Blue Eye Albania – Why & how to visit this beautiful place!
I travelled to the South of Albania last summer, and I visited the Blue Eye Albania for the third time. Even though I visited before, I was still stunned and amazed by its beauty. Here is why you absolutely need to add this impressive place to your itinerary.
Why is the Blue Eye Albania worth visiting? The Blue Eye Albania is a natural spring with a magical blue colour. The spring has become a touristic attraction, because of its beauty. The Lonely Planet described the Blue Eye Albania as “magical and hypnotic”. And Atlas Obscura said it is “breath-taking and mesmerizing”.
Now, that you know the Blue Eye springs is a touristic highlight, let’s dive in! In this post, you will read why to visit, how to get there and what to expect at the Blue Eye. Moreover, there is a second blue eye in the Albanian alps in the north, you may want to visit the Blue Eye of Theth as well… Scroll down for more information!
Why visit the Blue Eye Albania?
It is difficult to explain in words, why the Blue Eye Albania is such a beautiful place. The Blue Eye of Albania has become a popular touristic attraction. Actually, the blue eye is just a natural spring. And if you think about it, there are millions of water springs across the world. So, what makes the Blue Eye Albania different?
The Blue Eye is an underwater spring. There is a cave very deep underneath the water, which pumps fresh water to the surface. The blue eye spring is more than 50 meters deep. And the water is pumped up to the surface with an enormous power. The discharge rate is 18400 litres per second. The water is ice-cold, at around 10 degrees Celsius throughout the year.
The Blue Eye is a freshwater pool, which looks like a human eye. In the centre of the pool, you can see the dark underwater cave. The black cave looks like the pupil of a human eye. Surrounding the pupil, there is the bright blue water, which looks like the iris of a human eye. Therefore, the spring was called Syri I Kalter in Albanian language, which means “the blue eye”.
The Lonely Planet described the spring as “magical and hypnotic” and Atlas Obscura says it is “breath-taking and mesmerizing”. When you look at the spring and the water flowing to the surface, it has a very calming effect on you. Moreover, when you see the bright blue colour, it is hard to believe it is all natural. It is such a bright colour, you won’t believe the colour is not artificial.
The Blue Eye spring is a Vauclusian spring. Which means the spring water comes from a deep, almost vertical cave.
It is one of the most powerful springs in the South-East of Europe. The average discharge of the spring is 6000 liters per second. But at high water, the spring has a discharge rate of 18 400 liters per second. The spring is the source of the Bistrice river, which leads to the Ionian Sea.
The water of the spring is so clear, that it looks like a gigantic aquarium. Underneath the water, you can see all the underwater plants, stones, fishes and tree branches. You can walk along the spring and the river, to admire the underwater world.
If you look at the pictures of the Blue Eye Albania online, you won’t believe it is that beautiful. But it is one of those places, where when you visit it is more beautiful than the pictures online. The calming water, the flowing river, the bright blue water and the tropical vegetation, make the Blue Eye my favourite place in Albania.
How deep is the blue eye in Albania?
The Blue Eye in Albania is more than 50 metres deep. We know that the Blue Eye spring is deeper than 50 meters, but it is unclear how much deeper. Although divers have tried to reach the bottom of the Blue Eye spring, nobody has succeeded. So the actual depth remains a mystery.
The water of the Blue Eye spring is pumped to the surface from an underwater cave. The cave is more than 50 metres deep. Many divers have attempted to reach the bottom of the spring. So far, the deepest the divers have reached is 50 meters. But nobody has reached the source of the spring.
Diving in the Blue Eye spring is very dangerous. Because the water pressure is so strong. The water pushes upwards to the surface with an enormous pressure. Whereas the divers are trying to getter deeper to reach the bottom. So divers have to flight against the water pressure of the spring.
None of the divers have succeeded and reached the bottom of the spring, due to the enormous water pressure. The spring discharges 18400 litres of water per second. So, any diver needs to swim against the water pressure to go down to the source. Moreover, all divers have a limited amount of oxygen in their tank, so the time to reach the bottom of the spring is limited.
If you see anyone jump into the blue eye, they are pushed up to the surface immediately. The same applies, when you throw a stone in the spring. The water pressure is so high, that is sends a person downstream and into the river immediately.
Can you swim in Blue Eye Albania?
You can swim in the Blue Eye Albania, but the water is ice-cold. Above the spring, there is a staircase and a balcony. The balcony is intended for people to look into the spring, but many young people use it to jump into the blue eye.
If you are brave enough to jump in, the Blue eye spring will push you up to the surface immediately. The water pressure is high, and it pushes you down the river straight after landing. Moreover, you will not be able to stay in the water for long. Because the temperature of the water is 10 degrees Celsius year-round.
