Though the history of the Albanian Riviera stretches back ages, visitors are beginning to rediscover this beauty against the Ionian Sea. At the southern tip is Sarande, said to be the ancient home of Achilles’ descendants, and standing as a shining example and the perfect starting point for exploring Albania. With 300 days of sun a year, Sarande is a hidden gem destination for cruises.

The best way to explore Sarande is the city tour, which takes visitors from the port to key city highlights. The tour starts with a relaxing ride to Lekuresi Castle. This stunning ancient treasure used to belong to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and has unmatched views of the harbor. Inside the castle, guests will enjoy local bites and folk performances. After the show, visitors will be transported to a winery in the local village of Vrioni and be taken on a guided tour to see the wine-making process as well as the making of the traditional local drink, Raki. At the end of the tour, snacks and a wine tasting will round out the time in the countryside. Finally, guests will take the coach to the main city of Sarande to roam and explore. Guests will be treated to a walking tour of the local highlights before being able to explore the waterfront and shops for the rest of their day ashore.

The waterfront is amazing. Sarande is known for having Albania’s best beach life and the beaches sit right against the Boulevard Hasan Tahsini. This bustling and lively street traces the seafront and is filled to the brim with bars, restaurants, and shops. With local fare and live music, there is something for everyone to love along the coast. For even more nautical delights, the stunning Greek island of Corfu is only a 20-minute boat ride away. Sarande is also close to a number of ancient ruins and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

With so much to explore and an excellent opportunity to see it all with a structured itinerary, Sarande is becoming an ideal destination for Ionian Sea cruises. As the anchor of the whole of the Albanian Riviera, Sarande stands out and will be a treasured memory for guests.

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