Gateway to Greece, Sarandë is a port city that is surrounded by natural beauty. What we loved about this city is that you have a beautiful beach right in the heart of the city. It is also within easy access of the popular beaches around Ksamil as well as Butrint National Park. Unfortunately in recent years many of the beaches have been privatised, which has reduced the number of free activities in Sarande, but there are still a few great gems left. In this Sarandë travel guide, we’ll show you the 6 best free things to do in Sarandë Albania.
Top free things to do in Sarandë Albania
We love a good bargain, and there’s no better bargain than getting something for free! For ease of reference, here is our list of the top free things to do in Sarandë Albania.
- Saranda Beach
- Saranda Embankment / Saranda Promenade
- Remains of ancient Onchesmos
- Saint Charalampos Orthodox Church
- Lekuresi Castle
- Vivar Kanal
Keep reading to find out more about each destination.
Main beach in Sarandë Albania: Saranda Beach
About Saranda Beach Albania
Right off Saranda Promenade in the heart of the city lies, Saranda Beach. This is a great public beach nestled in Saranda Bay. It has beautiful turquoise water that is very inviting. From the beach you have beautiful views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Saranda Beach is a pebble beach and it has a pier which is fun to jump off into the water. On the beach there are also the ruins of the entrance gate of ancient Onhezmus.
Why visit Saranda Beach
Saranda Beach is the only public beach in the Sarande and is also the longest beach in Saranda. It’s conveniently positioned in the city centre, making it very easy to access. We visited Saranda Beach in June and it was popular but not too crowded.
How long to spend at Saranda Beach
This is a great place to spend a few hours. We returned to this beach a few times during our trip to Sarande and we enjoyed relaxing on the beach and swimming in the water.
Opening hours for Saranda Beach
Saranda Beach is open at all hours. However we recommend visiting during the day.
If you have money to spend in Saranda Beach
There are plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants overlooking the beach. You can also rent a deckchair and an umbrella on the beach. Additionally, there are kayaks and stand-up paddle boards for rent.
Saranda Beach address
Saranda Beach, Sarandë, Albania
Plus Code: V2F4+673 Sarandë, Albania
Waterfront promenade in Sarandë Albania: Saranda Embankment
About Saranda Embankment
Saranda Embankment, also known as Saranda Promenade, is a beautiful waterfront boardwalk in the heart of Sarandë. It stretches from the Port of Saranda all the way around the bay to Rruga Butrinti. It is nicely paved and is lined with palm trees and dotted with statues. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars along the walkway.
Why visit Saranda Embankment
Saranda Embankment is a great place for a relaxing stroll. However it does get very busy and noisy during peak season.
How long to spend at Saranda Embankment
You can walk from one end to the other in 15 minutes. However there’s a lot to see and do here, so you could easily spend hours exploring the shops, eating at the nearby restaurants and enjoying the views.
Opening hours for Saranda Embankment
Saranda Embankment is open at all hours. It can be enjoyed both during the day as well as at night.
If you have money to spend near Saranda Embankment
There’s plenty of shops, bars and restaurants nearby.
Saranda Embankment address
Plus Code: V2F6+95V, Shëtitorja Naim Frashëri, Sarandë, Albania
Ancient ruins in Sarandë Albania: Remains of ancient Onchesmos
About Remains of ancient Onchesmos
The remains of ancient Onchesmos and ancient ruins of a city gate which are lying on Saranda Beach. Onhezmus was an ancient city which was located in modern day Sarande. The fortification walls of this city have largely been destroyed, but pieces of the gate remain on Saranda Beach.
Why visit Remains of ancient Onchesmos
Remains of ancient Onchesmos are an interesting remnant of a bygone era. They make for some interesting photographs.
How long to spend at Remains of ancient Onchesmos
5 minutes is all you need to see the ruins and take a few photos..
Opening hours for Remains of ancient Onchesmos
Remains of ancient Onchesmos is open at all hours. However we recommend visiting during the day.
If you have money to spend in Remains of ancient Onchesmos
There are plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants nearby.
Remains of ancient Onchesmos address
Rruga Jonianet 11, Sarandë, Albania
Plus Code: V2F4+54 Sarandë, Albania
Orthodox church in Sarandë Albania: Saint Charalampos Orthodox Church
About Saint Charalampos Orthodox Church
Saint Charalampos Orthodox Church, also known as Church of Saint Haralambos or Kisha e Shën Harallambit, is the largest Greek Orthodox church in Saranda. It is a beautiful church with a bell tower. The church was opened in 2011 and is named in honour of Saint Charalampos. This church is conveniently located in the city centre close to Saranda Embankment.
