Durres, until recently better known by the Italian name of Durazzo, is the second largest and most ancient city in Albania and is only a short distance from the capital Tirana. The cities are only thirty minutes apart and so many tourists from Tirana spend their leisure time and holidays in Durres.
Planning your holiday on the Albanian by yourself may be a little difficult, because, while there are dozens of beatiful sandy and pebble sites most of them are completely undeveloped and are not used by the tourist industry. Here we will look at just a few of these resorts. Down in the south of Albania about 80 kilometres from Greece you will find Himara which sits between the steeply descending mountains and the Adriatic. Most people here are Greek speaking and its closeness to Corfu invites an influx of tourists from there several times each day by ship. While there has been some development in this resort it is still mainly unchanged from its past and is being brought along with continuing its past traditions and appearances in so far as posssible. What you will notice is that in spite of its beauty it is still only becoming recognized as a wonderful resort.
Tirana has been the capital of Albania since 1925 and has changed completley within the past decade from being a drab rundown place under communist rule to an almost new city buzzing with life and activity both day and night its inhabitants delight to frequent the areas and places which were forbidden to them during the socialist regime s if they were compensating themselves for past losses.
Pristine shores along with clear turquoise seas with innumerous islands are a part of the magic that beckons visitors to Albania. Officially known as the Republic of Albania, this tiny country in the Balkans is bordered by Greece to its southeast, Montenegro to its northwest, the Republic of Macedonia to its east, and Kosovo to its northeast. A majority of the inhabitants of this country, with a population of 3,600,523 (as of July 2007), are Muslims. Albania, which is gradually progressing towards integration with the EU, received an invitation to join NATO in the year 2008.
Albania enjoys a Mediterranean continental climate with winters in the lowlands averaging 7ºC and summers averaging 24ºC. However, there is a variation to these temperatures in the southern lowland with the temperature over there being approximately 5ºC higher. These differences in the temperature are generally due to the differences in elevation. Tirana, the capital and the financial hub of Albania, has a population of approximately 607,467. This country is now receiving lots of foreign investment, especially in transportation infrastructure and in the energy development sectors due to its free market reforms.
Elbasan situated in the south east is now the second largest city in Albania.It is situated on the river Shkumbin and is an industrial city. The Chinese built a steel factory there in 1974. It was a Roman fortress and part of the fortificatioe basement of the town can still be seen. If you descend fifty steps down into the basement of the tower which was built during the Ottoman occupation you will find an excellent restaurant and lounge bar. It became a Christain city in the fifth century and became famous for its tobacco and alcohol later.