Cruising for a deal on Mediterranean holidays this summer? Who can blame you. Check out these beautiful beaches, small islands and the best places to visit in the Mediterranean Sea, from Spain to Croatia. We'll see you there for an Aperol spritz. 🍹

Best time to visit the Mediterranean: If you're seeking sunshine, the best time to visit is between May and September. During high season (late June, July, August) temperatures usually hit the 30s, especially if you are in the south of the Mediterranean (Greece, Cyprus or southern Italy, for example). These are also the best spots for winter sun in the Mediterranean.

Best places to visit in the Mediterranean:

  • Malta, Gozo, Comino
  • Kos, Greece
  • Bol, Croatia
  • Oludeniz, Turkey
  • Costa Smeralda, Italy
  • Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • Paphos, Cyprus
  • Many more

1. Mellieha, Malta

This packet of Mediterranean islands (Malta, Gozo, Comino) are surrounded by the clear blue water (it's a top spot for diving!) and they're still relatively undiscovered. Whilst they're mere pocket sized islands, the blue lagoon in Comino and the megalithic ruins in Mnajdra will make you feel like you're discovering a new world.

Where to stay in Malta?

The Radisson Blu is just five minutes from Paul's Bay and Malta's sandiest beach. If you're here for the Game of Thrones filming locations, you should definitely stay in Valletta - the capital of Malta. Thrones fan? Read our full guide to the Game of Thrones filming locations for Malta, Spain and Ireland.

How to get there?

Luqa Airport is Malta's main airport, just seven km out of Valletta. It takes 30 minutes to reach Mellieha from the airport by taxi. Want to explore the island? It's strongly recommended that you rent a car in Malta.

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2. Kos, Greece

The island of Kos is one of Greece's most charming. It has beaches laden with all sorts of fun stuff, like windsurfing on Mastichari Beach, and waterfront bars at Lambi Mylos Beach, as well as quiet sheltered coves you can only get to by boat. Kos Town is very much the heart of the island action and a great place to unwind, but if you're there, make time for historical sights like Asklepieion - an unusual early medical centre dedicated to the Greek god of health. Find 19 more beautiful Greek Islands, with our guide to the best of Greece's archipelago.

Where to stay in Kos Town?

The Peridis Family Resort is a great choice for many reasons: it's in Kos Town, it has three swimming pools and, for families, it even has a free kids’ club.

How to get there?

Kos has its own airport which you can fly to from the UK in under five hours.

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Kos, Greece

3. Bol, Croatia

Bol is one of the little destinations you can get to from Split, in the middle of Croatia's Dalmatian coast. Every summer this area hots up (literally and metaphorically), but Bol remains tranquil compared to Hvar and Split town centre. It's hard not to chill out when you're presented with Zlatni Rat (the Golden Horn), a sliver of yellow sand on the south coast of Bol, perfect for parking your towel on. And hey - if you want the nightlife, there are ferries to Hvar where you can swan between seafront bars, tiny clubs and island parties. Staying in Split? Check out the top things to do on a break in the Diocletian city.

Where to stay in Bol?

Be first to the beach and stay at the hotel on Zlatni Rat. Bol town is five minutes away by car, so when you fancy finding Croatian wine, huge bowls of pasta and following the party, meander on down.

How to get there?

Fly to Split from the UK, as this is the closest port city to Brac. From here, you can catch a ferry that departs for Brac every two hours, between 6am and 6pm.

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4. Oludeniz, Turkey

If you’ve leafed through a brochure for Turkish beach resorts, then the chances are you'll have already seen a photograph of Oludeniz’s starched white sand, most probably on the front cover. You could easily laze away your whole holiday here, although you'd miss all the paragliding - Oludeniz is ideal for first timers looking for a serious thrill. Several companies run tandem glides, including Easy Riders and Pegas Paragliding.

Where to stay in Oludeniz?

Belchehan Deluxe Hotel has a main outdoor swimming pool, as well as a children’s’ pool, for those too relaxed to make the short stroll to that beach.

How to get there?

Lying southwest of Antalya, the closest airport to Oludeniz is Dalaman and from here, you can grab a taxi or hire a car from the airport to make the hour-long journey on to the resort.

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Oludeniz beach

5. Costa Smeralda, Italy

The Italian island of Sardinia is the Mediterranean idyll writ large – all impossibly blue seas and perfect sandy beaches. For couples looking to splash out a bit and do Sardinia in style, the most exclusive part of the island is the Costa Smeralda. Share beaches with the Jet Set Lot, and spy on millionaire super yachts cruising these chic waters. Excellent restaurants abound - well, this is Italy - and top of the bill for a intimate dinner is Da Giovannino with its beautiful harbour setting, surrounded by pink blossoms.

