The Mediterranean has been a source of fascination and delight for centuries. On its shores, guests can explore the roots of western culture and civilization. The bustling ports and bristling military outposts reflect long histories of cultural influence and exchange, and created local cultures that are unique and distinctive, but also cosmopolitan and welcoming of travelers. This wealth of history and culture, combined with mild weather, sparkling waves, and pristine beaches make it an irresistible vacation destination for visitors from all over the world.
Though the Mediterranean is small on the map, it offers experiences and activities for every interest. Whether your vacation plans involve relaxing on a beach, exploring ancient ruins and archaeological sites, adventurous sports, art and cultural activities, hiking unspoiled natural areas, hitting a sizzling night spot, or all of the above, the Mediterranean has it. Here is our list of the Mediterranean's hottest destinations for 2018:
Cinque Terre, Italy
The five Italian villages of Cinque Terre were carved into the steep mountainside over the course of centuries. This rugged terrain preserves them from modern development, bringing guests back in time to a simpler age. Cinque Terre hosts charming little fishing villages within a hiker's paradise, with spectacular views, unspoiled landscapes, and a relaxed atmosphere.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Italy's Amalfi Coast is so distinctive and colorful that images of these towns and villages are famous all over the world. The steeply terraced gardens, ablaze with flowers, the air scented with ocean breezes and lemon groves, and landscapes unlike anywhere else, make the Amalfi Coast an ideal spot to relax, explore, and indulge your senses.
The Balearic Islands, Spain
The night clubs of Ibiza off the coast of Spain are a favorite destination for celebrities and jet-setters, and it's one of the best places in the world to dance the night away. During the day, visitors can take in spectacular local architecture and historic sites, hike or horseback ride in nature preserves, or enjoy beaches and water sports. This group of islands offers a huge variety of environments and activities for travelers of all types, and club-hopping is only a part of it.
St. Tropez, France
With its legendary beaches on the French Riviera, crystal-clear waters, and high-end boutiques, St. Tropez has long been a destination for the rich and famous. But visitors can do more than bask in the sun and relax on a yacht; St. Tropez is also a destination for lovers of art, history, and fine food. A Mediterranean favorite for decades, St. Tropez is hotter than ever.
The Greek island of Crete has roots going back to the beginning of western civilization, and today merges the best of Greek culture and cuisine with distinctive local traditions. It offers luxury accommodation and glorious beaches alongside ancient artifacts, ruins, and archaeological sites. With natural forests, small villages, azure water, and gorgeous cities, Crete is an incredible vacation spot.
Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Croatia has been exploding in popularity as a destination in recent years, as visitors discover its golden beaches, spectacular natural beauty, and rich culture. Along the coast of Dalmatia, visitors can explore modern cities with ancient histories, unique climates and natural environments, and enjoy swimming, surfing, and summer water sports. The merging of Mediterranean, Italian, Ottoman, and Croatian cultures makes the Dalmatian Coast a vacation spot unlike any other.
The Algarve region in Portugal has been a European summer tradition for decades, as visitors flock to vacation homes where they can enjoy the warm weather, friendly Portuguese culture, and relaxing holidays on the beach or the golf course. More and more Americans are discovering why Algarve is a favorite destination year after year.
This rich variety of nations, cultures, history, and experiences makes the Mediterranean a destination unlike any other. And the warm weather, clear waters, and welcoming people combine to create unforgettable summer vacations for people from all over the world.
Be sure to check out our photo tour of all the Mediterranean's hottest destinations for 2018!