It seems as though islands have always had a special allure to travelers. The seclusion, the separateness, the coastline always within walking distance - whatever the reason, islands have always been a favorite vacation option. The tricky part is deciding what kind of island experience you’re looking for.
While many flock to the Caribbean or the Philippines for some island action, we're pretty fond of the over 1,400 islands scattered throughout the Mediterranean. These patches of land have perfected the island experience in pretty much every category. Whether you’re looking for luxurious hideaways, the best beaches, a family-friendly vacation, high culture, wild adventure, or budget options, the Mediterranean has it all.
Before you get overwhelmed, we've done all the legwork for you. Here's our take on the top islands to visit in the Mediterranean!
For VIPs - Capri, Italy
Starting off our list is the fabled and charming island of Capri, Italy. About an hour off the coast of the Italian mainland, Capri makes a perfect getaway for vacationing VIPs. This island offers dramatic coastlines, quaint and classically Italian towns, and rich history found in the countless Roman archaeological sites. Beyond its cultural attractions, Capri offers an exquisite dining experience and particularly good shopping with its many boutiques. High-end vacationers will love the secluded hotels and the private yacht boatyard, while budgeting travelers will still find a great deal to explore, like the mystical Blue Grotto and Monte Solaro.
For Water Sports - Lefkada, Greece
If it’s water adventures you're looking for, head straight for Lefkada. Known for its large bays and strong winds, this spot is a perfect location to go kitesurfing or windsurfing. Lefkada is also famous for its beaches backed by huge white cliffs and bordered by crystal blue waters. Did somebody say Insta-worthy? Lefkada is easier to access than many other islands as its connected to the mainland via a causeway. That means you can skip the ferry fees and drive in for the day.
For Culture - Sicily, Italy
If you are on a mission to immerse yourself in an all-encompassing cultural experience, Sicily is the place for you. Here you will find a massive range of historical sites from Phoenician to Roman to Greek to Carthaginian to Elymian (who?) civilizations. This cultural crossroads stands as a reminder of the incredible bygone empires that once thrived here. As the largest Mediterranean island, Sicily has an incredibly diverse landscape - from turquoise bay beaches to stunning mountains, there's a lot to do here for the varied traveler.
For Parties - Mykonos
Who’s ready to party? Mykonos has a rhythm that just won’t stop. The nightlife and bar scene has seen exponential growth over the last several years and has developed quite the reputation. Travelers fly in from all over the world to get a taste of the Mykonos nightlife and it keeps them coming back for more. Designate a day or two after your party antics to recover on the tranquil beaches. Nothing says Mediterranean like returning home with a nice tan.
For Beaches - Formentera, Spain
Speaking of beaches, Formentera is world-famous for theirs! Just south of Ibiza, this Balearic island features almost completely transparent waters and talcum sand beaches that will make you swoon. A-listers have been exploring Formentera for years, and now it's your turn. Break out your snorkeling gear and explore the hidden coves along the shores. And when you get hungry, some of the freshest fish can be bought here at the numerous markets you can find along the beaches.
For a Little Bit of Everything - Sardinia, Italy
Sardinia is a very different island. Yes, it features stunning white sand beaches and charismatic Italian villages. But like its neighbor Sicily, this island is a land of idiosyncrasies. Hike the Gennargentu mountains one day before mingling with celebrities on the glitzy Costa Smeralda or exploring ancient Roman ruins. Sip fine wine grown on the island's vineyards paired with local goat cheese. You won't be disappointed with any of part of this unique island.
For Bargains - Malta
For those of you looking to get the most bang for your buck, Malta is the island for you! This destination offers just as much culture, beaches, and overall Mediterranean divinity as the others, but at what seems like a bargain rate! Inexpensive accommodations, a dining scene that feels like they are donating it to you, and ridiculously cheap transportation mean you can live in style here. Plus the people are some of the friendliest in Europe, and you'll feel welcomed every time you step out onto the street.
For Instagram - Santorini, Greece
By far the most talked about and most Instagrammed island of the Mediterranean is Santorini. Santorini stands out as the superstar of the Greek islands and for good reason. From the beautiful caldera cliffs spilling into the deep blue sea, to the sunsets that can make a grown man weep, to the endless wineries in the valley, Santorini holds the top spot of everyone’s bucket list.
Not convinced? Check out our Santorini Edition for more!
For Hiking - Corsica, France
Not only does Corsica boast dreamy coastal villages and glittery beaches, but it also has a diverse and rugged terrain that's perfect for the outdoor enthusiast. Whether you want mountain views, sea views, or valley views, Corsica has over 200 trails for every terrain. And if you're a true pro, you might be tempted by GR 20, a long distance trail that is considered one of the toughest hikes in Europe.
For Families - Naxos, Greece
With miles of sandy beaches and tranquil waves, Naxos is great for family travel. The well-priced hotels offer plenty of accomodations, and because it's one of the lesser-known islands it never feels too crowded. With plenty of activities like paddle boarding and horseback riding, there's plenty to keep kids occupied while parents get in some relaxation time.