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Saranda is a fantastic place to base yourself for a holiday in the south of Albania. Whether you are looking for the ultimate beach getaway, planning an Albania road trip, or seeking the best place for a long-term stay in Albania, Saranda ticks all of those boxes and more. 

Being the largest town on the Albanian Riviera, Saranda is hands-down the best base to experience the beauty and culture that southern Albania has to offer. There are so many amazing day trips from Saranda that it can be difficult to know where to start.

During my 3 month stay in Saranda, I made sure to visit every part of the Albanian Riviera, some places even more than once. I created this detailed guide to the best day trips from Saranda to help you make the most of your time in southern Albania.

Saranda is surrounded by stunning beaches, historic towns and ruins, mesmerizing landscapes, and amazing restaurants, all within easy reach from the city. There will be a Saranda day trip to suit everyone on this list. 

I have personally done every day trip listed below and I can guarantee that they are all a fantastic way to see the highlights near Saranda. Keep reading to find all the essential info to plan your day trip such as how to get there, the best tours to book, where to rent a car in Saranda and more!

Ksamil Beach, Saranda, Albania

Ksamil is one of the best day trips from Saranda!

12 Exciting Day Trips from Saranda, Albania + How to Get There

Ksamil

A holiday in Albania is certainly not complete without at least one beach day in Ksamil. The small village of Ksamil is only a 20 minute drive south of Saranda and is known for its spectacular beaches that are comparable to the Maldives. 

Kick back in your sun lounger and enjoy a relaxed day of eating fresh seafood, sipping cocktails and taking a dip in the most beautiful turquoise water you’ve ever seen. This is all possible for a fraction of the cost of other popular European beach destinations.

Ksamil Beach, Albania

Ksamil Beach on a perfect October day

Sound too good to be true? Well there is a catch. If you take a day trip to Ksamil from Saranda during peak season from June – August, you will be met with crowds on any beach in Ksamil.

There was once a time when Ksamil was a hidden gem of Europe, this is unfortunately no longer the case. Some blogs will still try to sell you the idea that Ksamil is an uncrowded paradise at any time of the year but that’s just not true. 

The good news is that you can still experience the charm of Ksamil’s crowd-free beaches however you’ll need to plan your trip outside of peak season. When I visited Albania in September/October I had the absolute best experience. With sunny 28°C days and pristine beaches almost all to myself, I truly cannot recommend it enough.

Most beautiful beaches in Saranda, Albania

The incredible view from Guvat Restaurant in September

Tips & Info for Day Tripping From Saranda to Ksamil

  • Sunbeds in Ksamil range from 1000 to 2500 lek for a pair of beds and a parasol for the day. Prices are on the higher end at peak season. 
  • My favourite spots to spend a beach day in Ksamil were Tre Ishujt or Poda Beach Bar on Ksamil’s main beach and Blue Diamond Beach Bar on Lori Beach. 
  • To explore the Ksamil Islands you can rent kayaks or paddle boats for around 1000 lek per hour. Swimming to the islands is also possible as they’re quite close to the shore. You can also catch a ride over with a local on their private boat for a fee.
  • My favourite restaurants in Ksamil for great food and beautiful views were Guvat and Restorant Korali. Guvat has a huge menu full of big salads, pastas, seafood and traditional Albanian dishes all for reasonable prices and a priceless view to look at while you dine.
  • As pretty much all of the beaches in Ksamil are occupied by bars/restaurants, this isn’t the kind of place where you can lay a towel down for free. During off season this might be possible but during the summer you will most likely be asked to leave if you didn’t pay for a sunbed. 
    Beach in Saranda Albania

    Sparkling turquoise water and the cutest thatched umbrellas

How to get to Ksamil from Saranda

Car – If you’ve rented a car then it’s an easy 20 minute drive following one road all the way from the center of Saranda to Ksamil. Most of the beach bars/restaurants in Ksamil offer free parking for customers.

Driving a car is the most convenient way to get there however you will have to be mindful of your alcohol consumption throughout the day. The other option would be to take a taxi there and back which costs around 1500 – 2500 lek (15 – 25 euros) one way.

Bus – You can catch the public bus to Ksamil from this bus stop in the center of Saranda. The bus offers frequent departures throughout the day and it costs 150 lek per person (cash only).

