South of Albania remains a mystery for many travelers, but not for experienced travel expert Natalia, who spoke about the 10 most interesting places in this region especially for YouTravel.
This must-see list can be safely considered an exciting virtual tour. Go!
1. Lekoursi Castle
Lekoursi Castle is located on the top of a hill, which offers a panoramic view of the whole of Saranda, the endless Ionian Sea and the island of Corfu. The fortress was founded by the Illyrians in the 4th century BC, but in the 16th century Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent himself built a castle on its territory.
In summer, a huge number of tourists and locals come to the castle to dine with fantastic views and listen to Albanian music.
2. Antique Butrint
The ancient city of Butrint is part of the National Park of the same name and is included in the List of sites that are protected by UNESCO. Butrint is located 10 km from Saranda, and you can get there by city bus for only 1 euro. But for the entrance you will have to pay 8 euros per person.
But it's worth it, because the ruins of the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Venetian periods are perfectly preserved on the territory of the ancient city! At the entrance to the Park you will see a eucalyptus alley along which walked:
- Ali Pasha;
- Napoleon Bonaparte;
- Byron and other great personalities!< /li>
3. Mussel farm in Ksamil
Just 15 minutes drive from Saranda, on Butrint Lake, there is a great place to relax and have lunch! It is here on the lake that Albania's only mussel farm is located. The place is called Mussle House, the menu always has the freshest mussels, oysters, eel, as well as all kinds of seafood, salads, desserts, drinks. The cost of a serving of mussels – from 5 euros. You can also stay overnight in a cozy wooden house.
4. Beaches of Ksamil
Do you know that Albania has its own Maldives? And it's not a joke. Indeed, the beaches in the resort village of Ksamil are often called the Albanian Maldives or the Albanian Seychelles. White sandy beaches, seafood restaurants on the shore, everything is still fantastically beautiful, but much cheaper than in the Maldives!
At the height of the summer season, you will have to pay about 10 euros for a place in the sun for two people, in winter &ndash ; is free! By the way, the beaches of Ksamil are officially among the ten best beaches in Europe!
5. Source Blue Eye
Another amazing place that you just need to visit in the south of Albania. This is the Blue Eye source. The depth of the source is unknown, but it is known that the water in it is rich in useful minerals. According to local residents, the water from the source has not only healing, but also rejuvenating properties.
Want to make sure – bathe in the spring! Just remember that even on the hottest day, the water temperature does not rise above 10 degrees. You can get to the Blue Eye by public transport or by taxi, the entrance to the park is 1 euro per person.
6. Monastery of St. Nicholas
On the road to the Blue Eye, in a place called Mesopotamia, the white-stone monastery of St. Nicholas is comfortably located. The monastery was built in the 8th century on the ruins of an ancient temple. You can look at ancient bas-reliefs and murals that survived after the Turkish invasion by paying 1 euro for an entrance ticket.
7. Tekke Bektashi
One of the most unusual places with a beautiful observation deck and sea views of Saranda and Ksamil. Tekke – This is a monastery of the Bektashi religious order. Representatives of this once very famous order today remain only in Albania and North Macedonia.
On the territory of the monastery there is a place for rest, a prayer house and even a hotel for pilgrims and those who just want to relax in a quiet and peaceful environment. Admission is free.
8. Ancient Illyrian fortress
Having moved from Saranda through the picturesque Muzina Pass, you will find yourself in one of the most beautiful cities in Albania – in Gjirokastra, which bears the honorary title of a city-museum. The pearl of the city is the fortress founded by the Illyrian tribes back in the 4th century BC
You need to go up to the fortress in order to enjoy panoramic views of the city and the Delvinsky Plain, walk around the vast territory of the fortress and see the American spy plane – one of the main exhibits of the museum of artillery weapons, which is also located in the fortress. You will have to pay 3 euros to enter the fortress, and about 2 euros more to enter the museum of the history of Gjirokastra.
9. Enver Hoxha's house and underground bunker
Girokastra – this is the birthplace of the Albanian dictator, and in the house where he was born, today there is an ethnographic museum, which 100% deserves your attention! Entrance to the museum costs 2 euros.
And of course, the main silent witness of the Enver regime – bunker, which is located under the fortress of Gjirokastra! One of 700 thousand… The tour of the bunker is accompanied by a local guide who knows all the secret labyrinths of the Hodge structure.
10. Valley of waterfalls Borsch
Few people know that Albania has its own Borsch! Only this is not a vegetable soup, but an incredibly beautiful place on the southern Riviera. It is here that you can see the most beautiful waterfalls, drink delicious freshly brewed coffee or try lamb on a spit to the sound of water falling from the mountains!
You can come to Borsh on your own or take part in a jeep safari tour from Saranda. Tour cost – from 60 euros per person.
See you in Albania!