Isolated for decades under a dictatorship that was harsh even by Communist standards, Albania opened up in the 1990s and has since been hustling to catch up to the rest of Europe. On a recent visit, many locals complained that their country might be catching up too fast. For travelers that's all the more reason to visit soon, before busloads of tourists convert secret spots into more crowded destinations.
Below are the 10 good reasons you should visit Albania in 2013. If you go, you'll undoubtedly come up with more.
This said, Albania's headlong rush into the future has not been painless. The country remains poorly-equipped for mass tourism: waste treatment is inadequate, the litter problem is severe and some roads are poor. It is a delightful country for travelers, but requires patience