In Europe, 76 destinations off the beaten path
Looking beyond Rome, Paris or London? Consider Europe's lesser-known destinations, such as Monschau, Germany, a town so quaint you can hardly believe it isn't a theme park or San Marino, one of Europe's oldest and smallest countries (drive through it slowly).
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Albania( Hektor Pustina / Associated Press )
Albania, in the southeastern corner of Europe, was settled by the Illyrians, ancestors of present-day Albanians, in Paleolithic times. Situated where it is and surrounded by powerful, warring empires, Albania has seen a lot of violence throughout its history. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans swept through, leaving their mark and their ruins.
For decades, the country's archaeological treasures were virtually lost to the world. Communists took over in 1944, and dictator Enver Hoxha's iron grip kept the country isolated until the end of communism in the early 1990s.
-- Rose Dosti
Read more: Albania: A rich Balkan resource of Roman, Greek and Byzantine culture
Pictured: Vlora, Albania.