Funnily enough, there is a signage at the balcony, which states that diving and swimming is prohibited. However, at the time I visited, many people jumped into the pool. Swimming in the Blue Eye is something many people cannot resist.
Where is the Blue Eye Albania?
The Blue Eye Albania is about 22 kilometres to the east of Saranda, in the south of Albania. The spring is located on the road between Saranda and Gjirokastra. It is close to the Greek border and in the ultimate south of Albania.
It takes 30 minutes to travel from Saranda to the Blue Eye. From the main road, there is a clear signage indicating the Blue Eye attraction.
Once you arrive at the Blue Eye, you need to drive or walk along a 2 kilometre dirt road. There is a small office, which charges for the Blue eye entry. The price for the Blue Eye is 50 LEK (€0.40) per person. And it costs 100 LEK (€0.80) for a car.
At the end of the dirt road, there is a parking place and a footpath that leads to the Blue Eye spring. A little bridge crosses the light blue river. The path leads you to the beautiful blue spring. At the spring, you can climb up a small staircase to a balcony that overlooks the Blue Eye.
Many people use the balcony to jump into the Blue Eye spring. Although signage states that swimming is prohibited, many people jump in anyway.
How do I get from Saranda to Blue Eye?
The Blue Eye Albania is located in the south of Albania, near the coastal city of Saranda. From Saranda, it takes 30 minutes to travel to the Blue Eye. The Blue Eye is not in the city itself, but along one of the roads that leads out of Saranda.
From Saranda, you need to drive along the road to the city Gjirokastra. After 30 minutes, you will see a signage that directs you to the Blue Eye. You can get from Saranda to the Blue Eye by bus, by taxi or by car.
Saranda to Blue Eye by bus
To get to the Blue Eye, you need to take the bus from Saranda to Gjirokaster. There is no direct bus, which only goes to the Blue Eye. Therefore, the bus to Gjirokaster is your only option.
You can get on the bus to Gjirokastra in the centre of Saranda. The bus station is next to the ruins in Saranda’s centre. Which is at the intersection of Rruga Flamurit and Rruga Skanderbeg. There is a bus departure to Gjirokaster every hour.
The bus ticket from Saranda to Gjirokastra costs 300 LEK (€2.50). And you can buy the ticket from the bus driver. At the Blue Eye, you need to pay 50 lek (€0.40) per person to enter the attraction.
Remember to tell the bus driver, that you want to get off the bus at Syri I Kalter or the Blue Eye. Don’t worry about asking, because it is very common in Albania to request an extra stop. Moreover, the Blue Eye is a popular attraction, so the bus stops there frequently.
Once you get off the bus at the Blue Eye sight, you need to walk for about 2 kilometres to the reach the spring. There is a sandy, dirt road that leads from the main road to the Blue Eye. Do not worry, because the path is well marked. Moreover, many tourists around you are going in the same direction.
You can also travel back from the Blue Eye to Saranda by bus. Simply wait at the road and wave at the bus driver. Or alternatively, you can try to catch a ride with any of the other tourists visiting the sight.
Saranda to Blue Eye by taxi
You can also take a taxi from Saranda to the Blue Eye Albania. A taxi to the Blue Eye will cost you around €30.00 for a round trip. Moreover, the taxi driver will bring you to the location and wait for two hours. Afterwards, the same taxi driver will bring you back to Saranda.
Two hours at the Blue Eye is plenty of time. When you go by taxi, the driver can bring you to the river. So you won’t have to walk 2 kilometres along the dirt road, like you would if you travelled by bus. Moreover, you will have time to drink a coffee at the cafe on side as well.
Saranda to Blue Eye by car
You can also rent a car and drive to the Blue Eye. From the city centre of Saranda, you need to follow the signage for Gjirokastra. Follow the road to Gjirokastra for about 30 minutes. Then you will see a signage at the side of the street, that indicates the Blue Eye spring.
From the main road, you will need to drive along an unpaved forest road for about 2 kilometres. You will be charged an entrance fee of 100 LEK (€0.80) per car and 50 LEK (€0.40) per person. After the dirt track, you will arrive at the parking spot. From the parking, you can take the footpath to the Blue Eye.
Blue Eye Albania opening hours
The Blue Eye Albania is open from 7:00 am until 19:00 pm every day.
Blue Eye Albania entrance fee
The Blue Eye Albania entrance fee is 50 LEK (€0.40) per person. For a car, the entry fee is 100 LEK (€0.80).
Blue Eye Albania temperature
The Blue Eye Albania temperature is 10 degrees Celsius year-round. So, the water is ice-cold. Although many people jump into the the water, you cannot stay in for long. Because you will cool down quickly.
The jumping in the Blue Eye spring is something you do for the experience. However, after jumping in you won’t want to swim along the river. It is too cold.
