A picturesque rocky coastline, scenic bays, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site make Saranda the perfect base to explore the Albanian Riviera.

Saranda is a beautiful resort town along the Albanian Riviera.

This ancient port city boasts a gorgeous horseshoe-shaped bay surrounded by a promenade and beautiful beaches. 

Saranda was founded around the remains of a synagogue that dated back to the 5th century and was later converted to an early Christian basilica.

Mosaic floor tiles from this era can still be seen today.

History buffs will enjoy visiting Saranda’s Lekuresi Castle, which stands atop a hill overlooking the city.

Lekuresi castle is worth a visit while staying in Saranda.

Look no further if you’re looking for an insightful guide to Saranda, Albania. 

From must-see sights and attractions to plan your perfect visit, this guide has everything you need to know about this beautiful coastal town.

Let’s explore Saranda, so you can learn why this city is one of the most popular travel destinations on the Albanian Riviera. 

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Saranda city and port in Albania.
Saranda Albania
Cruise ship in the gulf of Saranda, Albania

Why Visit

The beautiful seaside town of Saranda is the perfect getaway for anyone looking for a relaxing and beautiful beach vacation. 

The town is known for its stunning beaches, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the breathtaking views. 

Saranda’s natural beauty is matched by its historical landmarks.

An early Christian basilica converted from a synagogue in the 5th century, along with the 16th-century Lekuresi Castle and ancient Roman and Greek ruins nearby, are worth a visit.

When to Visit

It is best to visit Saranda during the spring or summer when it’s warm and sunny.

The town can, however, get quite crowded during the peak tourist season.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed vacation, you might consider visiting Saranda in the offseason (August, September, and October).

What to See & Do

Saranda offers plenty to do, whether you want to relax on the beach or explore historical landmarks.


Spend a relaxing day at one of Saranda’s many beaches. Saranda has several beaches, most of which are in the city’s center. 

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Beach day in Saranda, Albania
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Seaside view of Saranda, Albania


Take a stroll along the promenade while taking in the view of the bay.

There is no better place to stroll, run, or watch people than the promenade.

There are numerous cafes and restaurants where you can stop for a snack or a drink.

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Main city promenade and public beach in Saranda, Albania.
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Main city promenade in Saranda, Albania.

Ancient Synagogue

You can tour the early Christian basilica built on top of a synagogue from the 5th century with mosaics still decorating the floor. 

Saranda’s history and some of the town’s most famous landmarks can be found here.

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Ruins of the 5th-century synagogue in Saranda, Albania
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Ancient synagogue archeological ruins in Sarande, Albania

Lekuresi Castle

Visit Lekuresi Castle. Initially built in the 16th century on a hilltop above the town.

Lekuresi castle offers a beautiful view of Saranda and its surroundings.

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Lekuresi Castle in Saranda, South Albania
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Lekuresi Castle walls in Saranda, Albania

Monastery of 40 Saints

The ruins of the Monastery of 40 Saints are located east of Saranda, near Lekuresi Castle.

From the promenade in town, it takes 45 minutes to an hour to walk uphill.

The monastery was built in the 6th century as a crucial Byzantine pilgrimage site.

There were 40 rooms, one for each of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste.

According to legend, a group of Roman soldiers was asked to renounce their Christian faith in exchange for shelter.

Their loyalty to their faith and refusal to compromise led to their martyrdom near Sebaste, Armenia.

Saranda’s original name is Agi Saranda, which means “Forty Saints” in Greek.

By removing “Agi,” it was later shortened to Saranda (forty).

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Monastery of 40 saints in Saranda, Albania
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Inside the Monastery of 40 saints in Saranda, Albania


Visit the nearby Greek island of Corfu, the second largest of the Ionian Islands after Paxi.

You can reach Corfu easily by boat from Saranda.

There are numerous beaches, restaurants, bars, and other attractions on the island.

Corfu is a must-see if you have never been.

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Kerkyra, capital of Corfu island, Greece
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Church of St. George inside the Old Fortress of Corfu Town

Boat Charters

Boat charters are plentiful in Saranda.

