Albania isn’t one the most famous or popular tourist destinations in Europe today, which is pretty sad since it truly is an amazing country with beautiful people. Ksamil is one of the more famous destinations in Albania, and it has gained more and more visitors the recent years. This little turquoise pearl is located along the Albanian Riviera, and it is, in my opinion, one of the best beach destinations in Europe!
Ksamil is a place of beautiful paradise beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters. This town has a pleasant climate all year round, and the best part is that it’s not full of tourists and it’s also very affordable.
In this guide, I’ll show you some beautiful photos of Ksamil, what to do there, tips on good accommodation, how to get there, and much more!
|Why You Should Visit||Things to Do|
|How to Get There||Recommended Hotels|
|Recommended Restaurants||Good to Know|
Why you should visit Ksamil
Ksamil is a less discovered town in Europe with paradise beaches, lush nature, great views of the ocean, and incredible mountain scenery. The people are kind and friendly towards tourists and are always happy to help. One of the best things is that you feel welcomed in Albania, and that is thanks to its locals. The weather is pleasant throughout the year, and there are plenty of fun things to both see and do.
I’m sure that Ksamil is going to become a big tourist destination in the future, just because the country is so beautiful and friendly.
Things to do in Ksamil
Hit the beaches
One of the best things to do in Ksamil is to relax at their fantastic beaches with white sand and turquoise waters. It’s so relaxing to lay there in the sun, listen to the sound of the waves, and enjoy the incredible views of the mountains, ocean, and lush nature.
There are several beaches to visit in Ksamil, where the most of them offer the facilities you need for a whole day.
Go on a day trip to Saranda
Saranda is one beautiful city located around 30-minutes away from Ksamil. This town is the biggest in Southern Albania, and it’s from here you can catch the ferry to Corfu in Greece. Saranda isn’t the most popular tourist destination in Albania, but it’s still an excellent place to enjoy the daily life of Albania and to have a stroll in their beautiful harbor.
See Syri i Kalter
It’s a must to visit Syri i Kalter when you’re in Ksamil. This natural phenomenon is also known as the Blue Eye and lies about 50 minutes away by car. Here await crystal clear waters that shift in turquoise and green colors. It’s truly an amazing place and something you have to visit while you’re in Ksamil.
This place has got its name “Blue Eye” from a part of the lake where the bubbles from the pool create a dark blue color, and this looks like an eye in contrast to the other bright colors.
You can get here both via guided tours and also on your own if you have a rental car. I think it’s the best to have a rental since you can go and see some other attractions like Butrint the same day.
Butrint was an Ancient Greek and later Roman city. Today this place is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here you can see an old amphitheater, a monastery, watchtowers and also a fort.
Butrint lies about 20 minutes away from Ksamil and can be reached by both bus and car. You can of course also hike and bike there!
If you’re into history, then you have to visit Gjirokaster, which is a historic town and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The biggest attraction here is the old fort that is perched on top of the town and all the old traditional stone houses.
You can go here either by car or catch the minibusses from Saranda.
How to get to Ksamil
There are two ways to get to Ksamil. Either you catch a flight to Corfu in Greece and take the boat over to Albania, or you fly to Tirana and take a bus from there. I think both ways are nice in their own way, so I would just buy the cheapest flight tickets and take the ferry/bus depending on where you land with your flight.
Tirana to Saranda
From the bus station in the capital of Albania, you can catch busses to Saranda. It will take you 6 hours and cost around 10 euros. Yes, it’s a long way, but the scenery is totally worth it. You get to see so much more of Albania than if you just sit on a ferry from Greece. Along the way, you’re going to see both mountains, lush nature, beautiful rivers, and old castles just about everywhere!
Corfu to Saranda
The most popular, shortest and easiest way, is to travel to Corfu in Greece and then catch the ferry over to Saranda. The ferry takes around 30 minutes and costs around 15 euros.
Saranda to Ksamil
From Saranda, you can either take a taxi or hop on the local bus. A taxi from Saranda to Ksamil costs around 10 euros, and the bus costs less than 1 euro.
If you like to stay at a more genuine hotel that is run by a local family, then Villa Ideal is a great place to stay. The owners are very friendly and helpful towards their guests, and the rooms are also very nice and comfortable for the price you pay.
Two Mermaids Hotel
Two Mermaids Hotel is a three-star hotel located in central Ksamil. Here you’ll have everything you possible could need during your stay. They have nice and tidy rooms with A/C, friendly staff, and also a restaurant where you can enjoy some delicious meals.
- Beach Bar Restaurant Korali – This is a more luxurious restaurant that offers delicious food from the sea and also traditional Albanian cuisine.
- Brother’s Taverna – Brother’s taverna offers delicious food and low prices.
- Abiori Bar Restorant Pizzeria – Lovely restaurant by the beach with a focus on seafood and Pizza.
- Guvat Mediterranean Bar & Restaurant – A more expensive restaurant, but the food is delicious!
Good to know about Ksamil
Weather and climate
Ksamil has a hot Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild winters. It’s a perfect destination to visit all year round.
Albanian is the official language of the country, but there are also several locals that can speak Italian, Greek, French, German and English.
Around 3000 people live in Ksamil.
Currency and payment method
In Albania, they have LEK as their local currency. You’ll find ATMs in both Ksamil and several in Saranda. Note that some ATMs don’t accept Mastercard (this happened to me last summer). You can pay with card in the most restaurants and stores.
In Albania, they have the standard European outlet (type F).
The tap water in Albania is drinkable, but it holds a high amount of chlorine, which affects the taste. The water also contains a small amount of local E. Coli, which may cause diarrhea to new visitors or those with a sensitive stomach. You can use the water for both coffee or tea, and brushing your teeth should not be a problem at all.
It might be best to drink filtered water, but to protect the environment, I recommend to invest in a good water bottle with a filter. You can buy one here
Price level in Ksamil
- Lunch: 5 €
- Three-course dinner for two: 18-20 €
- Local beer (50cl): 1 €
- Bottle of wine: 8-15 €
- Coca-Cola (33cl): 0,5 €
- Local beer (50cl): 0,7 €
- Water (1.5L): 0,4 €
- Bottle of wine (75cl): 4-5 €