When I told the kiddo the next post I was going to write about Albania would be about the Blue Eye his response was “I remember that. It’s a great place to skip rocks!” So if you like to skip rocks, we’ve found your place to do it.
About 25 km from Saranda, on the route to Gjirokastra, you’ll find signs for ‘Syri i Kalter’ and when you do you must take the narrow little dirt road that turns off the main road. And it is a very narrow road! Follow the road along past the reservoir and you’ll come to a little parking area that will take you to the most beautiful water you’ve ever seen.
The Blue Eye is a spring that bubbles up from deep in the earth (they aren’t sure how deep it is but it’s thought to be at least 50 m deep) and pours a constant stream of the clearest cool water you have ever seen. It’s very chilly (about 10°C) so you likely won’t be in swimming for long if you do decide to take a dip. The colours are mesmerizing though and I guarantee you’ll stand on the little platform above it watching it for much long than you’d think you could.
Just above the Blue Eye the water gets shallow pretty quickly with a rocky bottom, hence the vote for a great spot to skip rocks. This is the beginning of the Bistrica River that then flows off down quite a rapid little river, into a lake out by the main road, and then finally ends in the Ionian Sea south of Saranda.
Between the varying shades of green of the lush foliage around the river, to the brilliant blues and greens of the water, it’s hard to pick a favourite sight.
Until you are staring down into the eye…
The Blue Eye wasn’t actually on our tour’s itinerary but L and I found it while doing a little pre-trip research and knew we’d like to see if we could. L had a quiet word with our guide one evening and asked if it was possible to stop en route to Gjirokastra. Our guide, knowing how narrow the roads were, said he’d have a word with the coach driver but thought he’d be up for it since coach drivers tend to like a little driving challenge. A challenge indeed! I really don’t know how he negotiated that great big coach down there, and I’m sure more than one person we met on the road thought ‘What the heck??’, but he did. He even magically turned the coach around in the tiny little parking lot while we were all off exploring.
If you visit there is a little restaurant on site that sits beside the rushing water. I can imagine this would be a pleasant place to spend a warm summer afternoon, sipping a cool drink, and just listening to the sounds of the water and the wildlife. Another option would be a picnic along the shore of the river. Either way you go, make sure you fill your water bottle from the fountain that continuously pours out water straight from the spring. It’s drinkable and oh so refreshing!
We didn’t stay for lunch but did have a little wander around the area before it was time to make our way to the bus to hit the road for Gjirokastra. Thankfully the Blue Eye is no longer reserved for the communist elite, as it was in Albania’s communist days, so everyone can now enjoy it’s beauty. We sure did.
To view some video of the Blue Eye please visit this link >>> Syri i Kalter
If you think you’d like to take a quick dip when you visit, please visit this link for a first hand account of the experience >>> How the Blue Eye took my breath away
Up next I’ll share the rest of our day visiting the UNESCO World Heritage city of Gjirokastra. But first…just one more photo of this amazing place.
To read more about our adventures on our tour around Albania, please feel free to check out these posts:
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