Sarande Travel Guide

  • From the street
    From the street
    by mickeyboy07
  • Butrinti Hotel
    by BalkanBabs
  • SARANDA BEACH
    SARANDA BEACH
    by eni83

Sarande Highlights

  • Pro
    NickCh profile photo

    NickCh says…

     superb climate, scenic, proximity to Butrint 

  • Con
    mickeyboy07 profile photo

    mickeyboy07 says…

     Still quite poor,children following you selling bracelets etc. 

  • In a nutshell
    illumina profile photo

    illumina says…

     More than a beach town. 

Sarande Things to Do

  • Synegogue Ruins

    In the heart of Sarande, near the port and bus "station", you will find the ruins of Sarande's fifth-century synegogue. You can walk through the ruins freely without any need for a ticket. There are- apparently- a number of mosaics here as well, though I did not see them in my brief stroll. A sign is on site with information about the original...

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  • Walk the Promenade

    Sarande has developed a lovely promenade running along the waterfront in the city center. It is lined with hotels, restaurants and shops, and features a number of platforms that can be used to dive right into the sea. The only thing this promenade lacks is shade, so wear your hat in the summer!

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  • Day Trip: Gjirokastra

    If you have a free day in Sarande, consider a day trip to Gjirokastra. This town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is famous for its houses with stone roofs. There is regular (slow) bus service (without air conditioning) between Sarande and Gjirokastra's new town (from there it's a quick and cheap taxi ride up to the Old Town). Travelers looking...

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  • Observe Albanian Culture

    Sarande is a popular beach destination for Albanian tourists, and it's also a popular place to celebrate special occasions. Be on the lookout for wedding receptions, birthday parties and other special events around town. Even if you don't see a party you'll probably hear the sounds of traditional Albanian folk music, not to mention Albanian techno...

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  • Go for a Swim

    I actually preferred the beaches in Sarande to many others I encountered this summer. The beach near the Hairy Lemon hostel was extremely clean, and while the water was cold there were two well-placed diving platforms that made it easy to dive right in and adjust to the water temperature immediately. You'll also find diving platforms all along the...

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  • Wildlife in the City

    Although Sarande is an urban center, you may be surprised by the number- and variety- of animals you see within city limits. While walking near the Hairy Lemon hostel I found a BEAR chained to a pole in someone's front yard (looking rather sad, I admit), and later I encountered a cow blocking the sidewalk between two apartment blocks! Be careful...

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Sarande Hotels

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Sarande Restaurants

  • Posh Pizzas

    Definitely priced for the tourist market, Limani is a sprawling waterfront restaurant located on Sarande's promenade. Multilingual servers are on hand to guide you towards the slighty-overpriced pizzas and other Italian-influenced dishes. It's a nice atmosphere, especially if you can get seated by the water (scenic views) or the boardwalk (people...

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  • Excellent pizzas

    Pizzeria Limani is a very large bar and pizzeria that stands directly along the seafront. They have a wide choice of pizzas. Actually, it seems that there cannot be more choices as they have every possible kind! Their pizzas are excellent, with a very thin paste and plenty of yummy garnishing. We had a pizza margherita for two with two beers and...

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  • Pleasant place

    A drinks/snack bar right on the beach front in Sarande,is quite stylish and modern place with plenty of tables with umbrellas on the front overlooking the sea,very cheap and the service is quick and helpful. We didnt eat here just had some drinks,A local beer and a glass of coke came to just 350 Lek,which is about 2 and a half euros.

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Sarande Nightlife

  • Saranda, 1988, for the night show?

    Wow, this building is looking like some theater or show room. There are four large photos on top. That must be the photos of the band playing tonight, musn't it ? Let's have a closer look at their photos. It is not very clear but with the help of M Photoshop, if we twist and distort it, may be it will improve. Grng, grng, grng, here it is, photo...

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  • Party time :)

    In Saranda there are many bars and clubs either in the centre or on the roads out along the coast down by the beaches. They don't get going til late and you can keep going well into the night if you want to. They normally play foreign music along with Albanian and they like their music loud....very loud! Time to dress up a bit

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  • Dancing the night away

    Mango Beach is the biggest club in Saranda I believe. It is near the sea and has a private beach, and sells food as well as drinks. I didn't actually visit there myself, as I'm not into clubbing, but most of my co-workers at Butrint went here at the weekends, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

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Sarande Transportation

  • Corfu Ferries

    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...

