most important sites of Butrint. The whole visit will take you about 2 hours and it’s a lovely walk to take in the late afternoon when heat eases off.
I visited Butrint in August in the high season and even then, the place wasn’t busy which was a nice bonus. Make sure you don’t miss out on seeing the colosseum which was sadly under renovation during my visit and a castle that is perched on the highest point, for some incredible views of the surroundings including the picturesque lake.
How to get to Butrint?
There is a local bus that connects Ksamil town with Butrint that runs every hour. The bus leaves from Saranda at half past every hour between 8:30 and 18:30 and on the way back it leaves Butrint every hour from 7:30 and 19:30 back to Sarande through Ksamil. The bus journey takes only about 10 minutes and you can double-check the bus schedule inside the bus. For those that want to drive to Butrint, the site is easy to find and there is a large car park with plenty of spaces.
Best time to visit | late afternoon
Location | Butrint National Park Albania
Entrance Fee | 1,000 LEK
Bus Ksamil Butrint | 50 LEK
Ali Pasha Castle
If you have more time, you can also visit Ali Pasha Castle which is located on a little island just off the shores of Butrint. As you come out of the Butrint site, there is a small jetty and the local men will most likely approach you, offering you a boat lift to the castle. The Ottoman fortress itself is mostly a ruin today but the place and the surroundings are super beautiful and worth a visit.
Location | Ali Pasha Castle
Return boat trip | €20
Blue Eye Albania
How to get to Blue Eye?
Another exciting trip that you can take from Ksamil Albania is the Blue Eye or in Albanian Syri i Kalter situated 34 km northeast. As with most natural sites on the Albanian Riviera, the last bit of the road is a sandy dirt track with a car park at the end that fills up quickly at weekends during the high season. When that happens, you can park along the dirt track road, which is not too bad.
It is possible to get to the Blue Eye by bus, but it is not direct. You first need to catch a bus to Sarande, which is a regular service with a bus every hour and you can find the timetable in the practical sections of this post below. In Sarande you will need to change to another bus (one of the Albanian fourgons that look like white vans) in the direction of Gjirokaster. Make sure you tell the driver, that you’re getting off at the Blue Eye and use your Google maps to know when to get off, just in case the driver forgets. You can also ask him about the time of the return bus.
You’ll get dropped off on the main road, from there follow the directions to the Blue Eye. There will be a car checkpoint and ticket office and from that point, it will take another 30 minutes to reach the site. In order to catch a return bus Blue Eye Saranda, you need to get back to the main road.
Ksami Sarande Bus | 100 LEK (€0.8)
Saranda Blue Eye Bus | 200 LEK (€1.7)
Location | Saranda Bus Stop
Location | Ksamil Bus Stop
TIP | On the way back (Blue Eye Ksamil), you can try hitchhiking to get to the bus stop. Hitchhiking in Albania is very common, and people generally are happy to give you a lift. Just remember to stay safe and I would advise against it if you’re a solo female traveller. I travelled by car with my partner and we gave a nice couple a lift back to the bus stop.
If you don’t want to drive or take a bus, you can also visit Blue Eye and a few other cool places with a tour.
What to expect at Blue Eye in Albania?
Blue Eye is a place of exceptional natural beauty with its main attraction being a super beautiful natural spring with a depth of 50 meters! The water in the spring is so clear, you can see all the way down into the ‘eye’. The main attraction is a jump inside the Blue Eye which is extremely refreshing because the water only has about 10 degrees Celcius! In fact, it is so cold that no one can stay inside for too long.
There is a small gift shop just by the spring and two restaurants with nice river seating areas. Facilities also include a toilet.
Location | Saranda Syri i Kalter
Entrance fee | 200 LEK per car + 100 LEK per person (€0.8 & €1.6)
How to get to Gjirokaster from Ksamil?
Gjirokaster is a charming byzantine town located 70 km northeast of Ksamil. The best way to get there is to rent a car and drive yourself. It is, however, also possible to take a bus through Sarande. Take a regular bus from Ksamil to Sarande and then a white fourgon van to the town of Gjirokaster. I’m leaving the bus stop location and ticket prices below.
TIP | Albanian fourgons don’t normally have a timetable and leave when full. I recommend leaving in the morning for the best chance of catching a ride.
Ksami Sarande Bus | 100 LEK (€0.8)
Sarande to Gjirokaster | 500 LEK (€4.1)
Location | Saranda Bus Stop
Location | Ksamil Bus Stop
What to expect?
Gjirokaster is easily the most beautiful town in Albania! Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved examples of an Ottoman town dating back to the 14th century. One of the best things to do in Gjirokaster is visiting the Gjirokaster Castle perched on the hill and boasting incredible panoramic views! Also, make sure you visit the old town which is just gorgeous, order a local beer and people watch from one of the cafes.
