The Village of Ksamil, a true gem of Albania is located in the southern part of the country. It is one of the best places for a beach vacation, but let’s take it step by step. I will tell you everything a traveler needs to know about Ksamil, and you can decide whether you want to visit here or neighboring Saranda.

ksamil albania vacation
Ksamil – A Piece of Albanian Paradise on Earth

Ksamil: Facts and General Information

First of all, it is the southernmost settlement on the Albanian coastline. There is nothing further south. If you travel along the coast, after 8 km from Ksamil, you will reach Greece and the border. Moreover, Ksamil is situated close to a strait with the Greek island of Corfu – it’s only 2 km away! Read more about it in the article about Saranda.

Today, despite the development of tourism, Ksamil remains an Albanian village where several thousand people live. In the high season of summer, the population of the town doubles or even triples. I’ll refer to it as a “small town” from now on.

This small town is popular among tourists looking for a beach vacation, where they can spend entire days on the beach and make rare trips to see the sights. For detailed information about beach tourism trends in Albania, check out a separate article.

There are two general things to know about Ksamil:

  • The infrastructure here is not highly developed. There’s not much else to do besides going to the beach. I will write more about what you can see in this town.
    • You won’t go hungry here, as there are plenty of dining establishments. However, that’s the extent of entertainment available 🙂
  • Ksamil is perhaps the most popular town on the Ionian Sea for package tourists.
    • This is because packages to Ksamil are sold more than to any other destination.
    • On the Adriatic Sea, the most popular resorts for package tourists are Durres and Golem.
    • For detailed information about how to buy a holiday package to Albania, the cost, and plenty of useful information, follow the link.

Useful to Know:

No matter how gloomy the beginning of the article might seem, the beaches of Ksamil outweigh all the negatives 🙂 They make this place one of the best resorts in Albania.
ksamil beach
It is for this bay, beaches, and islands that people come here.

How to Get to Ksamil from Tirana?

I won’t talk about driving here, as getting to Ksamil from Tirana is easy as pie.


If you’re driving, I recommend taking the coastal road (SH8) as it’s much more beautiful than the route through Gjirokaster. This road goes through Vlora, the Llogara Pass, and Himara.

Moving around Albania by bus is not the most convenient option. There aren’t many routes, and in some places, there are very few buses. But if driving is not an option for you, then there’s only the bus.

There is no direct bus from Tirana to Ksamil, at least not a regular one. The simplest and fastest way to get here is via the route: Tirana – Saranda – Ksamil.

  • Tirana – Saranda:
    • There are 6 daily trips.
    • Travel time varies between 5-6 hours, depending on the route.
    • Ticket price: 15 euros.
    • For all about public transport in Albania, where to check the current schedule, how to buy tickets, read the article via the link.
  • Saranda – Ksamil:
    • There is a local bus between the cities every hour.
    • Ticket price: 100 lek (~$1).
    • Travel time: 20 minutes.
    • Alternatively, you can take a taxi for about 10-15 euros.
how to get to ksamil
The bus schedule from Saranda. Don’t rely too much on buses after 6 p.m.

Useful to Know:

The bus between Ksamil and Saranda runs until 6 p.m. from September to May. In the peak season of summer, it runs until 8 p.m. So it’s better to arrive in Saranda before 5 p.m. to have time to transfer.

Where to Stay in Ksamil?

Although the village of Ksamil is not very big, it is one of those rare places in Albania that offers all types of accommodation for tourists. From apartments and guesthouses to 2 to 5-star hotels.

By the way, you can read all about types of accommodation in Albania, what to expect, and the peculiarities in this country in the article: Accommodation in Albania.

Below is a dynamic rating of cool accommodation options in Ksamil. You can click on any hotel, view photos, read descriptions, and reviews. Links to resources with all available accommodation options can be found at the end of the article.

Sights and Things to See in Ksamil

The list is not extensive, but here it is. Inside the village itself, there are no attractions other than the beaches. So, I’ll present some cool places that are very close to Ksamil and can even be reached on foot.

And if you don’t have time for independent sightseeing, you can book tours on websites like Viator or GetYourGuide. These platforms offer a wide range of exciting excursions, allowing you to experience the best of the region without the hassle of planning everything yourself.

