Visiting Butrint, Albania: One of Albania’s Best UNESCO Sites

Last Updated on July 3, 2023

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Butrint National Park is an important UNESCO site in Albania which is also incredibly popular. It’s one of the biggest and best places to see while visiting Albania.

If you’re staying in the nearby city of Saranda, or maybe even closer in Ksamil (the gem of the Albanian Riviera), then you simply cannot leave without making a stop here!

Visiting Butrint National Park, aerial shot of Butrint National Park with ruins and ancient buildings nestled amongst trees and green areas all surrounded by clear blue water

I would allow around 3 hours to visit Butrint. I have easily spent at least the whole morning or afternoon there as there’s just so much to see!

So come on down, pick up some Butrint National Park tickets and discover everything that this extraordinary site has to offer!

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Visiting Butrint National Park: One of Albania’s Best UNESCO Sites

Butrint is an ancient city which was inhabited as early as prehistoric times. This city was an important site with ancient artefacts found dating back to the iron and middle ages.

Today the former Butrint ancient city is a popular national park in Albania. You can see some artefacts from the Butrint archaeological park in the museum which is located within the castle.

Within Butrint National Park you will see very well-preserved ancient buildings, such as the Butrint theatre which seats over 2500 people. It is still used today from time to time for events.

There’s also the Temple of Asclepius as well as an Acropolis, columns, a beautiful floor mosaic (includes medallions of 69 churches), a 6th-century basilica, Lions gate and even a Castle.

These Butrint ruins will provide you with an incredible view of Lake Butrint, Butrint beach and the surroundings.

You will see when wandering around Butrint National.Park that some of the buildings are still deep underground.

You need to worry about what to do in Butrint a there’s still a lot to be discovered within the Butrint Park! Be sure to as for a Butrint map when you arrive to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Did you know: Some locals believe that Butrint was actually the sunken city of Atlantis?

Discover Butrint, Albania: One of Albania’s Best UNESCO Sites, view out across Butrint including beach and field areas with river flowing towards open water with mountains in the distance under a cloudy sky

How to Get to Butrint National Park

By Car: Getting to Butrinti is incredibly easy. If you have a car then you can drive here, there’s a big parking lot next to Butrint. You just follow the road that goes from Saranda to Ksamil.

When you pass Ksamil, just keep driving until the road ends – that’s Butrint! The ride takes about 20-30 minutes.

By bus: There’s a bus from Saranda to Butrint which leaves from Saranda every hour (and goes through Ksamil too). Saranda to Butrint bus tickets on the bus cost 100 lek each from Saranda and will take you to the door of Butrint National Park.

From Saranda, the bus leaves from the small roundabout near the old fruit and vegetable market, or you can also catch it from the centre at the bus stop that’s opposite the ruins and friendship park.

By taxi: There will be taxi drivers that can take you to Butrint easily. The Butrint price for taxis is around 10 euros each way (about 1300 LEK).

See Butrint and other Albania UNESCO sites, top down view of circular ruined building with central pillar base surrounded by smaller pillars

Top Tips for Visiting Butrint National Park

  • Go early! In the summer temperatures can easily reach late 30’s/40 degrees Celsius. My recommendation is to go early. Even though the Butrint archaeological park is mostly covered in a dense forest it’s still ideal to get in early to beat the crowds too. From April-September cruise ships dock in Saranda and the cruise ship passengers come here by the busload.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. As you might expect from a national park, Butrint is quite big. Most likely you will spend at least a couple of hours walking around, so comfortable shoes are a great help. You don’t want to miss out on what to do in Butrint because of ill-fitting shoes.
  • Take water and snacks with you. There’s a restaurant at the top of the park but I always recommend taking something with you to keep you going, particularly water!
  • Go even further and take a picnic with you! There’s plenty of places to stop throughout the park to have a little picnic and enjoy the scenery.
  • Time your visit so you can see the mosaic of Butrint revealed! Only a few days every year the mosaic which lies within Butrint is uncovered for the public to see. The rest of the year it is covered up with stones to preserve it. To see this incredible piece of history, make sure you check the Butrint site for details on when they will be uncovering it.

