23 Most Beautiful Islands in the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean region is home to some of the most stunning islands in the world. With their picturesque beaches, charming villages, ancient ruins, and vibrant culture, these islands have an irresistible allure for travelers. Table of Contents Show 1 A Paradise of Islands Awaits 2 1. Mallorca, Spain 2.1 Top Attractions 2.2 Best Beaches 3…

Most Beautiful Islands in the Mediterranean

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The Mediterranean region is home to some of the most stunning islands in the world. With their picturesque beaches, charming villages, ancient ruins, and vibrant culture, these islands have an irresistible allure for travelers.

Table of Contents Show

This article explores the 23 most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean that should be on your bucket list. From party hotspots like Ibiza to tranquil havens like Elba, these islands offer something for every type of traveler.

So, if you’re looking for island inspiration, read on to discover the jewels of the Mediterranean!

A Paradise of Islands Awaits

1. Mallorca, Spain

The largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Mallorca is a popular beach destination thanks to its breathtaking coastline. But beyond the golden sands and beach bars, the island’s interior and mountains hide charming villages and captivating history.

Top Attractions

  • Alcúdia’s Old Town: Wander the medieval cobbled streets and historic city walls of this fortified Old Town.
  • Serra de Tramuntana: Experience Mallorca’s rugged natural beauty hiking or biking through these stunning coastal mountains.
  • Valldemossa: Explore the narrow alleys and ancient stone buildings of this postcard-pretty village perched in the Tramuntana mountains.
  • Palma Cathedral: Marvel at the soaring Gothic architecture and glittering rose window of Mallorca’s imposing cathedral.

Best Beaches

  • Platja de Formentor: This narrow beach bounded by pine trees offers a peaceful, pristine setting with crystal-clear water.
  • Caló des Moro: Accessible only by boat or on foot, this hidden rocky cove reveals an idyllic sandy beach and brilliant blue waters.
  • Es Trenc: Kilometers of fine golden sand backed by dunes create Mallorca’s most spectacular beach.

2. Santorini, Greece

With its iconic white-and-blue buildings perched on volcanic cliffs, Santorini oozes romance and natural drama. Beyond the perfect sunset views, Santorini rewards visitors with excellent wine, delightful cuisine, and ruins that whisper of a rich history.

Top Attractions

  • Fira: The capital cling to the steep caldera cliffs, its white cubic houses and domed blue churches unmistakably Santorini.
  • Oia: As the most photographed village in Greece, Oia captures the quintessential Santorini aesthetic with whitewashed houses and bright blue domes.
  • Akrotiri Archaeological Site: Uncover a preserved Minoan Bronze Age settlement at this fascinating ancient town buried under volcanic ash.
  • Nea Kameni: Take a boat tour to this small volcanic islet in Santorini’s caldera to see its dramatic geological landscape formed by lava flows.

Best Beaches

  • Perivolos Beach: Santorini’s most popular beach features jet-black sand and beach bars lining the shore.
  • Red Beach: Named for its distinctive red cliffs and volcanic sand, Red Beach impresses visitors with its unique landscape.
  • Vlychada Beach: This off-the-beaten-path beach reveals a rugged shoreline dotted with cool rock formations and volcanic stone sculptures.

3. Menorca, Spain

The most low-key and pristine of Spain’s Balearics, Menorca charms with its rolling green hills, deserted beaches, and historic towns. The island moves at a relaxed pace, with beach days and rural tranquility taking priority over nightlife.

Top Attractions

  • Ciutadella: Dating to the 14<sup>th</sup> century, Menorca’s old capital brims with Gothic churches, aristocratic mansions, and remnants of its medieval past.
  • Naveta des Tudons: Step back 5,000 years exploring this well-preserved prehistoric burial structure shaped like an upside-down boat.
  • Fornells: Enjoy fresh seafood and sublime sunset views across the rocky cove in this laidback harbor village.
  • Cala Macarella: Widely considered one of the best beaches in Spain, this inlet reveals heavenly turquoise water and soft white sand.

4. Corfu, Greece

With its rich cultural fusion of Greek, Venetian, and British influences, Corfu reveals a unique charm amongst the Greek Islands. Imposing fortresses watch over quaint Old Towns, while cypress-dotted hills roll down to sandy coves along its extensive coastline.

Top Attractions

  • Corfu Old Town: Wander a maze of winding cobblestone alleyways and grand architecture fusing Greek, Italian, French, and British styles in this historied capital.
  • Achilleion Palace: Built for Empress Elisabeth of Austria, this neoclassical palace and its lush gardens exude regal elegance with statues honoring Greek gods.
  • Paleokastritsa Monastery: Accessible only by boat or on foot, this hilltop 13th century monastery rewards visitors with serene spirituality and sublime sea views.
  • Canal d’Amour: Seek out this idyllic rocky cove near Sidari, named for the myth that sweethearts who swim across its tunnel will stay together forever.

