World at a Glance: Butrint

2014-10-25T10:35:27+00:0031 March 2014|Albania, UNESCO World Heritage|

At the southernmost end of Albania, near the Greek border, and just a short hop across the Adriatic from the Greek island of Corfu, is Butrint, one of the country’s two world heritage sites.

Albania: Butrint

Like Carthage, Butrint is an archaeological site. Butrint was known as Bouthrōtón by the Greeks and as Buthrotum by the Romans. Then, during the centuries, Butrint switched from Bulgarian, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman rule, and finally to Albanian in 1912.

As ruins go, Butrint is – or was, I should say, I was there in 1992 – not very well looked after: looting was rampant and the ruins weren’t really protected or even managed. A few years later, Butrint was placed on UNESCO’s list of world heritage in danger. That looks to have been improved during the 22 years since. Since 2000, the ruins have been part of Butrint National Park and the site was removed from that unwanted listing in 2005.

Getting to Butrint

Getting to Butrint is easy. The site is located about 30 km from the seaside town of Sarandë.

Sarandë again, is easily accessible from Corfu by ferry or hydrofoil (90 min and 30 min, respectively), or by road (about 47 km, one hour) from Igoumenitsa in northern Greece. Note that the road isn’t in very good condition, so plan for lots of time if you choose this way.



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Butrint is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited around the world.

World at a Glance is a series of short articles here on Sophie’s World, with a single photo (though not today) – portraying curious, evocative, happy, sad or wondrous, unexpected little encounters.


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  1. Sand In My Suitcase 1 April 2014 at 0340 - Reply

    Timely post! We’ve just been reading about Butrint – a stop on a small-ship cruise we’re considering :-).

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 April 2014 at 2110 - Reply

      Hope you go 🙂

  2. Corinne 1 April 2014 at 0735 - Reply

    You know me, I gotta go! Can’t pass up a WHS. Thanks, Sophie

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 April 2014 at 2111 - Reply

      Yeah, I like visiting world heritage sites, too 🙂

  3. Vera Marie Badertscher 1 April 2014 at 1832 - Reply

    Sophie, given the information on their website, maybe you should plan a return trip. It says they been engaged in restoration for the past 12 years, and the map in the downloadable leaflet shows an interesting array of structures.

    Thanks for this little known site.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 April 2014 at 2113 - Reply

      Yes, this is a heritage site I should see again.

  4. Mette 2 April 2014 at 1956 - Reply

    In clear weather we can see from Puglia to Albania, and i’ve always wondered what’s on the other side. Now I know. Thanks.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 April 2014 at 1616 - Reply

      Ooh, would be cool to take a boat directly across.

  5. Muza-chan 3 April 2014 at 0754 - Reply

    Interesting 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 April 2014 at 1616 - Reply


  6. Turkey's For Life 3 April 2014 at 1106 - Reply

    Wonder how the site looks today. We’re really curious about Albania because of all of its Ottoman history, too. Must get there one day. Should you feel the need to visit southern Turkey’s UNESCO World Heritage Sights, be sure to drop by and see us. We live VERY close to Xanthos and Letoon. 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 April 2014 at 1634 - Reply

      Those sites are very much on my list. Thanks for the invite.

  7. ben 13 April 2014 at 0320 - Reply

    Butrint is a very interesting place to visit. I heard so much about it.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 April 2014 at 1635 - Reply

      Good to hear.

  8. Steve 13 April 2014 at 2026 - Reply

    dangit i didn’t make it that far south when i was albania a few months ago. next time i guess!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 April 2014 at 1635 - Reply

      I’d like to see northern Albania.

  9. Dan 17 May 2014 at 0234 - Reply

    I Loved Butrint. Such a cool place with the water table rising up to swallow part of the ruins

  10. Butrint has some serious history! I wonder how it looks today. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Turkey's For Life 12 November 2015 at 0820 - Reply

    It’s only recently that we’ve taken a close look at the list of World Heritage sites in Turkey and now we have a minor obsession with them – we’ve even created a page and map so we can go to visit more of them. Albania has been on our radar for a while now and we hope to make it there sooner rather than later…and cross off some more UNESCO sites, too! 😉 Glad this site is now being more carefully managed.

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