Things to do in Southern Albania
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The Blue Eye Spring (Syri i Kalter) is a hypnotic pool of deep-blue water surrounded by electric-blue edges like the iris of an eye. It feeds the Bistrica River and its depth is still unknown. This is the perfect picnic spot, under the shade of the oak trees.
You can also check out the 12th-century monastery of Mesopotami en route, perched on a little hill by the Bistrica.
The road going south from Vlora climbs up to the Llogaraja Pass, over 1000m high, for some of Albania's most spectacular scenery. If you are going to Dhërmiu or Himara, this is the road you will take.
From the road you will see clouds descending onto the mountain, steep hillsides crashing into the sea below, shepherds on the plains guiding their herds, and thick forests where deer, wild boar and wolves roam. The local name for these mountains is Malet e Vetetimes, which means 'thunder mountains'.
The ancient ruins of Butrinti are renowned for their size and beauty. They are in a fantastic natural setting, part of a 29-sq-km national park; set aside at least three hours to lose yourself and thoroughly explore this fascinating place.
Although the site had been inhabited long before, Greeks from Corfu settled on the hill in Butrinti (Buthrotum) in the 6th century BC. Within a century Butrinti had become a fortified trading city with an acropolis. The lower town began to develop in the 3rd century BC, and many large stone buildings had already been built by the time the Romans took over in 167 BC.
Butrinti's prosperity continued throughout the Roman period and the…