Springtime in Saranda

On April 26, 2011, in Saranda Travel Stories, by Hanna
Beautiful Lukove Beach

Beautiful Lukove Beach

We had hoped to visit Saranda this summer, but unforeseen circumstances brought us there in March instead. Luckily, the weather felt like summer, and Southern Albania was as beautiful as ever. After collecting information from the town hall (their Tourist Information office is extraordinarily helpful), we walked around the boardwalk and snapped a few pictures for the “Visit Saranda” website we are developing. Next we ate a delicious meal of fresh seafood and salad at one of the seaside restaurants. We have found that you really can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants near the boardwalk in Saranda (let me know if you have found otherwise). It seems that the meals usually contain high-quality local produce and seafood, with an excellent presentation and reasonable price. Not to mention it is usually easy to find a place where you can sit with an ocean view or outside on a balcony.

View of Saranda from Lekursi Castle

"View of Saranda from Lekursi Castle"

We made our way up to Lekursi castle for the first time ever. After reading so much about the castle, it was great to get up there and see the gorgeous view. The castle has been turned into a restaurant/bar/cafe which is nice if you’re the type who wants to sip coffee and relax, but not so much if you prefer authentic preservation of historical sites. Just don’t go there expecting to get a castle tour as you might be able to do in other places. Nonetheless, the vista is spectacular and looks out over all of Saranda. There is seating inside the castle, and a gorgeous stone patio outside where visitors can relax on warmer days.

After spending a night with family in Ksamil, we decided to head up the coast to see more of the undeveloped part of the Saranda District. We saw signs for Kakome, which we had heard of as having a beautiful beach. So, we turned left down the road to check it out, only to arrive at a locked gate with armed guards. We could see that there was building going on down by the beach, but when we asked the guards about it they were vague and pretended not to know much.  From what we have learned since, there is some kind of luxury resort being developed. As is the case with much of these sort of places in Albania, ownership was most likely the result of a land-grab after the fall of communism, followed by bribes to government officials in order to make things legal. We continued to drive along the picturesque and undeveloped coastal route, which is situated high above the shore below. Olive trees, wildflowers and shrubs are abundant in this area, as well as wild herbs and the occasional fruit trees.

Amazing Lukove Sunset

Amazing Lukove Sunset

After seeing signs for Lukove, we decided that might be a nice beach to visit. So, we followed the sign and turned down the road which quickly turned into dirt. This gave us a nice excuse to get out for a hike so we parked the car and began our descent. The weather was sunny and hot, but there was a light breeze and at every other turn we caught glimpses of the shimmering water below. After passing a few houses and getting the wise advice to “stay on the path or you might get lost”, we arrived at Lukove Beach. It was completely deserted, a smooth-pebble beach with several of the old Communist-era bunkers (it wouldn’t be Albania without them). The scenery was breathtaking to say the least, with gorgeous aquamarine sea edged with sand, stones, and the silver-green of the olive groves. Afterwards my mother-in-law told us that in her twenties she had been bused there with other workers in order to plant olive trees as part of a communist work party.

Driftwood in front of the shimmering sea

Driftwood in front of the shimmering sea

Even though this visit to Saranda and the nearby Lukove was a short one, it was perhaps one of the most memorable. We took the time to explore a bit outside of the city and as a result we really got a feel for the natural areas of the Albanian Riviera. Even though summertime brings more foot traffic to even these areas, the breathtaking views and natural air will surely make the trek worthwhile.

 

1 Response » to “Springtime in Saranda”

  1. aggeliki says:

    Η δουλειά σας έιναι καταπληκτική συγχαρητήρια.

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