Albania has a mountainous geography. About three-quarters of its territory consists of mountains and hills with elevations of more than 650 feet (200 meters) above sea level; the remainder consists of coastal and alluvial lowlands. The North Albanian Alps, an extension of the Dinaric mountain system, cover the northern part of the country. With elevations approaching 8,900 feet, this is the most rugged part of the country. It is heavily forested and sparsely populated, and most people there make a living at forestry or livestock raising.
In contrast to the Alps, the central mountain region, extending north to south from the Drin River to the central Devoll and lower Osum rivers, is more densely populated and has a generally less rugged terrain. In the region's easternmost portion, the imposing gypsum block of Albania's highest peak, Mount Korab, rises to 9,032 feet (2,753 metres). The region has substantial deposits of such minerals as chromium, iron-nickel, and copper. The principal economic pursuits are forestry, livestock raising, mining, and agriculture.
South of the central mountain region is a series of northwest–southeast-trending mountain ranges, with elevations of up to 8,200 feet. Composed of limestone rock, the ranges are separated by wide valleys. Unlike the Alps and the central region, which are covered with dense forests, the mountains of the southern region are either bare or have a thin covering of Mediterranean shrubs, oaks, and Mediterranean pines. They serve essentially as pasture grounds for livestock.
Stretching along the Adriatic coast over a distance of nearly 125 miles and penetrating some 30 miles into the interior are the low, fertile plains of western Albania. This is the most important agricultural and industrial region of the country—and the most densely populated. The 290 miles of coastline along the Adriatic are well known for their splendid beaches and surrounding landscape, which attract large numbers of foreign and native tourists.