Staring into the Blue Eye Saranda or “Syri i kaltër” as it is called in Albanian, I had no idea what I was really gazing at. I heard that divers had been down 50 meters, and still weren’t sure where it began or ended. The Blue Eye is classified as a naturally occurring phenomenon, which to me means “we have no idea what exactly this is, but it is fantastic either way!”. You will now find a recap of my trip to the Blue Eye Saranda (Syri i kaltër).

How to get to the Blue Eye Saranda (Syri i kaltër)

Blue Eye Saranda or "Syri i kaltër"

Getting to the Blue Eye Saranda from the city of Saranda is actually quite simple. I visited the Blue Eye as part of a one day road trip around Southern Albania. It was our second to last stop of the day and coming into the park, we almost missed it all together.

I was fortunate to have access to a little red Suzuki from Sipa Tours; by far the best way to explore this area is with a rented car (on the same day I also visited the UNESCO site of Butrint). If you have your own vehicle, just grab a tourist map, or better yet a cheap sim card from Vodafone and use the gps.

If a rented car is not up your alley, just head to the main street and there will a number of taxis eager to take you. At the time of writing I was quoted 30,000 Lek (around $30) for a drive there, a 2 hour visit while the driver waits, then a lift back to Saranda. Check out current exchange rates here. My recommendation; get the car and explore as much as you can, true FTF style.

Arrival at the Blue Eye Saranda (Syri i kaltër)

Blue Eye Saranda or "Syri i kaltër"

The road leading in to the Blue Eye Saranda (Syri i kaltër) is barely wide enough for a single vehicle. I twisted and turned as I drove down the mountain road. A couple of hours before this, I was at sea level with palm trees and tall green grass. As I now approached the Blue Eye, the scenery around me had changed. I could tell autumn had set in (after all it is November in Europe). The trees held leaves that were changing colour and falling to the ground. It’s amazing how in Albania, in a matter of only a couple hours you can switch climates so quickly.

When I pulled into the parking lot of the Blue Eye Saranda (Syri i kaltër) there was a restaurant to the right. This is where I initially parked and headed towards the empty pavilion. In the summer it is meant to be quite busy here and in Saranda in general. When I visited I had the place to myself, besides a couple local Albanian tourists. One of the benefits of off-season travel.

First impressions of the Blue Eye Saranda (Syri i kaltër)

Blue Eye Saranda or "Syri i kaltër"

My first impression was of shock at the clarity of the water. It was a blue/green shade I had never seen before and I stood out on one of the covered docks and peered deep into the water, able to see every plant, rock, and fish that lived below. At this point I of course thought I was at the Blue Eye and was sort of like “ok, well I guess that’s it..” When I returned to my car to leave I noticed a sign stating that the Blue Eye was actually to the left upon entrance. I almost missed it.

Checking out the actual Blue Eye Saranda (Syri i kaltër)

Blue Eye Saranda or "Syri i kaltër"

After driving another 50 meters I once again parked and exited the vehicle. I walked across an old bridge and then down a short trail. This is when I actually arrived at the Blue Eye. There was a small pebble beach and less than 5 meters away from shore was the Blue Eye itself. It bubbled up from with in itself and the colours were intense. I swear it would change colour right before my eyes.

 Blue Eye Saranda or "Syri i kaltër"

Besides myself and my travel buddy, there were 2 local tourists. They were extremely excited to be there. Yours truly was lucky enough to take their picture. They exclaimed how beautiful it was then asked the usual questions of where I was from, what I was doing in Albania, how did I get here, ect. After a brief chit-chat it was time to leave and head back to my rented apartment in Saranda.

Where to stay when visiting the Blue Eye Saranda (Syri i kaltër)

Blue Eye Saranda or "Syri i kaltër"

The best place to stay when visiting the Blue Eye Saranda (Syri i kaltër) is in the city of Saranda itself. There are other towns nearer to the Blue Eye but Saranda is close enough that you might as well stay where you will find comfort and amenities. Saranda, in it’s own right, is a bargain travel destination and a hidden gem.

I am writing this from an unreal airbnb apartment in Saranda. I always highly recommend airbnb as you can make your own food and have a slightly larger living area than a hotel. That being said, Saranda also has amazing deals for hotels. I spent my first night in Saranda at Hotel Ari and I would have no problem recommending it as well.

If you have been to Saranda or the Blue Eye let me know what you thought about it by leaving a comment below!

4 Responses

  1. Eliona

    No one (at least in Saranda & Albania) really knows how it was formed, but there are many many legends. My fav is the one of the young girl with crystal blue eyes, who lived in the dessert nearby and every day went out to find water. One day she fell on a hole and one of her eyes broke into little pieces. The hole was so deep that no one could find her, but since that day her tears started filing the hole and there were so many of them that her eyes started to look like little springs of water which then started flowing into a little river. (Fact: There are actually six small springs and one bigger one that make the Blue Eyed Spring). Also fact: a few years ago the Albanian government signed a contract with the Italian government to start bottling Blue Eyed water and sell in Italy. There were public protests but the government would have continued with the contract had it not been for the Italian government backing out when they went to the Blue Eyed to find out it was dried up!!! A few weeks later, water sprung out again 🙂

    • Alex

      Wow those are pretty great stories! Im glad to hear it will remain there and not be sold in bottles in Italy!