Corfu to Saranda Ferry: How to Travel from Greece to Albania

Nothing Familiar Corfu to Saranda by Ferry

Standing on the shores of Corfu Greece you can look across the Ionian Sea and catch a glimpse of Albania in the distance. Many travelers don’t realize it, but the beaches of the Albanian Riviera are just a short boat ride away! The Corfu to Saranda ferry is the easiest way to get from Greece to Albania and experience a whole new culture and landscape. In this post we’ll break down how to get to Saranda Albania, the best hotels for when you get there, and everything in between.

Albania Travel Inspiration

How to Get from Corfu to Saranda Albania

To give you a little context, when we visited Albania at the end of May in 2019 it wasn’t our first attempt at visiting the country. Just 6 months earlier we were in Montenegro and planned to cross into Albania via the north.

Maybe it was the time of year or overall lack of buses available, but it just didn’t work out. We found out it would have consisted of multiple buses and days of travel just to get to the central capital of Tirana. Compare that to a quick 30 minute ferry ride from Corfu Greece, and it was a no brainer this time! Now let’s dive right into the specifics of the Greece to Albania ferry.

Nothing Familiar Saranda Albania

Buying Corfu to Saranda Ferry Tickets

So where do you buy your tickets? There’s actually a few different offices and they’re all between Corfu Old Town and the main port. In May when we took the Corfu to Saranda ferry we were able to book the day before with no problems.

There was one crossing a day at 9am, but in the summer months they add more boats based on demand. We booked with Joy Lines Albania after going a few different places and being quoted the best price from them. It is important to note that prices vary depending on high or low season:

Greece to Albania by Ferry

Going on a Day Trip from Corfu to Saranda?

Interestingly enough, most people on the Corfu to Saranda ferry are just making a day trip! Even though we decided to stay and travel the country we did gather some useful information. Here’s what we found out for Greece to Albania day trippers:

  • Once the boat arrives you have one full afternoon with boats returning around 4-5 pm depending on the company.
  • In transit on the Greece to Albania ferry an attendant will take your information to be registered with local police.
  • When you leave the boat you are given a small card so you don’t have to wait in the formal immigration line on the way back.

→ If you prefer to travel with a group you can Book a Day Trip to Saranda and Butrint National Park from Corfu

Corfu to Saranda day Trip

Albanian Visa 

One question we had on how to get to Saranda Albania was acquiring a visa. Obviously, we can only answer for US Citizens, but the good news is if you can obtain it on arrival. It’s really the same as if you were taking a flight from Greece to Albania.

Greek authorities will stamp your passport leaving the country, and you’ll go through the same process entering the port in Saranda. One thing that blew us away is that you can stay in Albania for up to ONE YEAR without a residence permit. 

Visiting Albania from Corfu Greece

Boat Ride From Corfu to Saranda

Good morning! If you’re traveling in off-season then your only option will be to make it on the 9am ferry. Even if you’re not an early riser at least you’ll have a full first day in Albania!

We were told to be at the ferry terminal 30 minutes before departure which felt about right to go through customs and find our boat.

The one thing to be prepared for is the walk to the ferry port! It’s actually about a 30-40 minute walk depending on what area of Corfu Old Town you’re staying in. We enjoyed the morning stroll through the city, but make sure to plan on leaving early.

Ok you’ve made it on the boat! Not sure what you were expecting, but we were a little shocked when we saw the size of it. After spending our last few weeks on the larger ferries of the Greek islands we weren’t ready to see the little speed boat! From all the bigger ships docked in the Corfu port, you may have a hard time spotting the fast ferry.

Fortunately, any worker will be happy to help and point you in the right direction. Our boat was named the Flying Dolphin, and was a slender ship that looks as fast as it goes.

However, once we got inside we were pleasantly surprised with the spacing and seats. You can go outside and get a look at Albania, but hold on because it gets a little bumpy!

Greece to Albania Ferry

Corfu to Saranda Ferry

How to get to Saranda Albania

Corfu to Saranda Quick Guide

Time Change: Despite it being so close there’s still an hour time change between Greece and Albania. Don’t be surprised when you see the clock jump back on your phone!

Money: The national currency of Albania is Lek and you should get some out even for just a day trip. In Saranda they accept both Lek and Euros, but you’ll get a dramatically better rate by paying in local currency.

Schengen Area: If you’re traveling through Europe for an extended period of time Albania is not yet part of the Schengen Area. This means you’re not confined to the 90 days within 180 days.

Corfu to Albania Ferry

Have you traveled from Greece to Albania by ferry and have any helpful information to add? Leave us a comment below! Also, if you have any questions about how to get to Saranda Albania feel free to ask away.

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

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Corfu to Saranda

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Where to Stay in Saranda Albania

Ultra Luxury  – White Residence Luxury Apartments – Large luxury apartments with gorgeous sea views. Modern decor and amenities just steps from the beach.

Fun VacationSun N Blue Hotel – Beautiful hotel where each room has its own balcony with sea views!  Just steps from the harbor and in the center of Saranda. 

Budget Travel Alfred’s Apartments – Our home during our stay! Quality apartments of all sizes at a great price. Our apartment had a balcony and even a washing machine.

Hostel Stay – Hostel Filipi  – Nice views over the city, barbecue, terrace, shared kitchen and lounge. This a a great place if you’re on a budget offering cheap dorm beds and a way to meet other travelers. 

For more places to stay in Saranda Albania you can explore the latest prices here!

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Albania Travel Planning 

 Information: Explore all our Albania articles, amazing destinations around the world, travel planning tips, street food guides, and more.

 Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld can be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic road trip! 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can book a private hike through the Gamti Mountain, jump on a Tirana Walking Tour, or day trip to the beautiful village of Berat Albania

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

Albania Travel

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2 Comments

  1. Mark Palmucci
    January 7, 2023 / 6:45 am

    Hello. Good article.
    Do you have any information regarding the need to return from Sarande to corfu in order to get on a plane for another country, not in the Schengen zone? Will we need a in/out Schengen visa?

    • Brigitte & Jake
      January 8, 2023 / 6:26 am

      Hi Mark,

      To enter Corfu you will need a Schengen Visa stamp. Depending on where your passport is from you may not need to apply for a visa beforehand. We recommend checking with your home country first. Hope that helps!

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