The boat flies through the waves, leaving the port behind. At its helm stands Beni, a man in his 50s who returned to Albania a couple of years earlier following a period of emigration in Greece. He seems to have jumped out of an adventure novel with his longish white hair and dark skin, tanned from the Mediterranean sun. “This time, the direction of the waves is not in our favor, but it will be when we return. You will enjoy it so much more,” he tells us as Saranda’s buildings grow increasingly smaller and paler.
Cape of Qefali
It does not take long for us to arrive at our first destination. At the Cape of Qefali, we find ourselves facing a beautiful rock, marked by hundreds of horizontal lines which seem to have been sculpted there years ago by an old master. The rocks emerge from the bright turquoise waters. As you may be able to tell, here diving becomes an absolute must!
Cape of Qefali, Saranda
Leaving the cape would be more painful if we were to never return. Thankfully, on our way back, we will once more greet this stunning place, which gave us the rare gift of unenhanced beauty. What is especially satisfying here is that, in the face of such wild and natural wonders, the virtual tricks of the 21st century are rendered powerless.
The boat continues on its journey with the next stop at Kakome Beach, its vibrant blue waters easily recognizable form a distance. The boat lowers its anchor as we prepare a few necessary things for our stay at the nearly deserted beach. Upon seeing it, we realize this beach is more than deserving of its position as one of the most stunning beaches in the entire country. The bay is 300-400 meters wide and its slopes are covered by a wild and growing greenery.
In Kakome, we lose track of time as it often happens in these kinds of places, ones where time is eternal rather momentary. Here, you simply exist, among the sun, waves, greenery, taking it all in from a distance, at first, and then returning to the shore if only to make sure it has not been a dream.
The return to the boat requires all the will in the world as leaving Kakome is not easy! On the way back, we can also see Krorëz Bay, which is located right next to Kakome. The latter offers a nearly identical experience to that of Kakome, with the only addition being a café where one can have a drink if one so wishes.
As promised, on our way to Ksamil, the waves are on our side. The light breeze alleviates any discomfort coming from heat. In Rrojdhe, where sailors stop for shelter and the sea grows slightly more intimidating, the underwater vegetation is so dense that the sea gains another added layer of depth and intensity of color. Beware that there are many sea urchins on the sea rocks and, if you are not careful, you can spend the entire way back removing tiny spikes from your feet.
Rrojdhe e Vogël (Small), Saranda
The last stop is the one and only Ksamil village, easily reachable by car. Once there, the reason its islands are featured on the cover of most Albanian touristic brochures, will reveal itself. The unbelievable clarity of the sea and its perfect isolation from the rest of the coast makes it truly breathtaking. It is indeed the right, if not the only, conclusion to an amazing boat trip!
The Twin Islands of Ksamil, Saranda, photo by Intoalbania
Arranging your Tour
Boat tours from Saranda are available daily. Boats depart from the Port of Liman. Please make sure to make the reservation one day in advance. Please note that stops and length of tour can be arranged according to the passengers’ wishes.