Ksamil Beaches

The main attraction of the town. They rightfully belong to the list of the best beaches in the country. If you look at the map, you’ll see that Ksamil is situated in a small bay, and around this bay, one after another, there are about twenty beaches.

Features of Ksamil’s beaches:

  • As you know, this is the Ionian Sea.
  • The beaches are mainly pebbly, with the pebbles being very small, almost like sand.
  • There are a couple of sandy beaches as well: Bora-Bora Beach and Beach No. 7 🙂 In reality, the distance between these two beaches is only about 100 meters. You can consider them as one.
  • All Ksamil’s beaches are free, but during the season, sunbeds are chargeable.
  • The price for two sun loungers, a table, and an umbrella for the whole day is 25 euros.
  • It’s important to note that Ksamil’s beaches are very narrow and short. During the season, the best ones are so tightly packed with sunbeds that it’s almost impossible to lay down on the sand.
  • Coordinates of the best beach: 39.772959, 19.996758
best beaches in ksamil
This is how the best beach looks in October-November.
bora bora beach albania
The same beach in July.
ksamil sights
And behind my wife’s back is one of the uninhabited islands of Ksamil.

Author’s rating:

10 out of 10. The best place on the entire Ionian coast. Yes, the beaches get crowded during the season, especially Bora-Bora Beach. However, there are many beaches here; explore and find your dream beach!

Islands of Ksamil

But the beaches I mentioned above are not extraordinary on their own. What makes them truly special is the Tetran Islands archipelago, or as they are also known, the Islands of Ksamil, which offer an incredibly picturesque view from Ksamil’s beaches.

The Tetran Islands archipelago consists of four uninhabited islands. To give you an idea of their scale, here are a few facts:

  • The total area of all four islands is 0.071 square kilometers. That means all four islands can fit on a piece of land measuring 700 by 100 meters.
  • Moreover, this archipelago is only 80 meters away from Bora-Bora Beach.
  • You can reach these islands not only by catamaran or boat but simply by swimming.
  • The islands are covered with coniferous trees, have walking trails, and a few beaches. During the summer, there’s even a small restaurant open for visitors.
  • The Islands of Ksamil are an excellent option for tourists who are tired of just lying on the beach.
  • Access to the islands is free, and you can swim there for free as well.
tours ksamil albania
Tetran Archipelago – all islands are uninhabited. Look at the two upper islands. They are so close to Ksamil’s beach.

Author’s rating:

10 out of 10. I highly recommend everyone who visits this village to swim out to the islands. If you explore the islands on foot, it will take you around 10-15 minutes to walk around the largest one.

Ali Pasha Fortress

The Ali Pasha Fortress is located in the outskirts of Ksamil. I’ve already written a lot about Ali Pasha in this guide, but to put it briefly in one sentence: Ali Pasha was the chief ruler of all Albanian lands in the 18th century when Albania was part of the Ottoman Empire. Throughout the region, Ali Pasha constructed fortresses, bridges, and roads. He was not only a ruthless ruler but also developed the infrastructure of the region.

  • The Ali Pasha Fortress is situated on a small island:
    • Coordinates: 39.741836, 19.992476
  • The fortress is free to visit and open 24 hours a day.
  • But you can only reach it by boat.
    • Departure coordinates for the boat: 39.743843, 20.018561
    • The boat fare is 2000 lek (20 euros) per couple.
    • The whole boat trip to and from the fortress takes about 50 minutes.
  • You can also walk from Ksamil and see the fortress from the mainland.
    • Coordinates for the end of the walking route (follow the road, and then there will be a nice trail): 39.744211, 19.994582
    • The length of the walking route from the center of Ksamil is 4.5 km, which takes around 1 hour.
ali pasha fortress ksamil
This is the entire fortress. Just walls and nothing else.

Author’s rating:

5 out of 10. Although the fortress is well-preserved despite being over 200 years old, there’s not much to do here. It is quite small, with nothing more than walls. Moreover, the views from other fortresses in Albania are much more stunning. Whether or not to take a boat and come here is up to you, but I wouldn’t go unless I had nothing else to do. It’s better to take a walk along the walking route. Yes, the fortress will be far away, but trust me, you won’t miss much. And it’s all free.