Things to do near the Blue Eye Albania
The Blue Eye Albania is close to several other attractions: Saranda city, Ksamil beach, Gjirokastra UNESCO heritage city, Butrint UNESCO sight and the beaches of the Albanian Riviera. It is best to stay 2-3 days in Saranda, because there are many highlights in the area.
Day 1: Blue Eye Albania & Gjirokastra city
On day 1, you can take the road from Saranda to Gjirokastra. If you drive along the road to Gjirokastra for about 30 minutes, you will reach the Blue Eye Albania. After visiting the Blue Eye, continue along the same road to visit Gjirokastra. Gjirokastra is on the UNESCO heritage list, because it has a historical old town with classical Ottoman houses.
Day 2: Butrint UNESCO sight & Ksamil beach
On day 2, you can take the road from Saranda to Butrint. In the early morning, visit the archaeological site of Butrint. It is the most impressive touristic attraction in Albania. There are ruins that date back to the Romans and the Greeks. Moreover, the ruins are surrounded by nature and water.
After visiting Butrint, drive back along the same road, but stop in Ksamil beach. Ksamil is located between Saranda and Butrint. Ksamil is the most beautiful beach in Albania. There beach is set on a little peninsula with perfect white sand. Moreover, there are four little uninhabited island that you can swim to from the beach.
Day 3: Beaches of the Albanian Riviera
There are many small hidden beaches surrounding Saranda. Some of the highlights are Mirror Beach and Monastery beach. Spend a day relaxing on the beach, after you have visited the highlights the previous days.
The two blue eyes in Albania
There are two Blue Eyes in Albania:
1. Blue Eye Albania
The Blue Eye Albania is in the south of Albania, close to the coastal city of Saranda. From Saranda, you must travel by car, by bus or by taxi for 30 minutes to reach the Blue Eye Albania.
2. Blue Eye Theth
There is a second Blue Eye in the North of Albania. To reach the Blue Eye Theth, you must travel from Shkodra to Theth. Theth is a mountain village in the Albanian Alps. From the village, you can hike to the Blue Eye Theth.
Blue Eye Theth
The Blue Eye of Theth is a mountain pool in the North of Albania. It is a stunning emerald green pool, which is surrounded by cliffs. The pool is very pretty and photogenic. A gorgeous, little waterfall fills the pool with fresh mountain water. Because of its beauty, the Blue Eye of Theth has become a popular touristic attraction.
However, the Blue Eye of Theth is not an easy location to reach. It requires travelling to a remote mountain village and from the village you must hike to reach the Blue Eye of Theth. Therefore, the Blue Eye of Theth is a popular destination amongst hikers, backpackers and active travellers.
There is no road to the Blue Eye of Theth, only a trail. Therefore, you must hike to reach the Blue Eye.
The Theth village is a remote location, because it is difficult to reach by car or by bus. Although Theth is only 3,5 hours by car from Shkodra city, the condition of the road makes it hard to reach. The mountain track turns and twists by the side of the mountains. On some turns of the road, you look down into a massive cliffs.
Especially, the last hour of travel to the Blue Eye of Theth is challenging. The last part of the road is a stony dirt track. There are massive stones on the road and the road is not level. For this reason, a four-wheel drive is absolutely required.
However, it is absolutely worth the effort to visit the Blue Eye of Theth. Because it is a very pretty location. Moreover, the Blue Eye of Theth is something truly unique to Albania.
The Blue Eye of Theth is a natural wonder. The pool is formed by erosion of the rock by the water that is coming down from the mountains. The emerald green coloured pool is surrounded by cliffs. There is a magical little waterfall that spurs fresh water into the pool. And the whole area is surrounded by jungle-like plants. There a little river that flows away from the Blue Eye, you must climb across the stones to reach a wooden plateau. It is very idyllic.
There is a wooden plateau on the river, from where you have a beautiful view of the Blue Eye. Bring a picnic lunch with you, so you can enjoy your food while you are there. Some locals use the cold mountain water to cool soft drinks, that you can buy. For sure you will be thirsty and hungry after climbing and hiking your way to the Blue Eye of Theth. Moreover, you still have to hike back as well!
How to get from Shkoder to Theth?
Before you can travel to the Blue Eye of Theth, you must first travel to the Theth mountain village. You can travel to Theth from the city Shkodra. Shkodra is a touristic city, about 2 hours to the North of the capital city Tirana.
The trip from Shkodra to Theth takes roughly 3 hours and 30 minutes. The first 2.5 hours the road is in a good condition. There is a nice asphalt road which leads you into the mountains. However, the last 1 hour of the trip, the road is in a poor condition.
