British tourists seeking an idyllic location in the Maldives but for a fraction of the travel time need look no further than Albania.
The little-known village of Ksamil has earned a name as the “Maldives of Europe”, and is just a stone’s throw away from the UK.
People looking for clear blue waters and white sands can arrive at the resort after a short three-hour flight.
Ksamil lies on the Albanian River in the Butrint National Park, Sarandë, on an archipelago of the same name.
The village has been dubbed a “paradise” in the past and is within spitting distance of the Greek island Corfu, which people can see from the settlement’s beaches on a clear day.
Prospective visitors can choose from dozens of small hotels, apartments and guesthouses for their stay, many nearby stunning beaches.
The archipelago’s most iconic beach is Ksamil Beach, which boasts deep blue waters and sands framed by vibrant green trees and shrubbery.
Popular activities on the beaches include snorkelling, swimming and relaxing on one of the many reclined chairs dotted around for tourists.
Tour guides have named Ksamil Beach “simply the most beautiful beach in Albania”.
Those not interested in a beach holiday can enjoy the archipelago’s other features, including a Salt Lagoon in Lake Butrint, the Cave of Kreshmoi and the UNESCO City of Gjirokaster.
Visitors have given Ksamil glittering reviews, with dozens of people having handed the village five stars on TripAdvisor.
One reviewer noted that the beach makes you “feel like a king even if you are not”.
They wrote: “Amazing place, the food is great, the people are kind and the sea is crystal clear.
“It’s nice having sunbed for a very fair price from 5 to 10€ for the whole day.”
They added: “Go there early, otherwise you can hardly find a spot. Understandable due to the place.”
Another satisfied visitor said: “The beach was full of life and music. The water was beautifully clear. Families were splashing around in the sea.”
The biggest plus for many people will be Ksamil’s relative proximity to the UK, being a roughly three-hour flight from London.
But that time refers to the time it takes to get to the nearest airports at Tirana or Corfu, as it takes a little longer to travel to the village from either location.
The trip from Tirana via bus, taxi or car takes five-and-a-half hours, while people will need to take a 30 to 70-minute ferry to Albania, followed by a 10 to 30-minute taxi or bus.