Sarandë: The Complete Guide

Sarandë is a coastal town in Southern Albania, at the end of the Albanian Riviera. It is situated in the central Mediterranean on an open sea plain of the Ionian Sea, some 14 km east of the island of Corfu. The coastal town is host to some of Europe’s finest beaches, is the unofficial capital of the Albanian Riviera and is the perfect place to discover Albania’s south.

The ruins of the ancient town of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are near Sarandë. Sarandë has a large Greek population and is considered one of the two centers of the minority in Albania.

From the plebby beaches close to the city to the vibrant nightlife, Sarandë is a top choice destination that every traveler and is often included on the itinerary of cruise ships.

Visiting Sarandë for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Sarandë on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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11 Best places to See in Sarandë

This complete guide to Sarandë not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Sarandë and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Lekursi Castle

Lëkurësi Castle Saranda, Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pasztilla¨aka Attila Terbócs
Lëkurësi Castle is a castle ruin in southern Albania, on hill to the south east of Sarandë. Lëkurës Castle was built in 1537 by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent,  who also invaded Corfu and wanted to protect Saranda’s harbour and the road that connected it to Butrint. At one time the castle surrounded a whole village […]
Visiting Lekursi Castle

Monastery of Forty Saints

Monastry Of 40 Saints Sarande
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Albinfo
Saranda takes its name from the Forty Saints Monastery a 6th century Byzantine monastery. It is thought that the Monastery was a major Byzantine pilgrimage site. “Forty Saints” relates to the tale of forty Roman martyrs forbidden  who were once asked to renounce their faith in exchange of shelter from a severe sea storm. The […]
Visiting Monastery of Forty Saints

Sarandë Museum of Archaeology

Sarandë Museum Of Archaeology
© 2024 Andrew Ashton
This one-room museum houses a well-preserved 3rd-century mosaic floor which was discovered in the 1960’s, during building the local post office. The mosaic is thought to be the floor of a basilica. The museum also has a display about the nearby ruins at Butrint. N.B. Google is pointing you to the incorrect location. Its next door […]
Location: Rr Flamurit | Hours: 9am-2pm & 6-8pm Mon-Wed & Fri, 12.00am-8pm Thu, 6-8pm Sat & Sun | Price: 100 lekë | Distance: 2.20km
Visiting Sarandë Museum of Archaeology

Sarandë Museum of Tradition

Sarandë Museum Of Traditions Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pasztilla aka Attila Terbócs
Before heading out to explore the beaches of the Albanian Riviera, it is worth visiting the small Sarandë ‘Museum of Tradition’ or ethnographic Museum. The museum of housed in Sarandë’s old customs house near the  town wharf. The museum gives you an introduction to local ethnology and archaeology. There is a section that displays musical […]
Visiting Sarandë Museum of Tradition

Sarandë Synagogue

These Ruins Of A 5th-century Synagogue
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pasztilla aka Attila Terbócs
Sarandë which was the city of Onchesmos in the 4th or 5th century, was the site of Albania’s first synagogue. These old ruins represent what was once a community center and old school used for bible studies. Exploring the complex  you can find four floor mosaics here, which are normally covered with sand to protect […]
Location: Rr Skënderbeu | Hours: 8am-8pm Apr-Oct, to 5pm Nov-Mar | Price: 100 lekë | Distance: 2.40km
Visiting Sarandë Synagogue

Monastery’s Beach

Monastry Beach Albania
© 2024 Andrew Ashton
Monastery’s Beach also known as Manastir Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the Albanian Riviera. It takes its name from the Monastery of St. George, on the hill overlooking the beach. Completely sealed and hidden from all angles, the beach itself is a kind of sanctuary. There is a small car park […]
Location: Saranda SH81 Albania | Distance: 5.40km
Visiting Monastery’s Beach

Mirror Beach

Mirror Beach
© 2024 Andrew Ashton
Mirror Beach Albania is a better alternative to Sarandë  or Ksamil as they become overcrowded in the summer.On the other hand, Mirror Beach is still quiet, even in the summer months. Which gives you the opportunity to relax, and to unwind. On the way to the village of Ksamil, south of Sarandë , is this […]
Visiting Mirror Beach

Ksamil Village

Ksamil Albanian Riviera
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Artur Malinowski
Ksamil is a pretty village in the Butrint National Park  located south of the city of Sarandë. Ksamil is one of the most frequented coastal resorts by both domestic and foreign tourists, the main attractions being the white sand and crystal clear waters of the mainland beach and the and the nearby Ksamil Islands. What […]
| Website | Distance: 10.80km
Visiting Ksamil Village

Butrint National Park

Butrint Ancient Amphitheatre
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pudelek
The Butrint National Park is a national park 18 kilometers south of Sarandë. The park is mainly hilly terrain with freshwater lakes, wetlands, salt marshes, open plains, reed beds and islands. Butrint’s archaeological heritage is one of the country’s most important the area has the largest collection of ancient ruins in Albania and has been occupied since the Stone Age. The ruins date back […]
Location: "Butrinti" Street, Sarandë | Hours: Every day 09:00-19:00 | Price: 800 lek | Distance: 12.90km
Visiting Butrint National Park

Syri Kalter - The Blue Eye

Blue Eye, Albania 03
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Eleroja
The “Blue Eye” is a deep subsurface well, or “blue hole,”  the water spring is a mesmerising natural phenomenon of extremely blue (and absolutely freezing) water!  What makes it even more beautiful is the crystal-clear surrounding water which exposes the rocks and vegetation at the edge. On a sunny day the spring, producing a deep […]
| Price: 50 LEK | Distance: 15.80km
Visiting Syri Kalter - The Blue Eye

Borsh Castle & Mosque

Borsh Castle Albania 2
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Timea
The castle dates from the 3rd-4th century B.C. It was known as the Sopot Castle in the Middle Ages, and was listed in the memoirs of the Byzantine Emperor, daughter of Alexios I Komnenos, Anna Komnenos as early as 1192. In the 18th century, during the rule of Ali Pasha, a mosque was added to […]
Visiting Borsh Castle & Mosque

Tours and Activities from Sarandë