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This southernmost city in Albania is quite the multifaceted place! An ideal destination for your holidays, year-round. A location full of virgin beaches and delicious seafood. Sharing a border with Greece, Saranda is also a gateway to this other significant cultural destination. Last but not least, entry fees in the most wonderful parks and destinations listed below are extremely low. So, prepare to get the most beautiful, cultural and historical bang for your buck!
In the midst of stunning natural beauty, you will find the most beautiful ancient ruins of the region in Butrint. Among its ruins, this UNESCO-protected site reveals rare traces of ancient civilizations, going all the way back to the Byzantine period. The small hill is hidden from sight by the surrounding turquoise waters. However, once you make your way to it, the 4th century amphitheater with its stage, floor mosaic and sculptures will leave you speechless.
This massive open-air space is located a few kilometers away from Saranda. Like Butrint, this is a crucial stop for those passionate about tracing early Albanian civilizations. The ruins of the ancient city of Finiq date as far back as the 3rd century B.C. The grand theatre, stairs surrounding the stage, city walls, basilicas, old coins, and a host of other excavated objects ensured this park the status of a protected structure in 2005.
Clearly visible from the southern valley, the monastery is located in Mesopotam Village. The grand structure was built by Byzantine Emperor Monomachos in the 11th century. Nowadays, the ruins, which are believed to be from a different time than the monastery, include a massive construct that has preserved the unmistakable features of a Byzantine-era cult object. What is truly astounding is that the ancient wall of this protected monument has survived in its entirety!
The ruins of the monastery are located in the eastern part of Saranda. The church belongs to the 15th century and has suffered only slight changes in the subsequent centuries. The columns, windows, patterned tiles, and carved facades of this highly valued place of worship are carefully preserved. So are the icons and iconostasis of this church, which are most highly esteemed by Byzantine scholars. Divergent sources date the construction of this monastery to a period prior to the Ottoman invasion.
This monument was discovered in the last century, during the construction of the city’s Palace of Culture. Traces of a mosaic emerged during excavations for the foundations of the new structure. Discoveries by archaeologists indicate that the uncovered objects belong to the early Middle Ages and may be connected to the city’s medieval castle.
The views from this castle overlooking the city, the island of Corfu and the Ksamil islands, are stunning! Like many similar constructions, the castle’s position is strategic in that it controlled enemy advances or movements from the sea. Dating back to the 16th century, the castle has a regular layout with towers guarding its wings. Once upon a time, this fortress housed soldiers who defended the southern part of the country against the first settlements of the Ottoman Empire. Nowadays, during the summer, the castle hosts numerous wonderful musical events!
As the most tropical destination in the country, this is one of Saranda’s most visited spots! Located only a 30-minute drive from the city, this truly mesmerizing cold water spring is easy to find. Waterfalls surrounded by lush vegetation, nearby trout reserves, beautiful scenery and cool, fresh air all combine to create an ideal relaxation spot after a long day of strolling in Saranda. With water temperatures that never exceed 10 degrees Celsius, the vibrantly hued cobalt blue and emerald whirlpool is more than 50 meters in depth. In addition to its unmatched beauty, the Blue Eye represents the ultimate challenge for the brave swimmers out there!
In the heart of southern Albania, only 30 km from Tepelena, sits Nivica, the charming village that is stealing the hearts of local and international tourists. Nivica is the largest village of the beautiful Kurvelesh province, with an area of 150 square meters. As if suspended on air, the village sits at 750 meters above [...]
Every population of the world, even counting the variety in individual personalities, has its quirky characteristics that make it unique. These often comical traits make people nod their heads in approval and laugh out loud. As you think of all the Albanians you have known or will get to know, keep these five things in [...]
The quieter beaches of Albania often get less of the limelight but they are where we find the tranquility and intimacy we crave without sacrificing any beauty or fun. We understand that many of you would like some peace and quiet this summer. That’s why IntoAlbania has traveled from the north of the country to [...]
A new gem has been added to the already beautiful and quickly-expanding chain of services in Petrela, the lovely village right outside the capital of Tirana. Once you visit, you will agree that this place will lend a fresh new flavor to your Saturday, spent pampering yourself with delicious food and fresh air in the [...]
The largest bookstore chain in Albania handpicks the must-reads of summer 2020. Compiling a summer reading list is one of the most challenging tasks when it comes to vacation preparation. Up there with picking the right destination and booking the room with a view, selecting which books to take with you, or upload to your [...]
Vacationing has definitely changed this year so IntoAlbania pitches in to offer some inspiration for a fun and safe summer in the country. All we can think about in the warm summer months is how to best spend them before they end. Some of us may have already planned our vacations while others are more [...]
Its stunning mountains and beautiful landscape guarantee that you will find an amazing variety of plants in Kukës. Besnik Hallaçi, a biologist and the director of the Administration of Protected Areas in Kukës, has selected 10 of the oldest and most unique plants of the area for IntoAlbania. This perennial herbaceous plant, is found in [...]
Entrance nr. 18 on Him Kolli St. in Tirana will be, from now on, not only the newest publishing house for Albanian up-and-coming authors but an ideal workspace where everything is about books. Let’s begin with the name of this new cultural hotspot: Berk. If it sounds a lot like “book,” that’s because it coincidentally [...]
Hailed as the Thailand of Albania, the pristine Shala River and its surroundings are a spectacular summer alternative to the Riviera and other coastline favorites. Known for its clear aquamarine waters, Shala River’s popularity has sky rocketed in the last few years with more locals looking to the north for their summer fun. Perfect for [...]