Albania //

Where to go

Most make a beeline for the capital, Tirana, a buzzing city with a mishmash of garishly painted buildings, traditional restaurants and trendy bars. However, those seeking to take Albania’s true pulse should head to the mountainous hinterlands, particularly the peaceable hillside towns of Berat and Gjirokastra – both essentially open-air museums of life in Ottoman times. The muscular, snowcapped peaks of the interior drop down to a series of immaculate beaches, most notably along the Ionian coastline in the south of the country, one of the Mediterranean’s most remote and least developed stretches.