8 BUCKET-LIST WAYS TO EXPLORE THE MEDITERRANEAN
From sailing jaunts through the Greek Islands a la Odysseus to party summers and sunbathing sessions on the Croatian Adriatic, this selection of the top bucket-list ways to experience the most beautiful parts of the Mediterranean is essential reading for any wanderlusters in 2017!
Sail the Adriatic Sea
We at LBW have been dousing down the decks, hoisting the mainsail and raising anchor with our very own 40-person yachts in this wonderful corner of the Mediterranean for years. Our experiences of crossing the waves of the Adriatic, hopping from sun-kissed island to sun-kissed island, ancient town to ancient town, have left us in absolutely no doubt that it's one of the true bucket-list ways to travel. Why? Well, because the YachtLife (as we like to call it) is a way to seize the moment and enjoy the simple things. You'll spend days sunbathing in the July heat. You'll party the evenings away with cold Balkan beers on the main deck. You'll swim in empty coves where no other travellers can be seen. You'll wonder at Diocletian's Palace, sip champagne cocktails on the promenade of Split, gawp at the great Dinaric Alps – the list goes on and on and on!
Drive the Amalfi Coast
Anyone who's navigated the winding hairpin bends and soaring clifftop roadways of the Amalfi Coast will tell you that the legendary reputation this small corner of southern Italy commands is well deserved. Tagged by UNESCO for its wild beauties and breathtaking natural vistas, the whole section of road runs for just 50 kilometers in total. It goes from the pastel-painted town of Sorrento in the west, where sweeping panoramas of Mount Vesuvius and Naples dominate, to the charming Campanian city of Salerno in the east. Along the way, you'll get to explore cascading vineyards, the mysterious 13th-century churches of Ravello, the hidden coves of Furore, and the legendary beachfronts of uber-romantic Positano.
Island hop through Greece
Whether you opt for the pine-dotted peaks and white-pebble beaches of the Ionian Islands in the west or the temple-spotted climes of the sultry Aegean Islands in the east, you're bound to find some real bucket-list adventures between the Greek seas. The LBW family offer some awesome yacht trips through the region, taking in islands like Kos and Santorini, where whitewashed cubist towns cascade down the rugged ridges of an ancient volcano. Mykonos is another highlight – a place laden with Venetian-style promenades and creaking windmills, gorgeous beachfronts and some seriously wild nightlife spots. Yep, island hopping through Greece promises a fine balance between sun, sea, sand, history, culture and partying.
Boat along the Turquoise Coast
Turkey's answer to the impossibly-gorgeous Greek Islands comes in the form of the so-called Turquoise Coast. This long and winding stretch of coastline ranges from Cesme in the north to Antalya in the south, covering hundreds of miles of mountain-backed shores. At its most popular section, towns like Bodrum spring up from the glistening Med, offering strips of bars and cool cocktail joints where A-listers meet backpackers at the shot-doused tables. There are also countless hidden coves and inlets all over the place, where the pebbly beaches are totally empty and the seas super inviting. Over the years, we've found these great spots to moor up and have a penguin party or two as we cruise from town to town on our YachtLife Med trips.
Across the French Riviera
Perhaps there's no section of Europe's Mediterranean coast that's quite as famous as the French Riviera. Peppered with cities like Cannes (that's one for the film buffs) and Saint Tropez (for the celeb spotters), it's where the mighty ranges of the Alps crash into the deep blues of the sea. The result is a medley of handsome coastal stretches, where famous walks like the Promenade des Anglais in Nice sit above great horseshoes of golden sand. Other jewels lie out between the swells too, like the eucalyptus-scented island of Porquerolles, which has been hailed as the most gorgeous beach destination in all of France. Mhmm…the Riviera is a bucket-list place to travel if there ever was one!
Travel the Costa del Sol
A long S-bend of coastline that weaves and winds its way towards Portugal from the Spanish city of Malaga, the Costa del Sol has gained something of a rep for its multitude of party spots for Brits abroad. Now that's great news if you love 18-30s blowouts of beer-fueled techno dancing, but what's there here if you're searching for something a tad more cerebral? Well, there are the glistening Pueblo Blanco towns of Andalusia: whitewashed villages that can be found nestled deep between the rugged sierras of the Estrela and Grazalema ranges. Then there's the food: a smorgasbord of salty Iberian hams and bubbling paella. And then – of course – there are the beaches, which come in powdery white at Adlefa and backed by groves of cacti at El Saladillo.
Crete from east to west
Crete is an island that can sum up so many aspects of the Mediterranean, which is precisely why traveling the long, thin isle from east to west is a great way to get a feel for the region as a whole. You could start with the thumping summer clubs and al fresco bars of Malia, before delving into the pre-historic ruins of Knossos and the fantastic Minoan museums of Heraklion. From there, the vast peaks of the White Mountains beckon on the horizon, giving way to rustic fishing towns and the enchanting warren of Venetian lanes and ruins that is Chania.
Island life in Dalmatia
For a taste of the sunny Mediterranean, where the cultures of Italy fuse with the character of the Balkan Peninsula, there's arguably no better place to go than the islands of Dalmatia. Famed for their rugged beauty and old Byzantine-style towns, these places rise from the sea in a series of hulking mountains and rocky peninsulas. They pepper the ocean just off the coast from cities like Split and Zadar, which makes them easy to get to by boat. And that's precisely what we at LBW have been doing for years: skimming across the Adriatic to discover hidden gems like Kozima (think rustic fishing towns and beaches that are only known to the locals) or Vis (a onetime military base where the forts are now pulsing cocktail bars overlooking the water).
Are you a veteran traveler of the Mediterranean region? Can you think of any more bucket-list ways to see and discover the secrets of this European gem? If so, we'd love to hear about it in the comments below. Or, if you think it's time you took to the seas on an acclaimed LBW YachtLife trip, be sure to head over to our sailing itinerary page – quick though, places are going fast!