Syri i Kalter (The Blue Eye) is a fairy tale-like spring located in the south of Albania, Delvine district, near the town of Saranda. Not only the spring is the attraction but also the surrounding nature, the forest, and the clearest fresh waters I have seen in my life. Even clearer then in the becoming famous now Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. You might have the impression that this place is completely unreal, out of this world, as if specially prepared for a movie set. And, I would recommend that you visit it now, before hordes of tourists find out about it, especially that Albania (although unknown) it's in the heart of Europe and quite easy to reach.
How to get to Syri i Kalter - The Blue Eye Spring
There are few foreign tourist in Albania, so the infrastructure and public services are not in perfect conditions. (Let this not discourage you from the adventure in Albania). However, it is possible to travel to The Blue Eye Spring from Saranda or the beautiful, green and resembling tropical places with white sandy beaches, Ksamil. A taxi can be arranged, the prices are affordable in Albania, and surely it's easy to find locals offering the tours there. If you are not afraid of walking, and have free time, you can also take a chance and try a public bus from Saranda to Gjirokastra - unbelievably beautiful, peaceful town with Ottoman architecture. The bus can drop you off near the gate and then you need to hike around 3 km (2 miles).
Another option is to travel from the Greek Island - Corfu on a day trip to Albania, however the time spent in Albania will be very limited, and the country, to discover its magnificence, really deserves more than just a day trip.
If you are planning to have a longer trip in Albania and want some advice, I'll be happy to help you arrange a cheap trip with the local company. It is run by an amazing couple - Jurik and Ina. They organize private tours with specialized guides or they even can drive you around themselves if you are on a budget, showing all the local and out of the beaten path places! I used their services and I couldn't be happier! Contact me here.
The Blue Eye spring
The spring pushes crystal clear, blue waters out from a deep opening in the ground. It is believed to be deeper than 50 meters (165 ft.). No one has descended deeper than that and therefore, the exact depth is unknown. If you are brave enough, you can jump in it and the water will push you up back to the surface. However, it is worth noting that the temperature of water is a mere 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) even despite the scorching heat during Albanian summers.
It is called "The Blue Eye" obviously because of its beautiful color and the round shape that indeed resembles an eye. The entry fee is paid at the gate way before the entrance - it is very little (around 200 LEK - 1.40 EUR, 1.90 USD).
The river and the lake
The Blue Eye is the source of Bistrice River that flows all the way to meet the Ionian See. After a few minute walk from the source, along that river you, will reach the lake with a few wooden huts that serve as restaurants. As everywhere else in Albania, even in touristic places, the prices remain very low and the quality of food is superb.
The surroundings will transfer you to a literally fairy tale-like world. The water in the river and in the lake is so unbelievably clear that it seems impossible to be natural. You can see every weed, every little stone, tree branch or fish as if you were looking at a huge aquarium. Note, that in some of the photos you may get the impression that there is actually no water at all. Only the water bike that looks as if it was flying in the air is a proof that the there actually is some water in the lake.
You can rent a water bike at a very affordable price and I would highly recommend to do so as you can admire the bottom of the lake as if you were looking through glass. The unreal color of water makes the area even more magnificent and the ubiquitous dragonflies intensify this feeling. You simply must see it to believe it.
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