Butrint Ancient City Excavations

There is a comprehensive article about this place in this guide, titled “Butrint Ancient City Overview.” There, you will find all the necessary information, but to summarize:

  • Butrint is an ancient city that is almost 3000 years old!
  • Entrance coordinates: 39.743855, 20.019140
  • Ticket price: 1000 lek (10 euros)
  • Time for sightseeing: 2 hours
  • From Ksamil to Butrint: 7 km. By the way, there’s a city bus that goes to Butrint, the same one that goes to Saranda.
what to see in ksamil
It’s not just ruins and foundations; here, entire buildings are fully preserved.

Author’s rating:

7 out of 10 for those who do not enjoy such sights, and 10 out of 10 for those who do. My opinion: it’s an amazing place. Yes, if you’ve been to Pompeii, it’s on a much larger scale there. However, Butrint is not just ruins; it’s an entire city: walls, towers, amphitheater, temples, baths, forums, and more.

Mussel House – Ksamil Mussel Farm

In reality, this is a mussel farm, hence the name “Mussel House.” And it’s not just one, but three farms. All three are located close to each other on the outskirts of Ksamil. One downside is that they don’t offer tours for tourists to see how oysters and mussels are cultivated. However, you can come to the shore and get a close view of the operation.

But the best part is that one of the farms has a seafood restaurant. It’s a fantastic place to visit for lunch or dinner.

  • Distance from the center of Ksamil to the farm with the restaurant: 2.5 km
  • Coordinates: 39.788926, 20.011374
  • The restaurant is closed during the low season.
  • 1 kg of fresh oysters (8-9 pieces): 4000 lek (40 euros)
  • A portion of mussels in sauce (20-25 pieces): 500-600 lek (5-6 euros).
  • The menu also includes fish, octopus, and shrimp dishes.
  • The tables are set right on the shore overlooking the mussel plantations.
oyster farm albania
Pay attention to the background; you can see the mussel farm.

Author’s rating:

9 out of 10. I would give it a 10 if they offered live tours of how mussels and oysters are cultivated. Nevertheless, it gets 9 points for the excellent seafood restaurant.

Travel tips

The most challenging question for all travelers is which city to choose for their vacation: Saranda or Ksamil. There’s only 7 km between them, and you want to make the right choice. Here’s the thing: if your number one priority is the beach, and you enjoy spending the entire day lying on the sand, then Ksamil is the better option.

If you need more infrastructure and enjoy strolling through the city, taking evening promenades along the promenade, need markets, and larger stores, then Saranda is the way to go.

Useful to know:

Most tourists do the following: they live and rest in Saranda and visit Ksamil’s beaches one or two days. Usually, people spend 5-7 days in Saranda. During this time, they come to Ksamil’s beach for a whole day one or two times, and the rest of the time is spent in Saranda and its surroundings. Saranda offers more entertainment than just the beach compared to Ksamil.
ksamil hotels
The closest to Ksamil island

In conclusion: Ksamil is an excellent village or settlement with the best beaches in Albania. It’s a place that is a must-visit. All the attractions of Ksamil, such as Butrint, the mussel farm, and Ali Pasha’s fortress, can be seen in half a day. After that, you can enjoy beach relaxation and the Islands of Ksamil. The water’s color here is astonishing, there’s no wind as the islands shield the main beach, and the water visibility is around 10 meters.

Your vacation at Bora-Bora Beach in Ksamil will undoubtedly be fantastic!

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Albania

  • Flights at the best prices with best discounts
  • Car rental in Albania (cheaper – only by bus):
    • DiscoverCars – a major international resource
    • LocalRent – the leader in the Albanian car rental market. Very low deposits, even in cash.
  • Hotels and apartments throughout the country:
    • Hotellook – compares prices among dozens of platforms and offer you the best one.
    • Booking – large online booking platform.
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Albania.
  • Tours, excursions and activities:
    • GetYourGuide – more than 550 tours
    • Viator – 920+ excursions and activities throughout the country
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
  • Internet and Calls:
    • Airalo eSIM in Albania from $4.5
    • DRIMSIM – universal SIM card (or eSIM) in any country in the world.
  • Taxi and airport transfer: Intui.Travel