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Kamila Brzozowska is a Polish young woman who visits Albania quite often and regularly publishes posts and photos of her experiences on her Polish-language blog, a collection of personal essays, practical travel information, and more.
In Albania, coffee comes first! Saranda has a great advantage as many of its cafés are overlooking the sea. You can enjoy a cheap cup of coffee while watching the cobalt blue sky and azure waters of the Ionian Sea. I have many favorites but would definitely recommend New Space. Order a strong espresso, like they prefer it in Albania or, on a hot day, a freddo.
The city boulevard. In the morning, I often go to the little harbour and watch the fishermen with their fresh catches. You will find fresh fish, seafood and even a crab or two trying to escape.
The fruit-and-vegetable market. It is a perfect place to buy local souvenirs and some delicacies to take home. I love the mandarin honey I have gotten there and the great selection of locally-made fresh marmalades, in general. But there’s more: olive oil, raki or wine and a great selection of spices, chamomile, or çaj mali (mountain tea). Another must: trying seasonal fruit, which might include opuntia, pomegranate, figs or melon.
I like the area with the three religious buildings in the city centre. It is fascinating! Firstly, the ruins of a synagogue built in the 5th century, located near the park, next to the taxi area. Very close to it, the minaret of the mosque where you may catch the chant of the muezzin at prayer time. Lastly, the Orthodox Church with very nice architecture and beautiful icons inside.
Here in Saranda, there’s a daily supply of fresh seafood which always makes it a great option for lunch. I recommend Summer Restaurant, located in the main boulevard, or Mare Nostrum, a bit further away but still close to the boulevard and overlooking the sea. Both are delicious! The pastas with seafood, mussels or calamari are always great and “the white heart” as well, a salad with fresh fruits.
I pick Restorant Caci because all of their dishes are my favorites! Fish soup, meat, salads, tavë kosi (yogurt-based casserole with lamb), pilaf (rice), barbunja (broiled green beans). I love the combination of traditional Albanian cuisine and fresh seafood dishes. Very nice selection, good prices, friendly service, and great wine!
At this hour, I prefer a sweet treat! In Saranda, the selection of desserts is pretty nice, all of them very sweet and the perfect complement to black coffee. At Restaurant Limani, right by the sea, I usually order a trilece, krem karamel or zuppa.
Beach time. Sometimes I choose a public beach while, on other occasions, I treat myself to a private one, set up with umbrellas and a beach bar. I enjoy spending time here, drinking something nice, lounging in the sun and swimming in the Ionian.
Sunset at Lëkursi Castle or Wine Bar Kristiano up on the hill. I usually take a taxi to the former but prefer walking to the latter – it takes about 30 minutes to get there from the centre. The view over the city is incredible from both places. The sunset looks different each time, but always equally beautiful. Both places have great food and wine and if you’re lucky, at Lëkursi, you may come across an Albanian night with traditional music and dance.
In terms of places with music and nice drinks, I would recommend Orange or Lounge Bar. They are right by the sea, at the end of the promenade. For a quieter night, Paradiso is a nice choice, also close to the sea and with a great view of the city.
If you would like to know more about Kamila’s activities in Albania, you may also follow her on Instagram where she keeps a record of the most beautiful places she has encountered.
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