On the eastern side of the Balkan Peninsula and with a long Adriatic and Ionian coastline, Albania is a small and mountainous country with a population of just 3 million people. Within the last few years, the country has become more accessible to foreign travellers, a fact recognised by Lonely Planet who rated Albania first amongst their list of 'Top Ten' countries for 2011. Almost three-quarters of the country is considered to be mountainous and the potential for adventurous trekking holidays is great. The biggest peaks are in the north, where a southward extension of the Dinaric Alps reaches a high point at the rocky summit of Jezerca (2694m / 8838ft). This area, close to the borders with Montenegro and Kosovo, is known locally as the Albanian Alps and also bears the sinister name 'The Accursed Mountains'. Amongst the high valleys, traditional wooden houses and impressive stone 'lock-in' towers (that sheltered the men-folk in times of blood feud), attest to Albania's fascinating history. Previously a communist state and blighted by economic collapse and social unrest during the last decade of the 20th Century, Albania is slowly emerging from its shell and its generally rudimentary tourist infrastructure is improving.