The town of Gjirokaster is also famous for its excellent food scene, so make sure to come hungry and eat your way through the town! Seriously, the food here was the best in the whole of Albania and for that reason, it was my favourite place. I’m vegetarian and this was no problem either. You also will be surprised how much cheaper the food is here compared to Ksamil. I’m leaving the links below to my favourite Gjirokaster restaurants:
Best Gjirokaster Restaurants:
Restaurant Tradicional Odaja | Superb traditional sharing platters
Taverna Tradicionale | Amazing food & hospitality, modest restaurant
Taverna Lani | Friendly host, modest settings but superb food
Edua Shop and Restaurant Gjirokaster | Tasty food and cute seating
Snack Bar Simple | Excellent smoothies
Location | Gjirokaster Albania
Monastery of Saint George
The Monastery of Saint George (in Albanian Manastiri i Shën Gjergjit) is located right by Monastery Beach that takes its name after it. Unfortunately, it is no longer active, but there is a man that looks after it and hangs around there.. If you’re lucky, he may be around to show you the place too. One way or another, if you have the time, this monastery is really worth checking out, even if it means you’ll see it just from outside.
Park your car by the main road and follow the sign, up the hill to the monastery. If you’re travelling by bus, follow the instruction on how to get to Monastery Beach describe earlier. The hike up the hill takes around 10 minutes.
TIP | If you’re planning a beach day at Monastery Beach, check this place out at the end. The views from the monastery are stunning and the best time to enjoy them is at sunset.
Location | Monastery of Saint George
Forty Saints Monastery Sarande
If you enjoy visiting scenic viewpoints this one may be for you. Situated 18 km away from Ksamil, the ruins of the Eastern Orthodox Forty Saints Monastery boasts a spectacular, panoramic view over Sarande and the entire coast. The monastery dates back to the 6th century AD and was one of the most important pilgrimage sites of this part of the world.
TIP | Visit the monastery at the golden hour for the best views.
Location | The Monastery of 40 Saints
How to get to Sarande from Ksamil?
Another excellent destination for a day trip from Ksamil is the city of Saranda situated only a few kilometres away. The drive will only take 30 min with a distance of 15 km. You can also take a Saranda Ksamil Albania bus that leaves Ksamil every hour. The ticket cost is 100 LEK (€0.8).
What to expect in Sarande?
Sarande is a seaside town tucked in a picturesque bay surrounded by rolling hills. The town of Sarande has a lovely promenade that runs along its beaches. It also has at least three excellent public beaches where anyone can come with their own towel. The beaches in Sarande are covered with small pebbles and the water is crystal clear. The Sarande beaches are also less busy than beaches in Ksamil and mostly visited by the locals. I spent in Sarande a week, and really enjoyed the town’s chilled local vibe.
Apart from the beaches and the promenade, you can visit here the ruins of a 5th-century synagogue and Lekuresi Castle perched on a hill with panoramic views of the coast.
Location | Saranda Albania
Ksamil Corfu Day Trip
Did you know that the Greek island of Corfu is located just a few kilometres from the shore of Albania? Visiting Corfu can be an excellent day trip! Ferries leave multiple times a day from the port of Sarande and the ticket prices start from €10. You can drive to Sarande or catch a bus and take a ferry to Corfu and make your way from Corfu to Ksamil with an evening ferry.
Search for cheap ferry connection via Direct Ferries below:
Location | Corfu Island
Other Worthy Places on the Albanian Riviera
If you’re looking for more inspiration for places you can visit on the Albania Riviera, here are two more beautiful seaside towns that are worth exploring.
Himare is a charming coastal village, located 67 km north of Ksamil. Visit it for an authentic local vibe and chilled atmosphere as well as its nearby beaches such as Livadhi Beach which is a real stunner. Himare also boasts a beautiful ruined castle perched on a hill with stunning views over the coast.
Full Guide | Himare Albania
Location | Himare
Dhermi is more lively and has a great selection of chic beach clubs and bars on its stunning beach where you can spend a day in style and party in the evening. Dhermi also has a picturesque old town with quaint churches, red-roof historic houses and narrow alleys totally worth exploring.
Full Guide | Dhermi Albania
Location | Dhermi
Albania Ksamil Restaurants
Here is a selection of some really good Ksamil Albania restaurants:
Beshiku | Good for affordable lunch of gyros and salads, good house wine
Fourth Island | Excellent Italian pizza and pasta
Abiori Bar Restaurant Pizzeria Ksamil | Great seafood and Italian by a lovely beach
Veranda Apollonia Ksamil Restaurant | Well-priced seafood & Italian cuisine with sunset views
Brothers Fish & Meat Tavern | Excellent traditional Greek food, affordable prices
Ksamil Albania Practical Tips
Where to do your grocery shop in Ksamil Albania?
Ksamil has many good supermarkets, where you can get your grocery done, including fresh fruit and veggies and bread. I like to shop at supermarket Gjordeni close to the main Ksamil beach by the main road, that had a really good selection of everything I needed.
Location | Supermarket Gjordeni
Like in most of Albania, you will need cash to pay for things in Ksamil. Most restaurants, bars and even small hotels expect you to pay in cash. The only place that accepted card payment was a supermarket.