Best Beaches

  • Glyfada Beach: Backed by cliffs punctuated with cave formations, this long sandy stretch offers excellent amenities with a tranquil ambiance.
  • Issos Beach: Enclosed by hills covered in olive groves and cypress trees, this quiet west coast beach impresses with its fine golden sand and turquoise water.
  • Myrtiotissa Beach: Reached by a steep slope, this isolated beach reveals gorgeous blue water and breathtaking cliffs views.

5. Sicily, Italy

As the crossroads of Mediterranean civilizations from ancient Greek and Roman to Arabic and Norman influences, Sicily rewards visitors with captivating history and culture. Beyond the impressive archaeological sites, this sun-drenched isle charms with delicious cuisine, fertile landscapes dotted with vineyards and citrus groves, and the mighty Mount Etna volcano.

Top Attractions

  • Valley of the Temples, Agrigento: One of the world’s best-preserved ancient Greek sites unveils towering Doric temples perched atop a ridge overlooking the sea.
  • Mount Etna: Journey up Europe’s most active volcano to witness its awe-inspiring lava flows and lunar-like craters.
  • Palermo’s Cathedral and Palatine Chapel: Two architectural masterpieces reveal Sicily’s diverse cultural past, with the cathedral blending styles from its Norman, Baroque and neoclassical eras, while the nearby chapel dazzles with 12th century Byzantine mosaics.
  • Taormina: This chic cliffside town charms visitors with its winding medieval lanes, glimpses of Mount Etna and the stunning Greek theater ruins.

Best Beaches

  • Scala dei Turchi: Admire the unique white limestone cliffs plunging into sapphire waters at this naturally stunning beach.
  • Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa: Clear turquoise waters and ridiculously soft white sand earned this tiny cove a top spot on the World’s Best Beaches list.
  • San Vito Lo Capo: Well-located near ancient Segesta Greek ruins, this golden sandy beach also hosts Sicily’s popular Cous Cous Fest each September.

6. Capri, Italy

This chic isle in the Bay of Naples has wooed Romans emperors, Russian revolutionaries and Hollywood stars with its rugged coastal beauty and glamorous charm. Beyond Capri Town’s upscale boutiques and buzzing cafes, quiet corners and peaceful hikes reveal the island’s profound natural splendor.

Top Attractions

  • Blue Grotto: See the sea glow with brilliant blue hues in this dark cavern only accessible by small boat. Sunlight passing through an underwater cavity transforms the color.
  • Villa Jovis: Trek to the northeast tip of Capri to explore the sprawling ruins of Roman emperor Tiberius’ epic cliffside palace compound dating to 27 AD.
  • Gardens of Augustus: Escape the crowds with a peaceful stroll amid mosaic benches, exotic plants, and marble statues at this beautiful retreat high above the sea.
  • Via Krupp: Wander this engineering marvel blasted out of the cliffside to reach a dramatic lookout over Marina Piccola bay.

Best Beaches

  • Bagni di Tiberio: Nestled at the base of high limestone cliffs, several small pebbly coves reveal crystal-clear water for swimming just steps from Villa Jovis ruins.
  • Marina Piccola: Two lovely beaches with cafes and chair/umbrella rentals offer easy access and nice amenities on Capri’s southern shore.
  • Grotta Azzurra: Pack a picnic to soak up sun and serenity at this mellow pebble beach set inside a dramatic cave formation.

7. Ibiza, Spain

As Europe’s party capital and Balearic island famous for its raucous nightlife, Ibiza also surprises with its tranquil coves, fertile countryside, laidback villages and rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re looking to dance until dawn or unwind on peaceful beaches, Ibiza promises a fabulous Mediterranean escape.

Top Attractions

  • Old Town: Roam the UNESCO-listed upper town to uncover Ibiza’s rich history, with fortified 16th-century walls encircling the striking Catalan Gothic cathedral and a labyrinth of charming whitewashed lanes.
  • Es Vedra: This iconic rocky island off Ibiza’s southwest coast has an alluring mystique as a key energy point powering the third eye chakra – visit for a powerful nature experience or to ponder Atlantis and siren legends.
  • Santa Gertrudis: Soak up Ibiza’s hippy soul in this pretty inland village famed for its boho boutiques, art galleries and world-class dining.
  • San Antonio Sunset Strip: Watch the sun sink into the sea framing magical silhouettes of Ibiza’s sister islands from this row of chill bars along the promenade.

