Saranda is a small coastal town located on the shores of the Ionian sea and sits opposite to the Greek island of Corfu. Due to its location and climate, in recent years it has become a popular destination for tourism for both Albanian nationals and foreigners alike. Though agriculture and fishing are the primary economic means, its proximity to Greece and burgeoning port has solidified Saranda as a gateway city to Albania.
Saranda's name is derived from a historic Byzantine monastery Agioi Saranda or Forty Saints built in honor of the Forty martyrs of Sebaste, a group of Roman soldiers that in 316 CE were persecuted for refusing to renounce their Christian faith. It is believed this monastery was a source of pilgrimage for many throughout the the Balkans. Originally, Saranda was named Onchesmos and was the Hellenic port town in service of the city of Phoenice (now Finiq.) Dionysius of Halicarnassus, an ancient Greek historian and teacher born 60 BCE, referred to Saranda as the harbor of Anchises (Onchesmos' namesake.)
There is plenty to see and do when visiting Saranda. Enjoy a stroll along the coastal boulevard, a hike up to Lekursi castle overlooking the town, a bite to eat at one of the numerous restaurants, a jaunt to the beaches of Ksamil, or a walk through the ruins of the UNESCO World Heritage city of Butrint. The Saranda district offers something for every type of traveler.
Geography: South Central Coastal Region
Transport: Bus, Mini-Bus, Ferry, Taxi, Tour