The Blue Eye in Albania is one of those incredibly rare, natural landscapes that has to be seen to be believed. Syri i Kalter, as it’s called in Albanian, is so otherworldly, it could be a scene out of Avatar.
It was years before I actually had the opportunity to see Syri i Kalter for myself, but when I finally did, its surreal beauty took my breath away. The Blue Eye in Albania is considered one of the most beautiful places in the country, so don’t miss it!
In this guide
- 1 What makes the Blue Eye in Albania so special?
- 2 Visiting the Blue Eye in Albania
- 3 How to get to Syri i Kalter | the Blue Eye in Albania
- 4 Blue Eye in Albania: Essential Info and FAQs
What makes the Blue Eye in Albania so special?
The Blue Eye in Albania is an endlessly deep, freshwater spring that looks just like an incredible glowing human eye. The iris is made up of luminescent turquoise water and the pupil is the dark of a deep underwater cave. The colour is so dazzling and brilliant, it’s hard to believe it’s an all-natural phenomenon.
The Blue Eye in Albania is a vertical karst spring that’s at least 50 metres deep. I say at least, because 50 metres is the deepest any diver’s been able to descend, before being forced back up to the surface. No one’s ever actually reached the bottom.
The water bubbles up from deep within Syri i Kalter with incredible force, at a rate of 18,400 litres per second. The water from the Blue Eye Spring (and 18 others along the way) feed the 25 km long Bistrice River, before ultimately ending in the Ionian Sea near Saranda.
Visiting the Blue Eye in Albania
It’s not complicated to visit the Blue Eye in Albania, with just a little advance knowledge. I’ll fill you in on everything you need to know to get there safely and easily.
When’s the best time to Visit?
Locals and tourists flock to the Blue Eye in July and August to dip their feet in the chilly water and take in cool green views of the sycamore and oak trees that surround the spring. Summer is undoubtedly the busiest time of the year to visit.
During a steamy Albanian summer, wading into the mystical turquoise waters is incredibly rejuvenating, since the temperature hovers around a chilly 10°C, no matter how hot the external environment. It is COLD though, and I only lasted about 10 minutes before my feet literally started to feel like popsicles.
If you don’t like crowds, plan for a spring or autumn visit instead. It’s equally as beautiful, and not overflowing with people.
There’s a viewing platform directly above the Blue Eye, from which you can see straight down into the super clear water. This is also the place where those brave enough, dive straight into the centre of Syri i Kalter.
Technically, there’s no swimming allowed in the spring, but I never met an Albanian who followed the rules, so… don’t be shy about heading into the irresistible Blue Eye in Albania yourself. Even if it is just for a moment.
How to get to Syri i Kalter | the Blue Eye in Albania
Syri i Kalter is located near the village of Muzinë, in the south of Albania. It’s easiest to visit on a day trip from the summer town of Sarande, or from UNESCO listed Gjirokaster.
By Public Bus or Furgon to the Blue Eye in Albania
If you’re on a budget, have extra time, or just love the adventure of local travel, taking a bus is the way to go. There’s no bus route that goes specifically to the Blue Eye in Albania, but you can take the furgon that travels between Saranda and Gjirokaster.
You can catch this bus in the centre of Saranda at the intersection of Rruga Flamurit and Skanderbeg. The bus fare is just a few dollars and you can buy it directly from the driver. Just be sure to tell the driver you’re visiting Syri i Kalter when you board the bus.
You’ll have to walk about 2 km from the main road where the bus drops you off, to reach the Blue Eye in Albania.
By Car from Saranda or Gjirokaster
The fastest, most convenient way to get to the Blue Eye in Albania is undoubtedly by car. It saves you the 2 km hike from the road to Syri i Kalter, you’d have as much time there as you wanted, and there would be no waiting under the hot sun for a bus to come by on the way home.
However, renting a car in Albania can be pretty expensive, and driving in the country can be an adventure, to say the least! If you do plan to drive in the country, reserve as early as possible, especially in the busy summer months. It’s probably wise to get full insurance as well.
To reach Syri i Kalter by car, get on the highway that connects Saranda and Gjirokaster. From Sarande, the Blue Eye in Albania is 22 km away and it takes about 35 minutes to drive there. From Gjirokaster, it’ll take you about an hour.
Look out for a sign on the side of the road pointing towards the Blue Eye spring. You’ll have to drive down an unpaved, forested road for about 2 km to reach it. Upon arrival, you’ll be charged an entrance fee of 100 LEK (80 cents) per car, and 50 LEK (40 cents) per person.
Take a taxi
You can hire a taxi to take you to the Blue Eye in Albania and back. You can negotiate yourself, but expect to pay around 30 euros for the round-trip journey from Saranda and back. The taxi will wait for you in the parking lot for a few hours, while you explore Syri i Kalter, and then drive you back.
It’s cheaper than renting a car, and helps you avoid that 2 km walk to the Blue Eye in Albania.
TIP | If you’re staying in Saranda, you can skip all the stress of getting there yourself, by signing up for a day trip to the Blue Eye, that includes round-trip transport, entrance fees, a guide + a stop at Lekursi Castle. Book a convenient day tour to the Blue Eye from Saranda here.
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Blue Eye in Albania: Essential Info and FAQs
Got the otherworldly Blue Eye in Albania on your travel radar now?