Albania,  Saranda,  Sightseeing

Day Trips from Sarande

The Blue Eye and Butrint were two sights recommended by various blogs as two places one must see while in Sarande. Although both sites are reachable by bus, we decided to rent a car to drive to both places so that we could see them both on the same day without being dictated by a bus schedule.

Our car rental came to €35 per day. We had tried to book online but the pick up location and the process are pretty confusing. In the end, our hotel made the arrangement with a car rental company to drop off the rental car at the hotel along with the necessary paperwork which consisted of a single page lettersize contract. It’s probably the most loosey-goosey car rental process I’ve seen but when in Albania, do what the Albanians do.

The rental car came with no gas so we had to stop by the gas station before we could get on our way. We went to the Blue Eye (Syri i kalter in Albanian) first, it is a natural phenomenon where the water bubbles from a spring so deep the exact depth is unknown.

On the way to the Blue Eye

When we first arrive, the entrance didn’t look like much but as we walked close to the Blue Eye, the intense colours of blues and greens popped from every direction, from the trees, from the water and even in the colours of the dragonflies fluttering from leaf to leaf.

Walking into the green vegetation surrounding the Blue Eye
The colours are amazing and the air is so fresh
Lots of blue dragonflies flying around
The view of the valley from the Blue Eye
Looking into the Blue Eye. The water is constantly gushing from below.
Jojo was the only one brave enough to get in the icy cold water.
There is a restaurant overlooking the clear crystal water further down the river

I am so happy to have seen the Blue Eye. I really hope that this site remains the beautiful and unspoiled natural setting that it is now.

Next we drove to Butrint, an archeological site dating back to Greek and later Roman times. Honestly, Jojo and I were not expecting much. Just another old place, we thought. Well, colour us impressed.

Butrint turned out to be numerous archeological monuments located within the Butrint National Park. The park itself is quite big and we had the place to ourselves most of time we were there. It is pretty cool to read that at one time Julius Caesar visited Butrint.

You can access Butrint by road or car ferry
Some very, very old stones
Pillar at Roman theatre
Creating our own drama at the Roman theatre
Gate at city walls
The Basilica
The three amigos in Butrint

I am so glad we got to see these two amazing sites now before they get discovered by the rest of the world.

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