Why visit Saint Charalampos Orthodox Church
Saint Charalampos Orthodox Church is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. It’s a great place to come for quiet contemplation.
How long to spend at Saint Charalampos Orthodox Church
10 minutes is plenty of time to look around the church and take some photos.
Opening hours for Saint Charalampos Orthodox Church
If you have money to spend near Saint Charalampos Orthodox Church
The church accepts donations.
Saint Charalampos Orthodox Church address
Rruga Mustafa Matohiti 51, Sarandë, Albania
Plus Code: V2F6+H8 Sarandë, Albania
Best views in Sarandë Albania: Lekuresi Castle
About Lekuresi Castle
Lekuresi Castle, also known as Kalaja e Lëkurësit in Albanian, are the ruins of a beautiful castle on Lekursi Hill near Saranda. The castle was built in 1537 by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. From this strategic lookout point there are stunning views of the surrounding area including the islands of Ksamil. There is a restaurant next to the castle, but we wouldn’t recommend eating there as it has poor reviews. Also, be aware that there is a monkey kept in a small cage, which may be distressing to see. There is a car park on site or it is a 45 minute to one hour hike from Sarandë.
Why visit Lekuresi Castle
Lekuresi Castle has the best views in Sarande. .
How long to spend at Lekuresi Castle
Lekuresi Castle is the perfect base for a Sarandë vacation. It has everything you need for an enjoyable beach holiday. You could spend anywhere from a couple of hours to a week here and be very happy.
Opening hours for Lekuresi Castle
If you have money to spend at the Lekuresi Castle
There is a restaurant next to the castle. The restaurant gets poor reviews, but it has a large terrace area with panoramic views of the area.
Lekuresi Castle address
Plus Code: V28G+97 Sarandë, Albania
Canal near Sarandë Albania: Vivar Kanal
About Vivar Kanal
Vivar Kanal, or Vivar Canal in English, is a waterway connecting Lake Butrint to the Ionian Sea. This small canal is 2.5km long and 100 metres wide. There’s a ferry that crosses the canal and can take a few cars at a time. The crossing takes about 5 minutes. Around the canal are saltwater marshes and meadows which are a bird sanctuary. There are some nice hiking areas nearby. There is also a fortress, a defence tower and other historical landmarks. The canal has historic significance as a point of strategic significance being an entry point for ships to the lake as well as a point of natural protection for Butrint. In the Augustan era an aqueduct crossed the canal to bring water to the city.
Why visit Vivar Kanal
Vivar Kanal is a pretty area with lots natural beauty. It’s great for birdwatchers as well as people that are interested in visiting sites of historical significance.
How long to spend at Vivar Kanal
10-20 minutes is plenty of time to look around enjoy the views. If you want to visit some of the nearby historical sites, allow a few hours.
Opening hours for Vivar Kanal
Vivar Kanal is open at all hours. However we recommend visiting during the day.
If you have money to spend near Vivar Kanal
You can cross the canal by boat.
Vivar Kanal address
Plus Code: P2V9+9HC Shëndëlli, Albania
Where to stay in Sarandë Albania?
We recommend the following accommodation in Sarandë Albania:
- Best camping in Sarandë Albania – Secret Village Den – Camping has cute wooden cabins in a garden setting close to the sea. It is around 30 minutes walk from town but there is a supermarket and restaurants nearby. The hosts are very warm and welcoming and the campsite has a peaceful atmosphere. Facilities include toilets, showers and a communal kitchen.
- Best hostel in Sarandë Albania – Hostel Hasta La Vista is a large hostel a short walk from the beach. It has a relaxed atmosphere, a nice communal and friendly staff. Guests can also use sunbeds and umbrellas at a nearby beach bar for free.
- Best budget beachfront hotel in Sarandë Albania – Hotel Ramo Saranda is ideally positioned close to the port as well as to Saranda city beach. The staff are friendly and attentive and the hotel restaurant serves great food. The rooms are clean, cosy and comfortable.
- Best beachfront hotel in Sarandë Albania – Buzë Boutique Hotel is a beautiful boutique hotel on the beachfront in Saranda. It has thoughtfully designed and well-appointed rooms, excellent breakfasts and its own private beach. Sunsets here are amazing and its the perfect place to unwind and relax. Furthermore the owner and the staff provide exceptional service.
- Best mid-range hotel in Sarandë Albania – Yacht Premium Hotel is a modern hotel right next to the Port of Saranda. It has clean and spacious rooms, brilliant views and delicious breakfasts. The beds are extremely comfortable and the staff are attentive and friendly.
Sarandë Albania Blogs
You can find our Sarandë Albania travel blogs below.
You can find our Albania travel blogs below.