Best Beaches

  • Cala Bassa: A family-friendly beach boasting azure waters,Complement your beach day with lunch at one of the excellent restaurants behind the bay.
  • Cala Tarida: Towering cliffs plunge into crystalline waters at this stunning curved cove on Ibiza’s quieter west coast.
  • Cala d’Hort: Marvel at water views actually spanning both Ibiza and iconic rock islet Es Vedra from this sandy gem.

8. Hvar, Croatia

With its ritzy harbor vibing Saint-Tropez luxury, vibrant nightlife and peaceful coves scattered down its golden coast, Croatia’s #1 island seamlessly blends pulsating energy, rich culture and natural beauty. Beyond the yacht scene and beach clubs, Hvar Town’s medieval core and rural vineyards beckon exploration too.

Top Attractions

  • Hvar Town: Meander the marbled streets and ornate squares framed by ancient walls and rising to the hilltop 16<sup>th</sup> century fortress guarding this vivacious port town.
  • Pakleni Islands: Escape to this emerald island chain kissed by crystal waters just offshore Hvar for blissful beach-hopping and secluded swims.
  • Stari Grad Plain: Traverse this UNESCO-protected checkerboard of fields originally set out by ancient Greeks in the 4<sup>th</sup> century BC – incredibly still fertile today.!
  • Uphill Walk to Napoleón Beach: Be rewarded with captivating coastal vistas after tackling this steep 25-minute climb through fragrant lavender and wild rosemary bushes from Hvar Town to a scenic pebble bay.

Best Beaches

  • Zaraće Beach: Standout azure waters beckon alongside music beats from this sandy stretch below pine trees near vibrant Stari Grad.
  • Mekićevica Beach: Lapped by gently shelving turquoise waters, palm trees dot this large pebble beach near verdant vineyards in southern Hvar.
  • Dubovica Beach: Secluded serenity awaits across smooth white pebbles on this heavenly coast framed by forested slopes tumbling to the sea.

9. Cyprus

While technically an independent island nation instead of a single island, Cyprus packs significant diversity into its small frame through the influences of nearby continents and civilizations over millennia. As the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite, Cyprus stuns with myths, legends and archaeology anchored in rugged beauty with a party vibe.

Top Attractions

  • Tombs of the Kings: Enter this vast UNESCO-listed necropolis hewn from solid rock outside Paphos, where aristocrats and high officials were buried between the 4<sup>th</sup> century BC and 3<sup>rd</sup> century AD.
  • Kourion Archaeological Site: Explore well-preserved Roman theaters, lovely early Christian mosaics and an impressive stadium overlooking the sea at this fascinating Western Cyprus ruin spanning multiple eras.
  • Kyrenia’s Old Harbor: Wander the picturesque harbor framed by its star-shaped medieval fortress and backed by the jagged peaks of the Besparmak Mountains rising directly from the sea.
  • Ayia Napa: Sizzle on Cyprus’ premier party scene, where the resort’s famous clubs and bars at the heart of its raucous nightlife are just steps from dreamy sandy beaches.

Best Beaches

  • Fig Tree Bay, Protaras: This top beach famous for its soft powdery sand and calm turquoise waters buzzes with amenities like parasols, lounges, restaurants and water sports rentals.
  • Konnos Bay Beach: Revel on this peaceful curved beach featuring shallow waters perfect for families and backed by scenic coastal cliffs near Ayia Napa.
  • Nissi Beach, Ayia Napa: Vibrant beach life thrives thanks to fine white sand, emerald waters and offshore islet drawing visitors to this lively Ayia Napa strand.

10. Zakynthos, Greece

From thrilling nightlife to exceptional biodiversity welcoming sea turtles and rare birds, Zakynthos seduces with multi-hued 12-kilometer crescents of sand alongside rugged landscapes. Navagio Bay steals fame for gorgeous wreck views, but plenty more beaches with ethereal seascapes, quaint villages and verdant olive groves complete the “Flower of the East” island experience.

Top Attractions

  • Navagio Beach: Gaze down in awe at dazzling turquoise waters lapping an iconic cove strewn with a smuggler shipwreck, framed brilliantly by towering limestone cliffs.
  • Blue Caves: See surreal luminescent blue hues illuminate sea caverns only accessible by boat on Zákynthos northern coast for an unforgettable experience.
  • Xigia Sulphur Springs: Soak in the reputed healing mineral waters emerging from underwater springs right beside the Ionian Sea at this unique geological site.
  • Marathonisi Isle: Set sail to “Turtle Island” marine park to witness endangered loggerhead sea turtles in their nesting habitat and other abundant exotic wildlife.

Best Beaches

  • Makris Gialos: Warm shallow waters beckon kids beside interesting seaside rock formations on this relaxing family-friendly southern beach.
  • Porto Roxa: Revel on this bar-lined sandy stretch on the northeast coast with photogenic views over a petite offshore islet.
  • Limni Keriou Beach: Secluded serenity shines across colorful pebbles lapped by crystal clear water at the base of towering cliffs.