The bus makes several stops on the way to Ksamil so it will take a fair bit longer than driving or taking a taxi. The bus displays “Butrint” on the front window as this is the final destination however it will stop in a few different locations in Ksamil on the way.

An aerial view looking down at Ksamil Islands in Albania

A bird’s eye view of Ksamil Beach and islands

Butrint National Park

The ancient ruins of Butrint are must-see for anyone visiting southern Albania and they make a fantastic day trip from Saranda. Located close to the Greek border only 5 minutes south of Ksamil, it’s an easy day trip that can be done by car or bus. 

Butrint National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich history that goes back to the 8th century BC. As you walk through the park you will see well-preserved ruins from many different civilizations including Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and even Ottoman. 

Once you’ve finished exploring the park, you will eventually end up at the Butrint Museum which provides a deeper insight into the history of the ruins. There is a big collection of ancient artefacts and displays showcasing the park’s history in chronological order.

I was so impressed by this amazing archaeological park and the natural beauty that surrounds it. If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the 1000 lek entry fee, I can assure you it certainly is!

Butrint - Day trips from Saranda

The ancient Roman Theatre in Butrint National Park

Butrint National Park can be seen in around 2 – 3 hours which won’t take up an entire day. Here’s a suggested day trip itinerary:

Wake up and have a slow morning, heading over to Marini for a big, delicious brunch (my favourite brunch restaurant in Saranda). Make your way over to Butrint National Park and spend a few hours exploring the ruins and visiting the museum. 

Once you’ve finished, stop in at one of the amazing beaches near Saranda for a dip in the ocean on your way back to town. My top picks for a refreshing swim would be Pulëbardha Beach or Mirror Beach, both stunning beaches. 

When you’re ready for dinner head up to Natyra Restaurant for a traditional meal with a spectacular valley and mountain view. After dinner you will be perfectly situated to be at Lëkurësi Castle just in time to watch the sunset over Saranda. This view at sunset will blow you away, it is truly unreal. 

Day Trips from Saranda Albania

View from Lëkurësi Castle at sunset

Tips & Info for Day Tripping From Saranda to Butrint

  • Entry to Butrint costs 1000 lek per person and the opening hours are from 9am – 7pm daily. 
  • If you take your time exploring every corner of the park, stopping to read each sign and visiting the museum, it shouldn’t take longer than 3 hours to see everything. 
  • If you are visiting during the peak of summer, it’s a good idea to go in the morning to avoid walking around in the heat of the day. 
  • For beautiful lighting and minimal crowds, visiting the park just before sunset results in an even more magical experience (especially if you’re into photography). 
  • Don’t forget to wear comfortable walking shoes, the park is pretty big and you’ll be doing plenty of walking. 
  • Once you arrive, pick up a map to guide you around the park and provide some background info on each site.
  • There is a small café in the park selling food and drinks however you can also pack your own lunch and drinks in a backpack. 
The best day trips from Saranda, Albania

Exploring Butrint National Park

How to get to Butrint from Saranda

Car – Driving a car to Butrint is the best option, especially if you want the flexibility to stop at a beach for a swim on the way back. Free parking is available for visitors to the National Park. The drive from Saranda only takes 25 minutes.

Bus – Getting to Butrint by bus means catching the exact same bus that goes to Ksamil and staying on for an extra 5 minutes. The bus leaves regularly throughout the day from this bus stop in the center of Saranda. It costs 150 lek per person for one way, cash only. 

Guided Tour – This top-rated tour departs from Saranda and visits Butrint National Park, the Blue Eye and Lëkurësi Castle all in one day. A great choice for those with limited time so you can tick off several of Saranda’s top attractions in a single day. View tour prices and availability here.

Butrint Archaeological Park

A beautiful scene captured at Butrint during sunset

Lukova Beach 

The Albanian Riviera is dotted with pristine beaches and secluded turquoise bays extending from Saranda in the south to Vlora in the north. One of the best hidden gems I found during my time in Albania was Lukova Beach.

This immaculate stretch of white sand with crystal clear water and tall towering cliffs is a perfect example of the natural beauty you’ll find along the riviera. What makes this beach so special? It’s a little out of the way and getting there requires following a winding mountain road (watch out for goats!).

