The Mediterranean Sea is a treasure chest and its most precious jewels are the islands. Between history, art, culture and myth, there really is something for every taste and need.
We have selected 30 of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean for you to discover with us.
Let’s start with Majorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands located off the Spanish coast. Majorca is the ideal destination for those who want to live and experience the unique charm of an island holiday, but who, at the same time, do not want to abandon the bright atmosphere typical of Spanish cities.
This is the case of Palma, capital of the archipelago, which guarantees art, culture, history and entertainment to those who visit it. Arriving from the sea, the impressive Gothic cathedral of Santa Maria de Palma stands out immediately with the Almudaina Palace beside it, one of the summer residences of the King of Spain, built on the foundations of an Arab fortress. Finally, walking through the city streets, you will find many beautiful modernist buildings, one above all, the former Grand Hotel de Palma.
The crystal clear sea and lush nature are the splendid setting for all this.
If you think Ibiza just means “nightlife”, you’re dead wrong. Or better yet, Ibiza is also nightlife and the best quality: historic clubs such as Pacha offer unmissable nights every season, while on stages such as the outdoors at Ushuaïa, the most important and famous DJs in the world play. The fun is not just the clubs, but it can also be found on the equipped beaches, such as Playa de las Salinas, or in the clubs scattered along the streets of the Old Town.
Ibiza’s beaches are many: you can find true oases of relaxation with free beaches and far from the nightlife; in the interior of Santa Gertrudis, you can find country houses immersed in nature and embellished with splendid swimming pools, while in Cala Comte and Punta Galera (the latter suitable only for those who have no problem fighting a little before jumping into the water) the crystal clear sea takes on sapphire and aquamarine tones.
It should not be forgotten that Ibiza was the beautiful island of several hippie communities in the 1960s: this atmosphere can still be breathed in the hippie market of Las Dalias in San Carles de Peralta, where local artists and artisans sell their wares in a decidedly powerful environment , and in Cala Benirràs, where in summer the hippies of the new millennium greet the sun that falls on the sea with songs and dances set off with bongos.
The island of Menorca is perhaps the wildest of all the Balearic Islands. There are countless beaches surrounded by the most unspoiled nature, some of which can only be reached by walking or arriving by sea. In this case, the beach of Favaritx – which has a picturesque lighthouse in activity that towers over the sea – is about half an hour’s walk in the middle of nature, on the promontory from the reference car park, while Cala Pregonda, with its red sand and its bizarrely shaped rocks can only be reached by sea, on board small boats.
There are many other beaches in Menorca where the sea is crystal clear and almost blinding turquoise that are easier to reach (and busier in summer too). Among them, we recommend Cala Macarelleta, Cala en Turqueta and Santo Tomás Beach. The last one is a beach that stretches for several kilometers becoming Playa de Binicodrell and then Binigaus, characterized by crystal clear waters and fine sand covered with rocks full of caves. The first part is equipped, while the space becomes free and suitable for those who want to go nude.
Menorca also has a lot to offer on the mainland: Ciutadella, for example, is a charming town of Carthaginian origin, in the northwestern part of the island, characterized by a truly unique atmosphere, while in Fornells it is possible to savor, overlooking the sea, what even according to Prince Juan Carlos, it is the best paella in all of Spain.
Sun, sea, beach and, again, sun, sea and beach. These are the activities to be done in Formentera, the small terrestrial paradise of the Balearic Islands. Activities that combine snorkeling and sailing, and reading under the umbrella all the books left behind during the year.
Playa de Ses Illetes, Playa de Llevant, Playa de Es Pujols and Cala Saona are among the most enchanting beaches on the island to enjoy relaxation and beauty.
The island of white houses with blue roofs, the island of black beaches and the island of spectacular sunsets with the blazing sun sinking into the sea. These are the reasons everyone wants to take a trip to Santorini: there is no sunset on this magnificent island in the Cyclades that is not worth photographing, there is no roof in Santorini that is not iconic and there is no black beach that is not worth a dip .
Speaking of the most beautiful beaches of Santorini and black sand, Santorini’s caldera is definitely a must-see, a wonder of nature to be explored, either by sea or by boat, perhaps taking a snorkel trip, or by land, armed with a backpack, trekking shoes and hat to protect himself from the sun.
Also worth visiting are the remains of the village of Akrotiri, a Bronze Age port city destroyed by the island’s volcano eruption and brought to light in 1967.
