Ksamil can compete with regional headlining beaches like St. Tropez or Capri for sheer beauty.
Nestled in the southernmost part of Albania, Ksamil is quickly becoming one of the hottest travel destinations in the Balkans.
Crystal-clear turquoise waters, pristine beaches, and rich history make Ksamil a unique and unforgettable experience.
With fewer than 5,000 residents, this coastal village attracts travelers who seek a charming retreat without the costly commercialism often found in nearby tourist hotspots of larger European countries.
Let’s explore the attractions, activities, and festivals that make Ksamil a must-visit destination, along with personal recommendations and insights to help you plan your trip.
Many travelers praise popular coastal destinations like Corfu, Costa Smeralda, and Mallorca. Still, when they come across Ksamil’s stunning coastline, they are surprised that this little-known town has been kept a secret.
Ksamil and its small coastal islands attract domestic and international travelers to enjoy its relaxing ambiance and breathtaking sea views.
Much less developed than major Mediterranean resort centers, Ksamil retains its village-like charm and welcoming hospitality.
If you’re searching for an affordable place to spend a holiday with no shortage of dazzling weather and fun beach activities, you’ll want to visit Ksamil.
Things to Do
Ksamil’s main attraction is its stunning beaches with crystal-clear turquoise waters, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, or scuba diving.
Pasqyra Beach, Ksamil Beach, and Xhino Beach are well-known beaches in Ksamil that offer stunning views of the nearby islands and coastline.
Apart from the beaches and the national park, Ksamil offers several activities that cater to different interests and preferences.
Visitors can try kayaking, paddle boarding, or boat tours to explore the nearby islands and coastline or rent a bike or scooter to discover the village’s surroundings.
The Blue Eye Natural Spring
The Blue Eye, a natural spring in the Saranda region, is another popular attraction where visitors can swim in the crystal-clear waters or hike through the surrounding woods.
The spring is around 30 km from Ksamil and can be accessed by car or taxi.
The entrance fee is 200 Albanian Lek (around 2 USD) per person, and bringing a towel and swimwear is recommended.
Butrint National Park
Another must-visit attraction in Ksamil is Butrint National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of Albania’s most significant archaeological sites.
Just as many nearby Greek Islands are famous for their archaeological ruins and unearthed sites, the area of Ksamil also contains relics of the past.
Dating back to the 7th century BC, Butrint has been inhabited by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans.
Visitors can explore the ruins of the city, including a Roman amphitheater, a Venetian tower, and a Byzantine basilica, and learn about the history and culture of the region.
Food and Festivals in Ksamil
Albanian cuisine is a fusion of Mediterranean and Ottoman influences, and Ksamil offers a variety of local dishes and delicacies worth trying.
Stuffed peppers, baklava, and byrek are popular dishes that reflect the region’s history and culture, while fresh seafood restaurants serve the catch of the day that’s cooked to perfection.
Ksamil hosts several festivals annually that showcase Albania’s traditions and culture.
The Olive Festival, which takes place in November, is the most popular festival that pays tribute to Ksamil’s olive oil production and comprises cultural events, exhibitions, and tastings.
The National Albanian Folklore Festival is another festival held in August and showcases the country’s traditional dances, music, and attire.
Many of Ksamil’s most popular beaches feature equipment rentals for paddle boarding, jet skiing, and water skiing.
While pricing for rentals is affordable, keep in mind that equipment rentals go quickly, especially during peak season.
Be sure to procure your rentals early in the day to avoid running out.
Vacationers enjoy other water-based activities: swimming, snorkeling, and just lounging on the beach.
In addition to water sport equipment rentals, you can enjoy a catamaran excursion or an afternoon on a sailboat.
If you don’t sail, you can charter a sailing tour to visit Ksamil’s nearby islands with dazzling views.
The Islands of Ksamil
Located near the coast of Ksamil are four islands known as the Ksamil or Tetranisi Islands.
As a part of the Butrint National Park, these islands are protected and preserve their natural splendor.
Visiting these islands is a favored activity among tourists in Ksamil, but you need to take a boat to explore them.
Two islands are close enough to swim to if you are up for an adventurous excursion, and some have chairs and small bars to enjoy refreshments.
Although the islands’ beaches are perfect for lounging, you may also want to explore untouched terrains and witness the abundant flora and fauna, including wild olives, heather, laurel, and an array of sea birds.
The islands boast picturesque rivers, lagoons, and shaded areas that offer respite from the sun.
Getting to Ksamil
International travelers often fly to Corfu and then take a ferry to the Albanian city of Sarande on the coast. The ferry journey takes about one hour.
Sarande is a port city that’s more concerned with industry than tourism, but there are some great restaurants and bars near its boardwalk if you want to take a break before heading to Ksamil by taxi or bus.
By bus, the trip takes about 30 minutes.
By taxi, you can typically arrive there in about ten minutes.
Best Time to Visit Ksamil
Recently, savvy travelers have opted to skip a Ksamil visit in August because it’s the village’s most crowded time.
That said, if you enjoy the crowds and don’t mind long waits at the ATM (the village has three machines),
August features prime beaching-going weather. Just keep in mind that the town is small, and its small pool of vendors and restaurateurs will be taxed to keep up with the steady stream of visitors.
Many travelers find that the best times to visit Ksamil are just before the beginning of the summer season or right after.
Even in July, it’s not uncommon for people to struggle to find a secluded patch of beach to call their own–at least for a morning or afternoon.
Ksamil may still be largely unknown, but its celebrity grows every year.
On top of the many things to see and do, you can choose from many upscale, boutique, and budget-friendly hotels in Ksamil.
If you’re planning to visit, you should make reservations in advance, given the small size of this destination.
The secret about this enchanting beach town is getting out. Each summer sees more visitors packing onto Ksamil’s small beaches, so make sure to make your way here soon.
If you’re searching for an Ionian Sea holiday that is both budget-friendly and postcard-worthy, you’ll want to check out this sun-kissed beach town.