Ksamil, Albania: A Guide to Ksamil Paradise

Ksamil in Albania is a small paradise in the Albanian Riviera. With this guide to Ksamil, you’ll know the best of Ksamil’s beaches, hotels, and places to eat!

Did you know Ksamil has over ten beaches?

This hidden gem in Southern Albania, near Saranda, provides some of the most picturesque views in Albania.

And it’s super easy to get to!

Whether you’re hoping to get some time on the beach, among Roman ruins, or dipping into the nearby Blue Eye, Ksamil is the place for you.

This post will highlight some of the highlights of Ksamil, as well as how to get there.

Let’s get into it.

General info about Ksamil

Ksamil is a small coastal town that’s located in the Saranda district in southeastern Albania.

Sitting right on the Ionian Sea, the crystal clear water has amazing white sand and rock beaches. Plus, there’s plenty of natural scenery surrounding the area to draw in tourists and travelers from all over.

Albania landscape

But it’s not just the scenery that attracts visitors. There are plenty of attractions.

Butrint National Park, Saranda, the Ksamil Islands, and a trip to Corfu, Greece, are all on the table. Whether you’re a beach lover or a history buff, there’s plenty for you here.

So, let’s dive into the specifics of when you should visit and some things to do.

When is the best time to visit Ksamil?

The best time to visit Ksamil is during the months of July and August.

This is when the weather is the best, the water is perfect, and it’s also when most tourists flock to this small country.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, go on the shoulder seasons of the summer months (March-May/September-October). You’ll still get the excellent weather and activities, but you’ll get them (mostly) to yourself.

But, if you’re looking for the best weather, head there during the summer months.

Things to do in Ksamil

1. Visit the Blue Eye

Want to see a natural phenomenon you won’t find anywhere else in Albania?

Then the Blue Eye is for you, and it’s only a short day trip away (about 35 km from Ksamil).

The Blue Eye is a natural spring with a deep blue color in the center that descends deep into the earth about 150 feet. The water itself is so clear you’d think you could drink it.

But you’re actually not even supposed to swim in the water (although people still do).

So, if you want something to do near Ksamil, definitely check out the Blue Eye.

2. Butrint National Park

In between all of your visits to Ksamil’s many beaches, be sure to check out Butrint National Park.

This is one of the best things about Ksamil, in my opinion.

The ancient city of Butrint has a long history, stretching back to the Greeks, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

But, it was a staple of defense (and a bit of vacation) for the Romans, especially Julius Caesar.

Ksamil Butrint Ruins

There’s an extensive museum inside the ruins that details the history of the region.

I’d recommend spending a few hours in the park as there’s a lot to see, and it’s worth taking your time.

But, if you’re looking to get away from the beaches, a trip to Butrint makes a great day trip.

3. Visit the Greek island of Corfu

Looking to get to a Greek island on your trip?

Then Corfu is an easy boat trip to make and a top place to visit.

You can even see it from Ksamil!

This island is gorgeous. Full of culture, history, and amazing natural scenery, you could easily spend an entire day (or more ) here.

But if you’re short on time, here’s a quick overview of some things to do:

  • Visit Achilleion Palace (once the residence of Empress Elizabeth of Austria)
  • Stroll through Corfu Town (a colorful and lively city with plenty to explore)
  • Visit Paleokastritsa (a quiet and beautiful seaside village)

It only takes about an hour to get to there on a boat, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore.

And you’re sure to love the island.

4. Visit Saranda (Sarande)

Saranda and Ksamil are located right next to each other, with Saranda about 10 minutes away from Ksamil.

And that makes it easy to dash between the two to experience all of this area.

With beautiful beaches, amazing viewpoints, and a bumping nightlife, Saranda offers a bit more than Ksamil. And the drive between the two isn’t bad, either.

If you’re looking for something to do in Saranda, stroll the veranda and browse the shops and restaurants that line it.

You’ll find local restaurants, clothing stores, and souvenir shops to snag your gifts before you head home.

If you’re visiting Ksamil, you must visit Saranda while at it.

5. Visit the islands of Ksamil

Right off of Ksamil are three beautiful, idyllic islands.

Best of all, they’re all uninhabited, so these islands stay pristine for their visitors. And you can easily visit them!

With a quick boat ride, you can visit each one. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, canoe or even swim there! Once you’re there, you’ll have some small popup bars ready to serve you.

