Day trip to Albania

(Excursions on Corfu)

10/10 James Heiden
I live just on the outskirts of Sarande.  Yes there are beggars but very few and far between if you should be unfortunate to be accosted just tell them firmly to go away and they will, but maybe you may have to do this a couple of times. 
 As for the previous remarks from Mr Shaw on travelling from Corfu on the Dolphin boat that is not a problem you will NOT be asked for 10 euro visa entry money.
 However you may be transferred on to the tourist boat for arranged tours, from the Dolphin which sometimes happens. 
This advice is for everyone who travel on the arranged tourist tour boat. If you are on a holiday tour or have been transferred from the dolphin the crew will ask you for 10 euros for an Albanian entry visa and if you are lucky as Mr Shaw says you may be given a numbered cloak room ticket, RUBBISH that 10 euro entry visa ended over 5 years ago it is now free to enter Albania on a day trip THE CREW ARE RIPPING YOU OFF.
 Im sure some tourists will pay the 10 Euros just watch and see the collector walk of the boat in Corfu with all the money paid for by unsuspecting people.  Stand your ground, refuse to pay ask for the police or tourist police and demand the name of the person you are speaking to and the Captains name.  The food and beer in the restaurants is fine and healthy very cheap and food very fresh. Again. do not trust the Greek crew on the boat .  Have a nice time in Sarande
1 post by James Heiden ip - Albania
10/10 Roger Shaw
I have now lived in Sarande for 3 years after living in Ipsos Corfu for 9 years. The food is no different to greek food as quiet a few greeks live here,neither my wife nor I have had any problems with the Sarandans and we have found them far more friendly and courteous and have never been ripped off anywhere including taxis NOT LIKE MOST OF THE FALSE SMILES AND CALLING YOU SCUM BRITS. RIP OFF CORFIETTES.  Regards paying 8 or 10 euros to enter the country that was stopped over 5 years ago.  It is the Ilikas shiping line staff who charge this, what happens to the money I do not know but I can tell you it does not come to Sarande, as Ive checked with a customs friend with the authorities.  If you book a tour to Sarande Butrint or Blue eye and the Greek crew try to get you to pay before the boat leaves and ask you for 10 Euros for an entry visa or if the crew tell you it is for the poor of Albania refuse to pay them and tell them you want the police.  If you are silly enough to pay them 10 Euros your receipt will be a numbered cloak room ticket.  AS for Gypsies they only collect tin cans from the bins for re cycling and they are few and far between.
1 post by Roger Shaw ip - Albania
 Corin C
People live like that everywhere. Wake up.
1 post by Corin C ip - United States
3/10 Colin G

Went on trip to Saranda. Told Albania was beautiful. Could not believe the poverty. Nothing to do if  you do not go on the Tours which are a rip off. If you stay in saranda and go off the normal tourist route you will inundated with Beggars and Gypsies(pickpockets). Seen a number of gangster like individuals. I appreciate that it is in its infancy but needs to do more to encourage tourism. I felt that that everything was done to relieve of any funds.You do not want to buy anything where you expect change as they give you Albanian currency which you can exchange at a poor rate in the bank. On the trip went to see the Roman ruins-interesting but too long. Overall glad I went hoped to get my passport stamped but it didnt happen. They charge you 10 to enter the country. Dont know where the money went as no receipt given.

Food was very bland. My advice is if you want to see it go. Do not expect much. It may be the holiday resort in 5/10 years. Looks still to be communist controlled . No duty free. Could have been a better day but we all learn. On the positive side our guide on the trip was as helpful as any I have met.
1 post by Colin G ip - GB
1/10 Antony F

WHAT AN EYE-OPENER ALBANIA WAS.I DIDN'T THINK PEOPLE STILL LIVED LIKE THAT.WE CHOSE NOT TO TAKE THE TOURS OFFERED, (BAD IDEA).  IF YOU VISIT HERE TAKE THE TOUR OR YOU'LL DO AS WE AND ANOTHER FAMILY(HELLO YOU GUYS FROM SUNDERLAND)AND TWO YOUNG AUSTRALIAN GIRLS(HI TO YOU BOTH,HOPE YOU GOT BACK FROM CORFU TOWN OK). WELL WE ALL JUMPED ON THE NEXT BOAT OUT OF THERE,IT REALLY WAS NOT OUR CUP OF TEA. SO YES MAYBE WE SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE TOUR,BUT WE THOUGHT WE'D BE A BIT ADVENTUROUS. SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAD TAKEN THE TOUR DIDN'T FEEL COMFORTABLE/SAFE WHEN THEY WALKED AROUND AFTER THEIR TOUR ENDED.SO I'M SORRY IF YOU THINK WE ARE WRONG,BUT I WOULD NEVER VISIT AGAIN.

View 8 posts by Antony F ip - GB
10/10 Alison H
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What a beautiful country Albania is. We took the Blue Eye tour which takes you to the Blue Eye national park, where not only will you see the bluest water ever, but also a lovely display of purple dragonflys.

Saranda is a very pretty port town, but just wander a few streets away from the main tourist area and you will see that it is still a very poor country. We are going to return to Albania next year and hopefully spend a few days exploring its natural beauty.
 
 
 
This is a must do trip for anyone who wants something different from the normal holiday touristy stuff.   
 
 
View 6 posts by Alison H ip - GB
  Julie M
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We booked this trip through Thomas Cook, we realise we could have probably got it cheaper at a local travel agent, but beware that some travel agents dont include Lunch, entrance to Butrini and full guided tour. We paid 118 euros (83 ) for the two of us - this included everything, as mentioned above, apart from the entrance tax you have to pay to the Albanian Police - which is 8 euros each.  The trip was a full day (12 hours in total).

