Ksamil Guide: Best Things to do in Ksamil, Albania

Planning the perfect summer holiday to one of the most beautiful destinations in Albania- Ksamil? You've come to the right place. In this guide, I'l going to tell you about how to get to Ksamil, the best beach clubs and the unmissable beaches (including some free ones!), the best restaurants and other things to do in Ksamil including the nightlife. So, read on to learn more.

Getting to Ksamil (Closest airports to Ksamil)

Considering that there is no airport in Ksamil, the best way to get there is by flying into either Corfu (Greece) or Tirana airports.

If you decide to fly into Corfu, you will have to take the ferry to Sarande and then a bus or cab to Ksamil.

If you opt to fly into Tirana, you can either rent a car and drive down, get the bus or book a private transfer from Tirana to Ksamil.

We decided to fly into Tirana (since we were booking last minute and our options were limited), and then we booked a private cab to drive us down to Ksamil. We paid about 350 euros roundtrip from Tirana to Ksamil. However, the drive takes almost 5 hours since the roads are through the mountains, so it isn't the best way to get here. From what I've read, flying into Corfu is definitely the best option.

Ksamil or Sarande

Ksamil is one of the most beautiful places in Albania, and is situated in the south of the country, right on the Albanian Riviera. If you're looking for breathtaking beaches, a fun nightlife and delicious seafood, this is the place for you! If y0u're wondering if you should stay in Ksamil, or in Sarande on your trip to the Albanian Riviera, here is what I think....

We decided to stay in Ksamil, since we only had two days and wanted to make the most of our time on the beach. While Sarande also has beaches, we felt that Ksamil had some beautiful beaches with pretty beach clubs and more of an untouched vibe in certain parts.

So we didn't spend as much time in Sarande, but from what I could tell, it is a really cute sea side town, with lots to do. If you do decide to stay in Sarande, you can always visit Ksamil as a day trip, or even with a boat tour as they are very close to each other.

Best things to do in Ksamil

Here are some of the best things to do in this little Albanian village by the sea:

Spend Your Day at One of the Many Beach Clubs in Ksamil

Ksamil has some of the most beautiful beaches in Albania and most of them belong to a beach club. This means that you can rent our beach beds and umbrellas provided by them in order to access the beach for the day. I highly recommend spending a day at one- just swimming, snorkelling and relaxing. Here are some of the best beach clubs in Ksamil for you to choose from:

Bora Bora Beach Club

Bora Bora Beach Club and restaurant is a great spot to relax and enjoy some beach time. With crystal clear waters and white sand, this little beach also is attached to a restaurant. During my visit to Ksamil, I had the seafood risotto here and it was so good. The price for renting two beach chairs and an umbrella for the day here is 30 Euros. If you're on a budget however, you can find cheaper deals at some of the other places mentioned below.

Poda Beach club

Another great beach club with clear waters and white sand is Poda Beach Club. Here you can find the famous beach swing (picture above), perfect for those Instagram pictures. I highly recommend visiting here at sunset for a drink at least, since you get a decent view of the setting sun, and you can get the perfect picture on the swing at sunset. You can also opt to rent out beach chairs and umbrellas if you plan on spending the entire day here. If you're just here for the evening, they may even let you use a beach bed for free for a few hours.

Foga beach club

This is a fun beach club, situated a little away from the first two mentioned above. This one seems to be inspired by Mexico and is definitely one of the most budget friendly beach bar I came across, with the rental prices starting at 8 euros a day for two beds and an umbrella. They also have some day parties here, like a schiuma party on certain days.

Orange Beach club

Another great beach bar and club is Orange. It is situated right by Bora Bora and is known for the fun day parties, the infinity pool and more. The club also has private gazebos and hammocks for rent, in addition to the regular beach chairs and umbrellas, so make sure to check out all your options.

Manta Ray Resort

This is one of my favourite options for those looking for a secluded area to just relax and unwind, away from the crowds. This resort has a small private beach area, accessible to the guests of the resort as well as others who would like to rent out umbrellas and beach chairs for the day. We paid 20 Euros for two beach chairs and an umbrella on the secluded private beach for the whole day. Highly recommend going early, since the spots there are limited.

