WE LOVE SARANDA
November 19, 2023 || views
Are you looking for summer memories around Saranda? Here we are with some special proposals to experience, maybe away far from your imagination about how to enjoy a “blue” city like Saranda.
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Start with tasting local food. Saranda is known for producing mussels, vegetables, citrus, and wine. Continue with visiting small villages and mini-towns. Go to meet the locals and get to know the closer. Scientists claims that it better to sit down, stand up or walk when performing memory so why would you just lay on the beach instead of coming with us an unique experience?
There are groups who claim that Saranda only for summer and mass tourism, but if you are curious about the location, you can realized, that here are many others who vote for the ecotourism and agritourism, what are about to promote the sustainable tourism enterprises whole year.
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Agritourism farms are not highlight marketable characteristics in Saranda yet, but few promotions effort to promote the growth of individual enterprises and surrounding businesses for local communities.
Bote Farms, in Finiq area is the one, whose concepts regarded as a tourism product directly related to the agricultural environment, agricultural products, or agricultural accommodation. Botë Farms was founded by Kyle and Shawn an American couple, who decided to leave their busy LA lifestyles to create a place to enjoy the peace and beauty of the mountainous Albanian countryside.
“Botë” means “world” and the intention of Botë Farms is to intermingle with all cultures, breaking bread at a single table and reconnecting with the land with different activities, their motto „EAT. STAY. PLAY.” for example they have a program „Meet Monda”. Monda, who makes the best byrrek in all of Albania and in cooking classes she teaches the secrets to the best byrrek around.
After five long years and a global pandemic, Botë Farms opened June 1st! Luxury Villas here in the quiet countryside but just minutes from the beach, Saranda and the Blue Eye.
But if someone do not have a week to run away from their everyday life, just book a Farm Day experience and pick the feeling of the beautiful Albanian countryside. There is full day explore how many way you can connect to others, from milking goat to sharing five course menu with others.
If you are looking for venue for different activites, or just want to spend your holiday from January to December in a luxury villa with different activities and organic food Bote Farms is your answer, where you can find location for retreat your soul and mind.
Nivice is a good spot for a weekend escape for everyone, because it is close to Saranda. It is not easy to recognize this small village from Saranda-Himara national road but worth to keep the eyes on the sign. Nivice is a mountain village, is located 750 meters above sea level like a “natural fortress” arched by the Rrupaqa forest. Nivice wants to hide and stand out from the mountain stones at the same time, situated on the slopes of the Sh ënd ëlli mountain. But, like all stories, this village also has some white spots in its memory.
The loneliness of the minimalist tombstone is dedicated to the martyrs of the Anti-Fascist National Liberation War. The memorial standing on the main square is not suppressed by the silence under the huge sycamore tree next door. As the locals said, the village’s famous tree is hundreds of years old and has always played an important role in the life of the village. The village square is also designed so that everyone can relax and talk about their problems under the sycamore tree. Give and take from those who have and share with those who don’t have. And the tree has been growing, year after year, generation after generation, until the ll. During World War II, the village became a prime target it was repeatedly bombed by the Germans from the neighboring mountains, day and night, but there was not much place to hide, until the last time the the tree caught the impact of one of the sieges, saving the shops on the main square and the neighboring residential buildings. Out of gratitude, one of the local craftsmen cleaned up the damage to the tree and lined the trunk with stones from the inside to keep the tree in place.In the last few years that have passed since then, there is still a lot on the sycamore he witnessed everything in the life of the then even more populous village. For example, the fact that the church was transformed into a village cinema during the communist decades. And the fact that it welcomes those who enter it as a church again. Next to the raft stands the old village school, which is more than 100 years old and has been reconstructed several times by the villagers, and in front of it is a special architectural bell tower. In the same courtyard as the school is the church of St. Dimitri, built in the 16th century but rebuilt several times over the centuries. If you visit Nivice you have to stop at Taverna muzhaqi Villa Muzhaqi and visit this family runs business since 2015 in the village. The Taverna founders Orest and Vasilika just returned from Greece where Vasilika had worked as a cook for many years in Athens, it was Orest’s idea to open a local business here. What life needs beyond luck then, when it was courage, even audacity to come home. But Orest really wanted to keep the village alive, at that time tourism had not developed.
Nowadays their Taverna popular among locals and tourists, with warm hospitality and catchy and cozy interior with family memories inside and in the garden. Since opening the Taverna, there is already the second generation, nowadays their daughter Maria keeps eyes on the daily works, who also a returner. She was back to the village to get involved in the business, also her two daughters have been working here when they don’t go to school.
