Ten must-visit regions of the Mediterranean



The Mediterranean coastline stretches for some 46,000 kilometres and this one expanse of tourist paradise stretches across three continents and is frequented by millions of visitors each year and all of this with good reason too. The sun kissed beaches and still waters make it a terrific beach destination, but that would discount its other strengths too. The Mediterranean is home to one of the most culturally and geographically diverse regions of the world with everything from mountainous terrain to superb redolent cafes trying to lure you in. It’s a mix of the historical and the holiday-maker’s haven, and you can make whatever you want of it. While there’s plenty where this came from, here we mention ten locales in the Mediterranean that offer up something unique for the everyman.

Tarifa, Spain

Lashed by both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, Tarifa is an eternally windy city from where you can see Africa as it’s a mere 13 km away and the constant winds mean that Tarifa is a windurfing and kite-surfing paradise. Even at the busiest of times, Tarifa is an exceptionally laid back city that has an old-world, even arty feel to it and with white sands and the twin seas sprawled out before you, how could you not be relaxed? The town center itself is lined with cobbled streets and is a medley of flowers of myriad colors set against houses as white as the first snow. The surf crowd love this city, and around them a vibrant leisure scene has sprung, with new bars and restaurants popping up every so often and while the breeze might ruffle your feathers as you lie down on the beach, take in the casual insouciance of it all and just let it be while you go with the flow.

Tarifa Spain

Aeolian Islands, Italy

Take care that your eyes don’t pop when you first set them on the Aeolian Islands, for the hues of the Cobalt waters would be enough to make you disbelieve such a shade exists on the color palette of the gods. As islands go, these islands don’t offer a whole lot more than adjacent islands, one of which is Siciliy, but what is does offer is a rare and stunning beauty that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. This little archipelago of eight islands is stunning enough to overpower anyone that doubts the tales of its loveliness and it is not as much one particular thing as it is a combination of its spectacularly azure waters, mountainous heights and antiquated charm that disarms you. It’s the zenith of beautiful islands and natural beauty, but it is fast gaining worldwide fame so be warned of throngs of tourists on your next visit there.

Aeolian Islands

Malta

Malta is a melting pot of the Mediterranean, a ‘Best of the Mediterranean’ video compilation compiled by a divine hand. Listen closely to the intonations and texture of the local language, and it will reveal to you its North African and Arabic roots. Peruse its cuisine, and you will notice that it is decidedly Sicilian in its ways. That’s Malta for you, a tightly packed little ball of history and cultures wound around beaches that draw tourists back repeatedly. If you’re on a tight schedule and want to pick out the one place in the Mediterranean where you can experience it all, pick Malta. It’s located at the crossroads of the European, North African and Arabic influences and all of those melts into one amazing experience covering 300 square kilometres. This can be seen in its architecture as well, a mix of Norman, Gothic, Renaissance or Baroque styles all in one place dating back millennia. But despite all of the overbearing characteristics it has acquired over the years, it has made all of them its own and has a flavor distinctly unique and this could only have been born from multiculturalism.

Malta

Cassis, France

Cassis is your classic French town and in the time honored fashion of all things French it is a town famous for its wines, its little inlets and beaches hidden away from plain sight and waiting for you to discover it and stunning cliff faces staring down anyone that dares set sight on it. A small fishing port, Cassis has a very interesting history was rebuilt from a set of old ruins in the 18th century and this is why when you wander the streets of Cassis you will find some buildings with a very dated style standing next to a more pompous building outfitted in rich pastel colors that offer a stark contrast. The harbor area is where the beauty of the area really is at, an old chateau framing the scene but it is unfortunately privately owned and shut to the public, and adjacent to it are some open-air artist markets where you can sample some local art. But the one thing the area is most renowned for is its white wine that has gained iconic status within France. This is one time no one will complain about your incessant wining.

Cassis France

Dubrovnik, Croatia

When Lord Byron tells you that a given place is ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’, you sit up and take notice. And even though he was a poet and given to exaggeration, he was most certainly not building any castles in the sky this one time. Located in Southern Croatia, Dubrovnik is a gem in the crown of the Mediterranean with its streets lined with marbles and baroque buildings that make this seem like a place from an entirely different time. Dubrovnik’s artistic inclinations shine through in the little things about the city, such as Plaza lined with stunning monuments or the awe-inspiring coastline that beggar’s belief. So does it surprise you to hear that the only city that rivaled it in the Middle Ages for importance (as a trade center and for beauty) was Venice? It’s resplendence continues to draw in tourists week after week, year after year, long after Lord Byron’s passing away. When even his words fail to fully describe something, you know it has to be special.

