"Saranda and southern Albania, 1988 and now." Top 5 Page for this destination Sarande by JLBG

Sarande Travel Guide: 125 reviews and 264 photos

The Illyrian tribe of the Chaonians founded the city and named it Onchesmos. It has never been ruled by the Romans but several mosaics dug out show that it had many trade exchanges with the Roman world and was a wealthy city in the 2nd-3rd century BC. Ali Pasha of Tepelena used it as a port for Ioannina. However, there are almost no remains of the past except a few diggings.

Sarandë/Saranda is the Albanian name for the Greek Saranda, meaning "forty", named after the Byzantine monastery of the "Forty Saints".

When I first visited it, in 1988, most of the city dated back only from the 50s. On my second visit, in May 2007, I found that a great many new buildings had been built and were still building, though some parts of the city center remained unchanged. In 2007, we spent a very limited time in Saranda (actually, just enough time to have a yummy pizza with a beer) and did not visit the town. In 2009, we took a little more time. The modern city is beautiful, well built and very pleasant but Saranda has no real ancient part with a significant architecture.

  • Last visit to Sarande: May 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (24)

Comments (12)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jun 9, 2009 at 3:53 PM

    Ok, right away I made the mistake at looking at the restaurant tip, and was distracted by the pizza. Still the Albanian riviera did snap back to reality. Lovely page!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jun 9, 2009 at 5:01 AM

    Lots of changes in the intervening 19 years! But what surprised me was that now (2009) the authorities combat illegally built structures by making them collapse partly and then leaving the ruins to remind to others that the law is the law!

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Jun 8, 2009 at 11:54 AM

    This Chinese brand new car looks very similar to a Russian GAZ-69 out of 1955... You know Chinese industry was very much Soviet-made that time and I suppose that car was produced under the USSR license.

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Jun 8, 2009 at 9:28 AM

    The Albanian Riviera looks lovely! How interesting to visit the same place with almost 20 years inbetween!

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2009 at 6:33 PM

    Almost visited Saranda last year, but didn't so I am glad to take a virtual tour through your eyes.

  • bijo69's Profile Photo
    Apr 12, 2008 at 9:07 AM

    The brand new car from 88 is great, I wonder if they're still around these days...

  • suela's Profile Photo
    May 21, 2007 at 7:43 AM

    loved the photo of the "nightlife in saranda"... perfect.. also your comment :):)

  • Eraldi's Profile Photo
    Sep 4, 2006 at 2:33 PM

    It is astonishing how things have changed in only 8 years!!! Back then in 1988 I was 10 years old. Now after 8 years evth is so different! If you havent returned yet since then I would reccommend you to do so!!! It can be an experience...

  • illumina's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2006 at 9:25 AM

    If you revisit this summer, you will undoubtedly find that the terraces and olive trees have been neglected. They were still standing around Ksamili in 2002, but no one was looking after them. You must visit the Blue Eye if you have the chance!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    May 17, 2006 at 2:28 AM

    Hello Jean Louis. Yes we're back from Marbella. Just got home yesterday afternoon. Lovely little page on Sarande. Especially intrigued with Butrint and the remains of the old Roman City.


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