Those who make the effort are rewarded by a much quieter and laidback Albanian beach experience. Let’s face it, Ksamil is beautiful but the blaring music from the beach bars and clubs is not for everyone.

If you’re seeking to escape the noise and crowds in a truly special place, then look no further. Lukova Beach was hands down my favourite off-the-beaten path day trips from Saranda. When I visited in September, there was only a handful of other people there. 

Lukova Beach, Saranda Albania

Lukova Beach, a gem that is not to be missed

Tips for Visiting Lukova Beach on a Day Trip from Saranda

  • The beach is quite big and there are plenty of beach bars and restaurants that offer sun beds for daily rental, prices vary throughout the season but you can expect around 1000 – 2000 lek per day. However the beach is big enough that you don’t have to pay for one. You can simply find your own space to lay a towel down if you don’t plan to stay for the whole day.
  • During September most of the little bars and restaurants close for the season but it is still a beautiful place to enjoy a swim. 
  • There is a restaurant right on the beach called Hi Lukovë which has excellent ratings and a spectacular view over the ocean. I was very excited to try this place however it was already closed by the time I got there. 
  • There is free parking however spaces may be limited at peak season.
  • If you want to explore more beaches in the area, check out Buneci Beach and Borsh Beach (the largest beach in Albania) which are both an easy drive from Lukova.
An off-the-beaten path day trip from Saranda

I had the whole beach to myself at sunset

How to get to Lukova Beach from Saranda

Car – As there is no direct bus route from Saranda to Lukova, getting there is best done by rental car. Rental cars are pretty cheap in Albania so it’s well worth it to get one even if it’s just for a day or two. 

The drive from Saranda takes around 40 minutes by following the winding mountain highway north of the city. Once you reach the small village of Lukova, you will make a sharp turn to the left when you see a big sign for Lukova Beach.

Continue along the winding paved road that leads all the way down to beach, see Google maps directions here. This is where I saw several groups of goats walking casually on the road.

Bus – To get there by bus you will have to take the bus that goes from Saranda to Himare and ask to be let off in Lukova. From the village, you will have to continue by foot for around 35 minutes to get to the beach. The bus leaves from this bus stop in Saranda. 

The bus costs 800 lek one way and the departure times change seasonally. Be sure to confirm return bus times when buying your ticket to avoid getting stuck in Lukova for the night. 

Lukova Beach in Saranda -Albania

Soaking up the sun at Lukova Beach

The Blue Eye

A visit to the natural spring called Syri i Kaltër or “The Blue Eye” is one of the most well-known and popular day trips from Saranda. Nobody comes to Saranda and skips out on the Blye Eye, it’s just that simple. There is some mystery and magic surrounding the spring and it has long been associated with myths and legends in Albanian folklore. 

Located in the lush countryside, this natural phenomenon is a freshwater spring that reaches a depth of more than 50 meters. The vibrant turquoise water entices visitors to jump in for a swim to cool down on a hot day. You can swim there but keep in mind it’s extremely cold! 

Blue Eye day trip from Saranda

Gorgeous scenery around the Blue Eye

There are several restaurants in very beautiful spots near the Blue Eye. I really enjoyed walking around the area to admire the natural beauty, taking some photos and then having lunch at one of the cute little restaurants near the river. 

On your way back to Saranda from the Blue Eye, I would suggest stopping at Mesopotam Monastery along the way. It’s a surprisingly well-preserved 11th century church in a really pretty setting. Although the doors weren’t open when I stopped in there, it’s still a cool place to have a quick look at. 

If you make it back to Saranda in time for sunset, I highly recommend ending your day with a nice glass of wine at Kristiano’s Wine Bar. With unbeatable views and no crowds of people, this was easily my favourite spot for a sunset drink in Saranda. 

