Across the water from the Greek Island of Corfu lies Butrint, an Albanian town with a distinctly Greek feeling. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, its history stretches back to the Bronze Age. The area has been under the control of the Ancient Greeks, Roman and Venetian empires and Macedonia to name just a few, and is now part of Albania’s proud and long history.
It’s true that Butrint has been passed around through the years, but that just adds to its charm and intrigue, as nearly five millennia of its most recent history unfolds before you. A morning exploring Roman baths; an afternoon immersing yourself in Venetian castles – what more could you want?
Take your camera and prepare to be wowed by site after crumbling site, each with a different story to tell. The ancient Amphitheatre conjures up images of rulers taking centre stage to address their subjects, the arched stone fortress is reminiscent of the city’s time defending itself against its Norman enemies, and immeasurable undiscovered artifacts lay buried in the marshy soil, who knows if they will ever be discovered.
Hire a guide to get the most from this historical experience, or risk being overwhelmed with acre upon acre of collapsing walls, cracking mosaics and imposing statues, some of which are missing vital parts. Don’t miss the so-called ‘goddess of Butrint’; a statue of a single head, depicting the ultimate in Ancient Greek beauty.
But it’s not all about the history. The citadel’s remoteness gives an added sense of isolation, surrounded on all sides by crystal clear blue waters and rolling green hillsides, and punctuated with trees which seemingly grow from the ruins themselves. The ancient town is lucky enough to have an incredible natural setting right in the middle of Lake Butrint which feeds the Ionan Sea, plus an impressive woodland encapsulating it which effortlessly brings together the natural and the man made. One of the most underrepresented archeological sites in Southern Europe, it’s a treat for the senses in every way.