If you want complete paradise, a trip to these small islands is perfect for you.

Best beaches in Ksamil

Ksamil has many beaches.

And you may not think of Albania when you think of the best beach destinations in Europe, but you should start.

White sands or rocky beaches, crystal clear waters, and beautiful scenery — you won’t have trouble finding a beautiful beach here.

Plus, you won’t find many beaches without a restaurant in Ksamil or a bar nearby for some snacks and drinks.

So, let me save you the time to find the best beaches in Ksamil:

  1. Ksamil Beach, Albania
  2. Monastery Beach, Albania
  3. Paradise Beach, Albania
  4. Mirror Beach, Albania (Pasqyra Beach)
  5. Puerto Rico Beach, Albania
  6. Pema e Thate Beach, Albania
  7. Lori Beach, Albania

1. Ksamil Beach, Albania

Ksamil Beach is what you envision when you think of a perfect beach. It checks every box.

Being the main beach in Ksamil, Instagrammers got the message about the best beach in Ksamil and flocked to the area.

A wooden dock stretches out into the water on the beach’s central part to get your stunning photos with clear water below the pier.

Pier extending out into the sea

Cafes and restaurants run along the entire stretch of the beach. So, it’s perfect for grabbing some food, a beer, or sitting back to people-watch.

And, in the distance, you’ll see the four Ksamil Islands! These four islands are uninhabited and are worth a visit!

But the main Ksamil beach is definitely worth a visit beforehand.

Also, Bora Bora beach is located in the central part, which many people love. And it’s a public beach! So no worries about paying a fee or it being off-limits.

Luckily, most beaches of Ksamil are public.

2. Monastery Beach, Albania

Monastery Beach is a contender for the most beautiful here, let alone all of Albania.

Seafoam blue waters create giant waves that crash on the stone shore, which surprisingly lulls you into a nap.

Monastery Beach

You’ll find straw umbrellas across the beach, providing shade to beach-goers. It’s a nice beach for adults hoping to relax and sunbathe for the day.

A restaurant at the beach entrance makes for a great spot to get some food or drinks during your visit.

3. Paradise Beach, Albania

Paradise Beach is an excellent name for this tiny beach (where you’re sure to find tourists).

Gorgeous white sand forms a small cove that’s lined with umbrellas and chairs. There are nearby restaurants and bars to grab a drink or food. Then sit down in one of the chairs and spend the day watching the water.

Stunning blue water forms small waves against the shore, making this a great family visit.

Worthwhile to visit, but you don’t have to spend much time here.

4. Mirror Beach, Albania (Pasqyra Beach)

Now, one of the more hidden beaches, primarily because of the difficulty of getting to it.

This beach is perfect for anyone who enjoys a worthwhile hike before diving into clear blue waters for a day in the sun.

Mirror Beach

And you get some beautiful views along the way. Azure waters, white-sanded beaches, and rocky cliffs give you some eye candy for the hike.

For the more adventurous here, jot this one down.

5. Puerto Rico Beach, Albania

Puerto Rico Beach is a quiet little beach where you usually won’t find as many tourists.

A beautiful strand of white sand, a surrounding forest, and a small beach bar ready to serve you drinks.

This is an excellent choice for those looking to relax.

Lounging chairs and umbrellas are available for rent at a small fee.

6. Pema e Thate Beach, Albania

Pema e Thate Beach is slightly different from the other beaches on this list because it’s privately operated.

And they’re doing a great job with this private sandy beach.

Pema e Thate Beach

A little out of the way, this beautiful beach has a perfect view across the Strait. You can’t miss the island in the distance.

And just off the beach is a small restaurant/bar, so it’s great for a relaxing day in the sun.

Plus, this is the perfect sunset beach for you if you want to catch the sunset making it one of the best Ksamil beaches.

7. Lori Beach, ALbania

Want the perfect beach escape?

Lori Beach is one of the best beaches in Ksamil, with its clear waters and excellent views.

This beach has a long stretch of white sand with views over the sea and mountains in the distance. You can swim in the shallow waters or paddle around on stand-up paddleboard. And it’s great for families and kids.

Plus, you can easily rent a chair with an umbrella to keep yourself cool in the hot summer sun.

Best hotels in Ksamil

There’s no shortage of places to stay in Ksamil.

And you can find Ksamil hotels ranging from budget-friendly to ultra-luxury.

