Located in Southeastern Europe, Albania is a country off of the beaten travel road. Of course, this makes Albania a great place to visit.
Albania – History
Albania is a Mediterranean country sitting on the coast of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. The country is bordered to the north by Serbia and Montenegro, Greece to the south and Macedonia to the east. Involved in the massive strife arising in the former Yugoslavia, the country was previously a Soviet-Bloc country. These days, Albania is a democracy fighting to find its economic feet.
Tirana is the capital of Albania and has a population of a little over 300,000. The city is an eclectic mix of traditional European structures, soviet style five story buildings and mid-east influenced architecture. Relatively small, Tirana is a city with a small town feel.
Korca – Rugs, Rugs, Rugs
Korca is a city located in the east of Albania close to the border of Greece. Built high up on a plateau, Korca is a must see if you love Turkish style rugs and carpets. The entire city seems to be devoted to the manufacture and sale of every size, color and type of rug. If you're staying overnight, Hotel Iliria is your best option.
Dating back to 500 AD, Petrela Castle is an ancient structure, which is in relatively good shape considering the history attached to it. At one time or another, Petrela was the primary defense of the city of Durres. It has been held, used and conquered by Romans, Greeks, Turks and other. Seriously off the beaten path, getting to Petrela requires a sturdy Jeep or Landcruiser. It is a very bumpy road, but the view is more than worth it.
While Albania is struggling to recovery from a communist pass, it is a fairly safe place to visit. The people are nice and it is definitely an opportunity to visit a country off the beaten path.