Isle of Capri
Is there a more glamorous and fascinating destination in the world than Capri? Probably not. The island of Capri not only has an incredible sea and breathtaking views, it is also the symbol of an era: in the 1960s, there was no star of the Italian jet set (and beyond) that did not pass by the legendary Piazzetta or the iconic Quisisana .
The cobblestone streets, the craft shops, the scent of flowers and lemons, the dips in the sparkling water where the Faraglioni rise: everything in Capri is beauty, elegance and luxury.
Among the excursions to be done, we cannot forget the Blue Grotto, one of the most beautiful and famous places in the world. Boarding a rowboat in this magnificent cave, you can enjoy an almost magical spectacle, the water bluer and more transparent than that of a swimming pool, which caresses the cave walls and reflects its nuances.
We don’t know where to start talking about the wonders of this largest island in the Mediterranean. Sardinia really has it all: nature manifests itself in all its noblest forms and expressions, from white sandy beaches that have nothing to envy to those of the Caribbean (Cala Luna was chosen by Lina Wertmüller as the location to shoot the film “ Travolti da un unique destiny nell’azzurro mare d’agosto”), to descents to the sea made only of rocks, history, the oldest and most mysterious, is represented by the nuraghi that are found in the countryside.
The culinary tradition of Sardinia is also very varied and includes delicacies that range from the simplicity of pecorino cheese to the creamy gallurese soup and the sweetness of seadas. In addition, you can spend a night life on the Costa Smeralda, but also, in the name of tranquility, in Ogliastra, or at the mercy of the wind and with sails in Caprera. There really is something for everyone to enjoy.
What was said for Sardinia also applies to Sicily. Trinacria is so big and so beautiful that there really is something for everyone to enjoy. The Valley of Temples is a must-see with its perfectly preserved Doric temples as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and to keep to the theme of Ancient Greece and mythology, it’s important to visit “Scylla and Charybdis” in the Straits of Messina, a definitely recommended experience.
Palermo, Catania and Syracuse are all beautiful cities, each with its own peculiarity: in Palermo it is mandatory to take a walk through all the markets and taste the typical street food; Catania has a double soul, the metropolitan and the one characterized by the impetuosity of Etna, which is just a few steps away (where you can go hiking); in Syracuse there are not only magnificent Baroque buildings, but also the island of Ortigia, unique in its kind and famous for its music festival.
The Mykonos party is really big. On the beaches of Mykonos, the music resonates all the time and hosts all year round, with an open mind and a genuine sense of welcome, tourists from all over the world. No wonder it is considered the capital of gender tolerance.
Its most iconic attraction is the white windmills located in the old district of Kastro and dating back to the island’s rural past. Speaking of the past, some myths are linked to Mykonos: it was named after Apollo’s nephew and it was the place where Heracles defeated the giants that turned into stones, giving rise to the island itself.
There are many things to see and do in Rhodes. Among other attractions, we recommend five different castles, two acropolises and an archaeological museum: the ideal destination for fans of ancient history!
Even nature lovers will not be disappointed with the largest island in the Dodecanese: in the valley, which stretches for 60 hectares between Paradissi and Theologos, there is a kind of paradise on earth where the combination of climate and flora, together with the river crossing Pelecanos, created the perfect habitat for millions of butterflies of the species Euplagia quadripunctaria. A real spectacle!
Corfu is a varied island that has a lot to offer all types of travellers. The beaches of Corfu are one prettier than the other, from Paleokastritsa, ideal for families and anyone looking to dive, Agios Giorgios Pagi, characterized by golden sand, and Myrtiotissa, wild and rocky.
Corfu is not only identified with the Isle of Phaeacians of the Odyssey, but is also full of picturesque villages such as Sidari and Palia Perithia, and monuments of great historical and mythological significance, such as the Achilles Palace and the Vlacherna Monastery, located , surprisingly, in the middle of the sea.
The island of Elba is the third largest island in Italy and its origins are rooted in the oldest history: it was inhabited since the Paleolithic era and there are different parts of the island where several deposits dating back to that period have been found.
It’s not only very ancient history, but it’s also bread for the teeth of contemporary history buffs: near the Ogliera reef lie the remains of the Elviscot ship, a merchant ship sunk in 1972, which is suitable as a diving destination for anyone. seeks charm and mystery.