But here are five of the top hotels in the area for you to consider:

  • Oaz Ksamil. Close to the beach, with air-conditioned rooms and WiFi. What more can you ask for? Also, guests have a private beach and a way to the beach from the hotel.
  • Delfini. In the center of Ksamil, you’ll get nice rooms along with a pool and terrace. Better if you want to explore Ksamil’s town.
  • Ksamil. Also in the center of Ksamil. Great rooms, an in-hotel restaurant, and access to a private beach.
  • Bujtina Ksamil. In between the city and the beach, you get nice amenities, a swimming pool, and a nice restaurant.
  • Albatros. Want an excellent view of the sea? Albatros gives you that, a swimming pool, an in-hotel restaurant, and nice rooms.

You can’t go wrong with accommodation in Ksamil, Albania, as the town itself is small.

That makes it easy for you to skip around to all the beautiful Ksamil beaches, so everywhere is the best location.

Places to eat in Ksamil

1. Restaurant Vila d’Oro

Traditional Albanian cuisine fills this menu.

And you can enjoy it in large quantities as well as the beautiful view. The Ksamil coastline stretches out in front of you, providing you an excellent backdrop for your meal.

The staff is great and responsive, and the restaurant has a super relaxed atmosphere.

2. La Perla

Dinner for two right on the beach?

Sounds pretty good to me! Fill up on seafood dishes while you listen to the calm waves of the ocean lap against the shore.

Perfect if you’re looking for a romantic dinner site in Albania.

3. Mussel House

Want all the mussels you can eat with a gorgeous view out over the lake?

Mussel House is well-known for its delicious seafood and catches all of it locally, so you know it’s fresh.

The staff are excellent here and were checking up to make sure everything was going well. And the food was amazing as my girlfriend and I devoured dish after dish.

Perfect for a family gathering or a nice lunch.

Personally, I think Mussel House in Ksamil is the best seafood you can get in the area.

4. Taverna Ksamil

Mediterranean dishes of all types are available here.

With a cozy vibe, delicious food, and friendly staff, you can’t go wrong popping in here for dinner.

If you’re looking for a relaxing night out, Taverna Ksamil is a great option.

5. Zefi’s

A family-run restaurant that mixes Albanian cuisine and international dishes.

If you have a large group, Zefi’s is perfect for its variety and spacious restaurant area.

How to get to Ksamil, Albania

Given Albania’s size, you’ll likely be traveling to Ksamil from Tirana.

So, I focused on that route for this post.

Here’s how to get to Albanian Ksamil.

How to get from Tirana to Ksamil

There are a few methods to get from Tirana to Ksamil:

  • Bus
  • Taxi
  • Rental car

Tirana to Ksamil by bus

There isn’t a direct line from Tirana to Ksamil, so you’ll have to maneuver.

The best method is to get a bus from Tirana to Saranda, which costs around $10 and takes about five hours.

If you want to drive yourself, Tirana is about four to five hours by car from Ksamil.

Take a bus from Tirana to Ksamil

From Saranda, take a bus to Ksamil, which takes around 10 minutes and costs less than a dollar.

This is the most cost-effective way to visit from Tirana.

Also, you can take the same bus from Ksamil to head back to Tirana. Simple and easy.

Tirana to Ksamil by taxi

Taking a taxi is pretty simple; you just have to find a driver willing to drive the entire way. Some services provide pickup and dropoff, but these can be pricey and match the price of a taxi.

Take a taxi from Tirana to Ksamil

Usually, you’ll pay around $150-$200 minimum to take a taxi from Tirana to Ksamil.

Tirana to Ksamil by rental car

This is the easiest way to get to Ksamil and also the most fun.

Car rentals are cheap (depending on your choice), and you can take your time exploring the south of Albania while you make your way to Ksamil.

And it’s easy to navigate!

Drive a rental car from Tirana to Ksamil

Drive west on SH2 out of Tirana toward Durres. Once you’re in Durres, turn onto SH4 and head toward Vlore.

This will take you most of the way. Then near Vlore, you can choose to get there faster or take the scenic route.

For the faster route, take E853.

For the more scenic route (it’s worth it), take SH8 along the coast.

What to know before visiting Ksamil

Ksamil is a little paradise in his part of Albania.

