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Albania, Saranda

By Sue Richards last modified Jun 19, 2008 05:47 PM

Published: 2008-06-19 17:47:09
Countries: Albania

We wanted to visit Albania, but were worried about all the negative reports and the problems of obtaining a Visa.

Following up on a recent report in Noonsite, we called Agim who was recommended in the report. He is a professional maritime agent in Saranda, Albania.

His mobile number is +355 692 566 576
E-mail address: agimzholi@yahoo.com

He assured us that it was safe to visit and that the Visa was not a problem. We duly sailed from Corfu to Saranda. We notified him in advance of our ETA and gave details of the boat and crew, so that he could initiate the legal process.

He was waiting on the quay when we entered port and together with the port authorities helped us tie up. Agim then took us to his office in the port to complete the necessary documents. Within an hour we were each issued a Shore-Pass, that allowed us entry into Albania as crew. No other visa requirements were necessary.

This arrangement was also usefull in that it provided the opportunity to take our South African registered boat out of the EU to ensure that we were not exposed to adverse tax consequences, if it had been in EU waters for longer than 2 years.

We found Saranda a friendly town. Although language was a problem we could do all that we wanted through a combination of sign language and goodwill from all concerned. We felt safe and welcome. We hired a car with Agim's help and explored the town and its environment at our leisure. It had a lot to offer for anyone who was looking for something different away from the crowds.

Agim is a resident of Saranda and has a office in the Port of Saranda, with 20 yrs experience working in the harbour and a thorough knowledge of all the requirements and needs of yachtsman visiting the country. He offers to:
- Meet your boat on arrival and arrange all the documents required (requires passports or ID and ship registration documents).
- Provides in-depth information on the Saranda area and places of interest as well as in Albania.
- Helps with provisioning. Sarinda has some of the best fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Arranges guided tours of the various places of interest.

The major attractions of Saranda are:
- The ancient city Butrinti and the Butrinti National park, one of the best preserved historical sites and Unesco Heritage Sites.
- The Blue Eye, a unique fountain that produces over 7 cubic metres of water. It has a radient blue colour at its source. It is situated in a beautiful gorge.
- Gjirokastra, an ancient city with charming houses and architecture. It also has the biggest castle in the Balkans dating from ancient times.
- The beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Saranda and in the north, 20 miles from Saranda, the Gulf of Porto Palermo.

Iaan van Heerden

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