Mesopotam Monastery, Saranda

Mesopotam Monastery

Tips for Visiting The Blue Eye on a Day Trip from Saranda

  • A day trip to the Blue Eye from Saranda will take around 4 hours in total. It takes 35 minutes to get there and it will take you 2-3 hours to walk around the park, check out the Blue Eye and have something to eat. 
  • Once you arrive in the parking lot, you will have to pay 200 lek for parking. Continue by foot following signs to the Blue Eye and you’ll come across a person in a booth selling entry tickets at 50 lek per person, be sure to have some cash with you. 
  • The Blue Eye is open daily from 8am – 8pm. It goes without saying that you can expect crowds and tour groups if you visit anytime from June – August.
  • When I visited the Blue Eye, I wasn’t aware that there’s quite a long walk from the parking lot to the spring. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and prepare for a 30-40 minute walk there and back. 
  • Don’t forget to bring a swim suit and a fast-drying towel if you plan to swim. I came prepared but then didn’t go in past my knees because the water was too cold for me!
The Blue Eye of Albania on a day trip from Saranda

The mysterious Blue Eye

How to Get to the Blue Eye from Saranda

Car – As with all the other day trips from Saranda, having a rental car to get to the Blue Eye will give you so much more flexibility than relying on the bus. You can stop whenever you want and take as long as you want exploring the spring. 

The drive to the Blue Eye from Saranda is easy and takes no longer than 35 minutes following a scenic mountain pass in the direction of Gjirokaster. Here are the driving directions on Google maps. 

Bus – Getting the bus to the Blue Eye is straightforward and costs 300 lek per person. To buy your ticket and see a current bus timetable, head into the bus station in Saranda. 

The station is located near the old Synagogue, you’ll see a big sign at the front with the words “Tirane, Gjirokaster, Blue Eye”. Click here to see the exact location on Google Maps. 

Guided Tour – This full-day tour makes several stops at some of the top sites around Saranda. The first stop of the day will be at the Blue Eye followed by Lëkurësi Castle and Butrint National Park. This is the perfect way to see a few of Saranda’s highlights without navigating bus schedules or renting a car. Find tour prices and availability here

 

Restaurant near the Blue Eye of Saranda

A restaurant near the Blue Eye

Gjirokastër

The captivating stone city of Gjirokastër is one of the best places to visit in Albania. It makes an awesome stop on any road trip through southern Albania and it’s the perfect day trip from Saranda. 

The impressively well-preserved Ottoman-era architecture is the reason that the “Old Town” has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled within the Drino Valley and surrounded by mountains, the dramatic landscapes around Gjirokastër only add to its charm.

Take a wander through the bazaar soaking up the rich fusion of Mediterranean and Ottoman influences. This is the place to browse a few shops and pick up a souvenir or two and then stop to enjoy some local cuisine at one of the many traditional restaurants.

Make your way up the steep slopes to the 12th century Gjirokastër Castle that dominates the skyline above the Old Town. The views from the top are unbelievably epic. 

The Old Bazaar in Gjirokaster

The Old Bazaar in Gjirokastër

Tips for Visiting Gjirokastër on a Day Trip from Saranda

  • It’s easy to spend a full day in Gjiokastër so I would advise to leave early in the morning to make the most of your time. This is also important when searching for a parking spot in town, if you leave too late you may be out of luck. 
  • Many people, myself included, end up falling in love with this charming town and wish they could spend longer there. If you have the time to spare, you won’t regret spending the night in a cute guesthouse.
  • The cobblestone streets and steep hill to the castle make for some pretty uneven ground. Do yourself a favour and wear your comfiest walking shoes! 
Exploring Gjirokaster on a day trip from Saranda

Exploring Gjirokastër Castle

How to get to Gjirokastër from Saranda

Car – The drive to Gjirokastër from Saranda takes one hour following the main road that leads to Tirana, see Google maps directions here

Bus – Buses to Gjirokastër operate regularly from Saranda for 300 lek per person. Get on the bus at the main Saranda bus stop and the driver will let you off in the lower part of Gjirokastër. From there it’s about a 30 minute walk to the Old Town or a 5 minute taxi ride. 

Guided Tour – Check out this small group tour that departs from Saranda and spends the day seeing the highlights of Gjirokastër. The tour includes transportation to and from Saranda via AC minivan, entry ticket to Gjirokastër Castle and a local guide. Find tour prices and availability here. 

Gjirokaster, Albania

Amazing view from the castle

Shpella e Pëllumbave

This small beach is sandwiched between a sheer cliff and the azure waves of the Ionian Sea. In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful beaches on the Albanian Riviera.

While it may not be the easiest beach name to pronounce, it literally translates to “Cave of Pigeons”. The beach is located on the drive from Saranda to Ksamil, around 15 minutes from town by car. 