The issue in Albania is that most ATMs charge a fee when you use a non-Albanian card. The charge varies from bank to bank between 500 and 800 LEK. The only bank that doesn’t charge for international cash withdrawals is Credins Bank. But, the nearest Credins ATM is located in Sarande, so if I were you, I would withdraw some cash in Sarande, before coming to Ksamil. Of course, I forgot to do it, so I had to use an ATM in Ksamil. There are two ATMs in town – Tirana Bank that charges 500 LEK (€4.1) and Raiffeisen charing 700 LEK (€5.8).
TIP | The fees are flat, so if you have to use an ATM, make sure you withdraw enough cash to last you.
Location | Tirana Bank, Raiffeisen ATM
What’s the best time to visit? – Weather Ksamil Albania
Ksamil Albania weather is characterised by hot summers and very mild winters with day temperatures rarely dropping below 15 degrees celsius. Beach weather in Ksamil Albania starts in April and lasts up to November.
The months of July and August are the peak season with visitors flocking this small seaside resort and sunbeds filling the entire space on all Ksamil beaches. If you can, avoid those months.
The best time to visit Ksamil is June – May and September – October months when crowds ease off, hotel rates are lower, the weather is still decent to enjoy sunbathing and swimming in the sea on beaches that are not filled with sunbed up to the waterline!
How long to stay in Ksamil Albania?
Ksamil has many nice beaches and plenty of interesting places to visit nearby. Many visitors come to Ksamil to spend a week or even two. The best amount of time to spend in Ksamil to enjoy the town’s beaches and visit the three epic beaches that are located a short drive from Ksamil (Seagull’s, Mirror and Monastery beaches) is 4-7 days.
How to get to Albania Ksamil?
By plane – Airports in Albania
Unless you’re road tripping Europe by car, the most likely point of entry to Albania for you will be Tirana International Airport in Albania. Depending on the time of your arrival, you can stay a few nights in the Albanian capital (I recommend staying 1-2 nights) or head directly to Ksamil. There is a shuttle bus that connects the Tirana Airport with the city centre. It costs 300 LEK (€3) and gets you to Skanderbeg Square. The main bus terminal that connects Tirana with other major cities is a little away from the city centre. The best way to get there is to grab a taxi. Make sure you confirm the taxi rate before you get inside.
Bus Station Tirana | check the location here.
By Private Transfer from Tirana to Ksamil
For a hassle-free transfer from Tirana airport to your Ksamil hotel, book a private transfer with Viator.
By Car – Albania Car Rental
The best way to get to Ksamil is to rent a car. Car rentals are widely available in Albania, and if you’re flying to Tirana, you can prearrange car rental with a pick up at the airport.
Albanian drivers are notorious for speeding, tailgating and, in general, being reckless, so make sure you are super careful. Always go for the full insurance and take a short video of the car recording all its existing scratches and dents before you drive away from the car rental place. If you don’t want to drive, opt for the buses Albania is known for.
By Bus – Albania Bus System
Ksamil is one of Albania’s more popular seaside towns, and getting here from main cities such as Tirana or Sarande by bus is relatively easy. Here are the most common routes with prices and journey times:
Albania Saranda Ksamil Bus
Getting to Ksamil from Saranda by bus is super easy. There is a brand new local bus that runs between the two seaside towns multiple times a day. The bus stop in Saranda is located by a roundabout with a big tree by Rruga Jonianet, close to the beach. There are a few other bus stops in Sarande, but this is where the bus starts and if you catch it from here, you have the best chance of getting a seat or even getting onto the bus, during a busy time. You pay for the ticket inside the bus, but not with the driver. There is another person that goes down the bus to collect the payment
Ticket price | 100 LEK
Location | Saranda Bus Stop
Ksamil Sarande Bus
There are also at least two bus stops in Ksamil, choose the one closest to your Ksamil hotel. Buses to Sarande start from Butrint and go through Ksamil multiple times a day.
Ticket price | 100 LEK
Location | Ksamil Bus Stop by Ksamil Beach Ksamil Bus Stop by Tirana Bank
Tirana to Ksamil Albania
Most buses from Tirana leave from its main Tirana Bus Terminal. If you’re arriving at the airport, just grab a taxi asking for a bus station to Sarande. There are normally a few buses per day, but as there is no official schedule, it’s often up to the driver whether he will serve the connection or not. Having said that, the best time to catch the bus to the south is in the morning. Take a Tirana Saranda bus, where you will have to change to a local bus to Ksamil.
Tirana to Saranda Bus Timetable | 5:00, 6:30, 8:30, 9:30, 10:45, 14:00
Tirana Ksami Ticket | 1,300 LEK + 100 LEK
Location | Tirana Bus Station
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Hi Mal, what a beautiful and usefull post.
Thanks for the information i have just read going to ksamil for 2 days visit from corfu last 2 days in August is it advisable to pay for meals in local money or can we exchange euros somewhere as said going for 2 days if enjoy it we will look into going next year in September thanks for the information provided
Hi Alan, you can always pay in Euros in Albania, but the prices will be always slightly rounded up so I’d advise changing some money into the local currency which is LEK. Have a fab trip. Mal
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