Saranda

Saranda Albania, or Sarande as it is also known, is perhaps the most popular beach town on the coast of Albania. Located on the coast of the Ionian Sea to the south of the country, Saranda boasts a pleasantly mild Mediterranean climate and lovely natural scenery. The Saranda beaches are relatively untouched and secluded, making this a perfect romantic spot for a honeymoon or for some much-needed R&R.

Saranda Albania is located just across a narrow strip of water from the Greek island of Corfu. Travelers vacationing in Corfu can take a ferry from there to Albania for a taste of the Saranda beaches, or the other way round. The town itself is spread out around a beautiful bay, with hotels right on the waterfront and a promenade along the water that is lined with some nice restaurants. Prices for accommodation and food are very reasonable, and you can get a good deal by renting a vacation apartment for a week or two. Be warned that if you dislike touristy places, this may not be your favorite spot in Albania, as it is getting to be more crowded and tourist-oriented than most other parts of the country.

Nevertheless, Saranda is a great base from which to explore some of the most excellent sights in Albania, such as the ruins at Butrint, a short bus ride away. Butrint is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the archeological site houses ruins from the Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods. There is a Roman amphitheater, some wonderful mosaics, the remains of temples, and much more, and the site is surprisingly uncrowded for such an amazing experience.

High above Saranda towers the castle of Lekures, which was built in the 1500s by the Sultan Suleyman. The ruins are quite impressive, and the location even more so, as you have a spectacular view of Saranda and its harbor, as well as more distant sights such as Butrint Lagoon and more of the beaches up the coast. A restaurant located at the castle allows you to drink in these sights along with your meal.

While there are some pebbled Saranda beaches in the town itself that are fine if you just want a swim, the more beautiful sandy beaches are located farther afield. Saranda is a good gateway to a whole string of villages and beaches along the Albanian Riviera, one of the most well-known of which is the beach village of Ksamil, located about a half-hour drive south of Saranda and conveniently close to Butrint as well. Ksamil is a lovely little town on a wide swath of white sandy beach, perfect for relaxing on a lounge chair and swimming in the mild blue waters. There are a number of inexpensive restaurants dotted along the beach and a hotel in town. There are even some small islands located just offshore, that you could swim to for fun.

North of Saranda is the beach town of Borsh, one of the most popular areas to enjoy the sand and sun, as it has the largest beach on the Ionian coast. It is a beautiful uncrowded beach, with a few bars and snack shacks, and is famous for its high-quality olive oil.

With the best selection of tourist facilities in the area, Saranda Albania is an excellent place to begin your exploration of the beauties of the Albanian coast.

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