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Explore the national park Butrint, aerial view of theatre and castle ruins surrounded by many green trees leading up to the water's edge

Cost of Butrint National Park

To get into Butrint archaeological park you can buy tickets at the counter. There is no need to buy tickets online.

The Butrint National Park price for tickets is very reasonable. Depending on the number of people in your group, you can even get a discount on your Butrint entrance fee!

  • Butrint National Park entrance fee for international visitors: 1000 LEK
  • Butrint ticket price for Groups of 10 or more: 800 LEK

Opening Hours of Butrint National Park

The Butrint National Park opening hours are every day from 8am until dusk.

The museum is open at slightly different times to the national park of Butrint opening hours; it is open from 9am – 4pm instead.

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Visit Butrint park in historic Albania, flooded ruins of Butrint castle with low walls surrounded by trees under a cloudy sky

Other Things To Do Nearby

1. Take the Rope Ferry

I highly recommend taking the Butrint ferry over the lake to see the other old ruins.

The rope ferry is a unique sight itself. The old platform allows locals to get to the other side of Butrint lake. If you don’t take a ride to the other side, then make sure you watch how they do it!

2. Visit Ali Pasha’s Fortress

On your way to Ksamil from Butrint archeological park, there is a parking lot with a platform where you can see the fortress. It is completely surrounded by water.

From June until September there will be local fisherman offering rides to the Fortress. (Read more about how to get to it here).

3. Ksamil

If you haven’t already then be sure to visit Ksamil. It’s the most beautiful place along the Albanian Riviera, famous for its sandy beaches and turquoise clear water.

The distance from Ksamil to Butrint National Park is only 4 kilometers, so you can even get there on foot!

Where to Stay in Butrint

Luxury: You can opt to stay in Ksamil at Hotel luxury. If you prefer to stay in Saranda, then stay at The White Residence or Demi Hotel.

Midrange: For a mid-range hotel in Saranda try Olive tree, prices are around 35 euros per night.

Airbnb: There’s so many great Airbnb’s that are in Ksamil and Saranda. Make sure you click here to get $35 free credit when you sign up.

Backpacker: Although there are no hostels in Ksamil there are in Saranda. My recommendation is Hairy Lemon hostel, it has the best view out of all the hostels!

Camping: There are lots of camping spots and parks in Ksamil which is nearby Butrint.

📚 P.S. Grab access to my Travelling Albania Guide on Amazon to get a comprehensive insight into the best places to visit in Albania (including secret spots that are not recommended in the usual guides!)

If you would like to know more about what to see and do in this area, then make sure you read my recommendations on the best things to do in Ksamil or my full Saranda guide here.

Leave a comment below and tell me if you are planning to visit Butrint this year! Don’t forget to join my Facebook group ‘Travelling Albania’ to join the conversation.

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ Is Butrint worth visiting?

Yes! There’s a huge amount of ancient history and different historical ruins to be found at Butrint National Park and at other Albania UNESCO sites as well!

✅ What is Butrint known for?

Butrint National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with ancient ruins of great archaeological significance dating back to the Bronze Age.

✅ How long do you need in Butrint?

That depends on your pace and love of history! I would say on average that 3 hours is a good amount of time to spend in Butrint National Park.

✅ How old is Butrint?

The national park of Butrint dates back to prehistoric times with some evidence dating as far back as 50,ooo years ago. However, most of the ruins in Butrinti date back to around 2500 years old.

✅ Where is Butrint located?

The Butrint National Park is located in Vlorë County in Southern Albanian along the Albanian Riviera. It is around 14 kilometres south of the city of Saranda and close to the Greek border.

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Pin with two images, top image of aerial shot of Butrint National Park with ruins and ancient buildings nestled amongst trees and green areas all surrounded by clear blue water, bottom image of building ruins in a heavily forested area with water and mountains in the distance, text between images reads: one of Albania's best UNESCO sites - Butrint, Albania

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