Orikum, population 5,500, belongs to the municipality of Vlora. The city is located on the coast, 18 km south of Vlora (SH8). Although it is now a soulless city for many, Orikum is known to have served as a port for Caesar's fleet during his fight against Pompey. Times change. The site now houses the only real marina on the southern coast of Albania, and is gradually becoming a popular resort thanks to its beaches. The Karaburun-Sazan Marine National Park is accessed from Orikum. Going along the coast after the marina, we discover the beach of Nettuno (Neptune), then the lagoon of Pasha Liman, the site of the ancient and, finally, the military base of Pasha Liman where the Russian submarines stopped (and not in Porto Palermo as the legend says). This marks the entrance to the Karaburun peninsula ("black nose" in Turkish) which covers 62 km2. Together with the neighbouring island of Sazan, it forms the Karaburun-Sazan Marine National Park (Parku Kombëtar Detar Karaburun-Sazan), created in 2010. This area, declared the first marine protected area in Albania, contains almost 75% of the country's threatened marine species. The park is also home to some of the world's most endangered species, such as the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus). Prohibited to cars, the park is open to the public, invited to the greatest respect for the environment. There are creeks and small beaches that are absolutely brilliant.

Let's go. From Vlora, frequent minibuses to Orikum city centre.

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