Corfu to Saranda ferry – a travellers’ view

Hydrofoil Kristi - Saranda port

Hydrofoil Kristi – Saranda port

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Corfu to Saranda ferry – a travellers’ view

One of the best ways into Albania is via the ferry from Corfu to Saranda in southern Albania. What follows is the practical information of what you need to know to make that process easy and – hopefully – trouble free.

I’ve been to Albania three times now, so far, and each time via Corfu. The first time I arrived late at night and was expecting to leave on the ferry the next morning. That was thwarted due to an annual safety check on the hydrofoil (so I was told though I heard a different story in Saranda) which meant there was no departure for three days. The second time everything went as it should and the journey was made much easier due to my previous experience. What surprised me the most was there was no way I could find detailed information about the logistics of getting across a relatively narrow stretch of water. This posting is an attempt to give an as up to date and accurate step by step approach to getting from one country to another as is possible.

Where you buy your tickets depends upon the time of year. During the high season, when there is more than one sailing a day, there is a kiosk just inside the main New Port entrance, to the left backing on to the main road. However, outside of the months of June to September tickets are only sold in the company’s office.

This is the head office of Ionian Cruises. That’s a grand title but it’s based in small shop facing the Domestic Terminal building, which also houses the biggest café in the area (as well as a left luggage office) on the road that runs parallel to the sea. There is a small sign indicating that they sell tickets to Albania (in English).

All the details I’ve been able to collect are as follows:

Ionian Seaways, 4, Ethnikis Antistaseos, 49100 Corfu, Hellas.

(The website has improved significantly since I first published this post. Any additional information will more than likely be found there, e.g., vehicle tariffs.) 

Tel. : +0030 26610 38690, 31649, 25155

Fax : +0030 26610 38787, 26555

The office is open from 08.00 and the people who work in there speak English, which makes life easier for some of us non-Greek speakers.

Fast Ferry – Hydrofoil

You need your passport and you MUST buy a ticket before going to the boat. As of April 2018 the adult cost is  €19 each way in the low season. The cost increases to €23.80 from mid-June to mid-September. Children go for half price. Departure Times (all year) are at 09.00, but with 2 or 3 extra sailings from the middle of June to the middle of September. Check the website for times when you want to travel. The latest sailing from Corfu is 18.30. Apart from possible disruption due to the weather or mechanical issues the ferry should run every day of the year. There is now a facility to book and pay online

The hydrofoil leaves from the top end of the new port. This means that after buying your ticket in the office you have to get to the main entrance to the Port of Corfu which is about 400m along the road, heading northwards out of Corfu town. Once through the main gates turn left and head to the New Passenger Terminal, the sandy coloured building about a 100m away. Here you will get your passport and ticket checked. There is also a small Duty Free shop but few other facilities.

Duration of journey: 30 minutes.

Once on board leave your bag at your seat (or at the luggage store by the entrance) and go right to the back of the boat and get a sensation of speed without being blinded by the spray that obscures any sightseeing from the cabin. The boats are Kristi, Santa and Santa III, Komet class hydrofoils, not that young any more but still up to the task in hand.

Remember to put your watches/time pieces forward one hour when landing on Albanian soil (you effectively arrive before you have left!).

Car Ferry

A ferry taking vehicles is also now an option. From 16th May till 25th October there’s a departure from Corfu at 19.00. There’s an extra ferry between 1st July until 25th October at 13.00. From Saranda the departures during the same dates are 10.30 and 16.00 (local time). Costs are too complex to list here but all are on the website.

Duration of journey: 70 minutes.

These times and prices are valid for 2019.

There are no visa requirements for citizens of the European Union, citizens of other countries should check first. Passport formalities are remarkably innocuous on entering (or leaving) Albania. The passport will be scanned and recorded on the immigration service computer. You normally get a stamp in your passport if arriving or leaving by boat but this is not always the case at land borders. The lack of a stamp took me by surprise the first time I entered by land, from Greece, but later learnt that this is common and you shouldn’t be concerned if there is no entry stamp.

Once you leave passport/customs control you might well be approached by Tomi. He’s an English-speaking Albanian who runs a basic hostel less than 100m from the port entrance. If you are new to the country, want to meet other foreign visitors to pick their brains about what/when/where the hostel is a good place for all of this. Tomi also is a mine of information and if he doesn’t know the answers will almost certainly know someone who does. If you miss him you can call his mobile, +355694345426.

Another good place to check out is the Dolphin Hostel, located at 168, Rruga Lefter Talo. This is just above the street Rruga Flamurit, which is effectively Saranda’s interurban bus station.

The ticket office to get tickets to Corfu is in the building on the main road, directly above the dock. The name over the office is Finikas Lines. Sailings from Saranda vary depending upon time of year. There’s always at least one a day but there are extra sailings in the peak season. Check the link above for exact sailing details.