Principotes Beach Ksamil

The Principotes Beach Ksamil is a high-end space for those looking for a more upscale experience. The restaurant by the beach is Tulum themed, so expect to be transported to another world. The prices for drinks here are definitely higher than the other beach bars in the area. So, keep this in mind before choosing where to spend the day.

Lori Beach

Lori beach is another family friendly option in Ksamil for those visiting with kids. It is away from the party area, so you can expect to find more affordable options for everything here.

Or Opt for a Free Beach in Ksamil

While Ksamil has a few free beaches, they are not highly recommended as most of them are not well maintained. You can however check out Plazh publik right by Lori Beach or Free Beach gypsy, as these are the only two free beaches I could find. Don't forget to take your own beach blankets and umbrellas as there are none for rent here.

If you would also like to access some of the other beaches for free, you can also just head to one of the bars above and go for a dip instead of renting out a chair and umbrella for the day.

Tour the Islands and Go Dolphin Spotting

In Ksamil, don’t miss the chance to explore the nearby islands and spot dolphins in the bay. Local tour operators offer various trips that cater to both adventures. Discover pristine beaches and lush landscapes as you island-hop, then head to the bay for thrilling dolphin sightings. Choose a tour that covers both for an unforgettable day blending nature and wildlife in one remarkable experience.

Watch Sunset from One of the View Points

In order to find the best sunset view in Ksamil, head to the sunset viewpoint here for a stunning view or visit Poda Beach club like we did for a gorgeous view of the setting sun from the beach. You can also opt to drive to St. George's Monastery for another great sunset view. It is situated between Ksamil and Saranda and is usually closed- so you won't be disturbing anyone.

Visit the Butrint National Park

On the other side of Ksamil lies the Butrint National Park, perfect for nature lovers. The are is filled with freshwater lakes, hilly landscapes, Roman ruins and other architectural treasures. Some of the Roman ruins found here have also been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here you can also visit parts of Lake Butrint, a part of which is a salt lagoon surrounded by marshlands and dense forests. You should also stop by The Mussel House restaurant for some delicious and fresh mussel dishes. Make sure to do your research before planning your day to visit the National Park so you don't miss out on the main attractions here.

Explore the Cave of Kreshmoi

Located an hour away from Ksamil is the Cave of Kreshmoi, one of the oldest inhabited caves in Europe. Archeologists believe it to be about 20,000 years old!

This ancient site offers a unique glimpse into prehistoric human life, with its well-preserved stalactites and stalagmites adding to the cave's mystical allure. Archeologists have uncovered numerous artifacts within the cave, including ancient tools, pottery, and remnants of early human settlements, providing invaluable insights into the lives of our ancestors. 

If you're a history buff, these caves should definitely be on your list of things to do in Ksamil.

Take a Day Trip from Ksamil

Sarandë

Getting There: Sarandë is just a 20-minute drive from Ksamil. The easiest way to get there is by car or taxi. Buses and minibuses are also available, offering frequent and affordable services.

Known For: Sarandë, often called the "Gateway to the Albanian Riviera," is renowned for its stunning seafront promenade, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. The town boasts a rich history, with influences from Greek, Roman, and Ottoman eras.

Best Thing to Do: Visit the ancient ruins of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site located just outside Sarandë. This archaeological park showcases well-preserved remnants of a Roman theater, Byzantine basilica, and Venetian tower, offering a captivating journey through history.

Corfu

Getting There: Corfu, a Greek island, is accessible via a 30-minute ferry ride from Sarandë. Ferries operate regularly, making it a convenient and quick day trip option.

Known For: Corfu is famed for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. The island's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a labyrinth of narrow, cobblestone streets lined with historic buildings and charming cafes.

Best Thing to Do: Explore the Old Fortress of Corfu. This impressive structure offers panoramic views of the island and the Ionian Sea. Wander through the ancient walls, visit the museum, and soak in the history and beauty of this iconic landmark.

