Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park Albania, Vlorë

Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park

Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park is a national park that encompasses portions of marine area of the Karaburun Peninsula and the Sazan Island in southwest Albania, spanning an area of 125.70 km2 (48.53 sq mi). It is the only national marine park of Albania, established in 2010 to protect several ecosystems of national importance. The Karaburun Peninsula itself is a nature reserve, while Sazan Island is a military zone in Albania, opened to the public in 2015.

The terrain is mountainous with numerous caves, pits, gorges, depressions, canyons and bays. The park falls entirely within the Illyrian deciduous forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub. Forests occupy the majority of the territories. Due to its climatic, hydrological and geological conditions, the marine park is characterized by its unique vegetation and biodiversity. The mediterranean tapeweed hosts macrofauna such as sponges, cnidarias, bryozoas, molluscas and many others. Sea turtles are home in the marine park such as the loggerhead sea turtle, green sea turtle, and the leatherback sea turtle. But also Dolphines has been reported in these waters such as the short-beaked common dolphin, common bottlenose dolphin and the sperm whale. Sazan is home to 7 species of amphibians, and 15 species of reptiles.

The Karaburun Peninsula is situated in southwestern Albania, being the northern part of the Albanian Riviera at the eastern side of the Strait of Otranto, where the Adriatic sea meets the Ionian sea. Geologically, the coastal landscape is characterized by a rough relief and calcareous limestone cliffs, that dips vertically into the Ionian sea, it features several solitary peaks, large canyons, bays, caves and gulfs. Sazan Island, its climate is not mediterranean but rather subtropical on account of its warm winters and hot summers, resembling those of the south of Crete, Tunisia and Egypt.