The Blue Eye Spring

Resembling a giant iris peering towards the heavens, Albania’s mystifying Blue Eye spring harbors obscure legends and baffling depths, concealing underground channels supplying past civilizations and inspiring future visitors.

Our independent research and articles are funded in part by partner commissions, at no extra cost to our readers. Learn more

Behold the Mysterious Blue Eye Spring

Many travelers venture to the Albanian Riviera, seeking sun-soaked beaches and lively nightlife around Ksamil and Sarandë. But inland lies one of the country’s most unique, myth-shrouded natural gems — the ethereal Blue Eye Spring. Like a giant cobalt iris gazing skyward from the Earth’s core, the pool’s vibrant turquoise hue, untraceable depths, and secreted subaquatic caves endure as sublime natural wonders near the UNESCO Butrint ruins.

While the hypnotic waters stir curiosity today, legends chronicling doomed monsters, scorned lovers, and spiteful fairies reveal the spring’s mythical place anchoring regional lore across generations. Visitors continue leaving with more questions than answers about the Blue Eye’s obscure origins. But all depart from beholding the mesmerizing oasis, proving Earth still contains a few mysteries seemingly unsolvable by modern science alone.

Albanias Blue Eye Spring
Tourists visiting the Blue Eye Spring near Saranda

Accessing the Hidden Azure Waters

The ride from Sarandë to the Blue Eye shuttles visitors quickly inland yet transports them into untamed rural Albania, feeling eons separated from nearby bustling coastal towns. Most catch a shuttle van from their hotels, which traverses olive groves and cypress-lined country roads before reaching an unassuming parking lot and trail entrance.

Once equipped with swimwear and cameras, the brief downhill trail reveals the spring’s iridescent basin suddenly ahead through the forested gorge — appearing almost supernaturally like a hidden portal into another realm. But while the pool captures all initial focus, displays at the visitor center chronicle efforts to investigate its subaquatic cave network using robotic drones and 3D mapping. Their Surveyor ROV continues plumbing the Eye’s depths for elusive entryways into ancient underground channels once providing freshwater to ancient Greek and Roman settlements, now drowned by rising seas.

Blue Eye
The Blue Eye Spring

Mythology and Mystery Surrounding the Pool

The Blue Eye long featured in regional lore and songs for generations before opening to visitors recently. Some tales ominously mention beautiful nature goddesses or slain dragons providing the bottomless flows. More popular versions reference the pool as forbidden meeting grounds for young star-crossed lovers escaping conservative customs ruthless if caught.

Researchers attribute the brilliant blue hues to vibrant Bonelli’s eagles and mineral concentrations mirroring the natural phenomenon at Bosnian cousin spring, the Una River Headwaters sinking into another karst cauldron. The deepest diving teams record nearly 50-meter depths while specialized sonar scans peer over 100 meters (325 feet) before losing signal — making it arguably the most voluminous freshwater spring across the entire country. And yet, the source supplying over 25 cubic meters of water per second into the pool remains invisible, only adding to a sense of delightful mystery.

Blue eye spring near Sarande, Albania
Top-down view of the Blue Eye Spring near Saranda, Albania

Reveling Alongside Nature’s Majestic Creation

While legends swirl overhead, visitors soak up smiles below, splashing about the pool’s shallow perimeter or peering deep into its secrets from anchored viewing platforms. Braver souls leap from seaside cliffs nearby before washing off bright mineral dust in the brisk water. But most bask in quiet awe beholding the scene, mindfully disconnecting from modern urgency and technology for a while, remembering humanity’s reverence and celebrating nature since Neolithic times.

After paying respects through the proper selfie shoot, the adjacent cafe terrace tempts hungry adventurers with tasty snacks and beverages near the babbling outlet stream winding towards the forested gorge hiding Butrint ruins nearby. Well-fed and endeared after their sublime visit, the day pass ticket also grants visitors entries into the UNESCO site — another testament to human attraction across the immense timeline towards the Ionian region’s ethereal inland waters. One last gaze over the shoulder with hopes of returning soon, for there may still be more revelations waiting patiently below that beautiful blue gaze.

Although I was born in Albania, I've spent my adult life traveling there as a tourist. Being a native who visits frequently, I can give you an insider's view of Europe's best-kept secret.
Was this article helpful?

Get the latest news, articles, and resources, delivered to your inbox.

    © 2024 | All rights reserved.

    We receive commissions for purchases made through links on our site. We only recommend services we trust. Learn more

    Help us improve!
    How could we make this article more helpful for you?