Blue Eye (Syri i Kaltër)

Getting There: The Blue Eye is about a 30-minute drive from Ksamil. The best way to get there is by car or organised tour, as public transportation options are limited.

Known For: The Blue Eye is a mesmerising natural spring characterised by its deep blue colour and crystal-clear water. The spring is surrounded by lush greenery, creating a tranquil and picturesque setting.

Best Thing to Do: Take a refreshing dip in the icy waters of the Blue Eye. The experience is invigorating and offers a unique way to connect with nature. Additionally, you can hike the surrounding trails to enjoy different viewpoints and appreciate the area's natural beauty.

Gjirokastër

Getting There: Gjirokastër is about a 1.5-hour drive from Ksamil. Traveling by car is the most efficient option, though buses are also available for those preferring public transportation.

Known For: Gjirokastër, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known for its well-preserved Ottoman architecture and stone-built houses. The town's cobbled streets and historic ambiance make it a cultural gem in Albania.

Best Thing to Do: Visit Gjirokastër Castle, one of the largest castles in the Balkans. The castle offers stunning views of the Drina Valley and houses a museum with artifacts from Albania's history. Exploring the castle's towers, courtyards, and underground passages provides a fascinating insight into the region's past.

Enjoy Ksamil's Nightlife

If you're looking for a fun night out with your friends, Ksamil's clubs offer some fun options. Bianco Rooftop Bar is one of the most famous place here, with a live DJ each night. You can also opt to attend parties at the other beach clubs in the area including Orange Beach Club and Foga beach.

For those looking for a relaxing, quiet evening, you can also check out the rooftop at Veranda for the view with drinks. We had dinner here and the seafood risotto at the restaurant was the best I had during the entire trip.

Other Essential Information

Albanian Currency & Payment Options:

  • The official currency in Albania is the Albanian Lek (ALL).
  • Credit and debit cards are accepted in larger establishments, but many smaller businesses prefer cash.
  • It's advisable to carry cash, especially when traveling to more remote areas or small towns (like Ksamil).

Phone Networks and Data Services in Albania:

  • Most European mobile providers do not include Albania in their standard roaming plans.
  • During my time in Albania, I used GigSky, an eSIM provider to save time and find an affordable package for data service in Albania. GigSky offers specific mobile data packs for Albania, ensuring you stay connected throughout your trip without incurring high roaming charges. GigSky is a great option as they also have data plans for cruise ships and flights and is super easy to install. Subscribe for your Albania data pack here with GigSky.

Prices:

  • Albania is generally more affordable compared to many Western European countries.
  • Expect lower prices for food, accommodations, and transportation.
  • Budget travelers can find good deals on meals and lodging, especially in less touristy areas.

Safety:

  • Albania is considered safe for tourists, with low crime rates.
  • As with any destination, take standard precautions: keep your belongings secure, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid isolated areas at night.
  • Emergency services are available, but response times can vary, especially in rural areas.
  • For women venturing out at night, I wouldn't recommend walking alone as the local Albanian men can be seen parading by at night in their cars and catcalling after women. I personally didn't feel very safe, so I headed back post dinner on other evenings.

Transportation Options in Ksamil:

  • Buses and Minibuses: These are the most common and affordable means of transport. However, schedules can be irregular and routes might be confusing for first-time visitors.
  • Taxis and Car Rentals: Taxis are readily available in most cities, and renting a car offers the flexibility to explore at your own pace. Keep in mind that road conditions can vary, and driving may be challenging for those unfamiliar with the area.
  • Trains: Limited in scope and coverage, trains are not the most reliable option for travel within Albania. However, check Omio for the best options while planning your trip in Europe.
  • Booking with a Tour Agency: Boutique travel agencies like Original Travel provide options for structured itineraries as well as customised itinerary planning, ensuring you visit key attractions safely and efficiently. They handle all logistics, from transportation to accommodations, and can make your trip to countries like Albania a lot more comfortable for you.

Like this post? Save it for later!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *