Kakavia is as off-the-beaten-track as it gets. Its road further down in Albania surrounded by majestic mountains makes you feel like Highlander on Route 66
Why should I go to Kakavia?
4km north of the border settlement of Kakavia is the junction between the “highway” to Girokaster and the winding mountainous road to Sarande. Profitable for some, a curiosity for others, you should stop here if you don’t want to overpay the bus from Greece to Girakaster.
How do I get there?
We took a bus from Volos to Ioanina and from there we jumped on another bus going to Girokaster. We knew that transportation in Albania is extremely cheap so we were not happy when we were asked to pay 8 euros more each for 30km (from the border crossing of Kakavia to Girokaster). So we got off in Kakavia, crossed the border on foot and hitch hiked 4km to the junction between the “highway” Kakavia-Girokaster and the road turning left up the mountains going to our destination, Sarande. From there it’s a 40km ride and it will cost you 1.5-2 euros with a minibus.
Where can I sleep overnight?
Don’t. Kakavia is a border crossing so just make your way to Girakaster, Sarande or Butrint.
Where can I eat & drink?
There is a gas station just 200m after the passport control border crossing in Albania. People are also friendly. Otherwise, there’s a small kiosk (you can see it in the picture) at the junction to Sarande, 4km from the border.
What we liked/what we didn’t like
(+) it was a very nice feeling to walk a bit on the road from Kakavia to the junction. Very few cars and great scenery
(+) we saved money and time by getting off the bus and deciding to go on our own
(+) we didn’t have to wait more than 10-15min at the junction for a minibus to Sarande – they run regularly and in a timely manner
(+) you can change currency on the Albanian side of the border for a decent rate – Albania’s currency is the Lek (ALL)
(-) taxi drivers were extremely harassing at the border. Once we entered on the Albanian side they literally surrounded us and tried to get us to Girokaster for 20 euros (!). And they kept doing it for like 10 minutes
(-) we had to walk more than 1-1.5km before we finally got a ride. You need some patience as there is little traffic in the area
Where do I go next?
From Kakavia, there are really two main options: either continue to Girokaster, which is ranked #4 things not to miss in Albania by the Rough Guides, either head to Sarande and Albania’s Ionian coast (which is ranked #3 :)) and do what we did: go to one of Albania’s natural wonders, the Blue Eye or/and to the village beach resort of Ksamil.