It is easy to move between Sarande and Corfu, Greece by ferry. Check the Ionian Cruises website for prices and times; when I visited in 2012 a ticket cost nineteen euro and the trip took about one hour. From Corfu, a daily boat leaves at 9:00 am, and from Albania you can leave at 10:30 or 16:00 (at the time of posting). This makes Sarande an easy day trip from Corfu, or an easy entry point from Greece if you're traveling through the Balkans.
hi,there are 2 ferries going to saranda every day,one high speed,i think it takes 20 mins and another one it takes 1-2 hrs i belive.im not sure about times but they live in the mornings.you can get a bus or minibus to Gjirokaster anytime as long is not late evenings.
"Saranda Express" company
07:00 from Saranda to Athens
19: 30 from Saranda to Athens
08: 00 from Athens to Sarande
20: 00 from Athens to Sarande
office in Athens : Deligianni street 21 (place Karaiskaki - Metaxurgio metro station)
office in Saranda : Skenderbeu 10 (bashkia)
tel: + 355 852 4770
mobile: + 30 6937 07 82 18
+ 30 6944 53 31 15
price 25 euro one way
46 euro return
We made a daytrip to Sarande and vicinity, from Corfu town, in May 2008.
At that time, round trip on the ferry "Kaliopi" cost €25 per person, purchased from Finikas travel office on the busy street beside the port. From there we went up to the new building at the north end of the port (a bit of a walk). Waited a bit until passport control window opened, cleared through without hassle. Sailed around 9 in the morning, but this could vary. Keep your ticket, and show it for return journey.
Due to my EU residency permit, my US passport wasn't stamped, but I asked for a stamp as a souvenir, and the officer gladly obliged.
Note that Albanian time is one hour behind Greek time, but do confirm this, and be sure of return trip's time. Allow a bit of time for passport control for return trip.
Exchange rate was €1 = Lek 120.
We sat outside on the boat, enjoyed the ca. 1 1/2 hour passage. I seem to remember that our passports were collected duriing the passage and returned to us before we reached Sarande. Same again on return trip.
Arriving, we joined a line at the passport control window, had a friendly reception in English, from a nice lady officer who seemed sad that we were only there for the day. There was no fee, no visa, just another nice stamp in the passport. Maybe there is a fee or visa requirement for a longer stay? We didn't ask, sorry!
Returning, we arrived at the port a bit early, walked along the beach, and sat upstairs on the balcony of the café in the port building (friendly, cheerful owner; chat in English and Italian), and when others began to board we went down, went through passport control, joined the line for the boat, were ignored by the sniffer dog, and went to stand up front by the wheelhouse.
Had to duck below deck halfway across when a brief thunderstorm caught us. Crewman opened the door to give fresh air (and just a bit of water) at times; not bad at all.
All in all, little stress, lots of fun, and lots of fun in and around sarande too. Do it!
Local buses, minibuses and greek-albanian "express" coaches will transports u slowly to every village of the area, not so fast but without the criminality dangers of the near past. Taxis are faster and more confy, their prices also considerably higher... Kakavia border to Saranda about 20-25 euros pr taxi, 300+ lek pr person by bus (june 07).
NOTICE! Most buses leave very early, 06.00-09.00 am!!!!
There seems to be a lot of information on this subject. Anyway, we took a green ex-greek Mercedes bus from Tirana in Feb 2007, and the trip took 8 hours and cost 1000lek. The buses leave at a bus park on Rruga e Kavajes in Tirana, about 1km from Skanderbeg square on the left side of the street. There were also buses to Gjirokaster and other towns in the south, so if you miss the bus to Gjirokaster or Sarande, take the one to the other and stop/continue from there if necessary.
Remember, most buses leave in the morning. Ours left at 10 AM.
There's a convenient connection beetwen Saranda and Greek island of Corfu. Twice a day is a hydrofoil (9.45 a.m and 1 pm) to Corfu City. One-way ticket costs 17,50 euro. Journey takes 45 min, but dont forget to change time in your watches (+ 1.00 h) when You come to Greece!
There is only one connection during a day beetwen Berat and the most popoular summer resort of Albania - Saranda. Bus leaves from the central square of Berat (next to Lead mosque) at 8 a.m and reaches Saranda after 7 hours of driving. Ticket costs 800 Leke.
From Tirana or other large towns including Gjirokaster you will be able to take a bus or mini bus to Saranda. From Tirana it will take maybe about 4 and a half/5 and a half hours but you will stop on the way to use toilets and have something to eat and drink. You will see some great coutry side too. From the town of Gjirokaster it is a much shorter trip and will only take about an hour/hour and a half. You can take a taxi too but this will cost you a lot more money, the bus being the cheapest and longest time to get there i would recommend the mini bus which is a bit quicker than the bus and only a bit more expensive.
The best way to get to Sarande, and indeed the south of Albania, if you are coming from outside the country, is to take a ferry from Kerkyra, Corfu. There are one or two a day (we were on the Kaliopi) and they leave from the main port in Corfu Town, opposite Hotel Atlantis. There are no official timetables, but they generally leave between 8-10am (it was about 8.30am for us I think) and between 2pm-4pm if the weather is fine. The journey takes about an hour and a half, and costs about EUR15. Tickets can be bought from the ticket office on the keyside. Before boarding you must go to the Greek passport control office to hand over your passport and obtain a boarding pass. Wait to board the ferry until an official or the captain calls your name (listen carefully, pronunciation may well be a bit dodgy!).
(There is also a hydrofoil service, which is what we used on the way back, which only takes half an hour, but this was paid for by the trust I was working for so I don't know the cost.)
I reached Butrint from Saranda by taxi. The driver waited for me while I was visiting the ruins and brought me back to Saranda. I can't remmember the price, but I had idea it was Cheap . I think I found a normal fare because I was travelling along with an Albanian friend.
When you board the ferry, your passport will be kept, and handed over to the captain of the boat for him to complete paperwork and your visa for the Albanian port officials. At Saranda, customs officals board the ferry. There is an entry visa fee of EUR10 or $10 (dollars were preferred when I was there in 2002) - when this is paid, your passport will be stamped (see the picture) and returned to you with a small white card, which is your exit visa - hang on to this carefully, leaving the country without it would be troublesome!
There are a few buses Sarande-Tirana, but all of them in the morning (5, 6.30, 8.30, 9.30, 10.30). The ride takes 15 hours and costs 6 euros.
Buses leave from the bus "station" (see that tip on transportation section above). Buy the ticket on board.
There is a daily ferry that makes group tours from nearby Corfu. The trip coasts 28 euros (+ 9 euros as port taxes) and includes the boat, visit to Butrint roman ruins (near Sarande) , lunch and boat back.
No visa required. For EU citizens not even passport required, just ID card. But take you passport if you wanna get an Albanian passport stamp, a very cool souvenir!
There is not really a bus station in Sarande, if you think of it as a building. A few blocks up from the maritime promenade there is a corner with a blank space where bus for national destinations stop. There is also a cafeteria and a sign with the few destinations and schedules on it.
Tickets are mostly sold on board and buses seemed to me quite old and not really comfortable.