Saranda is a beautiful small town of about 33.000 inhabitants, situated in southern Albania, on a beautiful horseshoe bay between the mountains and the Ionian Sea, opposite the northeast part of Corfu's island (Greece) and 26 km close to the Greek borders. In antiquity, Saranda was known as Onchesmus. The present name Saranda derives from an early Christian Monastery dedicated to Agioi Saranda.
Saranda district features a plain relief composed of southern seashore mountains that lie from Borsh to the bay of Ftelia, "Vrugu" fields, Vrina Fields and the hills of Saranda, Lëkurësi, Ksamil, Butrint and Konispol.
It is a gorgeous combination of countless bays, beaches, rocky coastline, hills with olives and citrus, and mountains that surround the landscape.
Saranda is traversed by Kalasa, Bistrica and Pavlla rivers which flow in the Ionian Sea. The town of Saranda is built in amphitheatric style with three parallel roads. Four series of step stairs lead from the top of the hill of the town down to each promenade.
After the revolution of 1990 Saranda was rebuilt in a modern style, featuring a number of modern hotels, bars, restaurants and cafeterias along the promenade with palm trees. Thanks to its perfect location on the gorgeous Ionian Sea and its crystal clear warm waters, warm Mediterranean climate and close proximity to the numerous cultural sights, Saranda gained the spirit of a cosmopolitan town which steadily became one of the most frequented tourist destination in Albania, where honeymooners traditionally spend their holidays.
Saranda typically has over 300 sunny days a year. The inside of the town is a combination of top new buildings, old taverns, cafeterias and houses built in the traditional impressive stone style, even with top roofs of stone plates.
Guests staying in Saranda enjoy the gorgeous beaches and sun, or touring the nearby Butrint Archaeological site - UNESCO Heritage site, or Mesopotam Monastery, dedicated to Saint Nicholas built in the 11th century, on the top of a hill overlooking Saranda.
Visit the ancient city of Butrint.
Visit the famous "Blue Eye".
Visit Archaeological sites:
40 Saints Monastery
Ancient Town of Finiq (Phoenice or Phoenike)
Saint Nicholas Monastery
Saranda has some great hotels with pretty decent prices, many are located right next to the boardwalk and are just a short walk away from the beach. If you are able to book in advance, try to request a room with a balcony that looks out onto the Ionian Sea.
Or in alternative you go for hostels solution. Hostels in Sarande are affordable and get great reviews. Below are a few of the options:
Tel: +355 6943 45426
Hairy Lemon Hostels Tel: +355 69 355 9317
Porto Eda Rr. 1 maj, Lagjia 1, Sarande, Albania
Tani's Bar & Guesthouse
Ksamil, 100 m off the road to Butrint, Sarande, Albania
www.hostelworld.com/...Tani's Bar & Guesthouse
Many people camp out on secluded beaches along the road from Sarande to Dhermi. If you are interested in a more established campsite with facilities for bathing and cooking, see one of the sites below:
Lists some campgrounds along the coastline between Sarande and Vlore, for a list of a few, check out the site (although it mostly includes only the names of the campgrounds and perhaps an e-mail address). en.camping.info/albania/campsites
If you go to Saranda, you must try the fish dishes. Restaurants next to the sea side would be the best because those are the places that usually have fresh fish. You should also try the squid, mussel, and shrimp. You should try them in different cooking styles, not just fried.
The best time to eat sea products is after a nice long day of swimming. Drink Albanian Raki, the local firewater.
After arriving in Tirana International Airport take the buses south towards Saranda.
If you fly to Corfu, take the boat to Saranda (in the morning or in the afternoon),
There are many different buses which travel directly to Sarande from other cities in Albania and locations in the neighboring countries.
Via SH8, the road that runs along the Albanian coast .
Via the road leading north from Konispol (a town close to the Southern border with Greece)
Via SH4, the road leading west from Kakavia (Kakavia is a border town which lies on the South-Eastern Greek-Albanian border)
Saranda can be reached directly from Corfu (Greek "Kerkyra") via a hydrofoil ferry.