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129 thoughts on “Corfu to Saranda ferry – a travellers’ view

  1. Hi, thanks for sharing. I was just wondering if anyone could tell me if the finikas lines ferry from corfu to saranda was reliable?

    • Very. The only time I had a problem – and that was just a matter of bad timing on my behalf – was in 2011 (my first visit to Albania) when the very day I wanted to travel there was a)
      work on the dock in Saranda and b) maintenance of the boat (or so I was told).
      Every other time I’ve travelled by boat it has been spot on.
      Obviously, depending upon the time of year, you have to take into account potential weather problems.

    • Very. All the buses that go to Tirana from Saranda go close to Durres and they’re very frequent, at least until mid afternoon. Those buses don’t go to the centre of Durres itself, though. They go to the bus station at Plepa and you catch a local bus from there. Local buses run every few minutes and only cost 30 lek. That bus takes you pass the bus/train station in the centre of town and its terminus is a further couple of hundred metres west in the direction of the Martyrs Cemetery.

  2. My wife is English and has taught English in Saranda 6 years. We lived in Ipsos Corfu 8 years.When you get off in the port a taxi to town centre is 4 to 500 Lek. Or turn right out of port walk and you will see about 40 yards on your right a long flight of steps at the bottom you will walk straight on keeping the sea on your right keep walking its a 10 mins nice short walk and you will eventually come to another flight of stone steps about 80 of them on your left easy to walk up with restaurants either side at the top you will see a bus stop that bus stop is just to your left that bus is to Butrint its 100 lek fare they run about every 30 mins and its about 20 mins to Butrint terminus and drops you off at the front of the Butrint site TAKE WATER and a CAP 80yards from terminus you will see a Hotel Toilets Food Beer Etc and very nice. Or ask a taxi how much, normally they will take you and wait for you same with Blue Eye just come to an agreement on the fare. DO NOT give any money to Gypsy kids or you will be pestered from then on by others. If hungry and want a beer 200Lek for a large draught or a nice cheap meal good varied menu with a very clean toilet go to top of steps you came up for the bus look down and 15 foot on left is Leos OR go to bottom of steps cross road and to Left is Limani good food and Beer next to sea but a bit dear. 2 Supermarkets just get off bus and walk up road with park on right you will come to Conads supermarket for Drinks andCigarettes to take back you are allowed only 1 litre of Gin Vodka Brandy Etc each and only 2 packs of cigarettes or 40cigs each NO MORE the Greeks do not have a sense of humour in customs. You will be save here no problems at allHonest you will be shocked when you compare cost off cigs beer and restaurant food in Saranda compared to Corfu believe me. Nearly everyone takes Euro but ask 1st. Sorry no commas Etc. its my wife who is English teacher hope this helpsyou enjoy yourday.

  3. Hi ,
    my husband and I are planning a day trip in Albania this coming June 2018,
    Would it be best to book in advance but I cannot find a website that says we will be using the hydrofoil so it would be quicker and we also want to go to Butrint and visit the Blue eye cave. Basically,Saranda,Butrint National park and Blue eye cave as day trip from Corfu(with pick up and drop off from hotel)if possible.
    Which tour operators are best to use and website please?
    As I don’t know how to go about from Saranda to Butrint National park,would it be best to to a package day tour for this.Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    Best Regards,

    • Sorry for the delay in replying. I don’t think there should be a problem with getting on the hydrofoil in June. It’s the hydrofoil that leaves every day at 09.00. You will have problems doing both Butrint and Blue Eye in the same day trip – they are in opposite directions out of Saranda. I don’t know anything about package trips s I’ve always traveled independently and with less time constraints.
      There’s a local bus to Butrint that leaves from the big tree, which you can see on the right when you get to the road above the port after clearing immigration. It takes about 45 minutes but it’s only once an hour so time could be wasted if you arrive just after a bus has departed.
      As you are tight on time the best bet might be to negotiate a taxi for the both trips. The cost shouldn’t be too prohibitive – how good are your negotiating skills?
      The problem with going to Blue Eye by public transport is that there’s a bout a two kilometer walk each way from the main road so a taxi to take you to the sight itself makes sense.
      You could do a pick and mix – taxi and public transport – but that all alters the time it takes to get from point to point.
      Hope this helps.

    • Be careful on Package Tours the Greeks will charge you 10 Euros each person Saranda port entry tax and give you just a cloakroom tkicket with a number on for a receipt. This 10 Euro port entry tax stopped over 7 years ago its a CON We live in Saranda ask em why the Dolphin doesnt charge it and why you cant pay it when you land, wil they come back with a load of waffle honest.