The day was really amazing, it was really quite interesting to see a country 'waking up' so to speak. Sarande, the town where the boat drops of at is a bit of building site with hotels popping up everywhere,there is not much else to see there so make sure your tour takes you elsewhere.   As mentioned there are some beggars and children selling trinkets which is quite unsettling. 
 
Our trip to Butrini was fantastic, our guide who was Albanian, was very good and her insight into local culture was invaluable to the experience, the views were stunning from the top of the site.  It was a very hot day, make sure you have plenty of water with you on the trip. 
 
We stopped of at a little village in the mountains for a buffet lunch were the service and food was excellent.  The roads in Albania are not quite finished!, so can be a bit scary, especially in traffic jams on the edges of cliffs!
 
It was a long day but worth it we thought.
View 3 posts by Julie M ip - GB
  Kim and steven -

This is a must-do, but make sure that, as with any excursion in Corfu, you DON'T book through your rep, as you'll save about 15 each.  We booked through Vlasseros Travel on the main street in Sidari (opposite the Afrodite hotel, near Mickey's Inn). The guy who works there, Philip, is a real star, very friendly (and organised an interesting Love Parade through Sidari!). 

Albania was really interesting, book the excursion to the Butrinti ruins through the agent, it's cheaper.  The ruins were amazing and offered spectacular views of the Albanian landscape,which is amazing and very unusual.  The guide was excellent and very knowledgeable.  You'll have to change your Euros into Leke, but things are very cheap there.  Take plenty of water, it's a very long, hot day.  If you are a nervous traveller, this may not be the trip for you as the roads are not the best through the mountains and there are a few hairy moments as the coach passes other vehicles!
Lunch at the restaurant was nice, with lovely views over the sea.  Unfortunately, local children do beg and try to sell trinkets when you are in Saranda, but that's a small minus point, and understandable in a country as poor as Albania.  This was one of the highlights of our holiday.
View 8 posts by Kim and steven - ip - --
  Shell ?
TOTALLY GREAT DAY OUT. THERE WAS A TRIP TO AN HISTORICAL PLACE WHICH WAS GREAT THEN OFF FOR A FAB LUNCH AND A TRIP ROUND THE TOWN. YOU DO HAVE THE OPTION TO STAY IN THE TOWN FOR THE DAY ALONE. I AM WELL TRAVELLED AND HAVE NO PROBLEM STAYING ANYWHERE BUT THERE IS NOT A LOT TO DO FOR THE AMOUNT OF TIME YOU ARE THERE. I WOULD GO AGAIN IT WAS GREAT
View 4 posts by Shell ? ip - UK
  Kerry L
Me and my boyfriend want on the albania trip, it was excellent, the boat trip from corfu town was ok, when we got there we had a great tour guide who was very interesting, the coach trip to the ruins was amazing, there was same spectacular views alone the ionian coast, make sure to take a lot of water with you it very hot at the ruins. We also had a great lunch in sarande after visting the ruins, my boyfriend loved their mussels, after lunch you had time to look around sarande, there's not much their, but it was amazing to see how other people live it was a very interesting and a great day trip
View 3 posts by Kerry L ip - UK
  Cat N
We were unsure what to expect when we booked this trip but were very interested to experience another culture. It was a highlight of the holiday, boat trip over was nice, coach trip to the ruins was spectacular along the ionian coast then high above an inland lake. The trip around the ruins was exceptionally hot- take plenty of water, brilliant tour guide and spectacular photo opportunities. The buffet at the five star hotel allows you to try fresh mussels from the inland lake and they were excellent as was everything on the trip.
View 2 posts by Cat N ip - UK
  Walter S
I work in Corfu and I can safely say that the day trip to Albania is an amazing day out. Yes, it's a long day, and yes, it's quite hot, but to see the enormous ruined city of Butrint and experience 3 different ancient civilisations in the middle of a country which has nothing is a total eye opener. Albania was under Communist rule until about 10 years ago and the people were living in constant fear of war. There are hundreds of concrete domes all over the place which are actually bomb-shelters.... I don't want to go on too much about it but it is definitley worth a visit if you can be bothered to leave the pool or miss your english breakfast.
1 post by Walter S ip - UK
  Erin S
Me and my boyfriend enjoyed the trip to Albania although quite a lot of people we spoke to didn't like it.
We booked through an agency in Sidari instead of the rep as it's cheaper and everyone gets on the same boat anyway (Ionian Cruises).
As we stayed in Sidari, we had to get up early to get a coach into Corfu Town, once there we took a 1 and a half hour boat journey. The passenger ferry was clean and sold refreshments on board.
Once we were in Albania were were offered a trip to the ruins of an ancient village for 18 Euros (lunch included), we would recommend you go on this as you see alot more of Albania this way (the guide is very good). We also had a look around the town of Sarande and there isn't much there but it was an eyeopener to see how other people live. There were children begging (this is what put people off) but not in their masses, just the same as anywhere like Morroco or other countries who are very poor.
We would recommend for you to go to Albania to see a very interesting way of life.
View 3 posts by Erin S ip - UK
   
More Excursions on Corfu...
Bar crawl with your reps | Boat trip and beach BBQ | Boat trip to Erikoussa Island | Boat trip to Parga (mainland Greece) | Boat trip to Paxos | Boat trip to the Blue Lagoon | Coach trip around the island | Corfu Town by Night | Day trip to Albania | Day trip to Olympia | Horse and cart ride round Corfu Town | Horse Riding | Jeep Safari | Scuba Diving | Trip to Aqualand | Trip to Corfu Town | Weekend trip to Athens |