When I told people I was going to Albania, the common response was, "Really? What for?" Totally understandable; Albania doesn't get nearly as much love and attention from the hoi polloi as its more popular neighbors. 

But now I can say that Albania is one of the most stunning and interesting places I have ever traveled. The beautiful beaches with crystal clear water and the delicious fresh food that costs next to nothing completely ruined me - why vacation anywhere else?? The friendly people and pristine landscapes completed the package. A major highlight for me was the night sky that swept over the sea and mountain range with a bazillion stars. 

Our travels through Albania included the beach towns of Saranda and Dhermi and the posh capital Tirana. While we felt safe and cared for the entire time, it definitely helped that there were several people in our group native to Albania and fluent in the language. I left a piece of my heart in this amazing place.