The Secrets of Sazan – 3 Days around Vlora and a Secluded Island

Sazan island has a bit of an odd history. It is Albania’s only one (there are more close by, but they belong to other countries!) and for the longest time it was closed off to the public as a military base.

For the first time ever, this island opened to visitors in June of 2019 and since than we keep bringing guests there as part of this three day itinerary! We are one of the only companies to offer this tour, and it’s perfect for those who want a taste of the beautiful sea with a touch of obscurity.

Close to Vlora (on Albania’s coast in the west), it’s in a marine park with plenty of beaches, mountains and abounding nature. There are derelict military buildings on site that were looted in the 90s and also endless bunkers that remain untouched. It closes in September so it’s best visited in the summer months. Discover the unique biodiversity and wild nature of Albania, with a mix of history, cultural heritage and gastronomical delights! We offer a longer package of this tour with the help of our close friends at DestiMED – an agency geared towards sustainable tourism.

Also in relation of the Stalinist past of the area we do recommand you watch this great movie before you visit it: It’s literally translated: Front to front and tells about the moment Albania broke with the Soviet Union and popped out of the Warsaw Pact.

This tour is flexible, but we have offered a sample itinerary here to let you know what we can offer:

Day 1:

  • Pick up from hotel and Tirana (or elsewhere) and transfer to Sazani Island
  • Brief presentation of the Marine National Park Karaburun-Sazan in the Visitor’s Centre – it is stunningly beautiful!
  • Boat tour in the park.
  • Stop at Sazani Island for a guided tour of the “Ghost City.” Visit the Natural Monument of Haxhi Ali cave (since it’s a protected natural monument, you can only visit it by swimming there! Boats are not given access to the cave).
  • Lunch in the Bay of Saint Vasil – picnic and grilled food.
  • Relaxation time for swimming and snorkeling in the bay or exploring the peninsula (based on the weather conditions).
  • Dinner in local fish restaurant.
  • Overnight in Vlora hotel OR there is an option to camp on Sazani Island for those who are feeling adventurous!

Day 2:

  • There is an option for “pesca-tourism” – we’ll go fishing with an interesting and educated group of local fishermen! This will be a sustainable and environmentally friendly event.
  • Light meal with the fresh catch of the day and then ride back to the coast again.
  • Lunch in a traditional small family restaurant.
  • Tour in the quaint nearby old village of Tragjas. Some of the visit will involve a light hike.
  • Overnight in a hotel in Vlora.

Day 3

  • Visit in a small family winery in the village of Dukat after breakfast.
  • Start driving back to Tirana (or towards your next destination), but not before we invite you for a goodbye meal in our “Bunker Farm” in the region of Marikaj (just few kilometers from the airport).
  • This former military garrison (hosting dynamite, rockets and light artillery) has been transformed into an environmentally friendly farm where tradition is preserved when it comes to cooking and serving.
  • Departure.

Price and Information:

This tour is offered only as a private tour (it’s a special one!)  Please use this contact form to sign up – and let us know your plans (the number of people, dates, etc., are helpful).

Private tours are slightly more expensive and can be done any day of the year according to your needs.  For private tours we can offer pick-ups in Tirana or from another spot like Durres (the price will change if the pick-up is outside of Tirana.)

Payment Options: We accept bank transfers, PayPal and we have a debit terminal/POS available at our Castle Kiosk Tourist Office in order to accept Debit, VISA and Mastercard payments (please keep in mind that 5% of the total will be added for the latter option.)  We can also accept cash payments where applicable.

The price will include:

  • All entrance fees.
  • Transfers in a comfortable AC car.
  • Two nights accommodation (camping in Sazan one night, a hotel in Vlora the next night; or two nights hotel in Vlora [the price will be different]).
  • VAT taxes.
  • Meals mentioned in the itinerary.