‘I went to one of Europe’s cheapest beach destinations and it was so beautiful’

The price of a beach holiday has soared this year with TravelSupermarket finding the cost of a break in Spain, France or Greece has risen by more than 20 percent. However, there are still bargains to be found, particularly if British tourists are willing to travel slightly further afield.

Saranda is one of Albania’s top-rated beach destinations and best of all, British tourists won’t have to spend an arm and a leg to holiday there. From Saranda, it’s an easy trip to the idyllic beaches at Ksamil and tourists can also take a day trip to Corfu.

What to do

Saranda is a resort located on the Albanian Riviera. The town sits on a horseshoe-shaped bay, backed by olive grove hills.

The main reason to visit Saranda is to spend time at some of Albania’s best beaches. While Saranda has a beach right in the centre of the town, my favourite beaches were nearby in Ksamil. A bus between the towns takes just 20 minutes and Ksamil’s crystal clear water has earned it the title of “Europe’s Maldives”.

The main beach area in Ksamil is broken up into smaller spots where tourists can rent loungers. We paid £24 for two loungers to spend the whole day right on the water’s edge. I would recommend getting to the beach early in the morning as they tend to get very busy in peak season. An hour’s pedalo cost £15 for the boat which could seat four and tourists can also rent jet skis or larger boats.

Saranda isn’t just about beaches and it’s just half an hour from Butrint National Park. The ruins at Butrint date back to the Roman Empire and are far quieter than similar spots in central Europe.

Where to stay

I stayed in Saranda in an Airbnb apartment which cost £117.29 for two people for three nights, just £58.60 each – or £19.50 per night. And, to top it off, the apartment was just a 10-minute walk from the main town. 

  • Find a hotel or apartment on Booking.com or Hotels.com
  • Find a rental on Airbnb

Saranda or Ksamil are the best places for tourists who choose not to rent a car, as they won’t be far from all the main attractions or bus stops.

Saranda has hotels that suit a range of budgets and many of them have their own swimming pool or private beach area for guests.

However, renting a car is fairly inexpensive and could be the perfect choice for tourists who’d like to stay in a more remote spot or spend their days at quieter, less accessible beaches.

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Eating and Drinking

I found restaurants were more expensive in Saranda than in Albania’s capital city, Tirana. You can read our full guide to a stay in Tirana here. However, it’s still far cheaper than eating out in the UK. Although there are plenty of restaurants and bars along Saranda’s main promenade, you can get a better deal eating at one of the spots away from the front.

I loved Oda e Babes for its traditional Albanian cuisine and a meal for two with starters and wine cost just £25. Tourists who opt for self-catering will find there are plenty of fish shops and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables on offer. Shops stay open late in Saranda so it’s easy to pick something up after a day at the beach. There are also a few incredible bakeries with delicious homemade burek.

Saranda has a lively nightlife scene and there are even party boats which take guests out to sea during the evening.

How to Get There

Unfortunately, Saranda doesn’t have an airport so Britons will need to fly to Tirana or Corfu to reach the beach hotspot.

I’d recommend flying to Corfu as it’s a much shorter trip than the drive from Tirana. Budget carriers including easyJet, Jet2 and Ryanair all fly direct to Corfu from the UK and the ferry takes just over half an hour to Saranda.

If you’re looking for a cheap flight with Jet2, read our guide to the latest Jet2 sales and deals.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a purse-friendly package holiday or flight, read our latest guide to the best easyJet deals.

  • Find a cheap flight to Cofu with Jet2
  • Find a cheap flight to Corfu with easyJet
  • Find a cheap flight to Corfu with Ryanair

Prices vary depending on the season and company but a ferry ticket generally costs around £35.

Why not combine a visit to Saranda with a trip to one of Europe’s prettiest hidden gems? 

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