The ancient ruins of Butrint lie 18km (11mi) south of Saranda and are a real gem if you have a fascination for the ancient world. The remains are from a variety of periods, spanning 2500 years. The poet Virgil claimed that the Trojans settled Butrint, but the site has been pored over by archaeologists and no evidence of this has been found.
Greeks settled Butrint during the 6th century BC, although the area had been settled long before by the Illyrians. Within a century of the Greeks arriving, Butrint had become a fortified trading city with its own acropolis, the ruins of which you can still visit. Just below the acropolis in the forest is the 3rd century BC theatre, also used for performances by the Romans. Nearby are public baths with geometrical mosaics, and deeper into the forest is a wall with Greek inscriptions and a 6th-century baptistry decorated with colourful mosaics of animals and birds. Overlooking the whole site is an acropolis with a fortress erected by warlord Ali Pasha Tepelena early in the 19th century. Butrint is accessibly by road from Saranda, which is linked to Tirana and Vlora by bus and minibus. The ruins are nearly on the country's southern border with Greece, 160km (99mi) south of Tirana.