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This article is about things to do in Saranda. Saranda is a cozy coastal town in Albania, only 20 minutes away by boat from Corfu, Greece. Lately, tourism has flourished and more people have found their way to this hidden gem.
The town has good accommodation possibilities as well as many restaurants. There are also plenty of beautiful and nice places to visit not that far from the city. Saranda, along with being beautiful itself, is a good starting point for further adventures.
In this article, you can read more about the best attractions and things to do in Saranda as a tourist.
Explore the Synagogue
The Synagogue of Saranda is a remaining memory of the Jewish population that lived there a long time ago. It has many buildings and a school. The area also has a famous community center. The floor of the synagogues is covered with ornate and delicate Jewish mosaics. The floor mosaic has designs of the menorah and shofar. Besides this, there are designs of traditional fruit.
Enjoy the Beaches of Ksamil
Ksamil is Europe’s newest pearl. Although more and more people find their way here, there are still plenty of places where you can be alone. That said, the beaches there are full of fun and music.
Ksamil is best known for its four islands that you can get to by boat. All of the beaches, though, are full of white sand and crystal clear, turquoise water.
Take the bus from the center of Saranda to Ksamil and jump off at the first stop in Ksamil. From there, it’s about a 500-meter walk to the main beaches. If you want to explore a different beach, just continue along the road.
Visit the Ancient Ruins at The Saint Nicholas Monastery
Saint Nicholas Monastery is a large-sized church that looks unique because is made of white blocks from the pre-Christian era. The church was destroyed and reconstructed multiple times since then. Ancient ruins are clearly visible on the church wall, and the towers are also worth seeing.
7 more things to do in Saranda
Explore the Amphitheatre of Finiq
Finiq in Saranda is an ancient town with remains as far back as the Bronze Age. An Illyrian tribe in ancient times used the fortified town as a living area. People like to visit the area and see the famous amphitheater of Finiq, as well as the ancient objects housed within.
Taste the Delicious Local Fish & Seafood
Saranda and Ksamil are known for their large selection of delicious fresh fish and seafood dishes.
We would suggest the restaurant “Mare Nostrum Cuisine” for fish and seafood dishes. Be prepared to book a table in advance as it is a popular place.
Travel Back in Time as you Visit the 40 Saints Monastery
40 Saints Monastery is an ancient building built in the sixth century with a large number of modifications and reconstructions. The upper part of the monastery was destroyed during the First World War.
Make sure you get permission to enter and see the monastery crypt.
Marvel at the Butrinti Archeological Site
Butrint is about 40 minutes from Saranda by bus or car. The town was originally part of Illyria and the oldest ruins go all the way back to 800 BC. Butrint was also once part of the Roman Empire. There are several buildings from this period, including the famous amphitheater.
Since 1992 Butrint is part of UNESCO. Exploring the ancient ruins of Butrint is absolutely one of the “must-do” things in Saranda.
Explore Saranda Promenade
If you happen to go to Saranda, you must see the promenade. This wide boardwalk lies along a horseshoe-shaped bay with an attractive public beach area filled with sand and pebbles. Explore the beach by water on hired paddleboats. Bask in the sunlight on the promenade-skirted beach on sunbeds. Enjoy walking and strolling on the path with family amidst palm trees on the walkways. On the way, you can stop to eat ice cream from the roadside carts. There are also food options at the cafes and restaurants with a good selection of seafood.
Visit Lukovë Village and Beach
Lukove village is situated beside the sea in Saranda. Its famous beach makes this village a favorite summertime destination. The beach has sand, pebbles, and aquamarine water. Surrounding the beach are abandoned cement bunkers, relics of communism. The hillside of the village has beautiful olive and citrus trees.
Rent a Car and find more things to do in Saranda
You can rent a Ford Focus for 24 hours for only €30. This should give you plenty of time to drive around the Blue Eye national park or to the nearby city of Gjirokastra (a UNESCO site since 2005). The car is the perfect alternative because it gives you the freedom to explore at your own leisure and take your time.
More things to do in Saranda
Swim at the Mirror, Pulebardha, Manastiri or Gjiri i Hartes beach
On the things to do in Saranda, one must consider visiting one or all of these beaches. Located a bit further from the populated areas, these beaches offer sunbeds and bars, and restaurants. The water looks incredibly clean, deep, and inviting.
Visit the Lekursi Castle
Located inside the city, on top of a hill, once a beautiful castle, now a restaurant. The Lekursi castle is the perfect place to have a break in the afternoon and admire the city lights, the sunset, and the Ionian Sea.
Check out the Vivari Canal
The Vivari Canal is located beside Butrint and used to be a place of nymphs and fairies who would steal one’s heart away. Take a boat ride towards Ali Pasha’s castle that is located in this part of Albania.
Dive or Snorkel in Saranda
The Saranda Diving Center is one of the best options to go Scuba Diving in Saranda. the underwater environment in Sarandë has a temperature that ranges from 15 °C up to 26 °C starting from the surface down to 10 meters of depth. There are light currents in the area which make it possible for a variety of marine life to thrive. The best part about scuba diving in Sarandë is the visibility that the area offers.
Most of the time it is between 12 meters to 15 meters and on the best days, it is up to 30 meters. Dive sites in Sarandë are too many, and it is impossible for them to be explored in a year. Saranda Diving Center offers organized dives in both Sarandë and Ksamil depending on the dive plan that we have for the day, which is heavily affected by the weather conditions.
One of the dive sites that we mostly suggest is the underwater park of six shipwrecks found in Ksamil. The Albanian government ten years ago sunk six different communist army ships in order to create an underwater park for divers. Ships are found at a depth of 12 meters up to 30 meters.
St. George’s Monastery
This is a constructed church from the 14th century. It is located on the hill of Dema and offers stunning views over the Ionian See on one side, and the Butrint Lake to the other side. Down the hill there is also Monastery Beach, one of the best beaches in Saranda.
Find more about our day tours and things to do in Saranda throughout the Saranda area.