The Mediterranean has more notable sites than one can see in a lifetime. The area, which for thousands of years has benefitted richly from international trade, mingling of cultures and migration. It’s home to an incredible array of beautiful artifacts, museums, festivals and modern architecture.
The Mediterranean is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world. A lot of people like going to the region with a cruise line because it helps them see multiple stops with minimal planning. Whether you’re planning on a cruise or self-directed travel, the Mediterranean is full of wonderful attractions that will leave an impression. The memories of crystal blue oceans, picturesque beaches, along with the food, the music and the dancing will last forever. Here are some of the top places to visit on a beautiful Mediterranean vacation.
Italy’s Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast along Italy’s shores is one of the most striking regions of the world. Wedged between the sea on one side, and steep cliffs on the other, are several quintessential Italian towns and villages. The people here have built a life living off the sea, and now tourism. Rent a car and spend days driving along the coast. Around every corner is a new town with intimate restaurants and great breezy walks around shipping docks. Cinque Terre, perhaps the most famous Amalfi town, is a bit touristy, but for good reason, according to www.Lyhpa.com. While there, take a hike from the town up the hill to get a bird’s eye view. After the hike, you’ve earned some gelato from one of the several artisan shops in town. If you’re lucky, you’ll hear some local music and watch the sunset on the horizon.
Malta’s a small island on the Mediterranean Sea, and visitors can really dive into the local culture and scenery there because of its size. It’s the tenth smallest country in the world with a surface area of just around 120 square miles. American visitors will be delighted that English is widely spoken there and it’s easy to get around. Malta’s got world class beaches, well landscaped parks and gardens, and enjoyable water taxis.
St. Paul’s cathedral is one of Malta’s most recognized historical sites. It’s located in Mdina, and was designed by Lorenzo Gafa, a local architect. The building is very ornate; it’s got large artisan marble columns inside with gilded work around them. The interior is also known for its famous works by Mattia Preti, a well-known Maltese painter. You can discover more about the pristine white Carrara marble that was used extensively in the cathedral. The high alter was built with lapis lazuli and other rare marbles. There cathedral houses several chapels, each with some exquisite work in silver, marble and other materials. One of the most famous is the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. At the center of the chapel sits a mural of the Madonna and Christ surrounded by silver carvings and marble tilework.
For Americans, Greece has almost become synonymous with the whitewashed buildings in Santorini. Santorini is widely recognized as one of the top romantic destinations in the area. The island is shaped like a horseshoe, so from several points travelers can take in the island as well as the beautiful waters surrounding it. The white buildings are a photographer’s dream. They practically shine and contrast sharply with the dark rock they sit on. Santorini also has one of the top hikes in the Mediterranean. There’s a six-mile hike from Oia to Fira that offers fantastic views. During downtime, chow down on some seafood like the local specialty octopus, and drink some of the local wines. It’s a great destination for couples or families looking to get away from the buys pace of life and relax around great food and natural beauty.
Barcelona ranks high on any international traveler’s wish list. Visitors to the Mediterranean are lucky it’s in striking distance for them. It’s a must-see city for a number of reasons. Barcelona is home to some of the finest restaurants in the world and has enough great retail choices for any shopper’s budget. The city is located on Spain’s Costa Brava, and the coast is close enough for a morning jog or evening stroll after a day walking around the city streets. The famous architect Antoni Gaudi had an impressive impact on the city. His buildings dot the cityscape, and the Sagrada Familia is perhaps his most famous work. Parts of Barcelona date back to medieval times, so there’s plenty of history to see, and visitors can see some of the most well-known art in the world at the Picasso Museum.
For travelers looking for something a bit off the beaten path, take some time out to visit the Cementiri de Montjuic. The necropolis was built in 1880 next to a heavily trafficked road. There are generational tombs stacked five or six levels up.