This is what it’s like walking around beautiful Butrint National Park in Albania, a place that was once one of the finest cities in the Roman Empire
Butrint National Park is a seriously special place and an absolute must on any trip to Albania.
The ancient city of Butrint (otherwise known as Buthrotum in the time on antiquity), was once one of the finest and most beautiful in all of the Roman Empire. 2,400 years later, it is a place that still captivates people today.
Located in the southwest of Albania, it is approximately 30 minutes from the city of Saranda (there are a number of local buses to Butrint or you can hitchhike, which is what I did).
Also, it is very close to the Greek border (it’s actually the place where Jeremy Clarkson caught the little man-made wooden ferry transporting their cars over to Greece in the Albanian Top Gear episode).
Today, Butrint national park is a UNSECO World Heritage Site, and a Ramsar Wetland Site of International Importance (two very important titles). It is a site that attracts visitors from all over the world, and with reason; it is absolutely stunning.
With a picturesque lagoon and mountains surrounding Butrint national park, it is worth coming here for the views alone.
How much does Butrint national park cost?
It costs 500-700 lek to get in (approximately €3.5-5), and you can easily spend a few hours walking around beautiful Butrint National Park.
Butrint national park is a microcosm of Mediterranean history. It has seen the rise and fall of a number of great empires who have dominated the region, each one developing the city in their own way and adding their own imprint.
There are so many layers to Butrint, and the more you walk around the more you peel back a new layer, delving deeper and deeper into the history of the area.
What you see today is an amalgam of monuments representing a span of over two thousand years of history from the 4th century Hellenistic period to the Ottoman defences created in the early 19th century.
The history of Butrint national park
With the rise of the Roman Empire, Butrint expanded to become a flourishing Mediterranean city.
Monuments like the theatre give it a Roman aspect, and after Julius Caesar and Augustus founded a colony here the city was extended via a bridge and aqueduct across the channel and onto the plain, causing commerce to boom.
Over the centuries that followed the fortunes of Butrint rise and fell much like the empires surrounding it, but during the 13th century Butrint thrived again. A castle was built on the acropolis and its fortification walls were repaired again.
By the 19th century, Butrint had become a small fishing village clustered around the castle, though today it probably sees more people walk through its walls than 100 years ago.
When you are walking in beauty such as Butrint, I suggest you take a packed lunch with you, sit in the ancient theatre or by the church, and take it all in. Trust me, it’ll be worth it. Also, there aren’t many places you can buy lunch, so taking one with you is a win-win situation.
After seeing a fair few ancient Roman cities around the world, I can honestly say Butrint is one the best I’ve ever come across, and it is just another amazing reason to visit Albania.
Photos of Butrint national park
Have you ever been to Butrint national park? If so, what did you make of this ancient Roman city? Make sure you let me know in the comments below!