Guest Post by Andrew Larson
When you think of the best places to visit in the Mediterranean, what immediately comes to mind? You probably picture crystal clear waters, sandy beaches and delicious al fresco dining. With a multitude of different countries, cultures, and terrains, the Mediterranean has all of this, and more. Whether you want pumping nightlife, a secluded getaway, or a family-friendly beach vacation, there is guaranteed to be a destination you’ll enjoy!
If you’re looking to take a Mediterranean vacation, take a look at our top 7 picks:
7. Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece
The waters surrounding this beach are of the clearest, brightest blue. They make the jutting cliffs and peaks look like a surrealist painting, though they are very real. If you’re into extreme sports, this is a popular destination for base-jumping! Getting here isn’t the easiest, as you have to take a boat, but a day in the sun and surf makes for an unforgettable holiday. However, because it is one of the most popular beaches in the world, you might want to get there early, or choose a day in the off-season for fewer crowds.
6. Cadiz, Spain
One of the oldest cities in all of Europe, Cadiz is nearly surrounded by water, though still connected to the Andalusian mainland. With ancient plazas and very narrow, rambling alleyways, it’s easy to get lost in this old port city. However, getting lost is all part of the charm. Most travelers recount stumbling across a hidden café or entrance to the coast as their favorite part of the trip. If you do decide to go to Cadiz, be sure to get some snaps of the pastel colored buildings that are iconic of its architecture.
5. Manarola, Italy
The ancient town of Manarola features some of the most picturesque views in the Mediterranean. Situated in Northern Italy, this town is best in the summer or late spring. Autumn and winter months tend to be quite cold due to sea breezes. However, at all times of the year you can view the stunning architecture. The feature that puts this city on our list is the collection of colorful historic buildings built into the cliffs. Viewing these ascending homes and businesses is a breathtaking sight that can only truly be appreciated in person.
4. Venice, Italy
You may think of Venice as being quite touristy, and you’d be right. However, there is a very good reason for that. Venice, the city of canals, has earned a place in the hearts of travelers due to its photogenic beauty and romantic nature. Unlike other hotspots, Venice has been a famous and popular destination for centuries. For fantastic wine, food, and views, you can’t go wrong. If you can, visit during Mardi Gras for one of the best celebrations this side of New Orleans!
3. Provence, France
Provence is actually a large region, comprising many smaller towns. One of the best ways to take in the stunning beauty of this region is by car. Land travel is truly the only way to appreciate the incredible landscapes that inspired Vincent van Gogh and Cezanne, among others. In the summer months, the vast fields of lavender fill the landscape with gorgeous purple hues and fill the air with their intoxicating fragrance. This is one spot not to miss if you love picnics featuring fresh olives and great wine.
2. Dubrovnik, Croatia
On the eastern end of the Mediterranean, Croatia is often overlooked in favor of more popular countries like Italy, Greece and Spain. But in recent years, Dubrovnik and other cities along the Dalmatian coast have been gaining prominence. This city is not only rich in history and culture, but features some fantastic beaches. Croatia and the neighboring countries are also cheaper vacation spots than their EU neighbors, so crowds have begun to flock. There are a great deal of new resorts and public beaches, as well as more secluded spots that are easy to locate.
1. Santorini, Greece
There is a reason for the popularity of this Mediterranean city. You won’t find a single bad angle on the island! From the cliffs high above the sea to the white sandy beaches below, everything is truly divine. The authentic whitewashed buildings and year-long mild weather are just perks. For incredible food, friendly people, and some of the best views and most breathtaking sunsets on earth, Santorini is top of the list.
This post was written by Andrew Larson, a semi-retired software engineer turned globetrotter and full-time travel enthusiast who now runs Wanderlust 15.