ABOUT Albania, long Europe's most remote country, has become a volatile state whose prospects for peace and stability seem to change from day to day. Tirana, the capital, has periodically been under siege by mobs who have attacked government buildings and looted stores. The situation has been made worse by the influx of refugees from Kosovo and Macedonia, whose populations include many ethnic Albanians. Sadly, until these conditions are resolved, we advise against travel to Albania. Despite its troubles, though, Albania has always had at least one great asset -- its natural beauty. The scenery along the southern coast is breathtaking, as are the jagged mountains in the interior. While a trip to Albania isn't for everyone (even under the best conditions), adventurous travelers will find it to be an exciting and rewarding destination -- once conditions there have stabilized.

CLIMATE Albania has mild winters averaging about 7 °C (45 °F). Summer temperatures average 32 °C (90 °F), humidity is low. In the southern lowlands, temperatures average about 5 °C (41 °F) in the winter and 30 °C (86 °F) during the summer.

BEWARE Over 80,000 British nationals visit Albania every year. Most visits are trouble-free. From December to February severe weather may cause flooding, particularly in northern Albania. Heavy snowfall in mountainous areas can lead to disruption to transport and services. Public security is generally good, particularly in Tirana. Crime and violence does occur in some areas, but is not typically targeted at foreigners. Gun ownership is widespread. See Crime. When visiting hill towns on the northern border with Kosovo, you should exercise caution and heed warning signs about unexploded landmines and other unexploded ordnance. See Landmines. There is an underlying threat from terrorism. See Terrorism. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance