Albania is defined in an area of 28,748 square kilometres (11,100 square miles) and located on the Balkan Peninsula in South and Southeast Europe. Its coastline faces the Adriatic Sea to the northwest and the Ionian Sea to the southwest along the Mediterranean Sea.
The country of Albania lies mostly between latitudes 42° and 39° N, and longitudes 21° and 19° E. Its northernmost point is Vërmosh at 42° 35′ 34″ northern latitude; the southernmost is Konispol at 39° 40′ 0″ northern latitude; the westernmost point is Sazan at 19° 16′ 50″ eastern longitude; and the easternmost point is Vërnik at 21° 1′ 26″ eastern longitude. The highest point of Albania is Mount Korab at 2,764 metres (9,068.24 ft) above the Adriatic; the lowest point is the Adriatic and Ionian Sea at 0 metres (0.00 ft). The distance from the east to west is only 148 kilometres (92 mi), while from the north to south about 340 kilometres (211 mi).
For a small country, much of Albania rises into mountains and hills that run in different directions across the length and breadth of the country. The most extensive mountain ranges are the Albanian Alps in the north, the Korab Mountains in the east, the Pindus Mountains in the southeast, the Ceraunian Mountains in the southwest and the Skanderbeg Mountains in the center.
Among the most remarkable features about the country is the presence of numerous important lakes. The Lake of Shkodër is the largest lake in Southern Europe and located in northwest. In the southeast rises the Lake of Ohrid that is one of the oldest continuously existing lakes in the world. Farther south extends the Large and Small Lake of Prespa, which are among the highest positioned lakes in the Balkans.
Rivers rise mostly in the east of Albania and discharge into the Adriatic Sea but as well as into the Ionian Sea to a lesser extent. The longest river in the country, measured from its mouth to its source, is the Drin that starts at the confluence of its two headwaters, the Black and White Drin. Though of particular concern is the Vjosë which represents one of the last intact large river systems in Europe.
Albania is characterized by its rich archaeological and cultural heritage dating back to the classical period when Illyrians and Ancient Greeks inhabited the region. Over the course of history, the territory of Albania was occupied and populated by Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans. Notably the country features unspoiled beaches, mountainous landscapes, traditional cuisine, archaeological artifacts, unique traditions, low prices and the wild atmosphere of the countryside.
The country lies in Southeastern Europe bordering Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south. The Mediterranean Sea with the Adriatic and Ionian Sea make up the entire west border of the country. The country’s coastline length is about 481 km (299 mi) composed of both sandy and rocky beaches, bays, caves, cliffs, capes and lagoons. Although the country features notable diversity with the landscape ranging from the snow-capped Albanian Alps, Sharr, Skanderbeg, Korab, Pindus and Ceraunian Mountains to the sunny Albanian Adriatic and Ionian Sea Coasts.
The country has a distinctly Mediterranean climate. Across the country’s territory there is a wide range of microclimates due to differing soil types and topography. The warmest areas of the country are found at the coasts where the climate is profoundly impacted by the sea, while the coldest parts at the northern and eastern hinterlands, where snowy forested climate is prevalent.