We want you to enjoy the many interesting places in and around Saranda, including the Blue Eye, the Butrint Archaeological Site, and Lekursi Castle.
Saranda is the ancient, charming fishing village and a popular tourist resort for Albanians, especially newlyweds! With its excellent climate and stunning location overlooking the Ionian Sea, its definitely one of the loveliest settings in Albania.
With lashings of fresh fish to whet your appetite, after a days wallowing in the crystal clear waters!
The town of Saranda is built in amphitheatre style rising up a hill, with stone steps linking the top of the hill, right down to the sea promenade.
Rounded off with a relaxing stroll through this charming town, visiting the few museums and the remains of the 6th century Synagogue. The perfect location to relax and attune into the local pace of reality! Saranda is an ideal base for exploring the many attractions of the southwest of the country, especially the amazing archaeological site of Butrint.
No trip to Albania would be complete without a visit to the ancient town of Butrint. One of Albania’s and the Balkans’ major archaeological centres, which is protected under UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. According to one legend, the city was founded by fleeing Trojans after the burning of Troy by the victorious Greeks, in the 12th Century B.C.. ‘Butrint’ provides a glimpse of Mediterranean civilization from the Bronze Age through the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman periods – all atop a cliff overlooking Corfu.
Just 18km South of Saranda, in a fantastic natural setting, you will need at least half a day to lose yourself and thoroughly explore this a 29-sq-km national park.
Not to be missed!
BLUE EYE SPRING – SYRI I KALTER
In a beautiful forested setting of hazelnuts, cherries, walnuts, pines and firs, 18 springs ascend from the earth, creating a rare beauty, the famous ‘Blue eye,’ a geological phenomenon. Given its name because of the deep blue centre and light blue edges resembling the iris of an eye.
When you throw a stone into the centre of the spring, after some time the stone will return to the surface of the water! Situated 15km from Saranda, a lovely picnic spot to unwind near a picturesque waterfall, with the freshest spring water ridding all notions of some shuteye!
KSAMILI BEACH AND ISLANDS
This village is 10km south of Saranda on the way to Butrint. Makes a lovely stop off on the way back from a morning in Butrint, to cool off in its clean, clear waters with four dreamy islands within swimming distance. Perfect setting for lunch with plenty of fresh seafood. A must for backpackers!
Beautifully restored castle, once Ali Pasha’s lookout post, housing a restaurant/bar and offering traditional Albanian music nightly in summer.
A lovely walk of about 3km from Saranda centre, though all uphill! But the fabulous views overlooking Saranda, Corfu and the Butrinti Lagoon are well worth the hike, both during the day and at night.
Only 90 minutes by bus from Saranda, well worth an interesting day trip and a chance to sample the fantastic culinary fare. ‘Olde worlde’ Gjirokastra with a winding network of steep, cobbled streets set into the mountain, eventually leading to the 13th century Castle (old prison) at the top.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, this historic city is a rare example of a well preserved Ottoman influenced town. A visit to the Castle with the panoramic views of the town and the snow-capped mountains ahead, certainly make the climb worthwhile. The 19th century houses are a rare experience, with their original grey, stone roofs sometimes level with the road, and the unique, stone fronted shops.
Gjirokastra was the birthplace of former dictator Enver Hoxha who awarded it the status of ‘museum city’ and thus special care was taken to retain its traditional architecture. Another famous son of Gjirokastra, Ismail Kadare, the most noted writer who won the booker prize award for one of his amazing novels, ‘A Chronicle of Stone.’