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  • ferries to saranda

    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.

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  • BUS ATHENS - SARANDE - ATHENS

    "Saranda Express" companyEvery day07:00 from Saranda to Athens19: 30 from Saranda to Athens &08: 00 from Athens to Sarande20: 00 from Athens to Sarandeoffice in Athens : Deligianni street 21 (place Karaiskaki - Metaxurgio metro station)tel: office in Saranda : Skenderbeu 10 (bashkia)tel: + 355 852 4770 mobile: + 30 6937 07 82 18 + 30 6944 53 31...

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Sarande Shopping

  • 1988 shops

    Just behind the seafront, in a parallel street, a few shops are waiting the customer. Or may be the goods. Or may be both.On the left, Metrazhe të leshta : wool material by the meterOn the right, Metrazhe të pambuhta : cotton material by the meterIn the middle, Trihotazhe : this is not in my small dictionary but my wild guess is that it should mean...

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  • 1988 brand new car

    What do you think of the brand new car (well almost brand new !) that I might have bought in 1988. I do not know the exact brand but I know it was Chinese. In 1988, there were only 600 cars in the entire country! I do not know the figure today, but it, for sure, has expanded by several zeros, mainly with Mercedes ! Sergey (VT Sergey_Kuznetzov) has...

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  • Tableclothes

    Around the tourists buses you will easily find women and kids offering you tableclothes and other textile work with the name "Albania" on it. Not a very extra stuff, but after all is nearly the only souvenir you can find around, so...

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Sarande Local Customs

  • Walking along the promenade

    Not exactly a custom but at night time it seems like all the Albanian's come out! They spend the evening having a slow walk along the promenade with family or friends taking in the atmosphere. They are always wearing nice smart and dressed up clothes. They tend to go out later like in most of the med.

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  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Many older people in Saranda speak Italian as a second language rather than English, possibly because of the Italian occupation of Albania during WWII. One elderly man in a shop in a side street, from whom we bought a number of postcards, thanked us in both Albanian and Italian. He also put his right hand flat on his chest while bowing slightly,...

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  • The terraces of Lukove

    In 1988, the terraces of Lukove were amongst the greatest prides of Enver Hoxha's regime and I have a 25 pages booklet that was given for free. The mountain around Lukove was prepared, terraces build, watering channels built by "volunteers" from all over the country, including 75,000 schoolchildren. As much as 650,000 olive trees, orange trees and...

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Sarande Warnings and Dangers

  • Hotel Gjika

    At first impression, the owner of the hotel, Andre Gjika, a large seemingly fun loving Greek man, seems like a welcoming honest hotel owner. He spoke perfect english, which was a plus. Later I found out he pretended not to understand at times to try and get over on people. He took us under his wing, gave us sight seeing advice, invited us to sit...

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  • Panhandlers

    Watch out for the clans of children and teenagers along the promenade by the waterfront. They will leap infront of you from behind bushes and surprise you. There is also a man missing an arm and he will especially use this tatic and try to swing his stub infront of your face.

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  • Earthquake or what ?

    In 2009, left to the road coming from Gjirokaster, almost at the entrance into Saranda, my attention was drawn by this dilapidated unfinished building. There was too much traffic and road works and I could not stop for a photo and while driving, I shot without aiming … and unexpectedly, I got it fine! What happened to this building ? Had there been...

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Sarande Tourist Traps

  • A sort of reverse tip...

    You might think that men standing around on street corners offering to change your currency would be an obvious tourist trap, but you'd be wrong! The real tourist trap would be to change your money in a hotel or shop, you will most likely get a much better rate from the man on the street, or at least that's what we found in 2002. Obviously check...

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  • TRAVEL LIGHT!!

    We made the mistake of taking bags of food and drink with us to Albania and once we arrived , we were swarmed by children trying to look in our bags and asking us for food!! Its wise to take a bare minimum for such a short trip!

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  • OUTSIDE THE HOTEL.

    Once you have arrived on dry land you are given an hour free time to explore (ample time believe me!!). Take this opportunity to meet the locals. Dont worry if you're shy, they will come to you!!

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Sarande What to Pack

  • Evening wear

    Make sure you pack some nice clothes to go out in the evening as they like to dress up and look nice in the evening. The women here look after themselves very well, you don't want to stick out to much pack a dress and skirt and some high heels!

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  • Packing List

    shorts and t-shirt should be ok for day trips but it is very hot so take a hat to stop sunstroke. it is probably best to take your own especially a high factor sunscreen. definately take all you need. take as much writing material , books and clothes as you can. there are children waiting by the dock and will accept anything you give them as...

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  • Sarande Hotels

    8 Hotels in Sarande

    30 Reviews and Opinions

Sarande Off The Beaten Path

  • Blue Eye - Syri i Kaltër

    Syri i Kaltër or the Blue Eye is a unique spring near Sarande, half way between Sarande and Gjirokaster actually. It's the source of the river Bistrica, whch springs out from the deep 50 meter hole with its crystal clear water. Blue Eye has a discharge of 18.4 m3/s. The beauty is stunning!

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  • Deserted beaches

    I was in Albania at the end of the season (late September) when the weather's still clement, but there are no tourists. If you want to enjoy the most deserted little beach resort head a few km south of Sarande, on the way to Butrint, to Ksmil. There are a group islands there over which you can enjoy the sight of eagles hanging on wind currents to...

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  • Shhhh don't tell everyone!

    Ksamil is the best place that you may not know about if you don't know too much about Albania. Set inbetween the olive tree's it is a wonderful cool place to chill out. Take the road out of Saranda towards Butrint and you will find the most beautiful beach and water with two little islands. You can be taken by boat to the island and sunbath over...

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Sarande Favorites

  • THE END OF THE ODYSSEY

    I never thought I would ever see Sarande without being shot dead. In 1986 I stayed in a resort on the Greek island of Corfu. One night I looked out across the water and I could see a dark and rugged coastline across the water. A waiter walked up to me because he saw me staring at this piece of land in the distance. I asked him if it was some rural...

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  • Modern buildings

    A great many modern buildings have been built or are still building in Saranda. This one hosts the Emporiki Bank. It is a Greek Bank and this is an example of how Greece is a special partner for Albania. This is more true in the south of the country where lives a significant minority that speaks Greek in their daily life.

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  • Looking southwards in 2009

    All three photos were shot from the sea front, almost in front of the city center. They show the south part of the bay with more and more buildings that grow on the limited space of the amphitheater shaped hills that frame the city. The city is now growing outside the bay, both inland, on the other side of the hill, along the road to Gjirokaster...

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Explore Deeper into Sarande
Butrint, Absolutely Beautiful
Things to Do
Synagogue from the Vth AD (2009 photo)
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Albanian Riviera
Things to Do
CHILDREN SELLING BARCELETS
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Ferry Corfu to & from Sarande
Transportation
Fresh, fish
Restaurants
1988, southern side of the bay
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The bay of Saranda in 1988
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2007
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1988 and 2007
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2007, a quiet street parallel to the sea front
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2007, a passage leading to the sea
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2007, sea front and the quay
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Slow minibuses go where u want them to...
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Waterfront
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Lekursi Castle
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Tirana - Sarande bus
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Springing the tourist trap
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Saranda - Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Bus Berat-Saranda
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Restaurant
Restaurants
Buses to Saranda
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Day trip
Things to Do
Car parking
Warnings and Dangers
Ferry
Transportation
Taxi to Butrint
Transportation
Butrint
Things to Do
Remains of Venetian Castle
Things to Do
Posting letters...
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Archaeology of Sarande
Off The Beaten Path
Internet!
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Ferry 2
Transportation
1988, water basins with jets
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Beautiful Blue Eye
Things to Do
Best souvenirs are...
Favorites
Don't miss the seafood
Restaurants
Greece is in front!
Off The Beaten Path
Butrint
Things to Do
Boxwood
Local Customs
Mussel nurseries
Off The Beaten Path
Map of Sarande

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