Valbona, Albania
Albania, which sits on the Adriatic coast of the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe, is slightly larger than Massachusetts. “The country is very small, but it’s very diverse,” says Auron Tare, founder of Our Own Expeditions, an Albanian-based tour agency. “You can travel in an hour and be in a completely different landscape.”

But Tare’s larger point is this: this little nation packs an unexpectedly large punch. Between the Albanian Alps of the north, the vast coastlines in the west and the more rugged countryside of the interior, it’s easy to get your fill of sceneries without travelling all that far.

Tare has been involved in Albanian tourism since the industry was in its infancy—he even helped establish the nation’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site—and his company has been guiding expeditions for 22 years now. In 2014 Tare was elected to head up Albania’s National Coastal Agency, and his wife Nancy took control of the operation, continuing the company’s mission to showcase the country’s diversity through its authentic, one-of-a-kind experiences.

Our Own Expedition’s tours embody Albania’s spirit of variety perfectly, hosting excursions to historical landmarks, natural wonders and cultural destinations throughout the region as a whole. The company’s site currently lists more than 20 available tour options, but picked five favourites:

1. Lord Byron Horseback Tour
2. Via Egnatia
3. Northern Albania
4. Butrint National Park
5. Communist-Themed Tour

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