  4. It’s truly a nice and useful piece of info.
    I’m glad that you shared this useful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Hi Michael,
    your post is very helpful, thank you! 🙂 Next week we will go from Paleokastritsa to Tirana. The first bus departure from Paleokastritsa to Corfu at 7.20 and the ferry departure at 9:00. What do you think we able to catch the ferry or we start to think another solutions? I read on the ferry company page the ferry boarding closes 30 minutes to scheduled departure…
    Best regards, Viktoria

    • Hello Viktoria, If your bus gets in at 08.00, as it’s supposed to, according to what I’ve seen on the net, then you should have more than enough time to get your ticket and then get to the ferry itself. I don’t think that they will turn you away at the departure gate if you have a valid ticket. It’s now the quiet season so there won’t be great crowds of people. If there is a delay and you are in doubt ask when you buy your ticket and they can phone ahead to the ferry to let them know you might be arriving a little late but are on the way.

  6. Hi there, thanks for the great info! I will be traveling to Albania from Corfu on September 23rd, but my flight doesn’t land until 16:50. I am planning on checking one bag, what do you think that chances of me catching the 18:30 ferry? I am hoping the airport might be less busy as high season dies down but I have no idea. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • In theory 1hr and 40 minutes should be more than enough time to get from the airport to the ferry. Are you normally lucky? Just move as fast as you can, catch a taxi to the ticket office (10 or so minutes) and unless there’s any serious delays I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to make the 18.30 to Saranda

  7. Hi Michael ……. your information is really helpful. I am hoping to get ferry service schedule information for Saranda to Corfu in December for a walk on – no car. Does a ferry depart Saranda for Corfu daily in December of 2017 or just certain days?

    • Depending upon the weather there should be sailings every day of the year. The timetable changes according to the season. I’ve just updated the links in the blog – that should make confirming the times of sailings from both Corfu and Saranda a little easier than in the past.

  8. Hello- I’m traveling from Corfu to Saranda on 24 May. Unfortunately our flight doesn’t arrive until 10:00 AM so we miss the morning ferry. While I saw there is an 18:30 ferry departure, I was wondering if there are any other options like a water taxi that could get us to Saranda earlier? Thanks for the help.

  9. We’ll arrive Corfu at 04 am, and takes the ferry to Saranda at 09am. Is it smart to wait at the airport some hours or take a taxi to the harbour at 04 o’clock? I think we must be at the ferry 1 hour before, at 08 am? So we have 4 hours to wait somewhere…. What is your sugestion?
    This is in late july, in the high season.. I will order tickets for the ferry, but I can’t buy before 3 months before we are leaving..

    • Hello John, can’t really give you much advice based upon personal experience. Airport’s are terrible places at the best of times but at least you’ll probably be able to find somewhere relatively quiet to rest before your journey to Saranda. At the same time you will be arriving when it’s going to be warm so watching the sun rise over the water might be attractive – if you’re not too tired. There’s a cafe attached to the docks (just opposite the Saranda ferry ticket office) but whether it will be open at that time of day I can’t say.

        • Hi john i think that at 4am in the morning i would split the difference i would head to harbour around 6 am as cannot see anything going to be open for you hope that helps, ian

        • Went from Corfu to Sarande last July, arrived 2am at airport, taxi to ferry port €15, bar was open all night but quite expensive

  10. Hello
    We travelling from Corfu to Albania by car.
    My question is: can we take the car on the ferry?
    Thank you

    • I have no information of how you can take a car direct to Albania from Corfu. The only way I know would be to take the normal ferry to Igoumenitsa and then drive to the Albanian border at Konispoll.

  11. Is there ever any need to book the Corfu-Saranda ferry in advance (for foot passengers)? Hoping to just turn up and buy the ticket on the day, and wouldn’t want to find all tickets sold out!
    Many thanks.

    • It all depends upon the time of year. In the low season there should be no problem – in the high season I don’t know for sure. See the previous reply to a comment.

  12. Hi!

    Do you think it’s necessary to book the ferry ticket in advance (before flying over there) during high season or is it fine to just show up the same day / day before?


    • I’ve only done the trip out of the high season. The trip over, as a day excursion, is becoming more and more popular so at the height of the season there may be many tour groups organised by the big travel companies. Whether they organise their own boat or not I don’t know. It won’t do any harm, if you know exactly what day you will be travelling, to reserve in advance. It would give you peace at mind, especially if you have an itinerary to follow. Outside of the high season I don’t think there’s a problem.

  13. Hi Michael,
    I will be coming to Albania via Corfu in August, but my flight arrival at 12:20 probably means I will have to wait until 18:30 for the ferry to Saranda. I’m hoping to get to Himara that evening, but will have missed all buses. Will taxis at the port take me this far?

    • Hello Tony,
      Taxi drivers in Albania are no different from taxi drivers all over the world – they will do anything, it all depends on how much silver you will cross over their palms It might be expensive though I wouldn’t have any idea of the cost. It might be cheaper to find a place to stay overnight in Saranda and then catch the early morning bus heading for Vlora – but if you choose to do that book in advance as the place will be busy at that time of year.

    • Use this timetable as a guide only and don’t just turn up at the place and time suggested without double checking first. For example, things are more organised in Tirana and there are now separate ‘bus stations’ for buses and furgons going north or south of the city.You can see by the dates on the right hand side that some of the information has not been confirmed for years. Later this summer I hope to post information that was accurate as of the middle of 2016.

