Given its coastal access and Mediterranean climate, Sarandë has become an important tourist attraction since the fall of communism in Albania.

Saranda as well as the rest of the Albanian Riviera, according to The Guardian, "is set to become the new 'undiscovered gem' of the overcrowded Med. Tourism is thus the major economic resource, while other resources include services, fisheries and construction.

The unemployment rate according to the population census of 2008 was 8.32%. It has been suggested that family tourism and seasonal work during the summer period help mitigate the real unemployment rate. Recently, the town has experienced an uncontrolled construction boom which may hamper the city's future tourism potential. Since 2012, the Port of Saranda is undergoing an expansion to accommodate cruise ships at its terminal.


In antiquity the city was known by the ancient Greek name of Onchesmos or Anchiasmos and was inhabited by the Greek tribe of the Chaonians. Onchesmos flourished as the port of the Chaonian capital Phoenice (modern-day Finiq). In AD 552, it experienced repeated attacks from the Goths

In 1878, a Greek rebellion broke out, with revolutionaries taking control of Sarandë and Delvinë. This was suppressed by the Ottoman troops, who burned twenty villages in the region. The town was included in the newly formed Albanian state in 1913 under the terms of the Protocol of Florence.


It was occupied twice by Greece in 1913 and from 1914 to 1916, the second time by Greek insurgents from the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus. It was then occupied by Italy between 1916 and 1920 as part of the Italian Protectorate on southern Albania. Sarandë was again occupied by Italian forces in 1939 and was a strategic port during the Italian invasion of Greece. During this occupation, it was called "Porto Edda" in honor of the eldest daughter of Benito Mussolini.

As part of Northern Epirus, the city came under Greek rule on 6 December 1940 until the German invasion in Greece in April 1941. The Axis troops were expelled from the town by the British forces in October 9, 1940, who were supported by the Albanian National Liberation Movement and the Greek EDES resistance. However, the British troops soon withdrew from the region, leaving the region to the Albanian communist forces.




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