11. Rhodes, Greece

Step into the medieval era exploring the UNESCO-listed capital Rhodes Town still encircled by formidable walls built by the Knights Hospitaller after they seized power here in 1309 AD. Beyond this extraordinary living relic, Rhodes Island delights modern visitors with its pretty fishing villages, abundant ruins and gorgeous beaches too.

Top Attractions

  • Acropolis of Lindos: Venture to this postcard-perfect town perched on a rocky hill above the sea to access ancient Greek temples high on a cliff.
  • The Citadel: Roam the Street of the Knights to marvel over medieval architecture and relics exhibited at the fortified compound that was the stronghold for the Knights Hospitaller.
  • Monolithos Castle: Journey up through pine forests to this dominating hilltop ruin boasting awesome views over quaint villages cascading toward the azure sea.
  • The Valley of the Butterflies: Escape into this lush habitat near Kalamonas village that turns vivid with fluttering kaleidoscopes of butterflies in summer.

Best Beaches

  • Anthony Quinn Bay: This double pristine turquoise bay punctuated by enormous granite rocks astounds at the island’s northeast tip near Faliraki.
  • Lindos Beach: Powdery white sand, glittering shallow waters and views up to ancient ruins above make this curving Paul Theroux-favored strand below Lindos town exceptionally Instagrammable.
  • Kiotari Beach: Lined by waterfront tavernas and hotels, this Blue Flag awarded sandy beach impresses over 4 kilometers on Rhodes’ gorgeous southeast coast.
  • Gennadi Beach: Idyllic serenity shines across 6 kilometers of sand fringing jewel-toned seas, with beach bars, sunbeds and water sports rounding the tranquil package near Lahania village.

12. Elba, Italy

Lapped by the sparkling waters of the Tuscan Archipelago, the rugged beauty of Elba Island enchants. With quiet fishing villages, seasonal ferry access, and over 150 beaches tucked into coves or scrunched between soaring cliffs, Elba moves to a relaxed rhythm. Yet Napoleon’s exile home still impresses with diverse mountainous terrain welcoming hiking and biking thrillseekers.


Tours & Things to do hand-picked by our insiders


Top Attractions

  • Napoleon’s Residence: Visit grand Villa dei Mulini in Portoferraio housing the emperor’s Elba headquarters to eye original 1800s décor and exhibits over his 300-day island exile.
  • Marciana Marina: Explore this small port town clustered around ancient defensive towers rising from the sea, before hiking trails up Monte Capanne.
  • Capoliveri: Roam the labyrinthine lanes under arches in this medieval hilltop gem, soaking up astounding views across island scenery descending to the sea.
  • Madonna del Monte: Pilgrimage to the top of this sanctified promontory outside Porto Azzurro to stand before the 16<sup>th</sup> century sanctuary and gorgeous vistas.

Best Beaches

  • Sansone Beach: Sheer 120-meter granite cliffs plunge to framing white sand caressed by emerald coves at this stunning pebbled inlet on the south coast.
  • Fetovaia Beach: Tranquil turquoise waters invite long swims and snorkeling around islands fronting this gentle 800-meter crescent of sand.
  • ** Cavoli Beach:** Palm trees fringe bright white sand with incredible views over grottoes and dramatically sculpted granite boulders adjacent tiny Cavoli islet.

13. Gozo, Malta

Often called Malta’s little sister, tiny Gozo floats delights at a slower pace with scenic rural villages, wineries, megalithic temples, and marine-hued waters lapping beaches bracketed by hills. Without large hotels or cities, Gozo gleams as an underexplored Mediterranean gem where relaxed coastal vibes and happy locals welcome visitors.

Top Attractions

  • Ġgantija Temples: Wonder over the two iconic ancient temple complexes forging the world’s earliest free-standing manmade monuments c. 3600 BC with massive limestone slabs.
  • Azure Window: Trek to Dwejra Bay to discover this spectacular natural 28-meter-tall limestone arch rising from the sea – featured famously in Game of Thrones until it collapsed in 2017 from heavy storms.
  • Ta’ Pinu Basilica: Make a pilgrimage to this sacred site centered on a golden-stone Romanesque church improbably rebuilt after Britain’s Royal Navy bombed it in World War II.
  • Victoria’s Cittadella: Explore Gozo’s chief city centered around a scenic fortified hill hosting sea views, shops, restaurants and a grand 17<sup>th</sup> century cathedral.

Best Beaches

  • Ramla Bay: Revel on north Gozo’s postcard beach where reddish sand backs a wide bay with amazingly clear shallow waters.
  • Marsalforn Bay: Dine overlooking pretty salt pans rimming the island’s prettiest resort village focused around restaurants bordering a rocky swimmer’s cove.
  • San Blas Bay: Secluded serenity blesses this petite hidden gem with sublime seaside views over Comino isle reachable via pebbled steps.