Getting there involves driving along a dirt road once you turn off the main road and then following a steep trail down to the beach for 10 minutes. The final stretch will take you down a set of steep stairs, those with mobility issues may want to avoid this one altogether. 

My favourite beach in Saranda, Albania

Visit the jaw dropping Shpella e Pëllumbave on a day trip from Saranda

The fact that this beach is not the easiest to reach will make you appreciate its beauty even more. If you’re up for it, you can even swim over to the neighbouring Mirror Beach which is located on the other side of the rocks. 

There are facilities at Shpella e Pëllumbave making it easy to spend a full day lounging on the beach, enjoying a refreshing swim and admiring the unique landscapes.

Tips for Visiting Shpella e Pëllumbave on a Day Trip from Saranda

  • This beautiful beach was once an off the beaten path gem however more and more people are discovering it every year. I would suggest arriving early if you go during peak season so you can secure a beach chair. 
  • There is a restaurant/bar where you can order food and use the toilet.
  • When I visited in September I decided to lay my towel out on the beach instead of renting a chair. This wasn’t a problem however during busier times the restaurant staff may ask for money. 
  • You can rent a set of sun loungers with a parasol for the day ranging from 1500 – 2000 lek for a pair depending on season. 
  • When I was there in Sept 2023 I did not have to pay for parking however I read several comments on Google reviews where people mentioned a parking fee of 200 lek. I suspect this is yet another way for locals to profit from tourism during peak season. 
Shpella e Pëllumbave, Saranda's best beaches

Swimming in Gatorade water at Shpella e Pëllumbave

How to get to Shpella e Pëllumbave from Saranda

Car – To get there follow Rruga Butrinti from Saranda in the direction of Ksamil. Turn off the road when you see signs for Mirror Beach (Plazhi i Pasqyrave) but continue following the unpaved road until you see a second sign for Shpella e Pëllumbave.

Keep driving along the dirt road until you reach the parking lot. The exact route to the beach is quite confusing on Google Maps so I’ve linked to the spot where you exit the main road and then you’ll have to follow the signs from there. 

Bus – Get on the bus to Butrint from this bus stop and ask the driver to let you off at the exit on the main road. From there you will need to continue by foot for around 30 minutes on the gravel road. Bring plenty of water, a sun hat and good walking shoes for the hike down.  

Day Trip from Saranda - Shpella-e-Pellumbave

A spectacular beach tucked into the cliffside

Himare & Qeparo

A visit to Saranda is not complete without taking a drive along the stunning Albanian Riviera. Spend the day exploring the beautiful beaches, charming villages, and striking landscapes that this iconic drive is known for. 

The small seaside village of Himare is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious lunch by the sea and relax on the beach. The village has a peaceful atmosphere to it providing a nice escape from bustling Saranda and Ksamil. 

Visit Himare Beach -One of the best day trips from Saranda

Himare Beach

On your day trip from Saranda, make a stop in the nearby village of Qeparo. A short drive into the mountains will bring you to the abandoned Old Town of Qeparo, high up in the hills. Take a walk through the narrow alleyways and catch a glimpse at the awe inspiring coastal views. 

Some other highlights of driving the Albanian Riviera include stopping at Borsh Beach, the largest beach in Albania, and a visit to Porto Palermo Castle, an Ottoman-era fortress not far from Himare. 

Tips for Visiting Himare & Qeparo on a Day Trip from Saranda

  • Aim to make an early start if you want to see all the highlights of the riviera in one day. 
  • A suggested itinerary for the day: stop at Borsh Beach for a swim, explore the Old Town of Qeparo, have lunch and spend a few hours in Himare, visit Porto Palermo Castle on the way back to Saranda. 
  • To make the most of this day trip from Saranda I would advise renting a car or booking a tour. The bus doesn’t allow for the same flexibility.
Upper Qeparo, Albania

Upper Qeparo

How to get to Himare & Qeparo from Saranda

Car – The total driving time from Saranda to Himare is 1:15 by following the coastal highway north of Saranda. See driving directions with all suggested stops here

Bus – The public bus to Himare departs several times per day from this bus stop in Saranda and tickets cost 800 lek for one way. Be sure to confirm return bus times when booking your ticket.

