Ten Jewels of the Mediterranean

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

Tarifa. By digitalnoise
Tarifa. By digitalnoise
Tarifa, the Spanish city from where Africa can be clearly seen as it is only 13 km (8 mi) away, is one of the most fantastic places on the Mediterranean coast. Thanks to the constantly blowing winds (due to its location at the meeting point of the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean ), the town has become a mecca for windsurfing and kitesurfing addicts. So if you are one of the surfing enthusiasts, do not miss Tarifa while planning your Mediterranean escapade. Of course, Tarifa is also an exceptionally rewarding town for non-surfing folks. It’s ultra easy-going, relaxed and arty with its beautiful old town, white sand beaches and green surroundings.
Playa de los Lances de Tarifa. By Chodaboy
Playa de los Lances de Tarifa. By Chodaboy

2. Aeolian Islands in Italy

Vulcano Island. By HOTC Media
Vulcano Island. By HOTC Media

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?

Lipari. By iMat77
Lipari. By iMat77

3. Malta

 Blue Lagoon Comino, Malta. By eurodrifter
Blue Lagoon Comino, Malta. By eurodrifter

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.

By El Ojo Inoportuno
By El Ojo Inoportuno

4. Cassis in France

Port Cassis in France. By Guillermo Fdez
Port Cassis in France. By Guillermo Fdez

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.

Cassis. By Teorem
Cassis. By Teorem

5. Dubrovnik in Croatia.

Dubrovnik. By darkmatter
Dubrovnik. By darkmatter

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.

Dubrownik. By retro traveler
Dubrownik. By retro traveler

6. Hydra in Greece

Hydra. By country boy shane
Hydra. By country boy shane

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.

Hydra. By Giorgos
Hydra. By Giorgos

7. Tossa de Mar in Spain

The Beach at Tossa de Mar. By neillalderney123
The Beach at Tossa de Mar. By neillalderney123

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.

Tossa de Mar's village. By monkeyleader
Tossa de Mar’s village. By monkeyleader

8. Corsica in France

Corsika, Palombaggia. By sramses177
Corsika, Palombaggia. By sramses177

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.

Corsica's mountains. By bass nroll
Corsica’s mountains. By bass nroll

9. Portofino in Italy

Portofino. By owlhere
Portofino. By owlhere

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.

Town's beach. By sgirolimetto
Town’s beach. By sgirolimetto

10. Tetouan in Morocco

By Viktor Kaposi
By Viktor Kaposi

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.

Mediterranean coast of Morocco. By mudmucks
Mediterranean coast of Morocco. By mudmucks


Comments

  1. By the way almost each city and village by the mediterranean mentioned by everybody is an ancient greek town and the city plans as they are today and the castles venetian,like every city on the coast of tourkey,dubrovnik (ragousa),st tropez (tropida) and many more.

  2. I travelled to almost all places,beaches,cities in the mediterranean.so i found that:
    1)the best beaches ate in greece,sardinia,corsica by far.
    2)the scenery is everywhere perfect,depends on someones taste.
    3)best islands in greece then croatia
    4)cities:dubrovnik,bonifaccio,santorini,molyvos,chania,rodos,kotor and many many more.
    Fyrom not on the coast,tourkey and montenegro destroyed most of the coast line.egypt by the red sea.

  3. Well you shoulnd’t miss these while you are in Rome. It’s a pity.- The Palatine Hill great view of Rome at ssunet- Fontana di Trevi throw the coin over the left shoulder and you will come back here- The Spanish Stairs great view at night- Piazza Navona- St.Peters church in the Vatican- Forum Romanum- The Pantheon- Altare Della PatriaFind more information about prices, phone numbers, addresses and open hours here :

  4. Croatia cerainly the best in Europe. “Old” destinations in Spain, France or Italy do not even compare. How can you beat 6 200 km of pristine coastline?

  5. LOL, you listed Corsica and Malta, you mentioned spain twice. Also a very touristy, artificial and common place as portofino in italy, and you didn’t mention at all Sardinia, with it’s coral reef, white and pink sand beaches and amazingly crystal clear water, beautiful flamingos all around, wonderful coast towns as Bosa, Alghero, Castelsardo or Cagliari (with one of the longest city beaches of the planet!) that would easily beat many of your selections. And Sardinia is so central and pretty large with 99 % of tropical style white sand beaches and emerald crystal clear waters that it’s impossible to forget about it…. not to talk about mountains, food, traditions and archeology, who wrote this article probably just randomly googled for some touristy places and randomly picked up a few ones without actually knowing the mediterranean geography and its true gems.

  6. Dalmatia (southern Croatia ) has more natural beauty condensed into one coastline – than rest of the entire Mediterranean combined. Travel the entire ocean and you will see!

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