Syri i kalter (Albanian: Syri i kaltër), which literally means Blue Eye, is a popular tourist destination of Southern Albania. A ground spring over 50 meters deep which continuously pumps crystal clear, drinkable water, to the surface of the earth at a rate of 18.4 l/s!

Geographic Location

Syri i kalter is a natural spring and a primary source of water for River Bistrice. The tourist spot lies close to the Albanian Riviera of Saranda in Delvine District. It’s roughly 20km from the center of Saranda.

The map to the right shows the location of the Blue Eye Spring.

Lat: 39.919019 | Long: 20.186042

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Transportation to the Blue Eye Spring

Unfortunately, there is no direct public transportation available to connect Blue Eye with the nearby towns. Buses plying between Saranda and Gjirokastra are the only means of reaching the tourist locale. You will reach this wonderful spot following a diversion from the Saranda – Gjirokastra route (just before Ghiorgnzzati). It takes around 30-50 minutes to reach Blue Eye from Saranda via bus, a little quicker in the car. You may also hire personal vehicle from the city to visit Syri i kalter.

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Attractions

(I) Blue Eye – The Spring

[adsense float=”left”]The Blue Eye Spring is one of those marvels of nature that continues to capture our imagination ever since its discovery. It is a Vauclusian spring which basically means it originates from a cave, the word originating from the Fontaine de Vaucluse in southern France. The spring water can be seen gushing forth under huge pressure. The darkness of the opening of the cave resembles the iris whilst the darker center looks like a pupil.

Syri i kalter is one of those places where time seems to slow down giving you ample opportunities of admiring the beauty of Mother Earth, the water here is so clear that you can see algae and other wildlife on the bottom of the surrounding area. Local people would tell you that the water changes colour throughout the day which may well be a part of its many legends. In 1984 the first dive of the spring was made. The pool is said to be 50 m deep though its actual depth is yet to be measured fully.

Photos Curtosy of http://www.adventurous-travels.com/

History of the Blue Eye

Back in the communist days of Albania the Blue Eye Spring was fenced off to the public and was reserved as a place of special interest for the communist elites. Learn more about the Legend of the Blue Eye here.

What to Expect?

[adsense float=right]During the summer months you can expect BIG crowds of people visiting the Blue Eye as it’s one of Saranda’s main tourist attractions and perfect for swimming on a hot summers day. I would advise that you arrive as early as possible to avoid the main crowds.

Whilst the Blue Eye is a great place to visit, I couldn’t imagine spending much more than a couple of hours here as there little else to do. Stopping off either going to or coming back from Gjirokastra would be perfect.

Entry to the Blue Eye is 50LEK per person.

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A great blog entry with some amazing photos of the Blue Eye by Megan on ‘Pegs on the Line’

(II) River Bistrice

The attractiveness of the place is accentuated by the crystal clear water of River Bistrice. Such is the clarity of its water that it is possible to survey the flora and fauna growing on the river bed from its surface. It is also possible to swim in the river. But the temperature of the water remains at around 10 degree Celsius year round, which puts off many people willing to take a dip. River Bistrice is not navigable though.

(III) Forest

Extensive vegetation covers the river banks. Taking a stroll in the oak, chestnut and sycamore groves is a pleasurable experience itself. Tourists need to walk about 200 m in this dense forest to reach the viewpoint before having a look at the ‘Eye’. It is an enviable opportunity of spending tranquil few hours in close proximity of nature.

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Accommodation

Syri i kalter

Those visiting Syri i kalter generally complete the trip in a day. There are few cheap hotels if overnight stay is intended. One of those is Syri Kalter Kompleksi Turistik which has a handful of cabins and basic facilities to serve the customers.

Saranda

Saranda, on the other hand, is replete with quality hotels suiting all types of tastes and budgets. Some of these include,

Conti Monte Cristos Hotel

Situated right on the beach, Conti Monte Cristos Hotel promises great views of the Ionian Sea as well as cordial services. It is packed with state of the art facilities that includes plush suites, well stocked bar and restaurant serving mouth-watering dishes.

Vila Duraku
Vila Duraku

Vila Duraku Hotel

This is often considered one of the best places to stay in Saranda. It offers contemporary facilities in a traditional setting. The unique architecture of Hotel Vila Duraku is an attraction in itself. Those willing to avail luxury facilities at an affordable price would find the place perfectly suited for their need. 4/5 Stars, – More photos and prices here on booking.com.

