15 amazing things to do in Saranda, Albania (2024)

Are you looking for the best things to do in Saranda and need the personal experiences of an Albania travel blog to help you?

Then this is the perfect itinerary for you!

Saranda, Albania’s main beach holiday city, lies at the bottom of the county on the stunning Albanian Riviera.

Saranda isn’t very big. But in that little space, there’s a lot to do, and it’s close to Albania’s most popular tourist attractions!

To inspire the travel bug, here are just a few of the things you can do in Sarande, with a few travel tips and guides to help you start planning!

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When to visit Saranda

The best time to visit Saranda is from May to September.

It has a typical Mediterranean climate with temperatures ranging from 20-32°C (68-90°F), which is perfect for beach and outdoor activities.

July and August are the hottest, great for swimming, but they’re also the high season (and thus more busy).

If you prefer fewer crowds, May, June, and September are ideal with pleasant weather and fewer tourists. My favorite is September.

Albanian Riviera-15

Best things to do in Saranda

1. Explore Butrint National Park

Butrint National Park is about 20 km south of Saranda.

It’s a UNESCO site packed with ancient ruins from Greek, Roman, and Byzantine times, and it’s worth a visit.

It’s close to Ksamil (which has the best beaches in Albania), so it’s easy to visit both when you’re in the area.

Book a day trip – Visit Butrint and the Beaches of Ksamil

things to do in Saranda - Butrint

2. Relax at Ksamil Beach

Ah, Ksamil.

This lovely beach town is a must-see, just 20 minutes down the coast from Saranda.

Famous for its stunning turquoise waters, the beaches are a mix of pebbles and sand, and each bay is more gorgeous than the other.

Consider a guided tour to explore the Ksamil islands, beaches, and the nearby ancient city of Butrint for the full experience.

things to do in Saranda - Ksamil

3. Visit Lëkurësi Castle

Don’t miss Lekuresi Castle in Saranda. It’s a top spot for stunning views of the bay and the Greek island of Corfu.

This old Ottoman castle, built in 1537, now has a bar and restaurant with a killer view.

To get there, you’ll need to go about 3-4 km uphill from downtown, so consider a tour that includes other Saranda highlights like the Blue Eye and Ksamil.

things to do in Saranda - Lëkurësi Castle

4. Stroll along Saranda Promenade

Saranda’s promenade is pretty and you’ll get beautiful views of the hills and sea, plus Corfu across the water.

This is the place to get a quick gyro or dive into the fresh seafood and local dishes.

things to do in Saranda - Saranda

5. See the Blue Eye Spring

The Blue Eye is about 20 km from Saranda and it’s a must-visit.

This natural phenomenon, known as Syri i Kalter in Albanian, looks like an eye with its dark center and blue crystal clear water that surrounds it.

It’s over 50m deep, unexplored due to high pressure. You can’t swim there because it’s protected, but you’re not missing out – the water is 10°C year-round.

You can visit on a tour from Saranda which includes transport, a guide, and time to explore.

Albania facts

6. Day Trip to Gjirokastër

Gjirokaster is known as the City of Stone, and it really stands out with its architecture from the Ottoman Empire.

It’s best to explore it on foot, so you can soak in the vibes at the bazaar, visit the small shops selling handmade goods, and hike up to the castle for panoramic views.

In my opinion, it’s one of the best things to do in Albania!

Gjirokaster is located 1 hour from Sarande, so it’s an easy day trip. On this highly-rated tour, you’ll also stop by the Blue Eye, which is on the way there.

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7. Enjoy local seafood

In Saranda, you’re right by the water, so if you’re a seafood lover, you’ll love the food. You’ll find mussels and trout on most menus, often fresh from Lake Butrint.

Try the little family-run restaurant Taverna Laberia, they do great souvlaki and other meats here. If you love homemade pasta, go for Balbi 34.

8. Visit the Synagogue Complex

The Synagogue Complex in Saranda is a historic site that dates back to the 5th century. It shows Saranda’s ancient Jewish history, and although it’s now in ruins, you’ll get a glimpse into the past.

It’s not huge, but definitely worth a visit if you’re into history and want to see something different.

9. Hike in Phoenice Archaeological Park

Phoenice Archaeological Park (also known as Finiq) is an old Greek and Roman city site with ruins of an ancient temple, a Roman theater and baths, and a Byzantine church.

If you’re into history and old ruins, it’s a great spot to visit on a day trip from Saranda.

Just bring good walking shoes and water!

