Blue Eye Albania
Why you must visit the Blue Eye Albania
The Blue Eye Albania is a popular tourist destination in the south of the country. The Blue Eye an emerald blue water spring of over 50 meters deep. The spring pumps crystal clear water to the surface. It is a magical, fairy-tale like place. The spring looks like a human eye since it has a deep blue colour in the centre and the light blue colour on the sides. The many dragonflies add to the almost fairy-tale like experience.
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The Legend of the Blue Eye Albania
There are many legends told about the Blue Eye. According to one of the legends an engineer named the spring, as it reminded him of his lover’s blue eyes.
But how was the magical Blue Eye Spring created? According to a local legend, a windy storm arrived in Saranda. During the storm an enormous snake came out of the water. The snake slithered towards Vrisi in Delvina, where it ate a group of women and children, who were collecting water. The snake continued on to the Sopoti Mountain where it ate two shepherds along with their sheep and goats.
The legend says that a brave old man took a donkey to the cave where the snake was hiding. The old man put straw on the back of the donkey and set it on fire. When the snake ate the donkey it burned inside the snake’s body. The snake crossed the mountain and left a trace. The snake’s big eye fell in the place where the Blue Eye is today. It is said the giant snake’s blue eye continues to cry until today.
What is the Blue Eye Albania?
The Blue Eye Albania is a Vauclusian spring. In other words, the water originates from a cave. As a result, the dark centre of the cave looks like the pupil of a human eye. The source of the spring pumps water to the surface with high pressure (18400 l/s). Furthermore, you can throw a stone in the centre of the spring and you will see the stone resurface moments later.
Nobody knows exactly how deep the spring is. Divers have tried to reach the bottom of the spring. But the divers have only managed to go 45 meters deep, due to the high water pressure. Diving at such pressure is very dangerous, because the diver has to struggle against the powerful water stream to proceed. Scuba divers reaching the depth of 20 meters deep, can sign their names in an underwater notebook.
From the spring, the water flows into the Bistrice River onward toward the Ionian Sea. The water is crystal clear. And it is a major source of drinking water in the area. Due to the water’s clarity you can see algae, stones, tree branches and fishes at the bottom of the spring. Looking at the spring will probably remind you of looking at an over-sized aquarium.
Things to do at the Blue Eye Albania
It is possible to have a lunch at the Blue Eye. There is a wooden restaurant on a balustrade above the river. You can choose amongst traditional Albanian dishes, like roast lamb or grilled fish. It is a pleasure to eat your the food, while overlook the river’s flowing water and feeling the fresh breeze.
Another popular option is having a picnic. There is a designated picnic area near the source of the blue eye. The picnic area has lovely wooden tables underneath the shady trees.
For adventurous travellers, it is also possible to swim in the spring water. Signage does advice against swimming, but many travellers cannot resist. The spring’s water is extremely cold with a temperature of around 10 degree Celsius all year round. If swimming is not up your alley, you may consider renting a water bike. You will be able to make lovely pictures and can admire the wildlife on the bottom of the river more closely.
How to get to the Blue Eye Albania
The Blue Eye is located on the road between the city Saranda and the city Gjirokaster. The drive from Saranda to the Blue Eye is 20km along the highway. The journey will take approximately 30 minutes. It is possible to book a day tour to the Blue Eye. Alternatively, you can rent a car for a day and drive towards the Blue Eye. And lastly, it is possible to take the bus from Saranda towards Gjirokaster for 200 Leke (€1.60). You can ask the bus driver to drop you off at the Blue Eye.
Furthermore, we recommend that you bring proper walking shoes. After arrival, you will walk approximately 1 km (20 minutes) along an unpaved dirt road to reach the view point.
The Forbidden Spring
During the communist area, only the elite communists and Enver Hoxha himself were allowed to visit the spring. As a result, the Blue Eye Albania is very well preserved.
According to locals the Blue Eye spring suddenly dried up in October 2002. At this time, Italian representatives visited Saranda to discuss exploiting the underground water of the Blue Eye. Many say that it was divine powers that stopped the Blue Eye as a punishment against exploitation.