A 200-mile length of sandy coastline stretching from the Ionian Sea to the Adriatic could hardly seem more appealing, until one considers the Mediterranean climate of this particularly privileged region of Albania. Named by Lonely Planet as the #1 country to visit in 2011, Albania has officially become a must-visit vacation destination.
The port city of Durres is the oldest city in Albania. Colonized hundreds of years before the time of Christ, the city's historical sites include Roman thermal baths, a Byzantine forum, city walls built in the Middle Ages, and a second-century amphitheatre with 15,000 seats. Today, beaches and warm waters make Durres a summer hotspot for locals and visitors alike.
Farther inland on the banks of the Osum river, the town of Berat offers a different landscape. The rocky hills surrounding the town are the setting for Berat Castle, a fortress dating mainly from the 13th century. A number of centuries-old churches here bear notable murals, including some painted by post-medieval Albanian painter, Onufri. Several mosques in the town display intricate decorations and interesting architecture as well.
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