  14. Hello, is it easy (and safe) to rent a car in Albania? Also, I would like to know if the there is highway just parallel to the coast as Croatia?
    Then, any interesting beach in Albania?
    Thanks a lot

    • I haven’t rented a car myself, using public transport on my travels. I have, however, met a couple of people who have done so and they seemed quite pleased with the experience. If you’re arriving in Saranda that might be problematic unless you intend to also leave the country from there. Honestly I can’t remember seeing car hire there but then I wasn’t looking. Once out of the cities, especially Tirana, the roads are fairly quiet so shouldn’t cause too many problems. In the cities the car rules and they drive like crap – but that’s no different from any other city I visited. Don’t know where you’re from so don’t know how that might effect you.
      The coastal route from Saranda to Vlora is impressive and well worth the effort, although you climb high through a number of hairpin bends.

      Both Saranda and Vlora sell themselves as beach destinations but I’m not a beach person so really can’t give any recommendations.

      • My idea is to come from the north, Montenegro, cross all Albania and to leave the rented car in Saranda but if there isn´t rent a car office, then I have to changes plans.
        What about the services bus between locations? any web page interesting with timetables?
        Thanks a lot

        • Don’t have any up to date websites with all country bus timetables. Plenty of buses or mini-buses (furgons) going from all major towns on a regular basis. Often starting early and sometimes finishing mid afternoon. As long as you only want to go to the major towns you shouldn’t have a real problems once you’ve arrived in Shkoder. Public transport cheap.

        • As you leave the port, turn left there are a couple of rent a cars there. Starting at 30 Euro per day.

  15. Hello!
    I can’t seem to find the address of Finikas Lines Company’s office in Corfu.
    Can you tell me where you found it ? Thank you!

    • I haven’t been to Corfu for some time but as far as I’m aware the office has not moved. Finikas Lines is the name used in Saranda, in Corfu the office that I know goes under the name of Ionian Cruises – Petrakis Lines. You should be able to get to their website via my post on the ferry.

  16. Hi – I am looking at travelling to Corfu via Greece – I will be in Athens and would like to travel north by land a bit then ferry to Corfu and from there to Albania – any idea where I can get a ferry to do this

    • I’m not an expert on Greece but I know there’s a very regular ferry from Igoumenitsa to Corfu.

  17. Hello Michael,

    thanks for your answer. Do you have adresses of hostels in Kerkyra?

    Kind regards

    • Hello Ulisses, The only hostel I’ve stayed is the Pink Palace. It’s on the other side of the island to Corfu town but they are good at either picking you up from or taking you back to Corfu port/airport. Put their name into the Hostelworld website. Take care, Michael

      • Hello Sarah, I honestly don’t know. I don’t see any reason why not but it would be better to get in touch with the shipping company in Corfu direct via email. Also I suggest you check what the situation would be with Albanian customs and immigration.

  18. Hello Michel,
    We ´ve got a flight from KERKYRA, GR (IOANNIS KAPODISTRIAS) at 10:40 on a Tuesday in July. Do you think we arrive on time there, when leaving from Saranda on that day (9 o´clock am)?
    Kind regards

    • Hello Ulisses, You’ll be cutting it fine. You would need a taxi from the port in Corfu – make sure you’re the first one off the boat to make sure there’s a taxi free – as the airport is the other side of the town from the port. July will be busy. I’ve never been to Corfu in the high season and would imagine the airport security would be chaotic. And then you have to check what time your airline will close it’s gates. It’s a risk and, for peace of mind, it might be better to arrive the previous day and have a quiet night in Corfu.

  19. Hi wonder if you could advise me, I’m flying to Corfu 29/07/16 and arrive 2am 30/07/16, I’m thinking of staying in airport to daybreak then getting ferry to Sarande and staying 3 nights, I hope to stay in Ohrid for 3 nights ( 7/08 to 9/08 ) so I have 5 days travel, where would you recommend, many thanks Carl

    • Hello Carll, Gjirokaster would be the next place after Saranda. There are regular buses that leave throughout the day from Saranda (heading to Tirana). They leave you at the bottom of the town. The places of interest are all in the old town, which is dominated by the Castle. If you go there try the Babameto Hostel, it’s close to the centre of the old town, between that and the Castle. As you only have 5 days you can’t go to too many other places but Tirana would be the best bet. Try the Propaganda Hostel there. From Tirana you can catch a bus to Pogradec, where I assume you are planning to stay for Lake Ochrid. I stayed at the Chill out Hostel when I was there last year but it seems to have disappeared off the Hostel Worldwide site. You might like to read some of my other posts which relate to some places of interest on those cities. Have a good time in Albania, take care, Michael

  20. Hi Michael,

    I am planning on flying to Corfu this August from the US with a layover in London. The flight arrives at 16:45 and I am only bringing carry on luggage. Do you think I will have enough time to make it through customs/immigration and catch the 18:30 ferry to Sarande?