The schedule changes throughout the year and there’s a chance that you might have to book a room for one night instead of returning on the same day. Only take the bus if you are prepared to spend the night in Himare.

Guided Tour – Get picked up at your hotel in Saranda and whisked away on a full day trip exploring the gems of the Albanian Riviera. Points of interest on this tour include Borsh Beach, Porto Palermo, Qeparo, Himare and Dhermi. Find tour prices and availability here. 

The best day trips from Saranda - Himara

A cute building in Himare

Kakome & Krorëza

As you wander along Saranda’s beachfront promenade you’ll notice a huge number of local tour companies advertising boat trips from Saranda’s harbour. Most of these day trips include a visit to the spectacular beaches of Kakome and Krorëza on their itineraries.

With water that looks like a swimming pool, these are truly some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. The fact that these beaches are only accessible by boat means there will be less crowds than the beaches in Saranda or Ksamil.

Kakome Bay

Tips for Visiting Kakome & Krorëza on a Day Trip from Saranda

  • I went with a small tour company called Kristi 21 Boat Tours, I saw their WhatsApp number advertised on their poster and contacted them directly. I paid 20 euros for the day and was able to book on a tour for the following day. 
  • Overall the day was quite fun with music on the boat and plenty of time to stop and swim at both beaches. Once you arrive at Krorëza, you’ll have the option to buy lunch and drinks at one of the restaurants on the beach. 
  • There are many locals offering small-group tours on their own boats but you’ll also notice a few pirate-style boats that take larger groups out for the day. 
  • Prices range from 20-50 euros per person depending on the itinerary and whether lunch is included or not.

How to get to Kakome & Krorëza from Saranda

Guided Tour – The only way to get there is by booking a boat tour from Saranda. This is easy to do once you arrive in town however you can also book it online if you wish. Check out prices and availability here.

Plazhi i Krorëzës

The stunning Krorëza Beach

Berat

Located in central Albania, the UNESCO city of Berat is rich in history and culture. The Ottoman influences are still very much alive throughout the streets which can be seen in its beautifully preserved architecture. 

Built into the sloping hills of the Osum River Valley, Berat is known for its unique white-washed houses, each one with distinctive windows and terracotta roofs. You may have heard it referred to as ‘The City of a Thousand Windows’. 

The centrepiece of Berat is the ancient castle which occupies a hill overlooking the city and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Within the castle walls you will find churches, mosques, historical buildings, restaurants and even guest houses (yes, you can stay there and I highly recommend it!)

Berat makes a fantastic stop on any Albania road trip itinerary however it can also be done in a day trip from Saranda if you leave early enough. If your schedule allows for it, I recommend spending a night there as Berat has so much to offer. 

Berat, Albania

Panoramic view from Berat Castle

Tips for Visiting Berat on a Day Trip from Saranda

  • Considering its distance from Saranda (190 km), you will want to leave at the crack of dawn in order to make the most of your day trip. 
  • Spend some time exploring the castle and admiring the surrounding landscapes from the newly built viewing platform within the castle walls. Berat Castle is open 24 hours and is free to visit.
  • Dive into centuries worth of history at the Onufri Museum which houses a collection of ancient artefacts and religious art.
  • Get lost in the winding alleys of the Mangalem Quarter and then cross the famous Gorica Bridge to get a different perspective of the city from the Gorica neighbourhood.
  • Enjoy panoramic views over Berat from one of the restaurants within the castle walls.
Berat, Albania

Drinks with a view in Berat

How to get to Berat from Saranda

Car – It takes 3 hours to reach Berat from Saranda and then 3 hours to return, it goes without saying that it will be a long day. See this map for driving directions.

Bus – The bus to Berat departs from Saranda at 8am from the bus station for 1500 lek/person. At the time of writing there are only 2 bus departures per day from Berat to Saranda at 8am and 2pm. If you take the bus plan to spend the night in Berat and return the next day. 

Guided Tour – Discover the highlights of Berat on this organised day trip from Saranda. Enjoy a tour of the oldest city in Albania with a professional guide to share fascinating facts and stories throughout the day. Find tour prices and availability here.

Berat - Best Day Trips from Saranda

Berat, the city of a thousand windows

Corfu

Why not take a day trip from Saranda to a totally different country? The Greek island of Corfu is so close that you can catch a high-speed ferry there in just 30 minutes. 

