Fast Facts about Albania:
Total population: 3.63 million
Visa requirements: No visa needed for citizens of the EU, Australia,New Zealand, the US and Canada.
Language: Albanian – (official – derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects.
Albania was a part of the Ottoman Empire until it broke up in 1912. It remained independent until 1919 when the Fascists of Mussolini invaded in 1939. After the war Albania was influenced by Moscow and became a xenophobic communist dictatorship until all that came crashing down in 1989.
Since the fall of communism Albania has struggled to catch up with Europe and remains Europe’s poorest country with widespread poverty amongst its people and a huge national debt that eclipses even that of the UK. Corruption and mafia activity is rife, and particularly violent, which its government has shown little ability to control.
Almost all of Albania’s elections since 1991 have had accusations of corruption despite international observers declaring them free and fair. It joined NATO in 2009 and is a likely future member of the EU.
If we haven’t scared you off, then you should certainly try some Albania’s beautiful beaches along the Ionian Sea, and sample of some its many historical sites and fabulous mountain ranges in the north of the country.
Tour Operators to Albania
Tours to Albania tend to be part of specialised organised historical tours by operators like Regent Holidays, but always try the Albanian Tourist Board website for more information.