Staring straight at the Greek island of Corfu, and even within day-trip territory, sunny Saranda is perhaps Albania’s most appealing entry-point. A recent building boom has eroded some of the town’s original genteel atmosphere, but it’s still a great place to kick back, stroll along the promenade and watch the sun set over cocktails. There are beaches in town, but better are those near the village of Ksamili, which lies next to the archeological treasure-trove of Butrinti.
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Splendidly sited on an exposed nub of land, the isolated ruins of Butrinti offer a peek into over 2500 years of history, and are a delight to explore on its eucalyptus-lined trails. The area was first developed by the Greeks in the fourth century BC, and the expansive theatre and nearby public baths were built soon after. Butrinti then reached its zenith during Roman times – Julius Caesar stopped by in 44 BC – though most of the statues unearthed from this period are now in the museums of Tirana. You can see most of Butrinti’s sights on a looped footpath, though do head up to the Acropolis for wonderful views.