Dubrovnik Croatia

Hydra, Greece

Ignore the fact that it’s named after a many-headed Serpent and that it seems a bit scary and you will be well-served when you get there. There is of the course the fact that the island is free of any form motorized vehicles because these have been outlawed, and so this is what they mean when they say you ought to escape from the life of the city slicker. And so you have Donkeys and cycles to contend with as you navigate the islands while soaking in the esprit de corps of what makes Greece what it is. Add to the mix the usual Mediterranean fare of crystal-clear waters, fine dining and spectacular vistas and the reasons to make this your next Mediterranean destination makes sense. The harbor is like a layer cake of picturesque beauty and like all commercialized tourist areas this too has high prices and shady people to contend with. But when you think it all gets too much to bear, just take a look around you and you’ll know it was all worth it.

Hydra Greece

Tossa de Mar, Spain

When Barcelona gets to be too much to contend with (or if the city isn’t your type for whatever reason), run away to the Costa Brava where Tossa de Mar awaits you. Just 100 kilometres away from Barcelona as the bird flies, Tossa de Mar’s quaintness, water sports and scenic beaches are enough to ensnare even the most hard-hearted among us. Sample a glass of wine while savoring the town’s delights and everything just comes to life all by itself. Almost as if it’s a silent sentinel, a gorgeous castle peers down from the heights and keeps a close watch on beach-goers. The cobble streets and verdant beauty of the valleys breathes life into a busting beachside resort that is loved by families and love-struck couples equally. And when you tire of the beaches and the bars, check out the gorges and natural springs. It’s the perfect escape from a harsh reality, and the fact that it’s easily accessible makes it doubly appealing.

Tossa de Mar

Corsica, France

If the thought somehow entered your head that Corsica is yet another island that is pretty and shimmers somewhere in the Mediterranean, knock that silly thought out of your head. Of course, it has a beach gilded with the finest fold and waters more blue than BB King but in addition to that you know what Corsica is famous for? The most arduous long distance trail in all of Europe, the strenuous GR 2o that can be traversed in a mere 15 days. Don’t go expecting a fun time if you and up on this island (although that can be had too) because 2/3rds of this French isle is mountainous region dotted with chestnut and pine forests and a haven for those that like to take a good hike. And if that doesn’t get you going, have a go at the stunning coastline stretching out for a 1,000 kilometres and you just can’t go wrong. Wine connoisseurs will appreciate the fact that there are some world-class vineries on the island, and it all helps you indulge in a bout of hedonism should you so desire. The spring and autumn is a good time to go for the multi-hued and scented months let you experience Corsica at its finest, as the Île de beauté (island of beauty).

Corsica France

Portofino, Italy

If you plan to enter Portofino by road, we’d strongly urge you to reconsider. This one-time small fishing town dotting the Italian Riviera, this resort famed for its beauty offers spectacular views of the little houses peeking out of the shoreline and that alone makes a seafaring entry all the more worth it. Portofino is a city unlike any other (unless you consider the replicas it has spawned in Tokyo, Orlando and New Zealand), and its like a town took a leap out of the pages of a fairy tale and decided to set up home here. It is your archetypal Mediterranean lifestyle complete with winding rows, odd house, beautiful scenery and little oddities you wouldn’t get elsewhere. Perhaps it is this quirkiness that has drawn loads of writers and Hollywood stars here over the years and it is sad to see designer boutiques and cafes pop up all over the place, but there is enough of the old beauty left to still mesmerize anyone with a heart.

Portofino Italy

Tetouan in Morocco

There is an indescribable richness to the tapestry of life in this part of Mediterranean that is hard to pin down, but perhaps it has a lot to do with the heritage. Or maybe it has to do entirely with the fact that this is a world apart from other Mediterranean coastal cities in that it is still virginal and holding a lot of its original pristine beauty. Tetouan’s dichotomy shines through further still when you notice that it is equal parts buzzing port city and old-time resort (it is on the World Heritage List) complete with the stark white buildings so common in the Mediterranean. For a period exceeding forty years it was the capital of the Spanish Protectorate and as a consequence it has a unique Hispano-Moorish style that sets it apart from even Morocco. It is seen best in the way the Medina is set against the Spanish style buildings, and it is perfect amalgam of two worlds and better still, it loses out on neither flavor.

Tetouan in Morocco

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