    • Hello Anja,
      My experience of Corfu airport is that you get through very quickly – but then I’ve only been there during the off season. You will be arriving smack bang in the middle of the busiest summer season. However, having only carry on luggage will obviously help. Assuming there are no flight delays you should have plenty of time. If you take a taxi from the airport you’ll be at the ferry port within 15 minutes.
      Remember you have to get your ticket at the office BEFORE going to the boat. If, for any reason, you are tight for time, perhaps the best bet would be to get the taxi to wait as you buy your ticket and then let it take you the few hundred metres to the departure point of the hydrofoil.
      Have a good time in Albania.
      Take care,

    • Hello Anja
      I’ve just remembered. In the busy season there’s a ticket office near to the boat. Sorry if I have caused any confusion.
      Take care

      • Hi Michael – I have heard [ I live in Corfu] that they won’t be doing the ticket office this year and you have to go to the main office – which means Anja is really going to have to get a move on as the airport in August is pretty crazy – she may make it if she does as you said and get the taxi driver to wait for her and she arrives on time….

        • Michael and Sarah Jane-
          Thank you both for your comments! I already booked my ticket so hopefully I can sprint and make it in time. I am arriving on the 27th so I’m not sure if its still the peak season or if it will be a bit slower. Sarah Jane- do you have suggestions of places to stay or “must see” things in Corfu? I will also be there for about 5 days. I will definitely spend some time in Corfu Town and then would like to go a few days to a village or smaller town in Corfu that might be less touristy but still accessible by bus (if such a place exists). I was thinking Pelekas might be nice.

          Thanks again!

          • Hello again Anja,
            We actually have rooms in a village just south of town called Benitses – there is a very good blue bus service which stops outside our gate to get to town and all the great things you ought to see …. have a look if you like –

            any other help just email me – Kind regards SJ

      • Hi Michael, Just hit on your helpful information – we are planning a return trip to Albania, and there are reasonable flights from Dublin to Corfu with Aer Lingus. (Considered Turkish Airlines to Tirana, but the stop in Istanbul makes the journey over-long) Last time we flew to Bari and took the Adria ferry (ok but a bit grotty) to Durres, then bus north to Bajram Currie and Valbona. Came back to Tirana, collected a hired a car (autocar – good value, good service) to cover some of the South (Lake Ohrid wonderful, Gjirokaster welcoming and a handy size for sight-seeing), returning the car to the airport, and back by bus to the ferry. Perhaps not the best use of our time, but we learned lot.
        Thanks to your blog, we plan to pick up a car and visit interesting places in the South from Saranda. Probably need to pick your brains again!
        Have to say we were very impressed by the kindness and hospitality of all the Albanians we met.
        Best wishes, Douglas.

  21. We are travelling to Sarande from Corfu (via Ferry) next August. Would anyone know the timetable, cost and duration of journey for the bus from Sarande to Himare.

    • The timetable that I used in 2012 indicates that there are buses that pass through Himara leaving Saranda at 05.00, 13.00 and 14.30 every day. The journey is about 52 km and takes about 1.5 hours (I can’t remember exactly how long it took the bus on which I travelled). The cost was 400 lek (less than £2.50).

        • We waited for a bus in Ksamil to take us to Saranda and catch the bus there for Himara. It never appeared so we took a taxi, and was offered a ride all the way to Himara for 7000 lek. Surely more expensive than a bus, but still very acceptable. And a nice way to go, too.

  22. Just in case anyone wants to stay a couple of days in Corfu before going or on return from Albania – we are outside of Corfu Town, [and therefore much cheaper] but have the Blue bus stop right outside – leaves at 7.20 am to Corfu Town and then a 15 min walk to the port for the first Albanian ferry …and runs until 22.45 from town to us ….. had a few people staying with us now that have done it…….

    If interested please FB us –
    Happy travels!! The KR team….

  23. I’ve recently been on a day trip to Albania from Corfu (date of trip was 1 July 2014).

    In Corfu, you can get a ticket in a shop nearly opposite the entrance to the New Port. The very first shop on the corner only sells excursion packages and the unhelpful woman inside first told me that they were sold out for the day. I soon realised she was talking about their excursion packages and went in another shop a few doors down that advertises hydrofoil tickets to Albania. That’s where you want to be. You can only buy a Corfu to Albania ferry ticket there: you have to buy the return leg journey once you’re in Sarande.

    The ferry leaves from the far end of the entire New Port – a 400m walk to the left if you’re looking from the port out to sea.

    Once you’re in Sarande (remember your passports), the ticket office to buy return tickets to Corfu is on the main street above the dock, to the left as you come out. It’s the head office for the ferry company – you can pay in Lek or Euros.