To eat in Nivice for a lovely lunch to understand the tradition of the locals „Because food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy. It’s not about nutrients and calories. It’s about sharing. It’s about honesty. It’s about identity”. Almost all their products come from a small farm in the village, meat from shepherds here in the surrounding villages, the bureks/ pies are traditionally made by Maria’s mom.
History, tradition, natural beauty, hiking in the village or forest Rrupaqe, visit beautiful monastery of Panagia or swimming at Kakome Beach calling visitors to close to many hidden gems of Albanian Coast side nowadays for staying in the village longer than an afternoon there are three guesthouses as well run by family of the Taverna Muzhaqi.
There is no dish without mandarin in Saranda. In whole year you can get as fresh fruit, honey, jam, varieties of desert options and raki anywhere. Mandarins are good option for snack or tea time peeling a delicious mandarin straight from the tree.
Did you know that in 2006 here around Saranda were just around 100 hectares of citrus planted in the Konispol region? In southern most Albania just off the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint. Today, there are more than 724 hectares, which account for 12,000 metric tons of mandarins.
The city of Konispol is lying on the hills and facing the sea. Konispoli is the town located at the southern of Albania, about 1 km from the Greek border, offers a marvelous view with houses distinctive architecture.
Konispol also well-known for its traditional cooking, with some fabulous dishes as Kataifi cake. The area is also known for olive plantations, oranges and mandarins and also it is known for its famous Mandarin Festival.
The main economy of the city is agriculture, olives, lemon, pomegranate, mandarins as the main symbols of the Mediterranean Diet. The warm hospitality of the residents towards foreigners. Their table is always laid to be served through food with respect, gratitude, culture and love.
If you want to dig into the past and history of this country you can find easily remain as relics… Across the entire timeline, starting from the caves of antiquity (such as Kreshmoi CaveIn 1992, Seven Caves were discovered up to the communist bunkers. It seems that history has not lost its traces in this place.
If you open to meet Urimi, the stone carver from Konispol , you can find him or his knowledge locally because if you take a walk around Saranda and its region you will find out that churches, squares, museums, and even hotels, the chances are you will come across the work of stone carver. In Konispol many of them has been living for generations an anonymous master, whose work everyone knows. Local houses, memorials, small tombs, grave block, souvenirs adorn some of the location adorns some of the finest locations in the city. Urimi is a naiv master of the of stone carving, whom work is not just an activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone.
The local knowledge , historical and cultural heritage play huge role in development of the tourism. Bringing cultural tourism back in the game in Albania. Reach Konispol by own car, bicycle, motorbike, hiking also by public transport or private taxi. As more cultural tourists have sought to explore the cultures of the Konispol, greater emphasis has been placed on the importance of intercultural dialogue to promote understanding and tolerance on each side of the borders.
What were the first things you thought about Albania? Not sure that donkey was included on your list.
However Albanian Donkeys are very delicate animal, (their coat is grey, black, reddish, or “purple”) are referred to as “gomari”, have a long history in Albania, especially in coastal and hilly regions, and are believed to have migrated into the country originally from the Adriatic coast centuries ago with the development of trade connections between Persia, Egypt, and Greece. They evolved locally more by natural selection (because of conditions in Albania, they are small averaging 107 cm at the withers) they continue to be useful in rural area where the conditions are harsh.
If you get known that in 2013 there were roughly 55,000 Albanian donkeys (with 750 000 banquets) unfortunately their numbers are diminishing, so you may understand how important notice, that small family farmers have turned increasingly to raise more animals on farms because of rising high prices for donkey milk and farm products.
In the EU there are geographical indications that identify a good as originating in the territory of a country, or from a region or locality within that territory, where a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.
Around Saranda thanks to its typical Mediterranean climate along the cost and its continental climate in the hinterland mountainous areas, together with its rich and very productive soil. On a sunny afternoon we visited a family, who runs a donkey farm about 30 minutes diriving from Saranda, up to the Rrezoma Rezerve area.
Close to the clouds on the mountain area throughout its territory, there are many cultivation of citrus fruits, olive trees, nuts, with many apiaries (bee yards) in between, mostly rural and of different sizes, producing distinctive types of honey based on local vegetation. On a sunny afternoon we visited a family , who runs a donkey farm around Saranda, in the Rrezoma Rezerve, under the highest pick of the montain where the earth laughs in flowers. The family work with 30 lovely donkeys, whose comfortable lifestyle on the farm is a welcome respite from their traditional roles as beasts of burden.