14. Milos, Greece

Secluded from mainstream Greek island traffic, this volcanic isle glimmers with surreal geological formations, quirky museums, sweet villages, and over 70 beaches punctuating its dramatic shoreline. Sheer cliffs, pirate tales and sand in pink, red, white and black hues add to Milos’ untamed, adventurous vibe. Greener cypress-dotted hillsides inland balance the coastal drama.

Top Attractions

  • Sarakiniko: Trek to this jaw-dropping lunar landscape where swirling white rock eroded by wind and waves resembles melting wax dripping down to the sea.
  • Kleftiko: Sail around unique rock formations, caves and a renowned pirate hideout only accessible by boat in these cobalt waters off Milos’ southern coast.
  • Papikinou Beach: Take in a technicolor sunset while soaking toes in the electric aqua waters of the island’s celebrated white sand beach featuring striking russet and ochre cliff walls.
  • Milos Mining Museum: Delve into the long mining history fueling Milos’ economy for millennia at this engaging site based in Plaka village layered amphitheatrically up a hillside.

Best Beaches

  • Plathiena Beach: Secluded sea cave swims reward those who take a short hike down to this remote reddish sandy inlet on the north coast.
  • Paliochori Beach: Kaleidoscopic cliffs in tawny, ebony and amber hues frame this slender dark pebble and gray sand beach.
  • Mytakas Beach: This peaceful corner of white rocks bordering turquoise shallows hides near fishing village Pollonia on Milos’ northeastern tip.

15. Folegandros, Greece

traditional sugar cube buildings glow whitewashed around this petite Cycladic Island diving into the sea. Beyond picture-perfect Hora town, terraced hillsides cascade to deserted coves as Folegandros reveals its raw natural splendor and beguiling remoteness just a fast ferry ride from neighboring islands but light years away in ambiance.

Top Attractions

  • Panagia Church above Hóra: Make the pilgrimage up 200-plus cliff-clinging steps then down a winding path to reach this whitewashed 13<sup>th</sup> century church overlooking the town and sea – sunset drinks at the small café amp up the rewards!
  • Kástro: This oak tree–shaded medieval village crowning towering cliffs above shimmering blue waters steals the scene as the island’s oldest settlement now with a boutique hotel inside the ruins.
  • Hrysi Akti Beach: On the southern coast, this quintessential Cycladic cove backed by golden cliffs with unique layers of colored strata delights sunbathers.
  • Anemomílos Beach: Admire dazzling whitewashed Chóra town perched far above as you soak in transparent waters and lounge on gray pebbles along the peaceful north coast.

Best Beaches

  • Livadaki Beach: Relish long swims off this slender pebbled beach with languid waves enclosed by soaring tawny sea cliffs near Áno Meriá village.
  • Várdia Beach: Seaside serenity shines across reddish sand near a tavern, loungers and Views to Síkinos Island by the quaint port of Karavostásis.
  • Agkiali Beach: Palm trees dot fine sand over this sheltered south coast bay near the mellow resort village of Agkiali with amenities lining the waterfront.

16. Lefkada, Greece

Attached to mainland Greece by a narrow causeway, fertile green Lefkada Wows with traditional villages, bustling Nidri’s yacht marina vibes, and sublime sandy stretches punctuating its rugged coast sculpted by cliffside roads. Beyond gorgeous beaches and sailing around satellite islands, Lefkada’s mountainous interior tempts adventurers with monasteries, waterfalls and phenomenal vistas.

Top Attractions

  • Cape Lefkatas: Make the pilgrimage out to Greece’s holiest promontory, where devout believers still fling themselves annually off the imposing 35-meter white cliffs while praying for miracles offshore!
  • Nydri Waterfalls: Escape the sweltering summer sun by dipping into ice-cold pools swirling beneath shady plane trees along this gushing gorge with verdant landscape.
  • Faneromeni Monastery: Some claim glimpsing the Holy Virgin at this 17<sup>th</sup> century Orthodox church dramatically positioned on a 20-meter-tall clifftop hulking 450 feet above the Ionian Sea.
  • Kathisma Beach: This west coast standout stuns with a huge swath of sand culminating in tawny cliffs, backed upbehind by vibrant green hills tumbling directly into the sea.

Best Beaches

  • Egremni Beach: Sheer cliffs plunge over 300 meters into the surreal Caribbean-hued waters lapping brilliant white sand along the remote western shoreline.
  • Porto Katsiki Beach: Iconic stone arches embrace a spectacular Blue Flag beach featuring a soft sandy blonde bottom descending to mesmerizing blue depths.
  • Agiofili Beach: Accessible only by boat or on foot, this sheltered stunner’s shallow teal waters invite snorkeling around sea caves carved into the rocky coastline.

