Close
from just £949 per person.

About Sarande

The attractive small town of Sarande is the gateway to southern Albania. Lying on a beautiful horseshoe bay, between the mountains and the Ionian Sea, it's just opposite the island of Corfu.

Part of the Albanian Riviera, Sarande has a stylish main promenade lined with trendy hotels and restaurants. Above the town is the old castle of Lekures at 'The Pass of Six', where you'll find an outdoor restaurant within the castle, offering panoramic views over Sarande Bay below.

Nearby on the Ksamili Peninsula lies the Graeco-Roman site of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint has been the site of pre-Greek civilisations, a Roman city and a Byzantine Port, and has fallen under the influence of the Normans, Venetians and Ottomans. Needless to say, the remains here are spectacular! Close by you'll also find the 12th century Mesopotamian Monastery and the intriguing Blue Eye spring.

 

Shore excursions in Sarande

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

A Taste of Albania

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 4 hours

Explore the astonishing archaeological ruins at Butrint National Park and sample some local fayre.

The ancient ruins of Butrint are hidden within a fantastic natural setting, within the 29km² national park. After the Second World War, the Albanian Institute of Archaeology undertook the excavations and in 1992 the site became a certified UNESCO World Heritage site. With your guide you’ll explore the lower town, where you can admire the many monuments from varying civilisations.

Then you’ll visit Hotel Livia, featured on Rick Stein’s travels from Venice to Istanbul. The beautiful surrounding estuary offers the perfect growing conditions for mussels, a delicious Butrint speciality. The hotel’s chef will demonstrate how to cook and prepare a delicious recipe which includes the famous mussels if they are in season. Then it's time to sample the local flavours with a glass of wine.

Essential information

This tour will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 40 minutes of walking on this tour over some stones, steps. Comfortable walking shoes, a hat and water are recommended. Please note that this tour explores Lower Butrint only, to avoid a lot of extra walking, and will not include the Acropolis or Museum. As Butrint is a National park, passengers are advised to wear insect repellent. Passengers are advised that it may not be possible to serve mussels at certain times of the year, an alternative seafood dish will be prepared.

A Taste of Albania

Birds of Butrint

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 6 hours

Visit Butrint and uncover the secrets of one of the richest areas for biodiversity in Albania.

Leave the city of Sarande behind and drive south to the UNESCO heritage town of Butrint to uncover the secrets of Albania’s diverse flora and fauna.

Begin at the gates of the Archaeological Park and don’t forget your binoculars. Your guide will describe the landscapes and wetlands that stretch out towards the horizon and introduce some the rare species of birds that have made them their home.

A short boat transfer takes you across the lake to join the trail of the Water Birds to Ali Pasha Castle, a Venetian built fortress built to control access by sea to Butrint in the 16th Century. The fortress’s position makes it the perfect spot to gaze across the shorelines of the wetlands and observe the different species of shorebirds.

As you make your way to Lake Bufi you will find yourself on the trail of the singing birds. You’ll pass through the village of Shendelli on foot with the trail delivering stunning landscape views and the chance to see variety of birds.

Afterwards, take the weight off your feet as you relax in a local café with a refreshment before you return to Saranda and your ship.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, boat and on foot. This tour involves approximately 4.5 kilometres of walking. The boat transfer is weather dependent; should the boat not be in operation a 10 minute walk is required to get to the other side of the lake. We recommend you carry bottled water, sunscreen, head covering and a small snack with you on this tour.

Butrint National Park

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 4½ hours

This tour offers the opportunity to visit the fascinating UNESCO site of Butrint National Park and discover the history behind it.

Your panoramic drive will take you to the Graeco-Roman site of Butrint which is located on the Ksamili Peninsula. Along the way your knowledgeable guide will share insights into the local history and culture of Albania.

Inhabited since prehistoric times, the area of Butrint has been the site of pre Greek civilizations, a Roman city, a Byzantine Port and has even fallen under the influence of the Normans, Venetians and Ottomans. The present archaeological site is a collection of ruins representing each period in the city's development. After the Second World War, the Albanian Institute of Archaeology undertook the excavations and the site became a certified UNESCO World Heritage site.

The tour will take you through the city of Butrint allowing you to admire the monuments of many different civilizations. A former director and one of the Founders of Butrint National Park will deliver a presentation in the Ancient Theatre to furnish you with interesting facts about this fascinating site. Your guided walking tour will continue onto the Acropolis overlooking the site, as well as a short visit to the Museum.

Round off your tour with some free time to visit the handicraft shop and enjoy refreshments of tea, coffee or a cold drink before returning to the ship.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is over 1 hour of walking on this tour over some stones, steps and inclines. Comfortable walking shoes, a hat and water are recommended. As Butrint is a National park, passengers are advised to wear insect repellent.

Discover Gjirokastra

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 6½ hours

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage town of Gjirokastra, a fine example of an Ottoman merchant town.

Sit back and relax onboard your coach as a scenic drive of around 1¼ hours takes you to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Gjirokastra.

Clinging against the Gjerë Mountains on the side of the Drino Valley, this former Ottoman merchant town offers sweeping views, as well as some fine examples of Ottoman architecture.

The town is dominated by a magnificent castle, overlooking the important route along the river valley, and which is said to be the 2nd largest in the Balkans. During a visit to Gjirokastra Castle, you’ll be treated to wonderful, panoramic views across the valley.

Afterwards, follow your guide for a short leisurely walk into the Old Town, during which you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as you view the old Ottoman style tower houses. A stop will be made at the Hotel Cajupi to enjoy a coffee or tea, after which you’ll then have a little free time to explore the charming bazaar area, with its sprinkle of small shops.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 1¾ hours of walking on this tour, over cobblestones, as well as some steps and steep inclines to negotiate. There is a charge of euro 0.50 cents to use the public toilets at the castle. Flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Passengers will be required to take a lift to reach the hotel refreshment venue which is located on the 2nd floor. As this tour operates over lunch, passengers are recommended to have a hearty breakfast.

Himara – The Heart of the Riviera

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 6 hours

Journey to the ‘Heart of the Riviera’.

Leave the port of Sarande behind and enjoy a scenic drive to discover the serene and traditional villages of South Albania. Sit back and enjoy the stunning coastal views as your guide gives you a brief history of the local surroundings, including the once restricted area which was home to the largest naval marine base in Albania.

A short photo stop at Porto Palermo Castle will not only deliver breathtaking views over the peninsular but uncover the history of Albania’s Ottoman ruler Ali Pasha of Tepelena.

Himara is often described as the ‘Heart of the Riviera’ and is well-known for its warm, sunny climate, beautiful beaches and the warm hospitality of its locals. Join your guide for a walk through the village to the ancient castle perched on a rocky outcrop. Have your camera handy to capture the true beauty of the coastal beaches of Spille, Llamani, Potami, and Livadhet.

Experience the famous hospitality with some light refreshments in a local café, before some free time to explore independently. You may wish to relax on the beach or discover some of the inventive ways the locals have transformed the empty stone buildings of the village, before rejoining your coach for the journey back to your ship.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is some uphill walking on this tour. The journey to Himara is approximately 2 hours. The journey to Himara is via some winding, coastal roads which may not be suitable for passengers who suffer from motion sickness. Passengers choosing to use the beach during their free time are advised that there are no changing facilities available.

 

A selection of cruises to Sarande

This website uses cookies to give you the very best user experience. By using our website, you agree that we can place cookies on your device. For more information see the About Cookies link at the bottom of this page.

Close

Close