In the summer of 2021, I decided to jet off to Europe to explore the famed (and completely underrated) Albanian riviera. It was when I made my way south (to Saranda) that I learned of a ferry that crossed the Ionian Sea from Albania to Greece. When I heard that you could take a ferry from Saranda to Corfu in a matter of hours, I decided that it would be a shame not to cross into Greece and soak in the Greecian sun while exploring Corfu for a few days.
While purchasing the ferry ticket from Saranda to Corfu is pretty straightforward, there are many things I wish I had known beforehand so that I was better prepared for my journey from Albania to Greece. Below you’ll find the most important information you need to know when taking the ferry to Corfu.
Everything You Need to Know About Taking the Ferry from Saranda to Corfu
What Do You Need to Know About Taking the Ferry?
First off, there is more than one ferry company that operates between Saranda and Corfu. One of the main ferries is Finikas Lines and for purposes of this post, everything mentioned will be in regards to Finikas.
Finkikas has two different types of ferries – a fast one that gets you from country to country in 30-minutes. And a slower one that takes an hour and a half to cross the sea. Depending on what time of the year you’re traveling, the ferry schedule changes. You can check the times and ticket prices here.
Taking the ferry to Corfu (and vice versa) is a breeze and much easier than if you were to hop on an airplane. There are no baggage requirements (weight or size), and you can carry as many or as few liquids as you’d like. When you’re in Saranda you will run your bags through a machine before getting on the ferry and again when you get off in Corfu.
9 Things to Know Ahead of Time…
1. GETTING YOUR TICKET
Unfortunately, at this time, you can’t get your ticket online (hopefully this will change soon!). Even if you purchase online you still have to show up at the Finikas office to retrieve your ticket in person. Although Google says that Finikas is open 24 hours a day, the office really opens at 8 am and closes at 4 pm.
2. ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK YOUR TICKET
I did book my ferry ticket while COVID was still a *thing* (hopefully by the time you’re reading this and planning, it won’t be anything to think about anymore!). So with that being said, my situation was a bit different than yours may be – but it’s important to bring up that you should always double-check your ticket.
I purchased a ticket to leave at 8:45 am and when I showed up at 7:45 they told me that my particular ferry wasn’t running today. While it wasn’t an issue and I could easily get on the next ferry, it was a waste of time to sit there and wait. For that reason, I suggest double checking with the person who hands you your ticket that your ferry is scheduled to run on time.
It’s also suggested that you show up an hour before the ferry departs. In my experience (taking the ferry twice now), they start checking tickets and loading the ferry 30-minutes before departure. So it’s really unnecessary to show up too early.
Albania operates on the Lek, while Greece operates on the Euro (€). Make sure to have € on you before leaving Albania! (There are many ATMs near the ferry port in Saranda); if you forget, there is an ATM at the port of Corfu. Please note that you are unable to take the bus without already have €.
4. NAVIGATING ONCE YOU ARRIVE IN CORFU
One of my biggest suggestions is to have a plan of action when you arrive in Corfu. I highly recommend asking your hotel/hostel/Airbnb the easiest and cheapest way to get to where you’re going.
The bus is by far the cheapest way to get around Corfu. If you’re going somewhere remote (not Corfu town), you’ll most likely have to transfer buses. You’ll probably end up needing to take the blue bus to San Rocco Square (in Corfu Town), and transfer from there.
If you get confused or lost – speak up! Greek people are generally very kind and very helpful and will happily point you in the right direction.
5. PLAN FOR NO WIFI
Unless you have a SIM card or have purchased an international data plan – plan to have no service when you arrive. The ferry station doesn’t have wifi and for that reason, you need to know where you’re going ahead of time.
6. USE THE BATHROOM BEFORE YOU GO
Before you depart from Saranda, make sure to use the bathroom in the ferry station. There are no bathrooms at the ferry station in Corfu.
7. EAT BEFORE YOU GO
Once you arrive in Corfu, there is a small shop open for snacks and drinks. However, having done the trip twice now, one time the shop was open and one time it wasn’t. To be safe, it’s best to eat before leaving Saranda. While there is a small cafe in the ferry station in Saranda, there’s a really good fast food place that serves pitas – Fast Food Clasic – right next to the ferry station. If you think you’ll get hungry, make sure to purchase snacks while you’re still in Saranda.
You are also permitted to purchase drinks onboard Finikas.
8. TIME CHANGE
There is a one-hour time change between Albania and Greece. Greece is one hour ahead of Albania so when you’re traveling there you’ll lose one hour of time. (For example, if you leave at 7 pm on the regular ferry you’ll arrive in Greece at 9:30 pm). But if you’re traveling back to Albania, then you’ll save an hour.
9. BRING YOUR PASSPORT
Because you’re traveling between two different countries – Albania and Greece – you will need to bring your passport with you. As a reminder, Greece is part of the EU and a Schengen country, and Albania is not. This means that as an American, you do not need a visa for either country but in Greece you are only allowed to be in the country (or other Schengen countries) for 90-days. In Albania, you are allowed to stay for one year without a visa.
That is pretty much everything you need to know if you’re taking the ferry from Saranda to Corfu. But don’t worry, if you’re transferring from Corfu to Saranda, the ferry station in Saranda has wifi, a bathroom, and taxis that generally take Euros as well as Lek.