The last part of the road is a stony track with big rocks on the track. The road is not level, so your car will hit many stones. Therefore, you will not be able to drive fast. Moreover, the road leads by the cliffs of the mountain, so for your safety you won’t want to drive fast. And finally, the road is a single track, so every time you will see a driver from the opposite direction, you will need to manoeuvre past the other vehicle.
You can travel from Shkodra to Theth by car, by taxi or by bus. The length of the journey is 3 hours and 30 minutes for all vehicles. The best and safest option to travel to Theth is to book a four wheel-drive taxi. Since a four wheel drive has a better grip on the stony mountain track. Moreover, the drivers who regularly drive to Theth have experience on the road and know the area well.
On my last trip to Theth, I saw several tourists drive to Theth with a regular rental car. I really would not recommend doing this. The last part of the road is in a poor condition. Just imagine, if you start to slide next to a mountain cliff. Moreover, there are different mountain roads that split off the main track. However sometimes it is hard to tell, which track is the official road to Theth. And finally, if you have trouble with the car, you will be on your own. So for your safety, book a four wheel drive taxi or a bus to Theth.
How to get to the Blue Eye Theth?
There are two ways to get to the Blue Eye Theth:
Option 1: Hike 3 hours from Theth to the Nderlysaj village. And hike an additional 40 minutes from Nderlysaj to the Blue Eye Theth.
Option 2: Book a taxi from Theth to the Nderlysaj village. And hike only 40 minutes to the Blue Eye of Theth.
To get to the Blue Eye of Theth, you first need to travel to the Nderlysaj village. There is no public transport to Nderlysaj. Therefore, you have to choice between hiking or booking a taxi. A taxi from the Theth village to the Nderlysaj village costs 40 euros for a round trip. Alternatively, you can hike for 3 hours to reach Nderlysaj.
If you plan on hiking from Theth to Nderlysaj, you must first find the Harushave Guesthouse. Close to the Harushave Guesthouse, there is a bridge, which crosses the river. After you cross the river, you must follow the road along the river. It will take you 3 hours to walk along the road by the river to reach the Nderlysaj village.
The Nderlysaj village is a lovely little village. Take the path through the village. Throughout the village, you must climb over a series of staircases, that lead you over the fences.
The hiking trail to the Blue Eye starts in the village of Nderlysaj. There is a narrow wooden bridge that crosses the river. Then next to the little restaurant, there is a signage that leads you up the trail to the Blue Eye of Theth. It will take you roughly 40 minutes to hike to the Blue Eye.
It is not difficult to hike the trail to the Blue Eye of Theth. But you must have hiking or sports shoes for the route. Moreover, you must be in good physical shape. Because the trail goes up and down, you need a sure foot, to prevent you from sliding down. It is best to bring drinks, snacks and some cash money on your hike, so that you can refuel. And finally, do not forget the sunscreen, because the road to Nderlysaj has little shade.
When to go to the Blue Eye Theth?
The Blue Eye Theth is an attraction to visit in the spring, summer or autumn. Because in the winter, there is high snowfall in the mountains surrounding Theth. Which makes driving to the region and hiking dangerous. So the best period to visit is between April and October.
Moreover, on the day of your visit to the Blue Eye of Theth it is best to start your day early. Especially, if you won’t book a taxi. Because if you are going by foot, it will take you 3 hours and 40 minutes to reach the Blue Eye of Theth. You will want to spend some time at the Blue Eye of Theth. And then you have to hike 3 hours and 40 minutes back. Moreover, the temperature in the morning is cooler, which makes the hiking more pleasant.
A good option is to hike to the Blue Eye of Theth for 3 hours and 40 minutes. And then to hike back 40 minutes to the Nderlysaj village. From there, you can try and catch a taxi or bus back to Theth.
Blue Eye Theth temperature
The Blue Eye Theth temperature is usually around 7 degrees Celsius.
How do I get to Saranda blue eyes? To get to the Saranda blue eye, you must take the road from Saranda to Gjirokastra. Follow the road for 30 minutes, until you see a signage indicating the Blue Eye.
How to get from Ksamil to Blue Eye? To get from Ksamil to the Blue Eye, you need to drive 20 minutes from Ksamil to Saranda, then get on the road from Saranda to Gjirokastra, and drive for 30 minutes to reach the Blue Eye.
How do I get to the blue eyes in Albania? There are two blue eyes in Albania. To get to the Blue Eye near Saranda, take the road from Saranda to Gjirokastra and follow it for 30 minutes until you see a signage. To get to the Blue Eye of Theth, you must travel from Shkodra to Theth and then hike for 3 hours and 40 minutes.
Blue Eye, Albania | Jasmine Halki | Flickr
Syri I Kalter | Timon 91 | Flickr
Syri I Kalter, Delvine | Fabiola Muhollari | WikiCommons