17. Djerba, Tunisia

Marked by miles of dune-fringed strands and unspoiled desert, Djerba uniquely fuses North African soul with a Mediterranean landscape. Home to amazing handicrafts, ancient history and the mystical vibe centered around Tunisia’s oldest synagogue, the island moves at a relaxed pace inviting visitors to soak in its rich cultural traditions.

Top Attractions

  • El Ghriba Synagogue: Step inside this historic 14<sup>th</sup> century Sefardi Jewish house of worship on the annual Jewish pilgrimage date, to admire the exceptional interior décor and revered Torah scrolls.
  • Guellala pottery: Tour workshops clustered around the main village of Guellala to witness traditional women handcrafting the region’s iconic black clay pottery into beautiful vessels and sharing millennia-old skills.
  • Borj El Kebir: Explore this imposing 16<sup>th</sup> century fortress long guarding the port, to uncover a fascinating history museum unveiling island artifacts from Neolithic pottery to WWII cannons.
  • Sidi Mahres Beach: Laze beachside by this venerated mausoleum shrine below whitewashed buildings and swaying palms, where legend promises ancestors will protect you from drowning if you sacrifice a chicken.

Best Beaches

  • Sidi Mahres Beach: Laze beachside by this venerated mausoleum shrine below whitewashed buildings and swaying palms, where legend promises ancestors will protect you from drowning if you sacrifice a chicken.
  • Playa Rouached: Dip into this rustic fishermen’s corner near Houmt Souk, where colorfully painted boats dot Mediterranean views beyond a humble strand with cafes and loungers.
  • Playa Megliss: Revel on nearly 2 miles of fine sand lined by beach clubs, with camels available for short rides to sample miniature desert dune vibes.

18. Naxos, Greece

Largest of the Cyclades Islands, Naxos dazzles with sublime sugar cube architecture crowning historic Hóra town, over 40 pristine beaches, emerald hills dotted by age-old marble ruins and medieval castles, alongside a buzzy nightlife scene. Beyond its rich mythology as the place where Zeus was raised, Naxos surprises with lush fertile valleys producing world-class wines and cheeses.

Top Attractions

  • Portara: Perched over the lively old harbor, this iconic ruins of a massive marble gateframe built in the 6<sup>th</sup> century BC stuns with sunset views across the Aegean Sea toward Paros.
  • Hóra: Meander the atmospheric alleyways under medieval arches in Naxos’ beautiful main town, seeking out historic mansions, towers and ruined temples as it tumbles to the shore below the craggy Venetian castle.
  • Temple of Demeter: Trek up to Sangrí village to explore this recently refurbished 6<sup>th</sup> century BC marble temple dedicated to the goddess of agriculture in an idyllic setting framed by olive groves.
  • Apóllonas Beaches: Rent a dune buggy to bounce along dirt roads to these breathtaking twin beaches on Naxos’ northern tip, for gorgeous turquoise waters kissing crescent golden sands.

Best Beaches

  • Pláka Beach: Relax under tamarisk trees offering shade on smooth white sand with ample room, beach bars and water sports along Naxos’ longest beach at nearly 2 miles.
  • Alykó Beach: Secluded sea cave swims tempt from this slender pastel pebble and sand shoreline punctuated by giant rock formations towering behind.
  • Mikrí Vígla Beach: Revel on golden dunes fringing sparkling teal waters at this top windsurfing and kitesurfing spot on the island’s exposed northwest corner.

19. Ithaca, Greece

Forever etched as the legendary kingdom of Odysseus in Homer’s ancient world, this petite Ionian isle now captivates visitors with its raw natural beauty tucked into Emerald coves and cute villages sprawling below centuries-old monasteries. Covered in wildflowers or olive trees depending on rugged steep terrain plunging into azure waters, offbeat Ithaca promises adventuresome travelers authentic villa vacations steeped in rich history.

Top Attractions

  • Monastery of Kathara: Journey high up through cypress forests to soak in majestic panoramas from the peaceful white-and-blue 17<sup>th</sup> century Orthodox church punctuating Ithaca’s spine.
  • Anogi village hiking trails: Lace up your boots to explore tiny hamlets accessible only on foot across the island’s unspoiled central mountains, where postcard coastal outlooks await.
  • Piso Aetos Beach: Drop anchor in dazzling turquoise waters of this sheltered sandy cove tucked between Gidaki Beach and isolated Sarakiniko Bay, for an afternoon of heavenly relaxation.
  • School of Homer Museum, Stavros: Get immersed into ancient Homeric legends and test your skill spotting Ithaca sites hidden in artistic displays and video imagery at this modern installation in the island’s second largest village.

