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Date of travel

March, 2017

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The Bradt guide describes Saranda as an “unappealing concrete jungle”. This does seem rather a harsh description even though it is a modern town with a lot of high rise buildings built during the 1990s construction boom.

It is a popular tourist town, particularly with Albanians who come here for their summer holidays. It has a long expanse of beach as well as a lot of hotels and cafes. Corfu is just over a mile across the bay and there is a regular ferry service for day trips in both directions.

A new promenade has been built along the sea front with many attractive marble statues. There is also a stylish new mosque.

Saranda is very much a modern development and little remains of its history, all having been destroyed in the 1990s developments. Unlike many places in Albania, it was never a Roman colony although must have been reasonably prosperous as a wall was built round the settlement in the C4th. Part of this can be seen next to the remains of a C5th synagogue in the town centre.

On the top of a hill on the outskirts of the town are the remains of “Lekuresi Castle.”: This is now a restaurant and little is left of the original fortification. It has wonderful views across the bay.

Although there isn’t a lot to attract the foreign tourist, Saranda a regular stop on most itineraries as it is a popular jumping off point for the ancient remains at “Butrint,”: ten miles south.


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