"As soon as we arrived at the hotel in Ksamil, the person introduced as the manager explained the rules of the hotel to us in a harsh and scary tone. Do not let anyone into the room. Do not take towels outside the room, do not smoke in the room, quiet after midnight, do not bring food to the room. In all these years of travel, this is the first time I have come across something like this, and it gave me the impression that I was entering a prison.
After going out with my friend for a walk, they returned to the room for a shower and a cigarette on the balcony. They knocked on our door almost knocking it to the ground. We were afraid and they didn't open it, but in the morning they explained to us that after midnight it is not allowed to turn on the light or the TV".
This is the comment of Lara, an Italian who rested in Ksamil at the end of July and stayed in one of the hotels in the area. Massively marketed as a fabulous place, Ksamil has become the epicenter of tourism this year, but it seems that the business is not able to keep up with this demand, leaving the most negative impressions.
Ksamil is the most curved and favorite place of this year, as well as the place most blackened by the negative comments of foreign vacationers who this year in Albania are beyond any optimistic forecast.
Ksamil's ranking in just one month of negative tourist reviews has gone from 3.5 at the beginning of the season in May, 2.5 at the end of July and is currently down to 2 on Tripadvisor, the global platform for rating tourist experiences, which is taken as a reference by many tourists before deciding where to travel, stay and eat (On this platform 5 is the maximum rating level and 1 is the minimum).
The battle on forums and social networks for this destinaicon is fierce and the comments you can find are the most extreme possible. Prizzle, a Tripadvisor commenter in an August forum asked if it would be better to stay in Ksamil and Saranda or change the destination to Corfu.
"Initially I searched a lot in interest and read where in the end I decided to spend a few days in Ksamil and Saranda. I'm a single traveler and now with what I'm reading I'm not sure if I should go to Albania or better stay in Corfu and make a reservation there since I have a flight from there," she says.
Other commenters' responses are mixed. Candela G. from Argentina commented that she was currently in Ksamil and her experience was one of the most beautiful. According to her, the beaches are fascinating and "believe me, I have also visited the South of France, Greece and Puglia" - she says. As for the prices, you don't see them as abusive.
On TripAdvisor, user "muratdJ1435FF" described this as his worst experience. “Apart from the amazing sea, everything else is very bad. Don't waste your time coming here. They almost make you pay for air. Traders are angry" - he says in a comment accompanying an invoice. There he underlines that a plate of fried potatoes cost him 4.5 euros and ketchup separately, 2 euros.
Another user "Dreamer11667707888", in a July 23 comment, sums up his comment under the heading, "Expensive, dirty and full of scammers."
"Don't trust videos on the internet. Even though the apartments are 'cheap', you will waste an insane amount of money on 'restaurants' (low quality fast food grills actually). Almost everyone here will try to scam you, especially traders and taxi drivers (the latter come to people at the bus station, telling tourists that the bus is canceled so that they can pay €30+ for 15-20 minute journey). The beaches are overcrowded and if you don't pay €25 per sunbed you will be visited by security guards, although no beach is private. Check out the photos I've added and compare them to what's featured online."
Other tourists suggest that the part above Ksamil and Saranda is better as you have the opportunity not to pay for sunbeds and spread your towel on free parts of the beach. In Ksamil this is not possible according to them due to the density of the sunbeds. There are those who complain that the cost of a sunbed on the beaches around Saranda is 2000 lek (18-19 euros), while in Ksamil it is 40 or 100 euros. According to them, this exceeds the budget plan even for a rental car.
A German tourist has called for the sabotage of Albania. "Don't come here, let's see how long they will last without tourists," he says regarding a forum for Ksamil.
Albania is experiencing the best historical year of tourism so far. The majority of foreigners say that the cheap costs are what are attracting them to Albania, but while some are really surprised by the prices, there are those who are shocked, expecting that our country was cheaper. The battle on social networks and forums is also strong for Albania and especially Ksamil and Saranda, which are the headlines of this season, they will be the orientation compass for those who want to visit us next year.
Therefore, in this pile of comments, what remains is the reflection that Albania and the operators should have in order to take advantage of this good moment and turn this stream of criticism into measures and better service.