Best Beaches

  • Filiatro Beach: A favorite perfect pebble beach punctuated by sea caves, where verdant cliffs plunge into transparent coves reveals blissful swimming and snorkeling relatively near Vathy town.
  • Gidaki Beach: Lush surroundings crown sublime emerald seas caressing this secluded west coast beach featuring fine white pebbles where myth says Odysseus landed.
  • Sarakiniko Beach: Dramatic white rock formations swirled pink and black frame the transparent teal waters lapping stairs descending to tiny gray coast on Ithaca’s northeast.

20. Brač, Croatia

Harboring Europe’s most luminous beach, Croatia’s third largest island wows sunseekers with pebbled bays hugging breezy pines near time-stood-still villages accented by medieval stone church steeples. Inland ridgelines rippling from the towering Vidova Gora peak divide Brač into vastly different landscapes, the parched desert interior giving way to lavender farms and vineyards culminating at fishing ports and resort beaches strung along the perimeter.

Top Attractions

  • Zlatni Rat Beach: Propelled to fame by its extraordinary pebble spit perpetually shifting shape with the winds, this gorgeous Golden Cape near Bol town seems to change hourly from views atop towering Vidova Gora peak.
  • Vidova Gora: Hike or drive up over 1400 steps to Brač’s loftiest point, where awesome panoramas extend down to the sea with visibility of Hvar Island and beyond on sunny days.
  • Blača Hermitage Museum: Built ingeniously utilizing Brač stone both inside and out, this remote spiritual retreat founded in 1551 overlooks olive groves stonewalled since ancient times on Brač’s isolated desert plateau.
  • Škrip Museum: Get immersed into this island town’s medieval origins and ancient stonemasonry trade at the engaging museum centered around a Romanic family home from way back in the 15<sup>th</sup> century.

Best Beaches

  • Lovrečina Beach: A long swath of pebbles dotted with rocky coves descending into pellucid waters delights on this sparkling channel dividing Brač and Hvar near Postira.
  • Зaraće Beach: Lively crowds drawn to beautiful views, beach clubs and cafes share the extensive pebble shoreline wrapping this curving bay beneath historic Starigrad.
  • Punta Rata Beach: The island’s longest sandy beach stretches over a kilometer on Brač southern flank, lined with popular beach clubs at the epicenter of Bol’s bustling summer tourist scene.

21. Hydra, Greece

Captivating artists and celebrities for decades with its preserved stone mansions, absence of vehicles and sleek yachts crowding the picturesque deep harbor, exclusive Hydra grants visitors step back into a simpler era. Strict architectural rules keep modernization at bay across the island, except on the lively restaurant and bar scene vivifying the port village spilling amphitheatrically down to sailboat-speckled seas.

Top Attractions

  • Lazaros Koundouriotis Historical Mansion: Get a glimpse into the 18th-century merchant and politician’s life at his impeccably preserved waterfront residence, now a museum exhibiting furnishings, artwork and artifacts.
  • Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary: Make the 1.5 hour hike up the fortress-like church’s 600 steps to revel in sublime panoramas across Hydra and the surrounding Aegean Sea islands.
  • Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church: Marvel at gold iconostasis woodcarvings and relics housed inside this cathedral built from a mix of architectural styles, crowning Hydra’s hilltop with 360 degree views.
  • Bourtzi Waterfront Fortress: Snap Instagram shots of this iconic petite offshore fortress just offshore Hydra Town, originally built to fend off pirates in the 18th century.

Best Beaches

  • Hydronetta Beach: Escape the bustle by climbing down to this slender pebble coastline with a tavern and loungers tucked below sheer cliffs 15 minutes south of Hydra Town.
  • Spilia Beach: For refreshing dips just steps from town, follow the coastal path around the bay to reach this tiny swimming spot with a ladder and platforms on flat rocks.
  • Avlaki Beach: Nestled below green hills 4 kilometers from the port, this gentle resort beach features cantinas and umbrellas dotting beige sand sheltered by offshore islets.

22. Poros, Greece

Barely an hour ferry ride from Athens’ port of Piraeus, petite Poros charms as a relaxing weekend escape from city bustle, with its lively narrow strait separating the island from Peloponnese mainland. Pretty pastel houses climb forested hillslopes encircling the protected harbor watching over an armada of sailing boats, while architectural influences from its former Venetian, Ottoman and Russian eras mingle engagingly through the village lanes.

