Butrint Travel Guide

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  • Butrint
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Butrint Things to Do

  • VISIT THE WORLD HERITAGE SITE

    Butrint is a UNESCO world heritage site in Albania, 20 KM from Saranda. Butrint was originally a sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. People would visit the sanctuary to be healed. The area was built into a complex by the Greeks with a Temple, a Theatre and a hostel for the pilgrims that were coming to be healed. Everything...

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  • Lake Butrint

    Lies in the south of Albania between Sarande and Butrint Archaeological site,it is in fact a Lagoon.It overlooks the Ionian sea and is quite large in size.The locals catch many muscels here and they are sent to Sarande and other nearby towns for the restuarants,they are a dark yellow colour and very tasty.

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  • Butrint Achaeological site

    Increasingly becoming a popular tourist destination attracting day trippers from Corfu,the ferry takes about 90 minutes.There is a regular bus service between Sarande and Butrint. Butrint is a UNESCO world heritage site,this ancient Greek city lies 14 km south of Sarande close to the Greek border.It was known in antiquity as Bouthrotios in Ancient...

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  • ROMAN THEATRE

    The theatre at Butrint was built in the 3rd century BC. The stone seats would have held 2,500 people. Although partially ruined due to an earthquake in the 4th century concerts are still held here.

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  • Butrint seen from Corfu

    On this photo, taken from Corfu, the Vrine plain is on the right. On the left, the entrance into the mouth of the Vivari canal. In the background (second level), the hill should be the hill of Butrint.The second photo is a close up on Butrint’s hill.

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  • Venetian triangular fort

    I have decribed under Konispol the first part of our travel from Greece (Igoumenitsa and Sagiada) to Butrint via Konispol. When we arrived close to Butrint, the triangular Venetian fort is the first part of Butrint that can be seen. Together with the old settlement of Butrint, the Venetian fort locks the Vivary channel, an important waterway...

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  • Butrint, Vrine plain and mouth of the...

    These four photos show different aspects of the Vrine plain and the mouth of the Vivari canal. They show well how marshy is this part of the land, with gullies that try to drain the land. In the far background, the island of Corfu with mount Pantokrator.The second photo was taken in 1988 and the third in 2007, almost from the same place. Nothing...

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  • Butrint, 1988 mussel nurseries

    These photos were taken in 1988 and show mussel nurseries. In 2007, there did not seem to be any mussel nor fish nurseries anywhere in the area. The first photo shows in the middle an enclosure with half a dozen small rowing boats. They seem to be securely locked in the enclosure. Corfu is so close that people might have been tempted to go away if...

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  • Butrint, the Vrine plain

    The first photo shows in the foreground, just underneath, the bathhouse and the theater (only the back stage can be seen)In the background lies the Vrine plain, with in the middle the road that we used to arrive on the site. A little on the right, stands the triangular fort and in the far right, almost hidden, the ferry. The second photo is a...

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  • Butrint, the museum

    The first photo is a bird’s eye view of the patio inside the museum, taken from the terrace of the Venetian castle. The show is mostly inside the building with many objects that were unearthed either in Butrint or in the neighborhood. Photos are not allowed inside the museum.The second photo shows an amazing statue standing in the middle of the...

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  • Butrint, the Venetian fortress

    TheVenetian fortresss was built in the XIVth by the Venetians on top of the hill, on the western end of the wide flat space where stood in the past the acropolis. It was turned in the 1930 by the Italians into a home for the archeologists that worked on the site, with a little museum. In 1997, the museum was looted and remained close for some...

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  • Path leading to the Venetian fortress

    There are several paths that lead to the Venetian fortress, on top of the site. This one is shade by various trees and lead to a closed entrance. It is a bit strange as you can hear the people inside but you cannot see them and you cannot come in. You have to turn left and follow the fortress’s wall until you find the actual entrance.

