Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Slochteren, Netherlands.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Papenburg, Germany.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

More exploring around Saranda, Albania

It was yet another dull grey day on Saturday, but with no wind to speak of, and a pleasant high of about 18C (65F). But it never did rain, at least not until late evening and by that point it didn't matter.

We set off towards the Greek border with intention of eventually making our way to the Butrint National Park  and the ancient city of Butrint which is a Unesco World Heritage site.

But when we got there, we didn't go in!

There were a few stops we wanted to make along the way. The first one was the St. George Monastery.

You park on the main road beside the lake and then walk up a steep hill. The road is not suitable for vehicle access, although a 4 wheel drive would make it. But it's only a 10 minute walk up.

Ruth, beside the lake.

There was some kind of ruins as we made our way up the hill, but nothing to indicate what it was.

Lots of nice views from the top.

Arriving at Saint George Monastery.

Entrance door locked.

Everything was locked up and there was nobody around. Shame, because the 14th century church inside was what we had come there to see. Oh well.

Very strange to see a run down basketball court up here!

Church bells. Too bad we couldn't see the church!

We carried on to the tourist beach town of Ksamil. During the summer this town is packed with people enjoying the sandy beaches and the beautifully colored water. But at this time of year, on a dull day, there was hardly anybody around except for maintenance and construction people getting the many beachfront restaurants ready for the summer season.

This sea cave was way off in the distance. 
Look at the rock formations... very cool!

Ruth, on one of the many small sandy beaches at Ksamil.

We can see the attraction.
This would be a beautiful spot on a hot sunny day.

Mom with her family.

This is where we sat and had our lunch.

Just a church.

We carried on towards the park where there is a viewpoint and parking area. We left the car there and walked down closer to the Castle of Ali Pasha which is located on an island. There is no access to it at this time of year.

It was about a half hour walk down.

Can you see the castle on the island?
Let me zoom in for you...

Castle of Ali Pasha.

Built in the 15th century, the fortress castle is named after Ali Pasha of Tepelenë who resided there until 1820.

Scenery along the way.

We finally made it to the Butrint ruins site located where the highway stops and there is an old cable ferry to take you across the channel. The actual border crossing to Greece is located about 16 kms (10 miles) from here.

Car on the old ferry.

We were about to enter the ruins site when we saw the entrance fee. Many Albanian cultural sites have a small admission fee. The most we have paid so far is maybe 300 lek ($3.65 CAD, $3.00 USD).

But this place wanted 1,000 lek ($12 CAD, $9.75 USD) which we thought was a little steep by Albanian standards.

As we were pondering whether or not to go in, I noticed this sign...

April 18th is International Day of Monuments and Sites.
With free entrance!

I had to check the calendar on the phone to see what day it was. It was the 17th. That meant that Sunday it would be free! So we are heading back there this morning to take advantage of the free entrance.

Across the channel is another fortification.

A couple more vehicles on the old ferry.

And this morning, the clouds have mostly moved on and the sun is shining! 

Geek Chef Air Fryer Toaster Oven. Take 30% off at checkout using coupon code 305BI879

And in Canada...


  1. You are finding a lot of locked doors. Do you think most would be open in the summer?

    1. Yes, it seems that we are! Some are possibly opened in the summer when there are more visitors around and some just look like they have been closed for a very long time.

  2. That was a nice spot for lunch. The color of the water is beautiful.

    1. It was a nice spot! We love the color of the water all along the coast, there are so many different shades of blue here. :-)

  3. There have been many places locked up all due to Covid.
    Beautiful Scenery.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Nope, they are not closed due to COVID! Some of the doors we have come up to have been locked up for a very long time. I have tried researching some, and found that some of the churches in the castle walls have been closed since before 2015. We aren't sure why. Some might be to preserve the frescoes inside and are only open to specialists doing research and such. It is also possible that some doors are locked during the winter season and will open in the summertime when there are more people around and it is worth it to pay for someone to man the premises.

      Yes, the scenery in the area is beautiful. It would look even better with blue skies and sunshine. :-)

  4. The cave is cool but it's kind of spooky. Are you thinking of going to Greece?

    1. We love caves like that! :-)

      Eventually we will go to Greece but not now. Greece is part of the Schengen Visa countries so we don't want to use up any of that time, just in case we can get to our motorhome sooner that expected. Plus at the moment entry into Greece for is essential reasons only, so even if we wanted too we couldn't.


We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...