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Albania (Albanian: Shqipëria) is a country in the Balkans with unspoiled beaches, mountainous landscapes, traditional cuisine, archaeological artifacts, unique traditions, low prices and the wild atmosphere of the countryside. It is one of the sunniest countries in Europe. The country has an extensive archaeological heritage; it was part of Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire until its first declaration of independence in 1912, becoming a kingdom and then a communist dictatorship before becoming a democratic republic. Albania is one of the few majority Muslim nations in Europe.
- 1 Tirana (Tiranë) — the capital. Trees and mountains surround the city. Mt. Dajt is a popular tourist site for a great view of the city.
- 2 Durrës – Albania’s second-largest city and largest port, with historic ruins, current-day cultural institutions and beaches
- 3 Berat — Thought to be one of the oldest towns in Albania, it is a new member of the UNESCO world heritage list. Berat has long been known as the “city of 1001 windows” because of its unique Ottoman/Albanian architecture. It has a well preserved castle with residents still living inside its protective walls.
- 4 Fier — Lively seaside city, and only about 8 km (5 mi) away from the ruins of the ancient Illyrian city of Apollonia.
- 5 Gjirokastër — another UNESCO city, located in the south is known for its unique Ottoman period architecture. There is a large castle on the hill in the middle of the city which served as a jail for many generations. A Military Museum and Art Gallery are now located inside. Gjirokastër is also the birthplace of former communist Leader, Enver Hoxha, as well as Albania’s most internationally famous author, Ismail Kadare, their homes now serve as museums.
- 6 Korçë (Korça) — Located in southeast Albania, several miles from the Greek border, this city is full of life during the summer when you can find couples and families strolling through the city’s main park, Parku Rinia. You can hike to the top of the beautiful mountain Moravia and view the city and its surrounding landscape. Don’t miss the Korça Brewery (famous throughout Albania) which sponsors a week long Beer Festival every August!
- 7 Kruje (Krujë) — ancient city of the national hero Skanderbeg. It consists of beautiful mountains; Skanderbeg’s castle is now a museum. Kruje also contains an old style bazaar with shops selling traditional goods amid cobblestone streets. Kruje is known for its carpet craftworks.
- 8 Shkodër — the biggest town in Northern Albania. Shkodër is considered the capital of Albanian culture. The local “Migjeni” Theatre was the first in Albania and also held the first cyclic race, the first football match and is where the first Albanian photograph was developed (by Marubi). The Rozafa Castle is a major tourist attraction here, but also “The Great Cathedral”, “The mosque Ebu Beker” and several others.
- 9 Vlorë — Lively seaside city, nice beaches south of town. Passenger ferries to and from Italy dock here.
- – home to the impressively tiled Blue Mosque, and the staging point for trips into Uzbekistan. Ethnically diverse, Mazar is considered the most liberal city in the country after Kabul.
- (Korça) — Located in southeast Albania, several miles from the Greek border, this city is full of life during the summer when you can find couples and families strolling through the city’s main park, Parku Rinia. You can hike to the top of the beautiful mountain Moravia and view the city and its surrounding landscape. Don’t miss the Korça Brewery (famous throughout Albania) which sponsors a week long Beer Festival every August!
- 1 Albanian Alps — This mountainous complex on the north of the country forms the border between Albania and Montenegro. Rich on rainfalls, sheep, bare rocks and scenic views it is one of the places in Albania you should see. One of the places where you can be less than 10 km away from the nearest village and still have a day long trip there.
- 2 Albanian Riviera — Featuring crystal clear waters, unspoiled beaches, and picturesque villages, this is the Mediterranean coastline as it once was.
- 4 Butrint — Largest archaeological site from Greek era in Albania. It lies on the coast in the southernmost tip of the country, near the Greek border. Minibuses are available from Saranda.
- 5 Lura National Park — A 20,242 hectare national park with high mountains, big meadows, and glacial lakes.
- 6 Pustec contains Albania’s share of Lake Prespa, which forms Prespa National Park. This is also an area of much history, evidenced by the multiple cave churches found near its villages as well as on the island of Maligrad.
- 7 Thethi — National park and village in Northern Albania
- 8 Tomorr — Mountain ridge in the southern part of Albania, not far from Berat. This part of the country is formed by parallel mountain ridges (up to around 2000–2500 m) separated by valleys. Although the ridges are not very long, they offer few days of hiking with enormous scenic beauty and fantastic panoramic views. Tomorri is one of the most known ridges with a Bektash monastery and chapel on the very top.