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  • Butrint, half circle wall

    After the lion’s gate, the path goes to the top of the fortress, where was during the Roman period the acropolis. Right to the path, an amazing wall stands with a half circle shape. A bench stands at the foot of the wall. What was it? I have not found any information. May be a part of a Byzantine church. Anybody knows the answer?

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  • Butrint, inside the Lion gate

    Just as for the lichen’s gate, once you have passed the gate, you are not really inside the fortress. There is also a staircase, with three flights. If you a re not welcome, do not even think about walking in! You would be killed or at least made prisoner before you could do anything!

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  • Butrint, the Lion gate

    The path follows the wall for another 100 or 150 m and leads to the famous lion gate of Butrint that rivals Mycenae's. A finely carved stone lintel shows the scene. At first, it seems amazing to see a lion with horns! A closer look reveals that the head of the lion, in the foreground, is not very sharply drawn and is not clearly distinguished from...

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  • Butrint, Porta e liqenit, lichen’s gate

    After the Byzantine basilica, the shaded path leads after 100 meters to a part of the outer wall that was built with huge stones, tightly arranged, s can be seen on the first photo. The size and strength of the Illyrian masonry is comparable in the impression created at the great Mycenaean sites of Greece, such as Tiryns and Mycenae.The second...

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  • Butrint, the Byzantine basilica, the...

    The Byzantine basilica had two levels covered by a roof. Holes in the walls, two third of the heights, were designed to hold the logs that sustained the second level. Both the ground level and the first level have numerous vaulted openings (7 or 8), which is rather unusual: most churches have vaulted openings between the central nave and the aisles...

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  • Butrint, the Byzantine basilica, the...

    The Byzantine basilica has a narrow central nave, shown here, and two side aisles which are about the same width than the nave. The soil is paved with large polished slabs of stone but it is said that it had first a soil made of mosaics that were in the Middle Ages recovered with stones and that in some parts remains of mosaics could be seen. I...

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  • Butrint, the Byzantine basilica

    The Byzantine basilica is an impressive building that has kept most of its master walls. It has been built beginning during the Roman period, in the IVth century. The transept and apse were built later, in the VIth century.The second photo shows well the arrangement of bricks and stones, typical of the Byzantine way of building. One can see the 4...

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  • Butrint, the Nymphaion

    The Nymphaion was built in the 2nd century BC. It was a public fountain dedicated to the nymphs, that were the goddess of water. A statue of a nymph was standing in each of the three recesses. Two of them were found when the site was first dug out. They are now on display in Tirana.The second photo shows that the Nymphaion (on the left) was...

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  • Butrint, remains of the aqueduct.

    Butrint was a large city and the bathhouses that had been built required a lot of water. Fresh water was brought by an aqueduct that collected water from several springs around Vrine, 6 km away. The aqueduct crossed the Vivari channel. The photo shows one arch of the aqueduct.

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Butrint Nightlife

  • Another raki?

    Katrina's bar, just off the main 'street' of Ksamili is a little bar that I seem to remember being attached to someone's home. Plenty of beer and raki on offer, and I think that snacks might be available too.

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  • A relaxing friendly drink (or three)

    Tani's, in Ksamili, is a bar, a shop and a guest house all rolled into one. The family are lovely, and Tani and his brother both speak English very well. Have your morning coffee (in a tiny cup and terrifyingly strong) here, watching the older men drink theirs while playing chess; and then come back in the evening for a few drinks - local or...

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  • Butrint Hotels

    0 Hotels in Butrint

Butrint Transportation

  • How to get there

    You can reach Butrint from Saranda. The 14 km road is very narrow, mostly single lane and in some places carved in steep slopes and it overhangs the lake Butrint. The road was built in 1959 for a visit by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and it hasn’t been touched again since though the traffic has increased dramatically with the increasing...

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  • Where is Butrint/Buthrotum ?

