Ksamil (Ksamili in Albanian) is one of the most popular destinations in the region and not without a reason. It has beautiful sand beaches and several small islands that you can even swim too and despite still being a hidden gem, it is one the best beach destinations in Europe. In this guide you can find everything you need to know before visiting Ksamil.
The village of Ksamil is a small, but rapidly growing village with around 4000-5000 inhabitants and is officially part of the Butrint National Park. Nowadays tourism is the most important driver of the economy, but the area became well known for growing olives, lemons and mandarines during communism and also mussels are being farmed in the nearby Butrint Lagoon.
How To Get To Ksamil
Ksamil is located only 12 kilometers south of Saranda and you can get there by taking a direct bus to Butrint that passes through Ksamil. The bus leaves every hour during the day (see timetable) and departs from the ferry terminal passing through several stops in Saranda. The bus ride takes approximately 20-30 minutes and will cost you 100 lek. A one way taxi from Saranda should cost around 1300 lek. Booking a tour or renting a car is also a great alternative to get to Ksamil as it gives you the flexibility to explore more nearby beaches and other attractions easily.
To reach Ksamil from Corfu you will have to take a ferry to Saranda first. There are multiple daily departures and the fast ferry (hydrofoil) only takes around 30 minutes. From the Port of Saranda it’s only a short walk to the bus that leaves to Ksamil.
What To See And Do In Ksamil
Beaches And Islands
This is off course what Ksamil is famous for, so many people enjoy their time swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the scenery of paradise. On the mainland there are a few small beaches around the town with the main beach being the most crowded, especially in summer time. If you want to escape the crowds you can definitely find more secluded beaches nearby.
Very close to the shore are the Ksamil Islands, which are three small uninhabited islands that you can easily visit. If you have the energy, you can even swim to them, or alternatively take a peddle boat or book a boat trip (see below). There are even some bars on the islands so you can treat yourself after crossing the water.
On the beaches there are several small piers that you can jump off. Some of them have a bench at the end so you can sit and enjoy the scenery. And, like it or not, many tourists will strike an Instagrammable pose to make their friends jealous. In the end, this is paradise!
Water Sports And Activities
On the beaches in Ksamil you can find plenty of activities to do. You can rent for example peddle boats, kayaks and jet skis or take a ride on a banana boat.
Watch The Sunset
Many visitors from Saranda only stay for the day, but why not watch the sun go down and stay the night? With the turqoise waters and sandy beaches facing east, Ksamil is a wonderful place to watch the sunset, or even the sunrise if you don’t mind an early rise.
Take A Tour
If you want to visit Ksamil, but don’t want to bother about how to get there, you can easily book one of these tours that include Ksamil. You can for example visit Ksamil and Butrint in one day and even make a stop at Lekursi Castle on the way back.
If you want to discover more of the area and visit some of the quiet and deserted beaches and islands, you can take a boat trip. Around the beaches of Ksamil you can find small piers with boatsmen that can take you around for a trip.
If you’ve had enough of the beach or just want to explore the local village life, there are a couple of alternative options as well. You can go on the Mussel Tour to the Butrint Lake where the mussels are being farmed and enjoy the freshest seafood.
Another option is to go on the Mandarina Tour and experience the life of a local farmer after which you will be treated with some tasty food while enjoying the beautiful landscape.
Enjoy The Nightlife Of Ksamil
During the summer months Ksamil becomes a very vibrant town with a great nightlife. The town is full of bars and restaurants both on and off the beach. In the evening you can also stroll around the promenade where you’ll see many street vendors selling souvenirs and kids can enjoy themselves in the luna park.
Even though Ksamil’s beaches are absolutely stunning, there is not that much to see in the town itself. So if you are staying around for multiple days, you might consider exploring some of the nearby sights:
- Butrint National Park – A UNESCO World Heritage and archaeological site
- Ali Pasha’s Castle
- Saranda – the largest city in southern Albania
- Visit some of the nearby beaches:
Where To Eat And Drink In Ksamil
Ksamil has many options when it comes to food, but being a seaside village, seafood is the local specialty. Most restaurants are located on or close to the beach and along the main Saranda-Brutrint road crossing town. Here are a few recommendations:
- Ristorante Rilinda: Fresh fish and seafood on the best location in Ksamil, opposite the one of the islands. In summer the restaurant also runs a bar on the island.
- Bar Restaurant Korali: Good quality pastas, risottos and seafood with a great view.
- Guvat Bar Restorant: A mix of Albanese and Mediterranean food with a great atmosphere and view over the bay.
- The Mussel House: A bit out of town to the north, but located right next to the Butrint Lagoon with seating next to the water for beautiful views. The restaurant has a few bungalows as well where you can stay, and not to forget, the freshest mussels!
- Bianco Lounge Bar: Located just off the main beach, Bianco comes to live after sunset as is definitely one of the hottest places in Ksamil. The venue has several floors and DJs playing every evening.
For more bars and restaurants in Ksamil, check out our Food & Drinks section.
Where To Stay In Ksamil
Compared to Saranda, Ksamil is rather quiet and easy going and you’ll see many couples and families. You’ll find mostly hotels and apartments and only a handful of hostels. Many accommodations are family owned and you wont find enormous resorts like elsewhere. As you can expect for a popular destination, prices are slightly more expensive then elsewhere in Albania, but still very cheap for European standards. Search below to find the best deals for your dates, or check our recommendations:
- Hotel Luxury: This is a 4-star hotel located on the southern side of Ksamil and offers a sun deck and swimming pool. The restaurant serves locally inspired dishes.
- Relax Apartments:This 3-start hotel offers a swimming pool, kids pool, playground and a sun deck. Rooms are equipped with a tv, refrigerator and a balcony and there is free private parking and a 24h reception.
- Family Hotel Haruni: This family hotel has 12 rooms with a variety of amenities. There is a garden and a 24h reception.
- The Mussel House: Located at the Butrint Lake the Mussel House offers comfortable lodging in a stunning environment. They do tours as well and serve the freshest seafood.
Other Practical Info About Ksamil
There is a medical center on Rruga Kristal and for emergencies you can always call the following numbers:
General Emergencies – 112
Ambulance – 127
Fire – 128
Police – 129
You can also read more about staying safe in Albania on our Health & Safety page.
Banks And ATMs
The only bank in Ksamil is Tirana Bank, located on the main road SH81, but there are many ATMs throughout the town so you don’t have to worry about getting cash in Ksamil.
The post office in Ksamil is located just off the main road, on Sheshi Miqesia.
Shopping In Ksamil
There are several supermarkets, bakeries and other shops in Ksamil so you won’t have to get out of the town for any basic needs during your stay. For more shopping options, you can best go to Saranda.
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