10. Swim at Mirror Beach

Mirror Beach (in Albanian Plazhi Pasqyra) gets its name because the sun reflects off the clear blue water and creates a unique effect.

You can get there by a narrow road, so taking a taxi or renting a scooter is a good idea.

There’s a restaurant for snacks and sun loungers for you to chill out once you’re done swimming in the crystal-clear waters. But I still recommend bringing water and fruits/crackers – the beach is secluded.

things to do in Saranda - Mirror Beach

11. Taste Albanian wine

Albanian wine has roots going back 3,000 years, and you’ll find a growing variety of good local wines along the coast.

If you’re in Saranda, give them a try at one of the restaurants or on a wine-tasting tour – they’re part of Albania’s rich, ancient winemaking tradition.

12. Explore the Ali Pasha Castle

Most tourists miss Ali Pasha Castle, but you shouldn’t. It’s right before Butrint in Saranda.

The 17th-century castle is surrounded by water and it’s an easy 2km walk from the car park.

To reach the castle, just ask a local fisherman for a lift or go for a kayaking tour where you’ll get a unique viewing point of both Butrint and Ali Pasha Castle.

things to do in Saranda - Ali Pasha castle
Ali Pasha castle is somewhat of a hidden gem in Saranda

13. Day trip to Corfu

Corfu is just 30 minutes from Saranda, so it’s an easy day trip – you can even see the island from Saranda Beach.

Ferries run often, with a fast one taking 30 minutes and a slower boat trip about an hour.

Once in Corfu, explore the beaches, the Old Town’s cobbled streets, shops, and bars. The Old Fortress and St Spyridon Church are must-sees.

You can do it all on a day trip, catching an early ferry and returning by 7 pm.

things to do in Saranda - corfu

14. Kayak in the Ionian Sea and visit local beaches

Kayaking in Saranda is a fantastic way to get a unique view of the beaches and cliffs from the water.

It’s pretty relaxed and suits all levels, whether you’re experienced or new to kayaking. Check out this tour if you’d rather go with an experienced guide.

Albanian Riviera-3
Beautiful Saranda beach

15. Relax at Pulebardha Beach

Pulebardha Beach is quieter than other beaches in Saranda, with clear water and a peaceful vibe.

It’s a bit off the beaten path, so it feels more private. If you’re looking for a chill beach day, this is the spot.

things to do in Saranda - Pulebardha Beach

FAQ – Best things to do in Saranda

Is Saranda Albania worth visiting?

Yes, Sarandë is definitely worth visiting. It has beautiful beaches, historical sites, and local delicious food.

Plus, it’s less crowded than other Mediterranean spots, making it a unique and enjoyable destination.

How are the Saranda Albania beaches?

Saranda’s beaches are amazing. You’ve got Ksamil Beach, which is super popular for its clear water. Then there’s Mirror Beach – really calm and peaceful.

And if you’re looking for something quieter, check out Pulebardha Beach. All of them have clean, clear water and a unique vibe.

What can I expect from Saranda nightlife?

Saranda’s nightlife is lively and fun. You’ll find a mix of beach bars, like Rox Cafe Bar on the promenade, and nightclubs, like Mango Beach Club.

There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes that stay open late.

How do I spend a day in Saranda?

This is a good one-day in Saranda itinerary:

  • Start with breakfast at a café along the promenade.
  • Visit the ruins at Butrint National Park.
  • Enjoy the clear turquoise water at Ksamil Beach in the afternoon.
  • Have lunch at a local restaurant, and try some seafood.
  • Explore the Sarandë Promenade and grab some souvenirs.
  • End your day with dinner and sunset views at Lekursi Castle.

How many days do you need in Saranda Albania?

In Saranda, three to four days is ideal.

This gives you enough time to explore the main attractions, relax on the beaches, and maybe take a day trip to nearby places like Butrint or the Blue Eye.

What to do in Saranda when it rains?

When it rains in Saranda, you can:

  • Visit the Archaeological Museum.
  • Enjoy the local cafés and restaurants.
  • Explore the Synagogue Complex ruins.
  • Shop in the city center.
  • Relax in a spa or wellness center.

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Discover the ultimate things to do in Saranda, Albania with my curated Saranda itinerary. From the serene beauty of Mirror Beach to the historical depths of Butrint National Park, this guide covers the top things to do in Sarande. Perfect for travelers seeking a blend of culture, history, and relaxation. #SarandaAdventure #AlbaniaTravel #ExploreSarande

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