    Butrint is in the southern most tip of Albania. It is a few kilometres away from the Greek border, on the other side of the river Pavllo. A custom office has only been opened between Sagiada (Greece) and Konispol (Albania) in 2005. I have given the report of our travl on this road on my Konispol page.

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  • Getting to Butrint from Saranda

    There is a bus that runs between Saranda and the villages past Butrint, but it's a pretty rickety old thing, and I never used it so can't comment. Your best bet is probably to find a taxi, but you'll find yourself a cheaper one if you leave the port and walk into Saranda town or to the main road on the far side of the bay of Saranda* (15 minutes)....

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Butrint Local Customs

  • illumina's Profile Photo

    by illumina Written Apr 7, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At Diaporit, there's not only the Roman villa, but another house too, in a similar state of disrepair to the ancient ruins. It is a modern villa begun illegally by a Greek investor, halted in mid-construction. There are numerous buildings like this in the area.

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Butrint Off The Beaten Path

  • Grecian fox glove

    While following the paths in Butrint, we found several times this beautiful 0.80-1.20 m plant in shaded situations. At first, I was unable to identify it though I should have known it! Once at home, I have identified it as Digitalis lanata. Digitalis lanata (Grecian fox glove), growing in eastern Europe and Digitalis purpurea (fox glove), growing...

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  • Blind worm

    Anguis fragilis is not a snake but a legless lizard named in English blind worm or slow worm. The English names are not well chosen as it is neither a worm nor is it blind nor is it that slow! It is completely harmless and in most European countries, it is a protected species. I do not know about Albania.

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  • Ophrys aranifera

    This plant is an orchid named Ophrys aranifera or Spider orchis. This beautiful and rare orchid has flowers that look like spiders, hence its name. Albania has a rich flora and in 1988, the goal of our travel was the Albanian flora and fauna.

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Butrint Favorites

  • Mussel Farm

    As you pass Lake Butrinti by road, or cross it by boat, you'll probably see some rather strange structures in the lake. These are mussel beds, where the molluscs are farmed. They are quite often used as perches by cormorants.

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  • Wildlife 2

    Other things to keep your eye out for are tortoises! When I was working within the castle at Butrint we found a tiny baby tortoise, just big enough to fit in the palm of my hand - sadly I didn't get a photo of him, but this picture shows the same type of tortoise (subspecies Testudo Hermanni Boettgeri). We also found a dead adult tortoise by the...

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  • Wildlife 1

    Keep an eye out when you're walking around the ruins of Butrint: watch the water that fills the amphitheatre and several other buildings and you may catch a glimpse of the turtles that inhabit it!Just before I took this photo, there had been several sitting in a row along the ledge, catching the sun, but just as I pressed the button, all but one...

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Explore Deeper into Butrint
View on the Butrint lake
Things to Do
Butrint, VIth century mosaic of the Baptistery
Things to Do
Butrint, IVth century mosaic of the Baptistery
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Butrint, the baptistery
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Butrint, the tri-conch palace
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Butrint, the stoa
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Butrint 2007, the seven turtles!
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Butrint, Altar for Dionysos
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Butrint, footbridges, 1988
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Dry-shod passage !
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1988, the theater
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1988, Tirana University students at Butrint
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Butrint, the benches of the theatre
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The Temple of Asklepios
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The bath house
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General view of the site.
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Aerial drawing of the site
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Entrance into the site in 2007
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Not a raft but a ferry!
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No bridge !
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Venetian triangular fort from Butrint
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Venetian Castle
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Lion Gate & City Walls
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Great Basilica
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Baptistery
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Stoa
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Theater
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Blue Eye Spring
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Butrint City - Archaeology
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Baptistery 2: Mosaics
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Scaean Gate
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Acropolis
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Cemetery area
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Lion Gate
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Hellenistic Building
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City Walls 2
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City Walls
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Basilica 2
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Basilica
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Aqueduct and Cisterns
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Map of Butrint

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