Traveling around the Mediterranean is an exciting experience, wherever you end up. Nowhere else in the world boasts such a grand and varied collection of stunning destinations, in such a (relatively) small, accessible location. From high culture and ancient history to stunning natural beauty and adrenaline-packed experiences, the Mediterranean has it all.
While in an ideal world you could visit every single corner of this beautiful part of the world, few of us have that luxury. There are, however, one or two places in the Mediterranean that you just can’t miss. From amazing Mediterranean islands to wonders of the ancient world, the coast that borders the Mediterranean Sea offers unrivaled adventures and exquisite beauty everywhere you turn.
So if you are planning to pack your bags and head for Europe this year, next year, or any time in the future, here are a few of the bucket list Mediterranean places you need to visit.
1. Cinque Terre, Italy
Five unbelievably gorgeous, pastel-colored traditional fishing villages cling to the side of cliffs on the Italian Riviera, forming Cinque Terre, one of the most picturesque spots in this effortlessly photogenic country. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these centuries-old settlements are linked by a charming 19th century train line, which winds its way along the cliff tops and through lush vineyards. It is hard to imagine a more blissful place to visit.
2. Les Calanques, France
The 16 miles between Marseille and Cassis on France’s gorgeous Mediterranean coastline are home to the Massif des Calanques, a wild and rugged national park highlighted by the peak of Mont Puget. These calanques or coves form a jagged, rocky series of picture-perfect bays housing tiny, pristine beaches, most of which are only accessible by foot or by sea. While the journey to Les Calanques can be tough, the stunning natural beauty of the area more than makes up for the effort.
3. Santorini, Greece
For many people, Santorini is the quintessential image of the Greek islands. Rocky and mountainous, with whitewashed villages perched atop sheer cliffs plunging down to crystal-clear aquamarine water, it is a truly eye-catching vista. The stark beauty of the white and blue houses that stand out from the landscape is what captivates most visitors to the island, but it is also a wonderful place to try traditional Greek cuisine, as well as learn the fascinating history of Ancient Greece.
4. Olympos Beach, Turkey
Olympos Beach is off the beaten track, tucked away on Turkey’s Anatolian coast, near the ancient city of Olympos and the more modern metropolis of Antalya. But its off-the-radar status makes it more, not less worthy of inclusion on any bucket list! A beautiful pebble beach with mirror-clear water, you can swim overlooked by relics of ancient times, in peace, quiet, and almost total seclusion. Even more excitingly, Olympos Beach is the nesting site of the rare Caretta Caretta sea turtles, who lay their eggs on the beach and can often be spotted swimming in the shallow waters.
5. Ibiza, Spain
Ibiza is one of Europe’s most versatile and fantastic destinations, a world-famous party destination that also boasts UNESCO World Heritage sites, high culture, and magnificent cuisine. It is a wonderful place to visit for almost any style of traveler, whether you want to party until the sun comes up at Cafe del Mar, explore the Renaissance walls of the Old Town and the Phoenician settlement at Sa Caleta, or relax on the beautiful beaches of Formentera. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste paella de mariscos, cheese-filled flaó pockets, or the rich, delicious sofrito pagés stew!