The Old Town of Kerkyra in Corfu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with history and interesting things to see. It’s easy to spend more than one day in Corfu but here are some of the highlights that you can’t miss on a day trip.

Explore the quaint cobblestone streets checking out the cafes, bakeries and little shops then climb up the Old Venetian Fortress for an epic view across the Ioanian Sea. If you have time left visit the nearby Faliraki Beach before hopping on the ferry back to Saranda. 

Old Town Corfu - Saranda Day Trips

Old Town of Corfu

Tips for Visiting Corfu on a Day Trip from Saranda

  • Greece is in the Schengen Zone so be sure to have all necessary visas/requirements before getting on the ferry. Don’t forget your passport!
  • Note that Corfu’s time zone is one hour ahead of Saranda so you’ll need to leave early in the morning for a full day of sightseeing.
  • You can choose between several ferry companies that offer both high speed ferries (30 min) or slower car ferries (1.5 hrs). Definitely go for the high speed if you’re only going for the day.
The top 12 day trips from Saranda Albania

Old Venetian Fortress, Corfu

How to get to Corfu from Saranda

Ferry – Buy your ferry ticket a day in advance at any of the agencies near the Port of Saranda. Tickets for the high speed boats cost around 20 – 40 euros per person, prices are higher during peak season.

Ferries depart up to 12 times per day during summer and only twice per day in winter. Check current departure times when purchasing your ticket.

Guided Tour – Get picked up directly at the port upon arrival on Corfu and taken on a journey to see a few of the island’s top attractions. Note that ferry tickets are not included in this tour. 

This tour was made for those doing a day trip to Corfu and it’s the perfect way to spend a stress-free day while leaving the planning to the professionals. Find tour prices and availability here.

Paleokastritsa, Corfu

The guided tour includes a stop at Paleokastritsa Beach, Corfu

Llogara Pass & Dhermi

The Llogara Pass is an incredibly scenic mountain pass that takes you from the Ceraunian mountain range down to the turquoise beaches of Dhermi on the Albanian Riviera. It’s easily one of the most spectacular drives in the entire country and it will take your breath away!

Sitting at an elevation of 1,027 meters above sea level, you can imagine just how much the view will blow your mind. I did this drive on my road trip through Albania however it can also be done as a day trip from Saranda. 

Follow the winding road to arrive at the cute seaside town of Dhermi where you can take a swim in the crystal clear water and have lunch at one of the beach bars. 

The best day trips from Saranda, Llogara Pass

Llogara Pass viewpoint

Tips for Visiting Llogara Pass & Dhermi on a Day Trip from Saranda

  • At the time of writing, there are no local buses that take you to the Llogara Pass from Saranda. This day trip is only possible by renting a car or booking a tour. 
  • There is a viewpoint where you can pull over and take in the amazing view of the mountains and riviera.
  • The road is completely paved and safe to drive from start to finish. It is pretty steep in some areas so cautious driving is key on the Llogara Pass!
  • Check out some of the iconic bunkers from the communist era located near the top of Llogara Pass.  
Llogara Pass on a day trip from Saranda

Same viewpoint, different perspective

How to get to Llogara Pass & Dhermi from Saranda

Car – Following the coastal road from Saranda, the drive to Llogara Pass is 83 km and takes around 2 hours. See driving directions on Google Maps.

Guided Tour – This is the best choice if you don’t feel like navigating winding roads and prefer to sit back and look out the window. This tour includes a pick up at your hotel in Saranda and takes you to the top highlights of the Albanian Riviera. Stops include Borsh Beach, Porto Palermo Castle, the Llogara Pass, and Dhermi Beach. Find tour prices and availability here. 

Drymades Beach, Albanian Riviera

Swim at Drymades Beach after driving the pass

Permet & Tepelena

Escape to the mountains on an exciting off-the-beaten path day trip from Saranda to the small towns of Permet and Tepelena. This unique adventure will take you through centuries of Albanian history as you journey through breathtaking landscapes and taste the local cuisine.

The main draw to the small village of Permet is the Benje hot spring where you can relax in the natural pools and take in the serene surroundings. The Ottoman-era bridge near the springs is a fascinating landmark that adds to the beautiful scenery. 

