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Looking for advice re: trip to Southern Italy, ending in Albania

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My husband and I have been planning to go to Italy the second half of May, to celebrate his retirement. We’ve seen a lot of Italy from Rome northward, so would like to focus on the southern part. I know we want to go to Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, and Herculaneum, but are open beyond that. We’re considering going to Sicily, and are looking for suggestions of what to see and do there and as well as en route.

Recently I received an invitation to do a two-week consulting assignment in Albania the beginning of June. So I will go from Italy to Albania. Husband seems interested in doing that too (and then would fly home shortly after I begin my work).

So in addition to seeking advice about what to do and see in Italy, I would appreciate information about the best way to get across the Adriatic and end up in Albania. We would be interested in spending some time of the east side of the Adriatic. (In all, we’ll have about 16 days for this and Italy before I need to start working.) I’ve been interested in Croatia and Montenegro, but Croatia may be too far north, given that we’d be coming from southern Italy (though I suppose we could fly into the southern-most part of what we’ll visit in Italy and then work our way north before crossing the Adriatic). Going to Corfu and then north to Albania is another possibility.

I’d also appreciate suggestions of what there is to see and do in Albania, since I’ll be there for two weeks – working most of the time, but presumably will have some time for sightseeing during the week and weekends free for it.

We enjoy history, museums, culture, walking and hiking, easy bike rides (if in safe conditions), flora and fauna, and good (but not expensive) food.

I’m looking forward to receiving some ideas that will help me focus my further research (e.g., of postings on this site). Also, I hope to get plane tickets soon (I’ll be trying to get husband’s with soon-to-expire Lufthansa miles), so I need to at least decide on where we’re flying into soon.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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