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8 Top Things to do in Saranda

Saranda is a beach resort town in the south area of Albania. It has long been a popular option for both domestic and international tourists who choose to have a holiday in Albania. In fact, some people consider Saranda as the most beautiful city in the country. Let’s dive into the top things to do in Saranda for a perfect vacation.

As a beach resort, many people come here to enjoy the sea and have a relaxing holiday. There are surely no shortage of beaches, amazing seafood, and great bars. When you decide to choose Saranda for your vacation you will have everything you can require for a laid-back vacation.

The Greek island of Corfu is also close by which means you can arrange day trips or boat sightseeing. The Blue Eye Cave for example is very popular amongst tourists who visit Saranda. This patch of the Albanian Riviera is inviting to people from all over the world and we are sure you will be charmed by it too.

What is the best time to visit Saranda?

It’s no secret that Saranda is a resort town in Southern Albania. Amongst the best things to do in this small town is going to the beach. This means that the season to visit is during the summer. The weather is nice and sunny. You will be able to enjoy the Ionian Sea and get a tan that all your friends will envy.

If you keep an eye out on the weather reports you can travel off-season as well. You might be able to grab a cheap flight and a cheap hotel for a great budget vacation. Spring gets hot quickly in Albania and usually, September is still very good in terms of sunshine and sunny days.

How to get to Saranda?

Planning your vacation to Saranda in Albania means that you will have to book a flight to Tirana. As the biggest international airport available in Albania you can find flights from all over Europe. 

To get from Tirana Airport to Saranda there are two good options. The first option is taking the shuttle bus between the two cities. The shuttle between the two cities is around $50 and the trip is around 5 hours. 

The more comfortable option is to rent a car at the airport. This will mean that you can drive yourself and have transportation ready to explore locally. Although it’s more expensive than taking the shuttle, you will also save time. The drive takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes compared to the 5 hours of bus riding.

Best things to do in Saranda

Saranda the resort town of Albania is full of the best beaches in the country. If you want you can spend a whole week-long holiday doing nothing, sipping Pina Colada, eating fresh fish, and simply enjoying life. However, those who are looking to do some sightseeing are also in luck. Let’s see the best places to visit around Saranda for a perfect vacation.

Go to the Beach

Before you head out to do anything, you need to relax. You need to wind off from everyday stress and get into the holiday mood. What’s a better place for this than the beach. When you visit Saranda you will be treated to some great sandy beaches where you can forget all the worries of the world. It’s just you, sunshine, and the sea.

Mango Beach

Located on the south coasts of Saranda, you can find Mango Beach. This beach is one of the most frequented beaches in the city. It’s popular with tourists and locals alike. Regardless, the big patch of sandy beach is spacious enough to house all the tourists.

It’s a great place to enjoy the clear turquoise waters without actually leaving the city. There are also tons of sun loungers available for rent to make you as comfortable as possible.

Plazhi Era

The Plazhi Era is another great beach we can recommend inside Saranda. It can be found on the opposite side of the city from Mango Beach. This means that no matter where you book your Saranda hotel you will have access to either one of the good beaches. 

The Plazhi Era can be found in its own mini-bay with great waters and sun-loungers available. The surroundings of the beach is dotted with beach bars and great seafood restaurants.

Plazhi i Pasqyrave

This beach is also known as Mirror Beach. To visit you have to leave Sarande to the south and drive for a short time. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. Although it’s out of town that doesn’t mean there are no amenities available. Due to the popularity, you will have bars and some restaurants to grab food and enjoy a day on the beach.

Mirror Beach Sarande
Photo by Flickr user
Manon Albania Tour Guide

Lekuresi Castle

One of the great historic sites to visit is the Lekuresi Castle in Saranda. The castle ruins are impressive and stunning at the same time. You can see the fortress that once stood there protecting the area. A great item on our things to do in Saranda list for those who love to be immersed in history.

Another reason to visit the castle is the panoramic view. As it’s standing on a hill overlooking the city of Sarande it’s also the perfect scenic spot. Come up to the castle during sunset and you will have an amazing play on the colors of the sky and the lights of the city.

Lekuresi Castle of Sarande
Pasztilla¨aka Attila Terbócs, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Old Monastery of Forty Saints Saranda

If you can’t get enough of historic sites and stunning views then our next pick on the list of best things to do in Sarande is for you. The Monastery of 40 Saints lies above the city. Little known fact, that the city has actually got its name from the Monastery. Saranda means forty in the Greek language.

The monumental monastery was in very good condition, but unfortunately, it has suffered through the Second World War. It was bombed and almost destroyed. Today you can see the ruins and the amazing views when you visit. Still, it’s worth your time and effort to go up the hill and check out this attraction.

Ali Pasha Castle

A hidden gem around Butrint is the Ali Pasha castle. This old castle is still in pretty good condition. Built onto the water it’s surrounded by the sea on most sides. A spectacular sight to see that many people miss out on when they visit the Butrint Unesco site.

Butrint

Those who would like to venture out of the city of Sarande are treated to great surprises. One such surprise destination is Butrint the ancient city. It’s only around 20 kilometers from the city. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that everyone who comes to Sarande needs to visit.

The ancient ruined city ages back all the way to 800BC when the first settlers arrived in Albania. A rare opportunity to observe real ancient ruins like no other.

Synagogue

In ancient times, the city of Saranda had a big Jewish community. Unfortunately, the old Synagogue did not survive history, however, the remains are still there. You can visit and marvel at the amazing remains of this religious building.

Although this ruin is ancient it was actually only recently discovered. The remains were uncovered in 2003 and opened to the public to visit at a later date.

Saranda Embankment

Walking the Saranda Pomedane during the evening is a things to do in Saranda by itself. You can take in the slight breeze from the sea and enjoy the thriving city. There are bars, seafood restaurants, and life wherever you look.

The embankment is also the perfect opportunity to try the local meals. Seafood makes up an integral part of Albanian cuisine due to being a coastal country. After a good meal, you can rest in one of the bars and enjoy a good cocktail to make your evening stand out.

Saranda Embankment

Boat trip to Corfu and the Blue Eye

Sarande is located very close to Corfu. This means that one of the popular day-trip ideas is taking a boat trip to see Corfu and check out the Blue Eye cave. There are multiple options to choose from, but generally, all boat trip providers try to show you as much as possible. Some include beaches in the trip, while others are more focused on sightseeing.

An Under the Radar Beach Holiday

Sarande and Albania themselves are still mainly ignored by mass tourism. However, if you decide to come here you can have an amazing holiday. Not only is it much cheaper than your usual holiday destination, but the weather is also always sunny and the beaches are amazing.

Albania can be your off-the-beaten-path holiday experience. Sure you shouldn’t expect a vacation without other tourists, Saranda is pretty popular as a resort after all. However, you can still avoid the huge crowds that are present in the high season on the more usual travel destinations.

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