Saranda is one of the largest tourism centres in Albania attracting many tourist from all parts of the world. Its attractive deep blue waters, the nearby archeological site of Butrinti and the pleasant atmosphere of the city make this one of the top destinations to be visited in Albania
During the archaic period Saranda was called Onchesmos named after the the father of the Trojan Prince Aeneas. The name changes again from Onchesmos to Saranda during the Byzantine period when a christian monastery was built on the hills behind the current city centre. The Monastery was named Saranda (in greek) or ``Forty Saints`` in honour of 40 Roman Legionnaires who were martyred during the 4rth century AD
There are many things that attract people to visit Saranda and we will name a few such as: the tranquil deep blue waters of Ionian Sea, the characterful small villages, natural site of ``Blue eye`` and the cultural and historic values of Butrinti (UNESCO). Due to its strategic position with the island of Corfu as its neighbour Saranda cruise tourism has sky rocketed in the recent years. Now Saranda port is enlisted as an important destination for all cruise ships covering the mediterranean.
Saranda is the southernmost city of Albania with a population of about 20 000 inhabitants. The coastline washed by the waters of Ionian sea boasts of itself of crystal clear waters and small beaches hidden away from the civilisation with amazing vistas. As you drive along the Albanian Riviera and around Saranda you will be impressed by the typical mediterranean climate characterised by mild winters and warm summers, a great place to be for those owning a vacation house in the city. The landscape of rocky hills terraced with citrus and olive groves and the evergreen vegetation make this place: a new mediterranean Love.
Places to Visit
The Castle of Lekursi
Situated at the top of the southern hill that dominates the bay of Saranda. From that point can be seen Korfuzi, Delvina, the Coast, Butrinti, and the valley of Pavlla. The castle was built in the XVII-th century, from the Ottoman empire that would control the Scaffolding of Saranda. This fortress has a square plan with ribs of 42 and 44 m and equipped with bulwarks and balls. Today the castle has been resorted and adapted into traditional restaurant, highly frequented, from which you can taste the hospitality and the surrounding landscape.
Castle of Ali Pasha in Butrint
Located near the west coast of Butrint. It was built in 1808 to protect the French fleet who was located at its bases in Corfu and Ionian islands. The castle has a rectangular shape with length a of 30m, and width of 22 m. It is made off four towers, two of which are round and facing the sea, while the other two towers have rectangular shape. The turrets of the guns were intended to prevent any potential landfall through enemy fleets to conquer Butrint through Vivari.
The castle of Kalivo
It is located in the south of Butrint, in the east coast of the lake. The hill where the castle is situated, is protected naturally in the northern and western slopes of it. While on the eastern and southern part, are still retained four meters high walls
Çuka e Ajtoit Castle
Situated near Konispol, at the southern part of Saranda. The fortification was built on a hill that has the shape of a natural pyramid. Here was once an ancient city like Butrint, which belonged to the community of Prasaibs from the Illyrian Epirus. Together with its ruined walls, the archeologists have found public buildings, water cisterns, etc...unfortunately the city was destroyed by barbarian invasions in the V-th century.
Monastery of Kakome
It was built in the XVII-th century, with a fortified style. Located on the Bay of Kakome.
The triangular Castle across Vivari Channel
Situated on the southern bank of the Vivari channel, opposite the entrance to Butrint. It has a triangular shape in the corners and is equipped with round towers, in which the largest and the highest, is the southern one. In the inner part of the castle there are numbers of houses, which belonged to the former garrison. the castle is thought to be built by Anjuins in the XIII-th century. Later it spent various stages of reconstruction of the Venetians and Ali Pashe Tepelena.
The Castle of Mahalla
The Castle of Mahalla was built in 1797 by Ali Pashe Tepelena, to dominate the Pavlla River Valley. Situated between Butrint and Çuka e Ajtoit, its architecture includes a Trapeze shape layout. In every corner it was equipped with fortification towers. Inside the castle was a residence that served to a small garrison
The Castle of Karalibej
It is situated between Butrint and the mountain of Mile. It belongs to the antiquity time, and it functioned as a protection system for the main cities.
Castle of Borsh
During the Medieval Period it has otherwise been called the castle of Sopoti, and is situated near the Borshi village. According to the archeologists it surrounds the ancient city of those times, which belonged to the Homerik period. The city was surrounded by walls, and in this space was set the acropolis and also the public and private buildings. In the medieval period the town was called Sopoti, which retained the name until the Ottoman occupation. An evidence for this period is the mosque that was built up in a corner of the castle in XVIII-th century, which is visible to the visitors from the high way.
Monastery of Saint Mary in Krorez
Not far from the Kakome’s Monastery, located on a hill with a sunning view from the Ionian sea. It is thought that was built by the same person and at the same time with that of Kakome.