The Mediterranean islands around Italy, Cyprus, Greece, and Spain boast soft-sand beaches, bright sunshine, chic beach resorts, historic sites, and hidden coves—attracting adventure-lovers and sun-seekers in equal measure. Whether for sunset partying or seaside relaxation, here are a few of the Mediterranean’s best islands.
The biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is perhaps most famous as the home of mighty Mt. Etna—an active volcano. The island also boasts UNESCO World Heritage–listed sites including the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valle dei Templi, and the Villa Romana del Casale.
There are signs of civilization on Sardinia dating back to the Byzantine era, and the island offers plenty to history-hunters. But it’s also great for hikers and trekkers, with parks and reserves including the Asinara National Park and the Gennargentu National Park to explore.
With rich culture, remote peaks, rocky coves, and warm seas, Mallorca is a stunning and deservedly popular tourist hotspot. Historic highlights include Bellver Castle, the 13th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, and the subterranean Caves of Drach.
Ibiza ranks among the most popular of Spain’s party islands and attracts bass-loving revelers from across the world to its famous super-clubs. But away from the bright, neon lights, a world of outdoor adventure awaits. Cycle along sweeping coastal roads, explore the shoreline by sightseeing boat, or enjoy diverse watersports like sailing and windsurfing.
The largest and busiest of all of Greece’s islands, Crete boasts a history dating back as far as the Minoan civilization—further than anywhere else in Europe. Admire top attractions including Koules Fortress and the Palace of Knossos, hike rugged trails through Samaria Gorge, or relax and soak up the sunshine on beautiful Marathi beach.
Corfu, one of Greece’s Ionian Islands, beckons tourists to its clear waters and beautiful beaches. Olive groves and vineyards line the rolling hillsides, and you’ll find architectural relics dating back to antiquity dotting the rugged landscape.
A popular honeymoon destination, the Greek island of Santorini offers white-sand beaches, soaring cliffs, and crystal-clear waters. Destination highlights include the funicular ride to the cliff tops and the historic town of Oia, the steaming volcano caldera, and the Cretan hot springs—where you can bathe in the soothing waters.
The island country of Cyprus is famous for its bays and beaches, but step off the sand to explore a little further, and you’ll discover an island of rich culture, colourful history, and spectacular scenery. Admire preserved ruins from the Ottoman, Roman, and Venetian eras; sample local delicacies such as haloumi—an unripened, brined cheese; and embrace the great outdoors on scub