Livia Hotel
Livia Hotel

Livia Hotel

Livia Hotel is situated in the Butrint National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is enclosed by forest from all sides and consequently offers uninterrupted peace and tranquillity. 5/5 Stars, – More Photos and price here on booking.com.

Visad Hotel

Visad Hotel assures you of an unhindered view of the blue waves of Ionian Sea crashing on the beach mixed with the courteous service of the hotel personnel. The multicuisine restaurant is an added attraction. Glimpses of the island of Corfu can also be caught from the hotel’s patio. More info here.

Brilant Hotel

This is another hotel on the south coast that offers great views of the sea, airy rooms and professional service to its customers. All types of the modern amenities are available to make your stay as comfortable as possible. More info here.

Needless to say, there are other hotels in Saranda which you may book in advance once you plan a trip to Blue Eye. This allows you to visit other places of attraction lying close to Blue Eye.

Restaurants

There are a few restaurants in Syri i Kalter serving good food to the tourists visiting the place. One of them, attached with Syri Kalter Kompleksi Turistik, is quite large. But their services are at best erratic. Do not forget tasting delicious fish recipes in the local restaurants. Many people, on a day trip or picnic, carry their own food.

Nearby Saranda and Gjirokastra are another UNESCO World Heritage Towns, all full of prominent restaurants serving delectable Italian, Greek or Albanian dishes.

Shopping

No trip can be complete without a visit to the local shops! Syri i Kalter itself may not boast of any prominent stores selling souvenirs, but there are plenty of other places only minutes away from Syri i Kalter which can be visited to indulge in your passion for shopping.

  • Famous LLogara Honey, which can be collected from any trustable local vendor, is a must buy.
  • The unique taste of Skenderbeu Cognac is applauded worldwide. Do not forget purchasing a bottle of this famed beverage for friends back home.
  • Authentic Albanian jewelleries are a collector’s delight. The area is reputed for crafting beautiful silver ornaments in traditional motif.
    However, the best thing you will collect while being in Syri i Kalter is pleasant memories.

Share your thoughts…

Have you been to the Blue Eye Spring before? What did you think of it?

Are you planning on visiting the Blue Eye Spring but want a little more information or have some questions? If so, leave them in the comments section below and we’ll help answer your questions as soon as we can.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Paul!

    Fantastic post. I recently visited the spring (June 2015) and thought I would share my review of the place with you and your visitors…

    First of all, it was busy here. Much busier than I had imagined. The new roads are still being built, so on top of all the tourists, there were of course workers and all their machinery which took away a bit of the ‘magic’ from the place. (I have been here before, many years ago, and remembered it being a quiet, tranquil and somewhat hidden place!).

    So upon arrival, at around 11am, we got out (my children and husband). There were already many people here and it dawned on us that it is now, officially, a tourist trap/mecca. A bit of a disappointment for us.

    The second thing we noticed is the amount of garbage around the area. There are a couple of bins, but why people can’t just take their garbage home with them is beyond me? We did notice a couple of Albanians chuck their litter so can confirm that it might not be ‘just’ the tourists.

    I think the issue here is that when one person litters, everybody else thinks thats it’s OK. IT’S NOT!

    The beauty of the blue eye itself and surround areas has remained unspoilt, that is, where people aren’t allowed to go.

    There are a number of recent cafe’s and shops which have opened, offering expensive refreshments and poor snacks, again which makes the place somewhat special.

    We spent less than an hour here this time round. On our last visit we were here for more than 5 hours because it was THAT beautiful!

    So, all in all, a bit of a disappointment for us.

    My advice to anyone going.. arrive very early (maybe sunrise) and stay there for as long as you can before the hoards of people show up. Take your own food and drink (take your rubbish home with you!!) and enjoy it for as much as you possibly can.

    I feel that in the coming years, the site will burn-out and become ruined. Shame really.

    Thanks for all the info you provided though, I hope my review can go someway to helping others too.

    All the best,
    Lizzy 🙂

    • Wow Lizzy! – What a review! Thanks for taking the time out to share it with everyone. I agree with most of what you have written by the way. It definately was nicer a number of years back, still a beautiful place but becoming some what ruined.

      Thanks again,
      Paul

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