Albania is a small, mountainous country about the same size as Wales or the state of Maryland. It has a coastline on the Mediterranean and its land frontier with Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Greece traverses some of the wildest mountain scenery in Europe. The climate on the coast is typically Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and warm, sunny, and rather dry summers. Inland conditions vary depending on altitude but the higher areas above 1,500 m/5,000 ft are rather cold and frequently snowy in winter; here cold conditions with lying snow may linger into spring. For a Mediterranean country the precipitation is rather heavy; coastlands are quite wet in winter and mountain areas are among the wetter parts of Europe.
Midsummer months are generally sunny but the fine weather can be interrupted by occasional thundery downpours. It is rarely excessively hot on the coast and, although often rather humid, is made quite pleasant by the daily sea breezes. Winter conditions on the coast are generally mild but occasional cold winds from the north and east may bring an unwelcome chill for a few days when the mountains inland are covered with snow. When a warm humid wind - the sirocco - blows from the southwest or south, conditions may feel oppressive. This is particularly the case in autumn when Mediterranean Sea temperatures are at their highest. The sirocco then often precedes wet weather and a return to cooler temperatures. For conditions on the coast see the table for Vlorë.
Inland and in the mountains the annual sequence of weather is similar to that on the coast but the summers are cooler and less humid (see the table for Tirana). During the stormier conditions of autumn and winter, rain may be heavy and cold and snow severe. Everywhere summer and early autumn are the most settled months. Sunshine amounts are quite high, averaging over eleven hours a day in July and four hours a day in January.
© Copyright RM, 2007. All rights reserved. Helicon Publishing is a division of RM.