Travel

5 Most Beautiful Mediterranean Islands

Words don’t do justice to the majesty of these enchanting enclaves with the Mediterranean lapping at their shores.

Crete

Greece’s largest isle dazzles with its geographical diversity—stretches of palm-backed sand, abundant orchards, rolling hills, vertiginous peaks, and mysterious grottoes. Fans of Greek mythology should trek to Ideon Cave, the birthplace of Zeus. And history buffs should not miss touring Knossos, which as the seat of the Minoan Civilization is known as “Europe’s oldest city,” and it is a Bronze Age Archeological site. The first settlement is thought to have been built there in 7000 B.C. All that activity is bound to work up an appetite. Refuel with meat, cheese, olive oil, and seafood at one of the many tavernas that dot the island.

Rhodes

Whether you’re pursuing solitude or epic adventure, Rhodes is the perfect escape. Soak up the Mediterranean sun on the golden shores, dotted with resorts, restaurants, and bars. For a hit of Grecian history, head to the Mandraki Port, Lindos Acropolis, and Ancient Kamiros. Another highlight is Petaloúdes, a 600-acre park with tree-shaded trails and colourful butterflies. Sadly, the Collosus of Rhodes, a statue of Helios, the Greek titan-god of the sun and one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, no longer stands. But you can still visit the spot at the entrance to the Mandraki Harbor where the Statue of Liberty-size statue was said to have been erected in 292 B.C.

Capri

Capri, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples in Italy, is a revered for its lyrical landscape and sophisticated scene. Spellbinding natural sites like the luminous Blue Grotto, Faraglioni Cave, and Arco Naturale are just the beginning… it also tempts luxury-oriented travellers with its upmarket lodgings (nab a suite with an ocean-view terrace at Grand Hotel Quisisana), posh shops, attractive piazzas, and mega yachts.

Menorca

Want to slow down and unwind? Spain’s Menorca lures relaxation-seekers with its enchanting beauty, archaeological treasures, and laid-back vibe. This is a place to enjoy the simple pleasures. Slather on SPF and settle in for an afternoon of lounging on the white sand and swimming in the shallow, turquoise waters of Cala Turqueta. Savor locals flavours at Subaida. Opt for a guided tour of the Georgian-style estate and dairy farm and taste traditional Mahón, cured cow’s milk cheese that’s aged for six months.

Sicily

Busting cities, quaint villages, pristine beaches, and rich heritage—Sicily, Italy, the largest of Mediterranean islands, has it all. The capital, Palermo, is home to compelling architecture such as Cappella Palatina. An hour train ride southeast is the vibrant coastal community of Cefalu. On the east side of Sicily, between the cities of Messina and Catania lies Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe.

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