How to find the best section of the Mediterranean coastline that extends for 46,000 kilometres (28,600 mi), winds through 21 countries and is bounded by three continents – Europe, Africa and Asia? From hundreds of amazing spots we selected ten jewels of the Mediterranean that are particularly rewarding, beautiful and special.
Be it perfect surfing conditions, superb food, rich culture or Europe’s most famous mountain tracks, these destinations, besides being ideal beach getaways, have something for every type of traveler.
1. Tarifa in Spain
2. Aeolian Islands in Italy
We have selected the Aeolian Islands as one of our favorite Mediterranean locations due to their exceptional beauty. Located not far from Sicily, the archipelago is composed of eight volcanic islands, whose jaw-dropping vistas have power to amaze the most skeptical traveler. Surrounded by crystal azure waters, the mountainous green islands are home to ancient old towns with narrow streets, Mediterranean-style houses and superb restaurants, offering the freshest of fresh sea food. What else does one need for perfect beach-oriented holidays?
According to Lonely Planet Malta is “a microcosm of the Mediterranean”, and we fully agree with that statement. In other words, you will not miss anything of the Mediterranean package by visiting only this one little country. Covering the area of 300 km², located centrally in the Sea, Malta is a mix of European, North African and Arabic influences, which makes it such a diverse, fascinating and unique place. Malta is a specially rewarding destination for history enthusiasts as it packs amazing architecture of Norman, Gothic, Renaissance or Baroque periods, amazing ancient buildings dating back as far as 6,000 years ago and wide selection of museums from archaeology to modern history.
4. Cassis in France
For those who love the French style of vacationing, Cassis is the place that will not disappoint the most fastidious Francophile. Situated near Marseille in southern France, the charming town of Cassis is famed for its spectacular cliffs, numerous inlets with hidden beaches and wine. Apparently, the town was the first of three French vineyards to profit from the appellation d’origine contrôlée (label of controlled origin) introduced in the 1930s. Today, renowned white wine from Cassis is a symbol of the region and iconic tipple of France.
5. Dubrovnik in Croatia.
Dubrovnik, in southern Croatia, is an absolutely unique place on the Mediterranean coast. For many it is a number one destination that beats its Mediterranean competitors with spectacular location, stunning old town filled with ancient architecture and fantastic coast. In the Middle Ages, Dubrovnik, an important port and trade center, was the only city that could rival Italian Venice. No wonder, today the city, being on a par with the most popular Mediterranean destinations, attracts a staggering 0.5 million tourists a year.
6. Hydra in Greece
The reason why we love Hydra (besides the obvious) is the fact that the cars and motorbikes are not allowed by law on the islands. How wonderful is that? With donkeys, bicycles, and water taxis providing public transportation, Hydra is truly a special place among the country’s islands, making you feel the traditional Greek spirit. Add to it the outstanding Hydra’s coast filled with little harbors, pretty buildings, crystal waters and an array of fine restaurants, and you might have enough reasons to make it your next Mediterranean destination.
7. Tossa de Mar in Spain
Tossa de Mar is a perfect getaway, especially for those who want to ease overloaded senses after visiting Barcelona. Located not very far (100 km) from the famed capital of Catalonia, on the Costa Brava, Tossa de Mar lures visitors with picturesque beaches, a charming and quiet old town and a beautiful medieval castle towering above the beaches. Over a glass of fine wine in one of the town’s little bars, the town seems to be even more attractive.
8. Corsica in France
If you think Corsica is just another Mediterranean island, you are obviously wrong. Besides its golden beaches and turquoise waters (as if it wasn’t enough), Corsica is home to the toughest long distance trail in Europe – the legendary GR 20 that can be walked in 15 days. In fact, mountains cover two-thirds of this French island, located not far from Sardinia. With over 20 summits of more than 2,000 meters (6,600 ft), Corsica is a paradise for hiking lovers. In addition, the island’s coastline that winds around 1,000 km is a fantastic destination for beach-goers.
9. Portofino in Italy
If we had to describe Portofino in one word, it would be “fairy tale”. Once a small Italian fishing village located on the Italian Riviera, today the town has become a famed resort, considered the most beautiful port on the Mediterranean coast. No wonder, Portofino has a few replicas in the world – it inspired a re-creation of the sea side town at Tokyo DisneySea, is copied in authentic detail at Universal Orlando Resort in USA as well as in the Gulf Harbour marina in New Zealand. With its charming architecture, magical location and multitude of café terraces, Portofino is a quintessence of Italian and Mediterranean lifestyle.
10. Tetouan in Morocco
The richness of the African part of the Mediterranean coast could make another post, but here we present one of the most remarkable destinations surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea – Moroccan Tetouan. In comparison to the European side of the sea, the coast in Morocco remains virgin unspoiled and undeveloped. Tetouan, meaning “the eyes” in the Berber language, is one of the two major Moroccan ports on the coast, being, at the same time, a beautiful resort with the old town listed on the World Heritage List, filled with charming traditional white buildings. Tetouan is truly a unique and slightly exotic side of the Mediterranean coast.