Even the unspoiled nature of the island of Elba is baffling (it’s part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park), and you can admire it by walking to the top of Monte Capanne, or visiting the beaches of Fetovaia, Capoliveri and Lacona.
Finally, Portoferraio, the pink city, is picturesque and full of things to discover. We have reason to believe that Napoleon, exiled here, did not fare so badly.
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian islands, the one where, perhaps more than any other, you can breathe the atmosphere of mainland Sicily. Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, the main street that leads to the historic centre, is characterized by colorful low-lying houses with great impact, while from the top of the fortified citadel overlooking the sea, the castle with the necropolis dominates the entire island.
The natural beauties are manifold, accessible as much as possible by sea and, among them all, we highlight the breathtaking view constituted by the ancient pumice quarries of the island: a very white scenery and coast give the surrounding water a truly unique and light blue color. everything is “decorated” with truly impressive pieces of industrial archeology.
An island of irresistible charm where different cultures merge: Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of Malta, French and English succeeded each other in the domain of the island.
As we know, the union between the crystalline sea and history is incomparable. Indeed, Malta is a truly amazing destination to spend your vacation, just think that there are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the island and they are: the capital La Valletta, the Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni and the megalithic temples.
Nature, magic and legend are the main ingredients that make up the island of Ischia. There is the Falésia dos Namorados, which resembles the profiles of two lovers kissing, and the Falésia dos Mushrooms, which, according to legend, is the eternal residence of a young couple.
The land is also magical, the richest in Europe, with hot springs – which gave rise to the Poseidon Gardens. From the top of the Zaro lookout, you can admire all the beauty of Ischia and its sea.
All volcanic islands have a particular fascination and the charm of Stromboli Island is undeniable, to the point that Jules Verne chose to set the conclusion of “Journey to the Center of the Earth”.
We cannot imagine a better choice, as Stromboli is in full swing and every day it erupts, explosive, reminding everyone of the primordial power of the Earth, and every night, thanks to some local organizations, it is possible to watch from the sea the this dazzling spectacle.
The village of Stromboli is a beautiful village made of white houses and bougainvillea, while in Ginostra time seems to have stopped: the electric current reached this area of the island a few years ago and the only means of transport is a mule that moves between a street and another.
A wild island far from the usual tourist routes and therefore precious and with an unaltered charm, an island also somewhat difficult, bitter, which opens only to the most intrepid and adventurous visitors: the jeep and the boat are in fact the means of choice to visit it at its best.
Pantelleria is a volcanic island and, in what was once the crater of the volcano, is one of the attractions to visit absolutely, the Mirror Lake of Venus. This lake is characterized by very blue, low and warm waters, and white, clayey and sulphurous sand, perfect for making compresses that are beneficial to the skin. The Mirror Lake of Venus is the ideal destination during Mistral days, as the wind doesn’t affect its conditions in the least.
From the lake, it is possible to take a good walk to reach Cala Cinque Denti and the Punta Spadillo Lighthouse with Laghetto delle Ondine. To get to other wonderful places to swim like Balata dei Turchi or the Arco dell’Elefante, it’s best to move via sea.
The innermost part of Pantelária is occupied by the National Park where nature is not contaminated and there are no inhabited centers. On the edge of the park there is a unique attraction, the Dry Bath of Benikulà, a real natural sauna inside a cave.
Scauri and Pantelleria are the main cities on the island: Scauri is a charming port city, while Pantelleria has all the chaotic charm of North African cities. It is here that you can taste the delicious typical dishes of the island, from fish couscous to pantheque bacio, a typical Pantelaria sweet.
Finally, the dammusi, typical stone dwellings that are usually immersed in nothing and are ideal for a holiday in total relaxation.
It is said that Chios is the homeland that gave birth to Homer. Whether or not for that reason, the city of Chios is a culturally very lively place. Here there is an important archaeological museum, a Byzantine museum, a cultural center that organizes theatrical performances and one of the most important libraries in all of Greece.
The island also has numerous medieval villages, one prettier than the other, and some natural beauties, such as the Caves of Olympia, which are really impressive.
The most distinguished person born on Samos is Pythagoras, the father of the famous theorem and many of our bad math grades. The ancient Greeks knew the philosophy, symposiums and wines very well and, in fact, Samos is one of the most famous and awarded wines, as well as the pride of the island’s typical products. Psalida beach, with its crystal clear waters, is the perfect place to spend the summer.
