Emerging in the early 90s from nearly 50 years of isolationist Communist rule, this wild and picturesque land still feels suspended in time. Although gaining popularity with European travelers, it remains largely untouched by mass-tourism. You'll find all the natural enticements of its popular neighbors—Croatia to the north and Greece to the south—without the disadvantages of being a "destination." Albania's Ionian coastline offers long stretches of white-sand beaches, clear waters, and charming Mediterranean villages. Inland, unspoiled forests, lakes, valleys, and rugged mountains harbor historic towns and traces of cultures long past. The country's pristine beauty and old-style hospitality easily make up for its occasional lack of up-to-the-minute conveniences.