Looking for Mediterranean sun and sand, but your budget doesn’t quite stretch to Capri or the Côte d’Azur? Simply head further east and you’ll find sun-drenched beaches untouched by modern development. Albania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, and as yet under explored by the tourist hordes. On its southern Ionian coast, steep grey mountains frame azure seas and golden sands.
Saranda – almost in touching distance of Corfu – is a handy entry point from Greece, from where you can aim for the beaches of Ksamil and nearby islands. Cheap seafood, warm seas and a smattering of isolated Greek ruins and Ottoman towns: the perfect recipe for a classic European sojourn.
Where to stay
Best for being on the beach: Vila E Bardhe
Best for great views of the harbour: Hotel Real Sarande
Daily budget: Basic €25, occasional treat €40
Drink: Bottle of red wine €6
Food: Qoftë (minced meat rissoles) €2, seafood €5
Hostel/budget hotel: €10/€30
Travel: Bus: Tirana–Saranda €8; train: Tirana–Shkodra €1.50
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