    If you get the 0930 ferry from Corfu, you arrive at about 0900 Albanian time (they’re one hour behind Greece). The bus to Butrint leaves at 0930. Go out of the dock and head to the right towards the roundabout with a tree in the middle of it. The bus leaves from the right-hand street, if you’re looking to the roundabout with the dock behind you. It’s more a coach than a bus, and there’s a sign in the window that says ‘Sarande-Ksamil-Butrint’ and the word ‘Henri’ in our case.

    The timetable is as follows: From Sarande: 0700, 0930, 1130, 1330, 1530, 1730; and from Butrint: 0820, 1030, 1230, 1430, 1630, 1830.

    It takes around 45 minutes. You get on the bus and pay during the journey. It only costs 100 lek each way, so 200 lek in total, which is next to nowt and MUCH cheaper than a taxi.

    We only had the day in Albania, so we took the 0930 and arrived in Butrint at 1015. You can see Butrint quite leisurely in two hours and get the 1230 bus back to Sarande, but if you can afford more time there, another hour or two would be easily spent.

    Butrint is an awe-inspiring place which you’re sure to love.

  24. Hi Michael,

    Im travelling to Albania via Corfu on July 16th, I will arrive late in the evening in Corfu so I have to take the ferry the next morning. Do you have a suggestion for a (cheap) hotel close to where the ferry takes off? And is the ferry close to the airport as well? Many thanks in advance and this blog is very helpfull!

    • Hello Judith

      There’s a problem about accommodation in Corfu town – there’s no hostels if that was the kind you were looking for and therefore can be quite expensive. I’ve only arrived in the off season so have been able to get reasonable deals in fairly good hotels but that won’t be the case on the 16th July.

      The airport is the other side of the old town to the port, about 3 kilometres away. At night there are no buses from the airport to the town.

      I think your best bet would be to try the Pink Palace (bookable via It’s on the other side of the island and would cost a fortune by taxi but they do offer a free airport pick-up. If you’re arriving on an Easyjet flight late evening there could well be a number of people going there so a hostel bus is very likely to be at the airport. Make sure you make it clear that you want a free airport pick-up when you book online.

      There’s a local bus that leaves Agios Gordios quite regularly but I don’t know if it does so early enough to catch the 09.00 ferry to Saranda. The Pink Palace offers transport back to town for €5 but it might depend if others are wanting to travel at the same time. If you don’t want an early start you could always go for the afternoon (18.30) ferry to Saranda – less of a rush and a chance to enjoy the beach in the daytime.

      If you are looking for a cheap hostel in Saranda the best bet (I think) is Tomi’s place (SR Backpackers). It’s only a matter of 50 metres from the ferry port. If you do go there please pass on my greetings.

      • Hi Michael,

        Thank you so much for your answer! I will think about what to do, earlier flight would have been sooo much easier 😉 In Albania I already have places to stay in Dhermi and Vuno but thanks for the suggestion!

        • Hi! Me and my family are travelling from Sweden to Saranda 21th of july and we´re taking the ferry from Corfu late in the evening. The plane from Stockholm lands at 21:20 so there is a ferry going over quite late…. Maybe not late enough to match your flight Judith?!
          Have to ask you Michael, are there any shopping in Saranda? We´re hoping to find leathershoes/bags, clothes och some “tingletangles” 🙂

          • I’m afraid you’ll have to stay overnight in Corfu Town, there’s no ferry that late, even int he high season.
            I’m not really into shopping but one place you might like to try is the daily market. It must be the biggest secret in Saranda and you wouldn’t know it was there unless someone told you about it.
            Go up Rruga Vangjel Pando (the street which has the archaeological ruins on one side and the park on the other – also many bus leave from here). Cross Rruga Onhezmi and then take a left into what looks like a car park after a fast food place. Head to an alley at the top left hand corner and that takes you to a maze of narrow streets with different types of stalls. Probably best to go in the morning as I’m not sure if it closes in the afternoon. There are also many shops on the Rrugas Onhezmi and Skanderbreu heading west from the central park.

          • Hi again! Thank you for the shoppingtips! 🙂 I’m a bit confused by your reply regarding the ferry… From the beginning we were told that we had to stay the night in Corfu town but a month ago we recieved an email from the travelagency that there is a ferry going over in the late evening. I will call the agency tomorrow for more information!

            • The latest time for a departure from Corfu I’ve seen on the ferry company website is 18.30, and that’s only at the very height of the season.

        • Hi Michael!
          I called the travelagency yesterday and she told me that they charter a private ferry for its travelers…. now I can feel at peace again 😉
          So sorry Judith if I got your hopes up!

  25. Hi!
    In july we are going to Albania. It costs 19 € or 23.80 € for adults, is it 23.80 € in july? Is it the same cost for children? My son is 11 and my daughter is 14.

    • Hi,
      Just back in sweden after 16 days in Corfu and Albania. We had to pay 19 Euro each and they say it is the same price all over the year if you buy in the office. Our children 14 and 16 also pay the same. They say children under 12 has a lower price but I dont know how much.

