Saranda is a historic city located in the southern coast of Albania, across the island of Corfu, and 20 km from Butrint. It holds rare Albanian and European cultural and archaeological heritage. Saranda is bordered by Kakomena, Hamalloi, Lëkurës, Gjashtë, and the Ionian Sea.
In the past, historians like Strabo, Ptolemy, and Cicero referred to it as Onhezm. This word had 2 meanings: a wind called Onhezi that aided travel and a figure named Onkizi who was Aeneas' father in mythology. During Italian fascist occupation in 1939, Onhezmi (Saranda) was renamed Porto Eda after Mussolini's eldest daughter, but it was originally a port city in ancient times. One gate connecting Western Balkans to Eastern Europe, a strategic economic point for Illyrians. Saranda has diverse Mediterranean vegetation across natural, semi-natural, and artificial habitats. The region produces citrus fruits, olives, and has 30% fruit tree coverage.
Saranda boasts various wildlife including wild boar, rabbit, jackal, fox, wolf, coot, quail, duck, etc. Reserves like Butrint, Stillo, Corrajt, Muzina make for excellent hunting spots. The Ionian Sea boasts diverse aquatic and animal life. City dolphins visit Saranda shores which provide valuable habitats for marine life. The Butrint lagoon is a 1600 ha Mediterranean area with rich vegetation and diverse fish.
The lagoon attracts numerous waterfowl and migratory birds while this city has diverse ethnicities. Every year, the city of Butrint hosts the "Butrint 2000" International Theater Festival in its amphitheater, featuring European theater companies. Saranda's cinema also stages many shows during the summer, attracting various troupes from inside and outside the country. Saranda is a top tourist hub in Albania, boasting picturesque surroundings like nearby Ksamil and its quaint islands. Rich cuisine with sea products cooked in brine, with meat dishes of lamb, veal, and beef. Brandy and wine often used for meals.
Saranda is the "Capital of the Albanian Riviera" in summer, offering sunny beaches, history, attractions, and vibrant nightlife.