Discover more Ottoman history with a visit to the Ali Pasha Castle in the town of Tepelena. The town once served as the seat of Ali Pasha, a prominent Ottoman ruler known for his political influence.

Explore the town of Permet on a day trip from Saranda

Explore the town of Permet on a day trip from Saranda

Tips for Visiting Permet and Tepelena on a Day Trip from Saranda

  • There is a small parking lot that costs 200 lek per vehicle at the hot spring.
  • The hot springs are more lukewarm rather than steaming hot but it’s still a relaxing and healing experience. Don’t forget a towel and swimsuit if you want to go in. 
  • I would recommend making your way to Permet first for a dip in the springs and explore the town. Stop in Tepelena for a few hours on your way back to Saranda. 
  • Be sure to taste some of the authentic cuisine that is unique to this part of Albania, the food here is known to be fresh and locally sourced. Stop at Bar Restaurant Trifilia in Permet for some great traditional food. 
Permet Hot Springs, day trips from Saranda

Go for a swim in the hot springs near the old bridge

How to get to Permet and Tepelena from Saranda

Car – The drive to Permet from Saranda takes 1.5 hours and then its another 50 minutes to Tepelena from there. 

Bus – The bus to Permet departs Saranda at 7:30am daily from the main bus stop in town and costs 600 lek, don’t forget to confirm return bus times. To do all of the recommended stops for this day trip, it’s much easier to rent a car or book the tour. 

Guided Tour – Experience the best of Permet and Tepelena on a full day tour from Saranda that includes hotel pick up and drop off. Allow a friendly local to guide you through the day while providing historic facts about each site. View tour prices and availability here. 

Tepelena, Albania

Discover centuries of history in Tepelena

Renting a Car for Your Saranda Day Trips

The best way to navigate these day trips from Saranda is by renting a car. Car rentals in Albania are affordable and allow the most flexible way to see the highlights near Saranda. 

Renting a car in Saranda will cost anywhere between 25 – 35 euros for one day. You can either book your car online ahead of time (best choice during the summer months) or arrange it with one of the local shops when you arrive in town. 

I have personally used and can recommend Leka Car Rentals, a local shop not far from the port. The staff were friendly and able to provide me with a car the next day. I had no problems at all and felt completely safe driving in Albania. If you’re a confident and safe driver, there’s nothing to worry about. Just watch out for other drivers!

Butrint-National-Park is one of the best Day Trips from Saranda

Amazing scenery at Butrint National Park

Where to Stay in Saranda

There are many great hotels in Saranda to suit everyone’s budget and preferences. Below are some of my tops picks for each budget, be sure to read my detailed guide for selecting the Saranda hotel that suits your needs!

Budget

Mariana ApartmentsStay near the center of Saranda only steps from the beach and the best restaurants/shops in this cozy apartment that includes a kitchen, free parking and aircon. All for a great price!

Mid-Range

Hotel ManoLocated near the port, this lovely seaside hotel has everything you need for a comfortable stay in Saranda. You can’t go wrong with incredible ocean views and a delicious breakfast included.

Luxury

Andon Lapa Hotel & SpaTreat yourself to a stay at this luxury hotel in a quiet neighbourhood that features an outdoor pool and private beach access. The property includes a spa, gym and amazing breakfast to fuel a day of adventures.

→Browse more hotels in Saranda on Booking.com←

The best day trips from Saranda, Albania

Krorëza Beach

What to Pack for Your Day Trips from Saranda

The Best Travel Insurance for Albania

Do you have your travel insurance yet? You’ll definitely need it for your trip to Albania. 

The last thing you want is to have an unexpected medical emergency occur while you’re in a different country with no insurance to cover the costs!

Even if you don’t end up using it, getting travel insurance is a small investment to make for peace of mind. This allows you to focus on having a memorable, relaxing vacation instead of worrying about what could go wrong. 

I always go with Heymondo. They’re one of the most reliable companies that will provide you with simple and flexible coverage. Whether you’d like to protect against medical emergencies, lost luggage, or trip cancellations, Heymondo has you covered!

As a reader of The Road Is Life, you get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance by using the link below!

►Get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance◄

The Best Day Trips from Saranda, Albania

Happy day tripping!

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