Top Attractions

  • Archaeological Museum: Housed in an 18th century Venetian building, multimedia exhibits showcase ancient tools, pottery and statues unearthed from the island and underwater excavation sites nearby.
  • Temple of Poseidon: Trek up through pine trees from Katoméri village to reach this 4th century BC hilltop temple site, where awesome views across the Saronic Gulf waters reward the effort.
  • Monastery Zoodochos Pighis: Founded in 1720, this women’s Orthodox monastery complex centered around the Church of the Life-giving Spring merits a pilgrimage for its gilded iconostasis and venerated Virgin Mary icon.
  • Lemon Forest: Embark on blissful hikes through this fragrant citrus grove blanketing the hillsides to discover 21 chapels and charming villages scattered around Poros.

Best Beaches

  • Love Bay Beach: Backed by forested slopes tumbling into the sea, this sandy eastern bay offers plenty of room for relaxation under shade trees near the low-key resort area.
  • Mikro Neorio Beach: Just 10 minutes walk from town, this pebbly north coast beach features a cute cantina for drinks right on the waterfront by the Russian Dock ruins.
  • Askeli Beach: Lined with tavernas and cafes, the island’s longest sandy beach serves as the central focus of its lively touristy scene across Poros Town straight.

23. Antipaxos, Greece

Floating just 2 kilometers south of touristy Paxos, this idyllic isle steals the show with sublime seascapes and languid vibes across just 20 square kilometers. Forget streets or vehicle roads – two pedestrian village lanes meet at the central church plaza anchoring abundant olive groves. Yet the main attractions sparkle along the coastline, where coves with crystalline waters dotted by pounding sea caves and arches set the rhythm of life.

Top Attractions

  • Vrika Beach: This Blue Flag beach stuns the instant you catch sight of its white pebble strand and vibrant turquoise sea framed brilliantly by towering cliffs.
  • Voutoumi Cave: Take the short boat trip to marvel at this vaulted sea cavern famed for reflecting emerald light from the sea-surface into its interior of eroded limestone walls.
  • Vathy village: Base yourself on the island’s largest habor to access boating excursions around Antipaxos easily, while soaking up relaxed vibes in this tiny fishing hamlet.
  • Psoradi Beach: Cool off on refreshing dips and sunbathing across this soft pebble coastline punctuated by a landmark rocky islet just offshore.

Best Beaches

  • Vrika Beach: This Blue Flag beach stuns the instant you catch sight of its white pebble strand and vibrant turquoise sea framed brilliantly by towering cliffs.
  • Levrehio Beach: Bask serenely on the scenic fine gravel shoreline punctuated by smooth boulders dotting vibrant turquoise shallows.
  • Desimi Beach: Secluded atmosphere lingers around the postcard-perfect teal waters kissing this slender grey pebble cove tucked below hills on the western coast.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Mediterranean islands have the best nightlife and partying?

Some of the top Mediterranean islands for nightlife and partying include:

  • Ibiza, Spain – Famous around the world for its lively clubbing scene, with buzzing nightclubs like Pacha and Amnesia
  • Hvar, Croatia – A glitzy harbor packed with open-air bars and nightclubs that draw the yacht crowd
  • Mykonos, Greece – An upscale party island known for its vibrant beach clubs and bars staying open into the dawn
  • Ayia Napa, Cyprus – Jam-packed with raucous nightclubs and bars beloved by younger travelers for nonstop fun

What is the most romantic Mediterranean island for couples?

The most romantic Mediterranean islands for couples include:

  • Santorini, Greece – With sublime sunsets, luxurious cave hotels carved into cliffs, and breezy walks between quaint villages
  • Capri, Italy – An exclusive isle offering intimate fine dining, peaceful coastal paths and mesmerizing views of the shimmering blue grotto
  • Elba, Italy – Gorgeous beaches for two framed dramatically by Tuscan cliffs and greenery make Napoleon’s exile isle perfect for couples

Which Mediterranean islands are good for families?

Top Mediterranean islands for families feature child-friendly beaches, attractions, affordability and relaxed vibes, such as:

  • Corfu, Greece – Picturesque beaches, spacious family rooms and kid-pleasing attractions like waterparks characterize family-focused Corfu
  • Crete, Greece – Greece’s largest island dazzles families with long sandy beaches, family-style resorts, water fun and rich ancient history
  • Menorca, Spain – Tranquil vibes, gentle beaches and outdoor activities captivate families beyond the vibrant port town of Mahon

Plan Your Mediterranean Island Adventure

With vibrant culture, dramatic landscapes and no shortage of breathtaking beaches, the Mediterranean islands offer the ultimate island escape for travelers. Each one boasts its own unique charms and claims to fame – charming villages, ancient ruins, glitzy nightlife or unspoiled serenity.

From perennial favorites like Corfu and Sicily to emerging gems like Lefkada and Folegandros, there is an island tailored perfectly to every traveler’s tastes.

With so much beauty condensed into the Mediterranean, your island-hopping options feel infinite. So start plotting your adventure through these spectacular isles – your Mediterranean dream awaits!

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