Saranda is situated on the water-front, shaped like an amphitheater it overlooks the bay. In the centre is the sea-promanade shaded by palm-trees. The sea-front is comes alive at night, there are clubs, restaurants, cafes. Here you can sip a delicious cup of coffee looking out to sea for just 100 leks (128 leków = 1 euro).
Everyday the ferry docks in the port bringing visitors from the Greek island Corfu visible on the horizon, the trip costs 17.50 euro. The ruins of ancient monuments in the town square remember the time when the city was called Onchesmos. Antiquity coexists with modern structures as peacefully as the catholic, orthodox and muslim places of worship fit into the landscape.
The country around Saranda is brimming with Illyrian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Turkish monuments. The most famous is the city of Butrinti – called the Pompei of the Balkans – is on the world UNESCO list. The town is situated near a lake of the same name that is part of the National Park. The waters of the lake are a mixture of sweet and salty due to the proximity of the sea.
Travelling 24 km from Saranda we come across a beautiful view of the hill-top, that was once an island, crowned by a castle and the sillouette of a city below. The walls surround an area of 5 ha. where we still find the remains of the Akropolis, agora, theatre, gymnasium, public baths, acueduct and nymphaeum, the Temple of Asclepius, early Christian Basilica, baptistery, and Episcopal Palace, as well as roman villas, gatehouses, fortifications, and a Venetian citadel. Mentions of this strategic settlement can be found in writings by Stracon, Thucydides, Virgil, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Julius Cezar visited the roman colony, the site was finally abandoned in the XVI century.
The panorama of the coastline between Saranda and Butrint can be best viewed from the town of Phoinike. The site has been inhabited by man from prehistoric times nad the town developed up to the Byzantine era. Excavation work has uncovered the fortified wall and gateshouses, the acropolis, a Hellenic temple, theatre, Basilica, water cisterns, villas and a large necropolis with Greek and Roman sarcophagi. The archeological work is continuing so you may be surprised with more wonders upon your arrival.
To the north of Saranda in the direction of Vlora stretches what is known as the Albanian Riviera or the Flower Riviera.
Driving from Saranda to Gjirokaster you can visit the Blue Eye a remarkable natural phenomenon. Clear blue water bubbles forth under pressure from a 50 meter deep pool to form a river.
The old capital of Albania Gjirokaster is at a distance of 56 km form Sarnada. The first historic mention of this settlement date from 1336. In 1417 the town was controlled by the Turks. During the socialist period the town was revered as a mausoleum being the birth-place of Enver Hoxha. The town is situated on three hills. On one summit there is a fortress, that has existed since the settlement was first founded. The fort served as a defense during both World War I and II.