Saranda is amazing – there are no doubts about it. However, it is always good to consider both sides, as this city also has its vices. 3 biggest can scare off at first, as it is not yet a destination comparable to Maldive Islands or even Spain. Still, we believe that even those Albanian flaws have their charm. Let’s check them out…
- “Garbage” policy
Did you know that one of the highest islands on the Maldives is a garbage dump? Yes, this is not a joke. After all you need to utilize garbage left by the tourists somewhere, and the archipelago is located far away from India, making residents sacrifice one of the tropical islands to hide visitors’ leftovers there.
Saranda is high enough not to drown in garbage, but… it does not look good. Sometimes it may happen that – while walking by a modern development building – we will encounter an old tyre, or sometimes kick an empty bottle while walking along the pavement. The residents of Saranda unfortunately are not yet accustomed to tidiness and therefore it is still one of the challenges of this amazing city. So if you are a typical aesthete, wait a while until Albanians deal with their garbage policy before you go there.
- “No speak English my friend”
Most of Albanians hardly speak English. Luckily, younger generation and hotel staff are learning for some time now and we will rather be able to communicate in such places as: hotels, restaurants, swimming pools or shops. However, if we ask an older resident for the way, we shall not expect any longer conversation.
What is interesting, many residents speak Italian, some Russian, and there are even some (quite a lot actually) who speak Chinese. Where do these language come from on these lands? Italians are close and Albanians love them. Russia, The Soviet Union to be exact, collaborated closely with Albania back in the times of communism. And Chinese? After Albanians’ relations with Soviets cooled, they started trading goods with China and a lot of residents learnt this difficult language – therefore you can hear Mandarin also in Saranda.
- Roads like from Bareja films
In Saranda itself the roads are fine, but the way to the city can remind us the good, old Poland. Holes in the asphalt are not so bad, as in some places there is no asphalt at all! Besides, Albanians – as befits southerners – drive their cars quite carelessly. Sometimes it may happen that someone drives at night without the headlights on, overtakes a car with another one driving towards from the other side or uses a horn instead of an indicator.
Therefore, if you rent a car (which is very cheap and car rentals are available on every corner), we have some advice: organize trips during the day and leave the car by the sidewalk in the evening, and be prepared for poor quality of asphalt outside of the city.
However, generally Albania has quite a unique climate. And Saranda itself is especially worth seeing, even if it had 2 times more vices. After all, you do not always get to see such a sunset like here or eat full dinner for 25 PLN only. We therefore definitely recommend – get to know 8 reasons why to visit this place.
Author: Jakub B. Bączek