Dynamic landscapes against the blue sea, picturesque villages full of charismatic traditions, and delectable local dishes that you’ll dream about – in Greece, Spain or Croatia, Mediterranean islands are many travellers’ go-to spots for a relaxing vacation.
Come with us as we take you through these 10 unmissable Mediterranean islands, introducing both the popular attractions and off-the-beaten destinations that you’ll dream about after you’ve gone home.
Make a Splash and Chill on Beaches on Naxos
Don’t stop at Naxos’ beautiful beaches and is a top location for exciting water sports. Wild landscapes and rich history lie in the picturesque villages and scenic trails of the largest island of the Cyclades.
If you’re a hiking and photography enthusiast, Zeus Mountain and Mount Fanari offer memorable adventures and breathtaking views. You can also cycle on the many cycle trails on the island, exploring ancient temples, fortresses, churches, and more on the scenic route.
Naxos is also home to many villages and sites that stand unchanged by time. Explore Aperathos, a charming village nestled in the mountains, and learn about its past in one (or all) of the 5 museums there. Visit Apano Kastro (Upper Castle), the remains of a castle with a breathtaking view. As you walk through its stone archway, you’ll be transformed into another time and place.
Experience the Local Culture on Korčula Island
Turquoise waves lap the shores of Korčula and you can spend all day basking in the warm sun on its pristine beaches, like all Mediterranean islands you may think. To have a more authentic experience of this charming Adriatic island, head to the town centre for a dose of its rich culture. If you visit during the summer months, there are plenty of events that will keep you busy. In June, you can celebrate Half New Year’s Eve on the streets along with the locals in a traditional carnival. This weeklong celebration is held on the streets of Korčula, so pick up a mask to party with the locals in the masquerade and enjoy street performances.
You also can’t miss Moreška, the traditional sword dance and drama that has been around since the 12th century. The main towns of Korčula even hold mini summer festivals that feature folklore evenings, music, art exhibitions and more, all waiting for you to discover.
Hunt for Souvenirs in Colourful Souks of Djerba
Off the coast of Tunisia, Djerba is home to pristine beaches and the warm Mediterranean sun, making it a tourist hotspot. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover colourful market stalls, Muzzin songs, and the scent of Jasmine flowers in the air.
Take a stroll in the Houmt Souk Old Town, where white-washed houses with bright turquoise doors and windows stand side by side. You’ll be dazzled by the displays of ceramics with geometric designs, colourful Berber jewellery, elaborately designed textiles, and more.
You can also visit Guellala, where hundreds of local potters live and craft stunning ceramics in both traditional and modern styles. Uncover the past and local traditions in the Guellala Museum, a majestic white building with geometric designs dotting its façade.
As you find your way to the heart of the island, you’ll find the picturesque village of Erriadh. Here you can take a stroll in Djerbahood and admire over 200 pieces of street art around the neighbourhood.
Dive into the Blue Waters and Rich History of Malta
With stunning diving sites, ancient temples, and a gorgeous architectural style, it’s not hard to see why Malta is called the gem of the Mediterranean. Often named a diver’s paradise, there are lots to see in the crystal-clear waters of Malta. You can swim through the ancient ruins of Ġebel ġol-Baħar, explore wrecks of Tugboat Rozi and Patrol Boat P29, and see the sun lighting up the turquoise waters of the Ghar Lapsi Cave.
Take a stroll in the capital city Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage site and admire the traditional closed wooden balconies in vibrant colours. For a dose of history, visit the Megalithic Temples of Malta, the oldest freestanding structure in the world. For a more modern site, enter the Grandmasters Palace in Valletta, where you’ll admire countless rooms with spectacular décor as well as weapons from the age of the Knights of Malta.
Hike the Scenic Hills and Take a Dive on Gozo
Just a 25-minute ferry ride from Malta, Gozo is another of these Mediterranean islands, you don’t want to miss. Discover underwater wonders as you swim past colourful species at the Blue Hole and Anchor Reef, or explore wrecks of patrol ships and the crystal-clear waters of countless stunning caves.On land, you’ll get spectacular views after a long and rewarding hike. Hike through the idyllic Maltese countryside to see Gebel Ben Gorg Cliffs against the Azure of the sea, a truly awe-inspiring view. Hike from the coastal town of Xlendi to Ta’ Cenc Cliffs, and you’ll be rewarded with the breathtaking view of the coastline and even some fresh seafood if you stop at Xlendi for a meal.
