Albania is a republic in south-east Europe. It borders on Montenegro to the north, Serbia and Kosovo to the north-east, the Republic of Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south. It has a coast on the Adriatic sea to the west and on the Ionian sea to the south-west. Its capital and largest city is Tirana.
It is a very mountainous state, largely above 1,000 metres. Low land occupies just 1/7 of the country and is to be found along the coast and in some very narrow valleys. The Adriatic coast is very uneven, with gulfs and capes. The coastal areas enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with average annual temperatures of about 16ºC. Inland, however, the climate is continental, with annual averages of 10ºC and sharp changes of temperature during the year. In some mountainous areas, rainfall is in excess of 2,000 mm.
Mediterranean vegetation with maquis shrubland and conifers is to be found along the coastal strip while the interior landscape is mostly conifers and deciduous forests.
According to WWF, Albania’s territory can be divided into four eco-regions:
- Dinaric Alpine mixed forests in the far north
- Balcanic mixed forests in the north-east
- Pindus mountain mixed forests on the central and south-east mountains
- Illyrian deciduous forests in the rest of the country
The coastal area is approximately 450 km. long and is located between the Adriatic and Ionic seas.
The main rivers are the Drin, Devoll and Shkumbin. In the south-east are the Tectonic lakes called Ohrid and Prespa, and to the north, near the Mediterranean coast, is the Shkodër lake.