Butrint Overview

Butrint National Park, located in the southern part of Albania, near the city of Sarandë, is a site of immense historical and natural significance. Covering an area of approximately 94 square kilometers (about 36 square miles), the park was established in 2000 to protect the archaeological ruins of the ancient city of Butrint and its surrounding ecosystems. This area, rich in biodiversity and cultural heritage, has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its outstanding universal value, showcasing a remarkable blend of archaeology and nature.

The ancient city of Butrint, at the heart of the park, is a microcosm of Mediterranean history, spanning over 2,500 years. The site contains well-preserved ruins from various periods, including Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Venetian. Among its most notable features are the ancient theatre, the Roman baths, the grand basilica, and the iconic Lion Gate. These ruins provide a fascinating glimpse into the past civilizations that thrived in this area, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts.

Butrint National Park is not only celebrated for its archaeological treasures but also for its diverse ecosystems. The park encompasses wetlands, freshwater lakes, salt marshes, and woodlands, creating habitats for a wide variety of flora and fauna. It is part of the larger ecosystem of the Butrint Lagoon and the Straits of Corfu, supporting species such as sea turtles, dolphins, and a multitude of bird species, making it an important area for biodiversity conservation in the Mediterranean.

Visitors to Butrint National Park can explore the ancient ruins, enjoy the scenic beauty of the landscape, and observe wildlife in their natural habitats. The park offers guided tours, walking trails, and boat tours, providing an immersive experience that combines cultural exploration with the appreciation of nature.

Butrint National Park stands as a testament to Albania’s rich cultural history and natural beauty, inviting visitors to discover its archaeological wonders and pristine landscapes, where the echoes of the past meet the tranquility of nature.

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Park Map
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Butrint National Park Pictures

Butrint National Park Trails

Butrint Archaeological Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2.5 miles (4 km) loop, minimal elevation gain

Description: This trail takes visitors through the heart of the ancient city of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hikers can explore well-preserved ruins spanning Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Venetian periods, including a theatre, baths, and city walls.

The trail is well-marked and offers insight into the area’s rich history, with stunning views of the surrounding wetlands and the Vivari Channel.

Lake Butrint Circuit

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 4 miles (6.4 km) loop, 100 feet (30 meters)

Description: Circling the serene Lake Butrint, this trail offers hikers a peaceful walk through lush forests and wetlands, with opportunities to spot diverse birdlife.

The path provides picturesque views of the lake and ancient ruins, including the Lion Gate and the Acropolis, blending natural beauty with archaeological wonders.

Vivari Channel Coastal Walk

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3 miles (4.8 km) one way, minimal elevation gain

Description: Following the shoreline of the Vivari Channel, this leisurely trail connects the archaeological site of Butrint with the picturesque village of Ksamil.

Hikers can enjoy coastal views, observe local fishing techniques, and spot various waterfowl.

The trail ends at beautiful beaches near Ksamil, where the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea invite a refreshing swim.

Castle of Ali Pasha Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 1.5 miles (2.4 km) round trip, 150 feet (45 meters)

Description: This trail leads to the Castle of Ali Pasha, situated on a small island connected by a causeway to the mainland.

The hike offers scenic views of the Butrint lagoon and surrounding wetlands.

Inside the castle, visitors can explore the ruins and learn about the historical significance of Ali Pasha, a notable figure in the Ottoman Empire.

Ancient Walls and Forest Path

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2 miles (3.2 km) loop, 50 feet (15 meters)

Description: This trail winds through dense forests and along the ancient defensive walls of Butrint, providing a tranquil escape into nature.

Hikers can marvel at the impressive engineering of the walls and enjoy the lush, green surroundings.

The path is dotted with information panels explaining the site’s historical and ecological importance.

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