A.k.a. Don’t trust in the Moon in Saranda
Well, if you are in Albania – and I highly recommend that you should go there someday – Saranda is definitely a place to visit. Not only because it is so stunning and the home of one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, but it is such a great hub to explore the Albanian coast and more, like the ones you can read about below.
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But first things first: Let’s see what you should see and do in Saranda itself.
How to get there?
The easiest and cheapest way is to catch a bus from Tirana. It leaves in every hour.
Where to stay?
But this one is a kind of party hostel, and that time I felt I needed some silence and a place where I could chill.
Gosh, I couldn’t have made a better choice. Hostel Andrey is amazing and so cheap! The owner is a lovely Lady who is so caring, but really!
As a huge bonus, I had this kind of breakfast every single morning!
And the people there were also so lovely and friendly. So try to guess the price! Click the link below, you won’t believe your own eyes, I bet.
What you should see and do in Saranda?
Saranda is not too big. More precisely it is like 5 – really long – streets.
- Enjoy the sun, the sand and the sea on the beach! It doesn’t even matter which beach you pick you will have a blast because all of them are pretty relaxing and not too crowded.
- Go for a big walk along the coast in the evening because Saranda has such vivid nightlife. It feels like you were in one of the best coastal boardwalks. Well, you are truly there.
- Explore the city and find the ancient ruins in the centre, located nearby a little park.
- Explore the ruins of the Lekuresi castle at the top of the city. But you’d better do it in the late afternoon or early morning to avoid the sun and the biggest heat. Your hike up will take about from 45 minutes to an hour.
- Find the Monastery of 40 Saints. Saranda got its name from this monastery because Saranda means 40 in Greek. Fun fact: almost all people in Saranda – and in Albania – speak in Greek.
5 awesome day-trips to explore the Albanian coast and more
As I promised in the title, here comes 5 day-trips from Saranda, which you will surely enjoy.
This is my personal favourite because I loved Corfu when I was there just a few months before. The Greek island is just an hour boat ride, so you will have a full day in the island, or even more if you don’t book a guided tour, just catch a ferry. Read my full Corfu guide by clicking here.
Blue eye – Syri I Kalter
Let’s start with the disappointing part: it’s crowded. No, you can’t imagine how much. It really is. But if you are able to ignore the people, the trash, the souvenir shops, restaurants and cafés, you can admire the beauty of Blue Eye. You can get there by catching a bus to Gjirokastra and tell the driver you want to get off at the Blue eye. It is not really an official bus stop but buses stop here so you’ll be fine on the way back. You can get one every hour.
Top tip: if you want to see a blue eye that is not this crowded, go directly to Theth, where you can find one. It is even more beautiful and there are only a couple of dozens of people per day. Find the whole guide by clicking here.
One of the most hyped beaches in Albania and for a good reason! It is sandy and so beautiful. There are three tiny islands nearby with a gorgeous and pretty unique look, where you can go by swimming. The idyllic turquoise water will enslave your heart for sure. Some seaside restaurants offer a wide range of seafood and more if you are hungry. All of them have decent prices. You can get there by taking a bus from Saranda, which leaves in every hour and it will cost you 100 LEK (one Euro).
This easy day trip from Saranda gives you the best chance to explore the amazing Ottoman-Era Old Town of Gjirokaster. The unique look derives from the imposing castle and the uncommon style of architecture. Enjoy this tour the fullest, while you are exploring the old town, countless, cute bazaars and museums of this UNESCO listed city. You can get a 1,5- hour bus ride from Saranda. This is one of my favourite old towns in Albania, so I can highly recommend it if you have the time.
I can recommend visiting Butrint for all of the history lovers. Although it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and surely gorgeous, if you are not really into historical stuff, you will probably feel it is just a heap of stones. But if you are into it, then go for it and enjoy the imposing ruins from the ancient Greek and Roman years. Such like in the cases above, you can catch a bus to get there, which starts from Saranda’s downtown in every hour.
For more fun
Storytime – Why you shouldn’t trust in the Moon is Saranda?
Saranda is one of my favourite places in Albania.
It has some personal reasons though, such as meeting again with some friends whom I met in Theth or making new friends who are the most interesting people I’ve met so far.
It is interesting that lot of the time, we didn’t change any contact details with these people, just enjoyed the moment that we were given by the Universe and lived through every single second of our time together joyfully.
Every night when I got back to the hostel I went directly to the balcony where I met my evening dating partner – just to be precise, not romantically -.
As the sun dropped down over the horizon and the city took on its black dress with shiny spots, we were talking about everything while having a bottle of wine or beer and staring at the moon which was pretty interesting.
Sometimes it was a totally red full moon, sometimes it just disappeared in a very short time and sometimes it didn’t even show itself.
I really would like to give you a better explanation, but unfortunately, I can’t. I think these moments are one of those which you should experience yourself.