The history of Albania is complex and fascinating. Originally a Christian country, 500 years of occupation by the Ottoman Empire persuaded a majority of Albanians to become Muslims. Mosques and Islamic architecture ruled the day. Ottoman occupation ended in 1912 and Albania enjoyed a brief period of independence prior to WWI. After the war, the Italians occupied Albania but independence was finally established in 1920. The Italians however continued to meddle in Albanian sovereignty off and on through World War II, ultimately leaving behind cultural and culinary ties. From 1944 to 1985 the country was ruled by Communist leader Enver Hoxha who kept the country squarely independent of influence from others. Soon after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Albania began to open up to the rest of the world. Tourism however, has barely taken hold, making this a pioneering trip into a corner of Europe few know.
Our creative itinerary is a wonderful mix of walks, paddles and explorations. Along our way we meet with various local leaders who join us as special guests to enrich our understanding and appreciation for this part of the world.