Saranda, Albania, Shqiperia
Saranda is a very important tourist location for Albania, since foreigners and Albanians alike flock there each summer. The reason is clear, Saranda is one of few Mediterranean beach towns where you can still get a hotel room for as little as 25-40 Euros a night (or even less during the off-season). The scene is lively with plenty of ocean-side bars and clubs, yet you can also find refinement in the many restaurants which abound with local produce and freshly-caught seafood.
Overall, Saranda is a great location for summer travelers who want a good deal without having to compromise cleanliness or good food. Whether you want to relax on the beach and swim to one of the islands in Ksamil, visit ancient archaeological sites like Butrint, or perhaps just enjoy a nice meal or drink next to the glistening Ionian sea, you will likely find yourself charmed by this unique location.
In order to really enjoy swimming and sunbathing while in Saranda, it is really necessary to spend at least a day in Ksamil. There are a few beaches from which it is even possible to swim to one of the nearby islands. Paddleboats are available for rent, or else you can pay a boat to take you to one of the islands which are a little further away. There are nearby restaurants which have freshly caught fish, and mussels from lake Butrint. You can get to Ksamil by following the road towards Butrint.
Although technically located in the District of Vlorë, Himarë is not too far from the city of Sarandë and would make a nice day trip or else a nice place to stop if travelling up the coast. There are beautiful white sand beaches, and majestic mountains which slope down towards the sea. Himarë is bilingual, with many of the residents speaking an archaic dialect of Greek.
A visit to the ancient city of Butrint is another must when travelling in the vicinity of Saranda. Butrint is described as a microcosm of European history since it exhibits remains from most major empires of the area, including Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman ruins. Information about the city is well-presented in English and Albanian brochures which are distributed at the entrance, also each important site has a sign with historical facts and dates in order to help visitors understand what they are seeing.
Interesting things to see in Butrint include the Greek amphitheatre (later remodeled by the Romans), the baptistry, the cathedral, the lion’s gate, and the museum which includes many interesting artifacts found in the area.
Butrint is one of several places in Albania which was kept off-limits to the general public during the Communist Era. The city was made into a tourist destination for foreigners to visit, but Albanian citizens were not allowed due to fears that they would try to escape by swimming the short distance to Greece.
Hostels in Sarande are affordable and get great reviews. Below are a few of the options:
Tel: +355 6943 45426
www.backpackerssr.hostel.com Hairy Lemon Hostels
Tel: +355 69 355 9317
www.hairylemonhostel.com Porto Eda
Rr. 1 maj, Lagjia 1, Sarande, Albania
www.hostelworld.com/…Porto-Eda Tani’s Bar & Guesthouse
Ksamil, 100 m off the road to Butrint, Sarande, Albania
www.hostelworld.com/…Tani’s Bar & Guesthouse
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