We remained in Greece, but we moved away from the Greek tradition to approach the biblical tradition. Patmo is considered a mystical island. It is the island of the Apocalypse: it is exactly here that the last part of the Bible was written, the most mysterious, in the so-called Cave of the Apocalypse, located near the capital Hora and which is open to the public.
To reach the beautiful coves – such as Diakofti, Petra and Psili Ammos – that dot the entire island, it is necessary to have a comfortable and agile means of transport, such as a scooter.
The largest of the Cyclades, thanks to its beautiful and wide beaches, it is the perfect place to practice marine sports of all kinds, but also to relax in uncrowded and difficult-to-reach coves.
It is also the island where, according to tradition, Ariadne was abandoned by Theseus after fleeing with him from Knossos and the Minotaur. In addition to the capital Chora, we recommend a visit to the village of Apiranthos, where all the palaces are made of marble.
The island of Korčula is a particular example in relation to the exploitation of tourism: in fact, it has adopted the philosophy of “health tourism” which combines a millenary tradition with a truly untouched nature, and the presence of curative mud that characterizes various areas of the territory. .
Beautiful beaches, olive groves and vineyards do the rest, making it a truly unmissable Mediterranean destination.
This celestial islet, located between Malta and Gozo, owes its name to kemmuna, the comino, the only plant that can grow in its soil. Comino is surrounded by a uniquely beautiful blue and turquoise sea and the Blue Lagoon is one of the island’s main attractions: it’s a small bay between Comino and Cominotto, where the water is so blue it looks like a swimming pool. It is the ideal destination for those who want to swim in a true paradise on earth but, thanks to its varied marine fauna, it is also perfect for diving lovers.
The beautiful photos that typically portray Paro, with the wall that goes from the crystalline sea until reaching a pile of white houses that stand out in the blue sky and are framed by golden sand, don’t lie. Paro is really beautiful as expected.
It’s not a destination of choice for mass tourism and that’s why you can have fun with beach parties and relax by the sea like no other place.
The white cliffs overlooking the blue sea, together with a pleasant typical lunch in a tavern almost by the sea, are enough to decide to visit Milo. The history that characterizes the island is also right: it was precisely here that the extraordinary Venus de Milo was found by a farmer on an ordinary day in 1892.
The most famous island in the Greek epic, the island of Ulysses who couldn’t (and didn’t) return and poor Penelope who continued to undo her canvas without giving in to Proci’s pressing requests for marriage. The town of Stavros has a statue of the Homeric hero and many archaeological finds, found near the village, seem to support the hypothesis that Odysseus lived in that area.
In addition to all the Homeric places to visit, Ithaca also has countless beautiful beaches for relaxation and sunbathing holidays, as well as culture.
A true locus amoenus, which is also the site of the cave of Calypso, the one that stayed away from the birthplace of Ulysses for seven years after the end of the Trojan War. The cave is located above the magnificent beach of Ramla l- Ħamra, one of the most beautiful on the island and characterized by a very peculiar red sand.
Gozo is so beautiful and relaxing that it has become one of the Mediterranean’s favorite destinations for yoga retreats and workshops.
This little pearl of the Cyclades is ideal for those who want to take a vacation in the name of nature and adventure. In fact, there are many spectacular coves that can only be reached after a few hours of walking in nature: this is the case with the beaches of Livadaki and Agali.
In Policandro, it is possible to taste a very particular Greek specialty, Matsada, which is a dish based on eggless pasta to combine with meatballs prepared with various types of meat and cooked with vegetables.
The beauty of Levanzo is a very ancient beauty witnessed, not only by a crystalline sea like that of Cala Dogana, but also by the presence of archaeological finds, such as the graffiti of the Genovese Cave, with graffiti dating back to the Upper Paleolithic and portraying extinct animals from the Quaternary, but also animals such as tuna, still present in the waters that bathe the island.
We recommend a tour of Levanzo on the back of one of the local donkeys for a truly unforgettable experience.
We conclude this review of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean with Zakynthos, an island so beautiful that the great Ugo Foscolo dedicated a famous sonnet to it. Praia do Nawrágio and Keri Caves are among the most important and popular tourist attractions, while in the southwestern part of the island is the Zakynthos National Marine Park, where the endangered species Caretta caretta still lives.