Take a boat ride around the bay, or take a ferry to the nearby island of Corfu.

You can also charter fishing boats and yachts for a day trip.

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Boats in Saranda port. Albania
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Saranda’s city port on the Ionian Sea in the Albanian Riviera


There are many great places to eat and drink in Saranda.

A variety of cafes, restaurants, and bars are available.

Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, Saranda has it all.

Planning Your Visit 

Getting to Saranda

There are several ways to reach Saranda from Tirana (Albania’s capital) and other major cities in the country, as well as from the Greek island of Corfu.

Saranda can be reached by plane, car, or bus.

By air: Saranda is easily accessible, with several airlines offering direct flights from major European cities to Tirana or Corfu.

Corfu, in Greece, is the nearest airport, just a boat ride away.

From Europe: Corfu, Greece, is the closest airport if you are flying from Europe.

There are direct flights from major European cities, and the journey takes around two hours.

From the United States: Traveling from the United States to Saranda will require a connecting flight in Europe.

To get to Saranda, you can fly into Tirana or Corfu, Greece.

Flying into Corfu bypasses the 5-hour drive from Tirana via a 30-minute ferry.

By car: The journey from Tirana to Saranda takes about five hours.

The road is in good condition, and there are many places to stop along the way with breathtaking views of the Albanian Riviera coastline.

By bus: There are regular bus services from Tirana and other major cities in Albania.

The trip takes about six hours.

Visa Requirements

Tourists and business travelers from the United States and Europe do not need a visa to visit Albania.

Passports must be valid for at least six months before departure.

Getting Around

Saranda is a small town so you can get around on foot.

If you plan to visit any attractions outside the town center, you can take a taxi or rent a car.

In Saranda, buses are the main form of public transportation.

They run regularly and provide an easy way to get around.

Taxis are also available, but they cost more than buses.

You can hail one from the street or arrange for a taxi service.

What to Pack

If you plan to spend time on the beach, bring your bathing suit, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

Pack a jacket or sweater if you’re visiting during the cooler months.


Saranda offers a variety of hotels, guesthouses, and apartments.

Most of them are located on the seafront so you can view the bay from the comfort of your room.

Food & Drink

There are many seafood restaurants and international cuisine options in the area.

Dine or drink at one of the many restaurants and cafes in town.

Saranda is known for its seafood restaurants, and there are a variety of restaurants in the town center to choose from.

A personal favorite dish when visiting Saranda and Albania is byrek.

Byrek is a pastry that can be either sweet or savory.

It is made of flour dough and has fillings such as meat, veggies, fruit, or cheese.

Byrek can be found in the cuisines of many Mediterranean countries and is also known as burek, borek, and spanakopita in Greece.

Local artisan bakeries in town make fresh byrek daily.

Go in the morning to get the freshest batch.

Byrek is delicious. You will not regret it.

For a refreshing drink, try one of Saranda’s many fruit juices.

Cafes and bars can be found throughout the town, so you can enjoy a coffee or a cocktail while enjoying the view.

In Saranda, as well as Albania generally, alcohol is much cheaper than in other popular European travel destinations.

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Seafood dishes are served at a restaurant in Saranda, Albania.
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Seafood Risotto is served at a restaurant in Saranda, Albania.


The weather in Saranda is excellent, with an average of 290 sunny days per year and rarely exceeding 30°C (85°F).


Saranda is a very safe place to visit.

This town has a welcoming atmosphere that makes it a popular tourist destination.

As with any foreign destination, you should take precautions and be aware of the surroundings.

Travel Tips

Below are a few tips to help you get the most out of your Saranda visit.

  • Avoid the crowds by visiting during the shoulder season if you prefer a quiet and relaxing vacation.
  • Be sure to visit some of the town’s historical landmarks.
  • Savor the seafood at Saranda’s many restaurants and cafes.

Final Thoughts

Saranda is a beautiful town with plenty of things to see and do.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an opportunity to discover some historical landmarks, Saranda is the perfect destination.

What are you waiting for? Start planning your Saranda visit today!