But, before you plan a trip, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Bring plenty of sunscreen. It gets hot, and you’ll want coverage to keep yourself safe and sunburn-free.
  2. Check the forecast before your trip. It’s a beach destination, and there are few things worse than dark skies on a beach vacation.
  3. Bring a pair of comfortable sandals or beach shoes. Some of the beaches are stone, and you’ll want something on your feet.
  4. Pack a reusable water bottle. It gets hot, and you’ll want to be hydrated. Make it easier.
  5. Pack light. It’s hot in this area during the peak seasons, so pack light to stay cool.
  6. Bring cash. There are limited ATMs in the area, and many restaurants only accept cash.

With these few tips, you can make your trip to this area one of the best you’ve ever had.

Other places to visit in the Albanian Riviera

Ksamil isn’t the only beautiful village in the Albanian Riviera.

And the coastline is easy to navigate with the villages being close.

So, some other top villages to check out are:

  1. Dhermi
  2. Porto Palermo
  3. Vlora
  4. Gjipe

1. Dhermi

Another small coastal town not far from Ksamil, Dhermi is equally beautiful.

Plenty of gorgeous views, clear waters and white-sand beaches, and enough restaurants to send you home with bigger pants.

Beach in Dhermi

Plus, there’s plenty of history in the area. Borsh Castle and a Roman aqueduct are both close by if you want to get a deeper view of the culture and history of the area.

Overall, a perfect place to relax and enjoy the Mediterranean.

2. Porto Palermo

Porto Palermo is another stunning destination in the area, but often gets overlooked.

That means fewer crowds for you to enjoy the area. And there’s plenty to enjoy.

Beautiful beaches, a picturesque harbor, and excellent seaside restaurants. Plus, you can get a bit more adventurous and go sailing or diving.

No matter your interests, there’s something for you here.

3. Vlora

I know it sounds repetitive, but that’s how amazing this area is.

And Vlora is another perfect example of that. Whether it’s for relaxation, education, or adventure, Vlora has it.

Vlora sunset

Check out the beautiful beach, then take a trip to Kanine Castle, Muradie Mosque, the Old Bazaar, and Llogara National Park.

There’s so much to do here, you could spend an entire vacation alone.

But, a quick day trip is worthwhile also.

4. Gjipe

Another stunning location on the Ionian Sea?

Sure, why not!

The natural beauty of the area alone is incredible. With beautiful waters, plenty of caves, and nature to enjoy. If you enjoy adventure vacations, Gjipe is a good choice.

Plus, the cuisine and restaurants in the area are top-notch.

So, don’t miss out on this area if you’re visiting.

Ksamil Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Ksamil in Albania worth visiting?

Yes, Ksamil is absolutely worth visiting.

With multiple white sand and stone beaches, ancient ruins, 4-star hotels, and much more, Ksamil should be at the top of your list. Even if you have a short amount of time in Europe, Ksamil is a gorgeous place to spend some of your time.

But that’s not all.

Corfu, a Greek island and one of the most famous Ionian Islands, is right off the coast! Ferry companies don’t have a ferry from Corfu to Ksamil

But they do have a ferry from Corfu to Saranda!

Corfu to Albania

But multiple ferry companies — Joy Lines, Ionian Seaways, and Finikas Lines — offer a boat ride from Corfu to Saranda!

And Saranda is only a short 15-20 minute drive from Ksamil.

What sea is Ksamil on?

Ksamil, and its small islets, are on the Ionian Sea in Southern Albania, which is located near the Mediterranean Sea.

This results in beautiful and calm blue waters lapping against the shores of Ksamil. 

Its location makes it a convenient spot to get to other islands or Italy.

What is the weather like in Ksamil, Albania?

The weather in Ksamil is mild.

During the summer months (June-September), temperatures will reach highs of 85°F or higher with lows of 70°F.

There are usually clear skies and very little rain. The hottest (and busiest) months are July and August.

During the winter in Ksamil, temperatures reach a high of around 59°F with a low of around 44°F. November, December, January, and February are the rainiest months, seeing around 10 days of rain.

Are you ready to book a stay in Ksamil?

There aren’t many places that offer beauty and fun for a low price like Albania.

And Ksamil and Sarande (Saranda) are some of the best examples of that. Plus, there’s plenty more to do in this part of Albania!

If you want more before you visit Albania, check out my post about the beautiful country of Albania! And definitely read about Theth National Park if you have the opportunity.

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