Just south of Saranda you’ll find Ksamil Beach and what turns into the place to be during the summer months in Albania. Locals and tourists alike travel from all over to spend their days soaking in the sun and swimming in the clear Ionian Sea. We’d heard Albania was full of amazing beaches so we figured why not start with the most popular? Instead of going on a day trip from Saranda as many others do, we spent two nights in Ksamil and loved every moment. Join us as we break down getting to the Ksamil beaches and islands, what to know before you go, and everything that makes this place so unique!
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The Many Small Beaches of Ksamil Albania
What makes Ksamil different from any other beach town in Albania is that it isn’t just one long sandy beach. Instead, it’s made up of dozens of small coves that wrap around the jagged landscape. Every cove is taken over by a restaurant or bar that lays claim to the many beach chairs and paddle boats.
What jumped out to us immediately were the handful of beach bars that built large docks hanging over the ocean. We watched in awe as sun bathers stepped right off the dock from lounge chairs and dived into the chilled waters. The sand is soft and white in Ksamil, and the ocean is clear as glass! This is a nice change from the rest of the Albanian Riviera, as most other beaches along the coastline are somewhat rocky.
The Ksamil Albania Islands
If you look out into the bay there are three large islands just off the coast. Two of the Ksamil Islands are so close that you can swim right out to them. However, most people rent a kayak or one of the many little pontoon boats that are painted to look like race cars.
We later found out the Ksamil Islands were off-limits during Albania’s Communist years except for the occasional private hunting trips for high-ranking officials. It looks like they’re making much better use out of them now!
Ready for a dose of wanderlust that will make you want to drop everything and go to Ksamil? These photos are just a taste of the many stunning coves that make up these beautiful beaches!
Small Fishing Village to Summer Ksamil Beach Mecca
In the first week of June, the town was still opening up and preparing for the busy summer season. Buildings were being repainted, furniture was on its way into new hotels, and ocean docks were being reinforced. Before visiting we were wondering why many of the hotels online didn’t have reviews, and now we know it’s because a lot of them are brand new!
Even though it was a little windy, we couldn’t believe that we had the Ksamil beaches all to ourselves. We sat on the beach with a craft of wine watching the sunset behind the small islands, and we felt completely alone and in heaven.
When to Go to Ksamil Albania
Now just so you’re aware many locals say that the only time to visit is just before the summer season or right after. This beach paradise apparently turns into a storm of people each fighting for a small slice of sand. With each year bringing more and more travelers, you should try to dodge the months of July and August in Ksamil Albania if possible.
10 Quick Tips For the Ksamil Beaches
Arriving by Bus: There is a bus every hour from Saranda to Ksamil leaving both towns on the 1/2 hour and ending its route at Butrint National Park.
ATM’s: There are only 3 ATM’s in town, but make sure to use the one at the main bank. The others charge a hefty 700 Lek Fee.
Day Trip vs. Overnight: Many travelers only take a day trip to Ksamil beach, but you should try to spend at least one night in town.
Avoid August: We were told by our hotel owner to never come in August because it’s too busy and crazy. You’ve been warned!
Beach Chairs: In the off-season chairs are free with a drink or meal. Yet in the summer they can run up to 1,000 Lek per day.
Grocery Store: Supermarket Gjordeni is the largest in town and has the best selection of fruits and veggies.
Sunset Views: Make sure not to miss the sunset over the Ksamil Islands. Any beach bar or restaurant facing the islands will do!
Hidden Ksamil Beaches: If you venture away from town you’ll be able to find small coves for a more relaxed beach day. This is a good way to escape the crowds of the summer months.
Rent a Kayak: Almost all parts of the beach will have kayak and boat rentals available. Definitely take one out and circle the Ksamil Islands!
Explore Nearby Butrint National Park: Just 3 km down the road is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint. It plays host to some of the most important history in Albania and all of the Mediterranean.
Where to Eat, Drink, and Chill at Ksamil Beach
The Corner: This bar is set right at the corner of the main Ksamil beach area, and is one of the best local places in town.
Bianco Lounge Bar: Swanky bar overlooking the Ksamil Islands. Great spot for a sunset drink.
Guvart Bar Restaurant: Beautiful balcony above the Ksamil beaches and features an ocean dock below. Upscale seafood and drinks.
ABIORI Beach Bar Restaurant: Delicious local and Mediterranean food. Also has wood-fired pizza with a great view.
Island Restaurant and Pizza: Amazing moussaka and mussels from Lake Butrint overlooking the ocean.
Fast Food Beshiku: Good spot for a quick snack or gyro near the beach.
Supermarket Gjordeni: The biggest supermarket in Ksamil where you can find drinks, snacks, and fresh fruit.
Should You Visit Ksamil Beach in Albania?
100% yes! Our wonderful two nights at the Ksamil beaches gave us all the fun in the sun we needed while still allowing us time to visit nearby sites like Butrint National Park. Whether you’re making a day trip or spending longer in Ksamil Albania, you’re guaranteed to have a relaxing time at the beach!
Have any questions about Ksamil beach or want to share your own experience in this beautiful town? Please let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Ksamil Albania
Ultra Luxury – Hotel Luxury – While there aren’t a ton of resort options yet in Ksamil, you can’t go wrong with a stay at Hotel Luxury! Located just 150 m from Paradise beach, this will be a great option no matter what time of year it is.
Fun Vacation – Hotel Mira Mare – Small but beautiful boutique hotel with amazing views of the Ksamil islands. Easy walk from beach, the town, and all the great seafood restaurants.
Travel Couple – VISI Apartments – Our home in Ksamil beach! VISI is right in the main town and just a 5 minute walk to the Ksamil beaches. Nice and affordable place to stay.
For more places to stay in Ksamil you can explore the latest prices here!
Albania Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic road trip!
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can book a private hike through the Gamti Mountain, jump on a Tirana Walking Tour, or day trip to the beautiful village of Berat Albania.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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