      • Thanks for reply!
        Did you enjoy Albania? We are staying in Sarande for one week, do you have any recommendations or warnings?

        • I’ve only ever been to Saranda in the low season (either early spring or late autumn) when it’s quiet. I’m not that into beaches but taking the local bus to the likes of Himara and Gjirokastra are possible in a day – if you get up at the crack of dawn.

          • Hello. Sarande looked very pretty and it has a had supermarket. We stayed in Kasamil which was quieter. We took a bus over to Gjirokastra from Sarande. The walk up to the castle was fantastic. Maxine

        • Hello. My kids are 4 years old and 6 years old. I got an adult ferry ticket for 19 euros. Each of my kids cost 1 euro from Corfu to Albania. Maxine

  26. Hello, we are planing a car trip to Corfu in june is there any chances to find a ferry where we can have our car? 🙁 We driving thrue Croatien og Albanien
    Google dosn’t seems too so much help 🙁

    • The best suggestion I can make is to get in touch directly with Ionian Cruises Petrakis Lines on Don’t email them, send a question via their online submission form. You may have to wait a while but they should get back to you. If the news is what you want to hear please let me know.

  27. We are flying to Corfu on Monday 26th May. Our flight arrives late so we will stay overnight in Corfu. At 9am we hope to take go off to Albania. It costs 19 Euros for adults. Is it the same cost for children? My son is 7 and my daughter is 4. Thanks. Are there taxis once in the port in Albania? Many thanks.

    • The cost for the children will be 9 Euro each. In Saranda the port is very close to the centre but taxis will be available if you are going further afield.

      • Thanks for this information. I am really looking forward to my family’s trip. We fly off to Corfu on Monday.

        Best wishes, Maxine

  28. I am planing to travel from Saranda to Korfu,will arive with car to Saranda. Any info where and how much is costing per day,
    to leave car on secure parking lot ?

    • I’m afraid I can’t really help you with this. I don’t know of any secure parking in Saranda as I’ve never needed such a place and never saw one in passing. Perhaps you might be able to come to some understanding with one of the bigger hotels.

  29. Certainly: I will take the ferry myself on April 30, departure 9 o’clock.
    Costs are 19 euro + 4 euro for the bike.

  30. We want to go cycling in Albanie this summer, Is it possible to take cycles aon the ferry from Corfu to Saranda?

  31. Hi – planning a trip to Corfu Sept then would like to get to Kotor in Montenegro. Seems the ferry to Saranda is the best first step. Can I get a car rental in Saranda or better to look into trains or buses to head north? Thx much

    • I can’t give you information based on personal experience as I’ve never hired a car in Albania. However, if you went north to Shkoder you should be able to get to get a bus into Montenegro. From there I don’t know.

  32. Hi,
    We are going to Saranda from Corfu during Easter 2014 for a couple of days. The departure at 12.45 from Saranda on the way back is planned to be friday April 18 – Good Friday – would it be risky business relying on that one..?

    • If it’s scheduled to run then I see no reason (apart from weather) why it shouldn’t. Remember that Easter is the start of the holiday season in the Med and all days become the same. The season is so short, relatively, that if you want to spend your money then you will always find someone to take it.

  33. Thanks so much for sharing this info and everyone’s subsequent updates. All very useful. We trying to plan a low season trip to the Ionian Islands and Albania and finding it rather like running around with a blindfold on! Also just stumbled across the website, which is a huge help on the ferry timetable front.

  34. hi will be travelling to corfu early april 2014 and have booked 3 nights at hotel in sarande. Any ferry advice and travel tips in albania please?? worried about the weather mainly.!!!

    • Information I have on the ferries is already on the blog. I suggest you try to get to Gjirokastra for a day trip. Plenty of buses but to make the most of the day leave very early. Then there’s Butrint archaeological site and Blue Eye, both accessible by local bus. Weather – who knows. It could be OK but who can say what’s ‘normal’ in the time of climate change. For what I know have a look at some of the links that appear at the bottom of the Corfu-Saranda ferry post.

  35. Can i take my bicycle on the ferry? What would it cost?
    What will the average temperature be in late March/early April?

    • I wouldn’t swear to it but think you could take your bike as luggage, people travel on this boat with a lot of luggage. On the coast it could be pleasant spring like weather (though I was there in April last year when the weather was atrocious). On the high mountains there could still be snow. All depends what the coming winter throws at us and how long it lingers. Global warming means that stability in the weather isn’t guaranteed anywhere.

      • Hi Micheal – and others who might want to go on a biking holiday to Albania,

        I’ve mailed Ionian Cruises on taking the bike on the ferry, this is what they answered (29-12 2013):
        “We would like to inform you that you can take with you the bicycle on the Hydrafoild. The price per person is 19,00ε and the price for the bicycle is 4,00ε.”