Go on an Adventure in the Magnificent Nature of Corsica
Famed for its breathtaking beauty, Corsica is located in the waters between Italy and France and invites you to visit and unwind. The endless shoreline and its pristine waters and beaches make Corsica heaven for adrenaline seekers. Here, you can enjoy various types of exciting water sports. Tame the waves as you kitesurf in Bonifacio, or take it slow and enjoy the view and the warm sun as you kayak in the turquoise waters.
The mountainous central area hosts numerous gorgeous hiking trails, including the GR20, often called one of the most beautiful treks in the world, but it’s also a tough one. For a lighter trek, go inland to Corte and hike up the rocky path to see the glistening glacial lakes of Melo and Capitellu surrounded by steep rock walls.
Experience the Glory of Ancient Civilizations and Stunning Nature of Crete
White sandy beaches, waves lapping at the shore, and the perfect sunny weather – Crete has everything you could ask for in a vacation paradise. Beyond the beach, there is even more for you to discover.
Take a break from the beach and head inland to immerse yourself in the wild terrain of this Mediterranean island. Hike along the Samaria Gorge and immerse yourself in the dramatic rocky landscape and lush forests. You’ll see small medieval chapels and explore abandoned villages on the winding path, and be rewarded with the gorgeous azure of the sea beyond the coastal village of Agia Roumeli. For a dynamic view of the rocky coastline, trek from Tripiti to Sougia and explore ruins on the way.
Go back in time in the Palace of Knossos and let the Minoan frescoes and soaring red columns take your breath away. Learn more about Cretan history in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, where you’ll admire artefacts that date back to as far as 5,500 years ago.
Travel to the Ancient Times and Taste Superb Wines on Cyprus
Known for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, Cyprus is another popular spot among travellers. It is among the biggest Mediterranean islands, but other than the obvious, it’s also packed with natural beauty and archaeological wonders that will take you back to the days of Gods and Heroes.
Blessed with fertile soil and sunny weather, Cyprus is home to top-class wines. Visit Tsangarides Winery, the only winery in Cyprus that produces organic wine. It’s tucked away in the small yet picturesque village of Lemona, where you’ll be heartily welcomed. Another family-run winery to visit is Kolios Winery. The owner will personally show you the facilities and vine groves, and you’ll enjoy a delicious meal cooked with fresh local produce by the owner’s wife.
Other than basking in the warm sun on the beach, you can also explore the Roman ruins of Salamis and the Temple of Aphrodite, who was born here, according to the myths. Visit the coastal city of Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest settlements of Mycenea, and admire the mosaic art, impressive ruins, and more.
Enjoy the Lively Nightlife and the Magnificent View on Mallorca
Stunning beaches, historical sites, and a view like no other – Mallorca has it all when it comes to being a vacation hotspot. Balance your itinerary full of beach activities with parties and treks.
Head underground to explore the many impressive caves this Spanish Balearic island has to offer. Let the Cuevas dels Hams take your breath away with soaring stalactites lit by colourful electric lights, and you might even catch a concert on this underground lake. As you come back on the ground, you can swim in beautiful coves all across the island. Head to Cala Estellencs to enjoy the gorgeous view of the steep rock walls and the turquoise waters, and you’ll also get one of the best sunset views there.
After the sun goes down, the streets of Mallorca light up with vibrant nightlife. Have a night out on Magaluf, where you’ll have over 50 lively bars and clubs to choose from. Party with the locals in Palma, where you can chill on a lounger with your favourite cocktail and a panoramic view of the sea at Puro Beach, or dance the night away at Tito’s, the biggest disco with a sea view.
Let the Historic Towns Take You to Another Time on Krk
With white sandy beaches, turquoise waters lapping the sand, and the warm Mediterranean sun, the Adriatic Island of Krk is a perfect vacation destination. Beyond the beach, there’s a hidden trove of rich history, waiting to be uncovered. Take a relaxing stroll in the charming Krk Town, one of the oldest towns in the Adriatic, and immerse yourself in the rhythm of life as a local, and you’ll definitely notice the Krk Cathedral of Mary’s Assumption, with its white-washed façade and stone-built bell tower. You can also visit the Frankopan Castle, where a noble family once lived. Now, it serves as the venue for concerts, and you might catch one if you visit in the summer.
You can dig deeper into the past in the Franciscan Monastery and Museum, home to Glagolitic artefacts and more ancient treasures. It’s only a 15-minute boat ride away, and a scenic one, too.