Saranda, the gateway to the southern Albania, is a small town located between mountains and the Ionian Sea. The name Saranda, derives from an early Christian monastery dedicated to Santi Quaranta (Forty Saints).
Located on the shores of Ionian Sea, in front of Greek islands of Corfu, Saranda is characterized by a Mediterranean climate. Due to its locations and warm weather, Saranda is one of the most attractive tourist towns of the Albanian Riviera, where honeymooners traditionally spend heir holidays.
Saranda can be visited on day- trips by tourist travelling from Corfu by boat. The archaeological site of Butrint and the historic town of Gjirokastra are situated near Saranda, that’s why those tourists who come from Corfu have the chance to visit Butrint and Gjirokastra.
The magical place of the “Blue Eye” spring is 18km north of Saranda town, worth visiting. Near Saranda are the villages of Lukova, Piqeras and Borsh, where unique panoramic sea views beautiful mountains, and olive-grove landscapes are combined with the charm of village’s environment and the most dramatic and magnificent scenery along the whole length of the Ionian Sea.
Saranda is one of the finest gems of Albania’s coastline. Located on the country’s southernmost coastline, the town and its beaches create a half-moon on the Ionian only 5 nautical miles away from the Greek island of Corfu. Saranda enjoys a highly favorable position with easy access to other tourist centers in the hinterland such as Butrint and Gjirokastra, the Albanian Riviera as well as Greek beaches in Corfu, Igoumenitza and elsewhere.
Saranda is an old urban center known in ancient times by the name of Onkesmos. Its present name comes from Agia Saranda (Greek) and Santi Quaranta (Italian, meaning “forty saints”). The ruins of the Church of Forty Saints are found on the Qafa e Gjashtës (Pass of the Six) above the town. Although the town never reached the size of a large city, by the 1800s it played an important role in regional trade routes especially with Greece.
During the First World War, Saranda became an important base of the Italian Navy on the Entente side. Italy’s return to Albania in 1939 saw the town change its name to Porto Eda in honor of Mussolini’s daughter. After the Second World War, Saranda became an important industrial and tourist center of the Ionian coast. At this time it became a preferred destination of couples on their honeymoon. After the 1990s, the town has developed particularly rapidly, especially regarding its tourist infrastructure.
An impressive local attraction is the Lëkurës Castle which commands a great view of Saranda and its harbor. Moreover, the Archaeological Part of Butrint located 30 km away adds particular value to Saranda