The Channel of Corfu, which separates the island of Corfu from Albania, is just 2km wide at its narrowest point. Such proximity makes it eminently feasible for anyone staying on Corfu to visit a few of southern Albania's many artistic, archaeological and natural wonders. Here's a Think Experiences for any Thinking Travellers wishing to do just that.
Butrint National Park and Archaeological Site
- Departing at 09:00 from Corfu New Port you'll travel to Saranda in Albania by hydrofoil, which will take approximately one hour. You'll need your passport.
- On arrival at the Port of Saranda, you'll be met by your expert guide who will help with clearance formalities.
- Private transfer to the park
- Your expert guide will take you walking through part of the park and explain the secrets of this most remarkable site (stopping for lunch at a nearby restaurant in the park on the way)
- Transfer back to the port for your return trip to Corfu Town, which departs at 17:00.
A little (historical) background
Directly across the water from northern Corfu - and clearly visible from many of our villas - are the green hills and mountains of Butrint National Park. The park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, comprises almost 55km2 of richly bio-diverse countryside, a freshwater lake, coastal wetlands and the remarkable archaeological site of ancient Bouthroton. This latter, situated on a hill above the Vivari Channel, linking the lake to the sea, has a remarkable history that dates back to at least the 8th century BC.
In around the 4th century BC, Bouthroton had grown into an important trading town, enclosed by thick defensive walls. Then, following the general flow of history, it came under the control of the Romans and both Caesar and Augustus expanded the town by colonising the town with veteran legionaries. Despite being significantly damaged by an earthquake and undergoing a gentle decline in importance, Bouthroton managed to survive the ravages of time and nature and after the fall of the Roman Empire it remained an attractive proposition for the various powers who moved in the region.
In the 6th century AD it became a bishopric and subsequently passed between the Byzantine Empire, the Venetian Republic, the Angevins, Napoleonic France and the Ottoman Empire, under which the town was abandoned. Finally, in 1912 it became part of modern-day Albania.
What to see in the archaeological site
Excavations began in 1928 and it soon became apparent that Bouthroton was a remarkable site, which, in the words of UNESCO, "is a veritable conservatory of major monuments in ruins from each period of the city's development... the fortifications bear testimony to the different stages of their construction from the time of the Greek colony until the Middle Ages." Visitors today may admire a well-preserved Greek theatre and remains of the sanctuary of Asclepius, the walls, the Roman baths, the 6th century paleo-Christian baptistery (with some wonderful mosaic floors) and Basilica, a Venetian fortress and much more besides.
Please note that the experience involves a lot of walking so you will require sensible shoes, a hat, sun block and bottled water during the hotter months.
For more information and prices, please call +44 (0) 203 603 4478 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terms and conditions
Think Experiences are provided by independent local companies which are neither owned nor controlled by The Thinking Traveller and for whom we act only as an agent. Whilst every effort is made to keep the description of every Think Experience up to date, the provider may cancel or amend your experience at their discretion for many reasons including where it considers that there may be a risk to your comfort, health or safety. Some excursions/activities (i.e. helicopter rides, excursions on Mount Etna, boat charter, etc.) may contain an element of risk or require a good level of physical fitness, and, if in doubt, you should contact us so we can put you in contact directly with the local provider before deciding to buy. Please also check that you are covered for the activity(ies) in question by your travel insurance policy.
In acting in the capacity of an agent on behalf of the provider, your contract will be with that provider and will be subject to their standard terms and conditions, and it will not form part of your contracted holiday arrangements with us. Any complaint (including any allegation of breach of contract or negligence) should be taken up with the excursion/activity provider directly. We will do our best to assist you but will have no liability in relation to the performance of that contract.