It may not top any most-popular-destinations lists, but don’t overlook this enticing corner of Europe. Destined to attract the attention it deserves, use our map of Albania to get ahead of the crowd and start planning your trip now. Boasting unspoilt mountains, beautiful beaches, Ottoman architecture and cultural sites, there’s plenty to explore in this diverse country.
After decades of isolationist rule, Albania’s remote villages, Byzantine art and archaeological sites are finally open to curious travellers, although its language, customs and cuisine help the country retain a distinctly exotic air.
From the luridly painted buildings of the capital, Tirana, to the UNESCO listed stone city of Gjirokastra, the urban centres of Albania provide ample opportunities for espresso-sipping with hospitable locals. For mountain scenery, head to the peaceful hillside town of Berat, where the well-preserved Ottoman houses and old citadel transport you back to the Ottoman Empire. Behind Berat, snowcapped peaks descend to the Ionian coast, where pristine stretches of sand offer some of the Mediterranean’s most untouched beaches.