Our host family, one of in Albania to raise donkeys for their milk for over ten years aficionados are convinced its nutritional profile – which is close to human milk – helps strengthen the body’s natural defences. Scientist claims donkey’s milk could be a good natural remedy for the respiratory system. With a maximum production of milk and meat very limited and delicate.
As it was noticed the family is bigger concerns to animal welfare, there is no opening time and no donkey riding program on the visit.
Respecting the daily routine of the family and the animals on the farm visiting this Donkey Farm is possible only with prior registration, more information can be requested at the We Love Saranda site.
This private and unique program is about helping consumers connect the dots between the farming families that raise livestock and the local farm products. To taste the donkey products and traditional and of the mountain. Our cooperation with the family and the tour guide about how we can help the shoppers to engage with the region and eating “less and better” production types in this geographic locations.
Mursi Lake Space
If you’re a traveler and a foodie, have you ever thought that if you want to add a pop of color and flavor to your day you have to visit Liqeni i Mursias and you go home with vibrant dining experience from ULU at the Lake Mursi?
Because of the deep ancient also agricultural heritage of the region, the best things to develop the local opportunities start with tasting local food. Saranda area is known for producing mussels, vegetables, citrus, and wine.
About 20 minutes away from Saranda rather jump into a lakeside secret garden than the water. Under the leafy trees you can enjoy the warm Albanian welcome hospitality and relax.
It doesn’t sound that special, and it’s really not that complicated, but without respect and extreme knowledge of the ingredients, it doesn’t work either.
No doubt the cultural history of Southern Albania is determined by the ancient Butrint. The results of archaeological excavations undertaken in 2010 on a hilltop at the northern end of Mursi, Murisias, a small town situated 6 km southeast of Butrint. The Mursia is a plain bordering the Butrinti Lake; it extends 15 km south-east to Konispoli at the Greek border. The Mursia plain was mostly marshy and in part densely covered by shrubs and alluvial forests,
with elm, ash, willows. Reclaiming was carried out after building a new bed for the river Pavllo, moving it towards the foot of the southern hills and away from Butrinti Lake. The Mursia reservoir, was built upstream of Pavllo river; it is one of the biggest in Albania with a water volume of 4.5 million and an irrigation capacity of 20 km. The Butrinti lagoon and the Pavllo river play important roles in the flood control and sediment trapping, preventing heavy flooding in their upstream areas. Also it is a main water supply for citrus and mandarin fields in the region.
ULU is the Albanian word for «sit down»! also it is a great place to enjoy the local business of a German designer, an Albanian beekeeper and a school principal from Switzerland who opened a restaurant together on a dreamy lake in the fruity hinterland of Saranda.
The wonder, the power of surprise, and the wow effect that you can see on the guests’ faces. The team likes to give more than they expect. ULU is a brand new picturesque garden restaurant with recycled furnitures and garden deco, what opens not just for summer but for all seasons from birthdays to weddings to business gatherings, this venue offers the perfect setting for any occasion.
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The Albanian gastronomic destinations generally offer traditional cuisine; contemporary gourmet; but ULU is kind of fusion mixed of traditional & gourmet style.
Tradition is not a permanent thing, but rather a value, a point of alignment in continuous change. We will be self-identified only if we are able to renew ourselves from time to time while keeping our roots. This is true innovation. ULU believes in its task is to present the best form of local ingredients needed for a given dish. To create the situation and moment in which everything comes to the table in its best form. It doesn’t sound that special, and it’s really not that complicated, but without respect and extreme knowledge of the ingredients, it doesn’t work either. Saltimbocca alla Romana, Paella Dinner, Albanian specialties with an international twist all go together on the menu.
At our first visit we had warm welcome and a selection of light lunch options from the delicious fish soup to handmade pasta to Middle East flavor falafel with green garden herbs. Fresh salads, cool vine under the shade, what else would we need for a lazy weekday lunch? Dessert, yes please! Layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts, honey, and spices. It is generally accepted that traditional baklava consists of at least 33 layers of filo pastry, which gives it a flaky-crisp texture. Eighty layers of walnuts handmade baklava made by grandma.
ULU definitely found their niche market here, because if you are looking for peaceful countryside atmosphere and gastro experience during your holiday, because ULU will give it to you.