Sarande Cruise Port Guide | What to see in Sarande while visiting on a cruise
The Albanian port of Sarande is included in some of the Eastern Mediterranean cruises, which typically include Greece and Italy as focal points. However, the hidden gem which I can safely call Sarande, also has a few irreplaceable views and experiences to offer. Usually, the port stay there only allows for 5-6 hours ashore, which is relatively short for squeezing too many attractions. That is why I created this particular Sarande Cruise Port Guide: to focus only on the best things to see in Sarande while visiting it on a cruise – it took me around 3-4 hours and I could return to the ship in a safe timing, however if you love swimming or extremely crazy and fun things to do, you can definitely spend more time in both of these places (as long as you’re not late for the departure).
Sarande Cruise Port Guide Index:
- About the port:
- What to see in Sarande:
- Organization tips
About the port | Sarande Cruise Port Guide
Docking at the port of Sarande
You need to know that due to the port being small in size, cruise ships are not allowed to dock there – they are anchored at sea and you’ll be transported to the actual port by the shuttle boats of your ship. Because of that, you need to take into consideration that it takes around 10-15 minutes for the shuttle boat rotation, so make sure to arrive at the port with a minimum advance to secure yourself the transportation back to the ship.
Something you should know about the terminal
This might not sound very encouraging, but from my personal experience I would advise you not to use the bathrooms in the terminal; especially if you’re travelling alone. I made that mistake and got locked up inside the bathroom with no way out – only upon closing the door I realized there was no handle. A friend that travelled with me back then has asked the personnel of the terminal for assistance, but the ask for help was ignored. It took me around 30 minutes and survival hacks to improvise a door handle that would open the door; now you know the story – so don’t replicate it!
Port of Sarande
Now that we have the unpleasantness behind us, we can get to the important part – Albania is gorgeous and underrated – especially when it comes to the natural values it has to offer. Sarande is far from being a huge city, but it’s surrounded by wonders you won’t even believe look like this in real life.
If you’re planning to visit Sarande on your own, without using the cruise ship’s offered trips, you might want to hire one of the drivers that are waiting for the passengers upon arrival, down the road of the terminal. Due to the short time you can dedicate to that port, having a driver is the safest option, because you can monitor the amount of time spent in different places and modify the itinerary as you go, in case you need to get back to the port sooner. Additionally, it’s also the best way to travel around the place due to the fact that you can implement more than one site to visit doing one car trip and those are of course of your choice – the driver will take you to your preferred spots. On my trip, we combined 2 various incredible locations taking up almost the entire time – but oh, was it worth it! The whole journey costed us approximately 40 euro for the car (can fit up to 4 people), both places and return included. The driver will also wait for you to explore the place and tell you a little about the city and its history. Remember: find a driver who speaks your preferred language at least communicatively. In my case it was English. If the driver won’t understand your language, it will be difficult to explain any changes in the itinerary in case you’re late or for any other reason.
What to see in Sarande while visiting on a cruise | Sarande Cruise Port Guide
The Blue Eye
The first and most incredible place you should 100% see while docking at Sarande is The Blue Eye. In my honest opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful natural sceneries of the whole Europe! The green lungs of these place are combined with a water spring and crystal clear river water which can be seen from a depth of more than fifty meters!
You can have a walk and admire the beauty of the place, which to be honest can’t really be transpired through pictures – it looks a thousand times better in real life. However, if you’re into more extremal activities, you can actually jump into the river from a cliff designated to tourists. There are always a lot of tourists doing that, which is quite fun especially due to the pristine water and the current of the spring. In case you want to do that – make sure to bring a swimming suit with you, as well as a towel.
The Blue Eye is not exactly in Sarande, it’s located near the village of Muzinë, which distances from the port for around 20 km and 30 minutes of the drive – but I can assure you that it’s one of those bucket list destinations that you won’t want to miss.
On the way back from the Blue Eye, you can get to the hill reining over the whole region – Sarande and the islands of Ksamil – where you’ll find the historical Lëkurësi Castle. I don’t even know what’s more beautiful: the ruins of the castle that nowadays is used as a panoramic restaurant, or the wonderful view overlooking the sea, the ship in the distance and the city as well. I’ll let you be the judge.
The castle comes from the XVI century, precisely from 1537, and was built by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent after attacking the close island of Corfu and having to control the harbor.
The Lëkurësi Castle is only approximately 4 km away from the port, so it’s safe to put it at the end of your itinerary, as it only takes around 11 minutes to get back (without traffic, keep it in mind). If you’re combining it with Blue Eye, however, you need to put into consideration that it will take you another 20 km and 30 minutes to drive to the castle from the water springs.
Organization tips | Sarande Cruise Port Guide
For a typical day in the port of Sarande lasting around 5/6 hours, 2 locations is the optimal amount to visit on a relaxed pace, without having to worry about time and rush back to the ship at the last minute. I can’t guarantee that with other spots, but these 2, which I think are the absolute best things to see on Sarande on a cruise, will be easily squeezed within that timeframe together.
If you’d rather opt for a day at the beach, make sure to go to the most distant ones, or possibly to the islands of Ksamil – as the Saranda beach, located within a walking distance from the port – is not as nice.
Have you been to Sarande and seen these places? Or maybe you want to share other places you’ve visited in the proximity? Connect with me on my social media and let me know, I’d love to chat with you! My instagram @milenacorleoneofficial or @ship.me.there, my twitter @MilenaCorleone, my Pinterest @lenacorleone. If you like my content you can now also BuyMeACoffee @milenacorleone! I appreciate any support.
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