        • Thanks for the update Patrick. It’s interesting in a world of ever rising prices that the cost of the passenger ticket has now remained the same for at least 2 years now.

  36. I’m planning an early holiday in Abania in June 2014 but thought I would split my time, (3 days there and 2 days in Corfu). Can I travel on the ferry to Corfu, stay a couple of days and return to Albania, or is the ferry crossings for day trips only.

  37. Hi – we travelled in this region last week (Aug 2013) and have updated info which you could post to help others regarding the car ferry from Sarande to Corfu:

    Service operated by Finikas Lines from Sarande
    Tel. +355 852 26057
    Mobile: +355 692 073711 – ask for Eranda – she speaks good English
    There are 2 car ferry & foot passenger sailings per day: 10:30am/4:00pm
    Each ferry only takes about 4 cars so you should book several days in advance. Crossing about 1.5 hours. I can’t remember the prices, but it was 140 Euro for a car + 3 adults + 1 child to travel from Igoumenitsa in Greece (around 1h 45m by car from Sarande) to Corfu on one of their large car ferries (about 350 vehicles, 5 crossings per day, no need to book in advance) and about 40-50 Euro more expensive to travel with Finikas directly from Sarande.

    • No car ferry, only foot passengers from Corfu to Saranda. To go by car from Corfu your would have to go to Igoumenitsa and then cross the land border at Skala on the Greek side.

  38. Hi all!
    Have used Ionian Ferry’s to Corfu and back over 3 years now and I’ve been more than happy overall with their service.
    Cheap tickets….
    Friendly staff…..
    Fun Journey……
    2 country’s within a hour….

  39. My flight arrives at 12.15 pm 23rd August. Shall I have to wait till 6.30 to catch evening ferry. When I arrive in Saranda I will only have Euros with me. Will I be able to get money changed when I get there late on? I will have to get bus or taxi to hotel so I will need their currency.

    • There are more ferries during the main summer season but a few hours is not too long to wait, just have a beer at the port. Euros will be accepted almost everywhere in Saranda, but don’t expect the best rates. If you want to change Euros or other currency wait till the next day for the banks to open, or use an ATM. Relax a little, its not that a difficult country to visit.

    • We had arranged a pick up with our hotel in Sarande and recommend you to ask for the same if it is possible. It was so convenient to have somebody meeting us at the port. But anyway there is an ATM close to the port.

  40. What’s available in terms of transportation (bus, rental car, taxis?) once you land in Albania if you want to spend a few days and explore the southern coast beyond where the ferry lands? Is it possible?

    • Plenty of buses to different parts of Albania from Saranda. Plenty of taxis for closer destinations. Don’t know about car hire.

  41. Could anybody tell me from where the boat leaves? Is it from Kerkyra near the airport or is it far away? If its far from the airport – how can I reach the port from where the boat leaves? Are there any busses or do I need to take a Taxi? Thanks,

    • I would recommend a taxi, should cost about 12 – 15 €. It’s about 3 km away. I suppose you have to stop at Ionian Cruises office about 400 m before the port to buy the ticket which was 19 € in June 2013.

      • I actually took a bus from the airport, there is a schedule right outside the exit from the airport. It runs every 40 minutes or so, and costs 1.50 euro that you pay to the driver. It’s a comfortable ride of approximately 20 minutes, and drops you quite close to the terminal for the ferry. You have to walk back however towards the Ionian cruises office, about 400 meters.

  42. Happy to report that there is indeed a left luggage facility in the Nautica, the building almost straight across the Ionian cruises office. There is a 2 euro fee, a chatty caretaker, and a rather longish walk from there to the passenger terminal. According to Ionian cruises staff, the hydrofoil runs only in the morning. In the evenings (nominally 6.30, but mine was delayed by about 20 minutes) it’s a slower boat, making the crossing to Sarande in about 1 hour 15 minutes. I took that, and it’s a very pleasant, albeit slow trip.

  43. Any idea of whether there is some sort of left luggage in either the airport or the port? I was unable to find the information online, and I’ve got a few hours between my flight and the afternoon ferry to Sarande. Any insight would be appreciated.

    • I wouldn’t swear to it but I think there may be a left luggage at the port. Not where the Saranda ferry leaves but in the new building across the road from the Ionian Cruises-Pretrakis Lines office. The building is multi-function in that there’s a cafe, waiting room and offices etc. It’s from this area that the majority of ferries going to mainland Greece depart and it would make sense to have some sort of left luggage facility there.

  44. It seems that Ionian Cruises are starting to get their act together. Any update on prices would be appreciated. Thanks.

  45. Just reserved tickets online and even got a confirmation to my email. They also answered some questions I sent on email. Have to pay for the tickets when arriving to Corfu. So far worked perfectly.

    • hello! i also plan to go toCorfu from Saranda, on 1st August, but dont know where and how to book my ticket online. Can u help me please? thank you

      • You don’t really need to book in advance, just turn up at the ticket office on the day of travel.

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