Where to stay in Costa Smeralda?

The Grand Hotel Smeralda Beach boasts its own private beach, a brace of restaurants and watersports to suit everyone from lazy sailing to fast-paced motor boats.

How to get there?

Fly to Olbia - the airport is only a 30-minute drive from the resorts of Costa Smeralda.

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6. Palma de Mallorca, Spain

The quieter Balearic island (to the fiesty older sister Ibiza) has plenty of Mediterranean charm, and it's just four hours from the U.K. Pose with the yacht set in the capital of Palma, checking out the chic shops, shaded plazas and hip little old town bars. Don’t miss the epic Gaudi-designed cathedral and tree-shrouded La Rambla in a city that has many of Spain’s best bits rolled into one pleasingly manageable Mediterranean destination. Find out more about the city with our guide to the best things to do in Palma de Mallorca.

Where to stay in Palma de Mallorca?

The Saratoga is centrally located and comes with an attic swimming pool boasting sweeping views of the city and a restaurant with live jazz nights.

How to get there?

Fly to Majorca's airport and drive or taxi the last eight km of the journey to Palma city.

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7. Paphos, Cyprus

If you love steamy temperatures, the island nation of Cyprus positively sizzles in summer, tipping 33 °C (91 °F) on average during the days - best avoid taking tots in July and August. The whole of Cyprus is a popular Mediterranean holiday spot, but Paphos is generally a good bet as it caters for so many tastes. There are, of course, sandy beaches aplenty, and then there's the spread of historical attractions that have given Paphos its UNESCO World Heritage status, including impressive Roman mosaics and the mysterious Tombs of the Kings. You won't need to search far for a delicious mezze feast and decent Mediterranean nightlife either. Try Otto Diece Music Bar, tucked away down an alley in Paphos Old Town, for live music among characterful surroundings.

Where to stay in Paphos?

The Elysium is the grandest place to stay. This palatial abode overflows with restaurants and swimming pools, with an excellent health spa on hand, too.

How to get there?

The town is a 20-minute drive from Paphos airport and you can fly direct from various UK cities including regional airports like Nottingham East Midlands and Manchester.

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8. Rimini, Italy

Savvy Italians know that the cleanest waters in the Med lie on the eastern coast of their famed geographical boot. The Adriatic Riviera is the place to be, so head for this bustling mainland resort. The beaches are huge manicured affairs, giving way to warm seas and backed by Rimini itself, a city of broad piazzas, Roman temples and the marble Tiberius Bridge. The restaurants are top notch, but because Rimini caters for so many locals, budget fans can also get great street food on the go for under a fiver at cafés like Piada e Cassoni da Ciana e Monda (Via Don Bosco).

Where to stay in Rimini?

The four star Accademia Hotel is well located near the airport and the Arenas Water Park.

How to get there?

Fly to Rimini by way of Federico Fellini International Airport, located three miles from the city centre.

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9. Albufeira, Portugal

Of the multitude of Algarve resorts, Albufeira is the one that tempts families, couples and party animals alike. The old fishing village centre is great for families by day and by night becomes a magnet for couples looking for a candlelit dinner. Then there's the legendary ‘Strip’ with its cheap drink promotions, but Albufeira is a respectful Mediterranean party destination and has crucially set its most rowdy spots away from the centre to keep the noise down. There are some 25 beaches along this coastline, both in the resort centre and outside of the town in both directions. They cater for all tastes here, including - rather unexpectedly - bird-watchers at Praia de Salgados. Head west to this lagoon wetland to spot purple herons, whiskered terns and waxbills, amongst others.

Where to stay in Albufeira?

The Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa offers easy access to town and the beaches. Looking for more beaches in the Mediterranean? Check out Portugal's most beautiful bays.

How to get there?

Faro is the nearest airport to Albufeira and if you have time to make a stop, we've got some top tips for what to see and do in this historic town.

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10. Nice, France

Very much the French Riviera’s main hub, Nice is a city as well as a resort. The pebble beach takes a bit of getting used to for some, but if you must have sand there are plenty of other beaches around the town - try Beaulieu-Sur-Mer, a 25-minute ride on bus 81. This being France, there are lots of high quality restaurants serving excellent food, and because there's lots of competition for your cash, prices are pocket-friendly too - you can get a decent lunch at a Nice café for around £5-£15. Ready to visit? Arm yourself with our guide on the best Nice attractions.

Where to stay in Nice?

For a real treat check into the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais De La Mediterranee, an art deco old dame that very much belongs to the city’s golden age of the 1930s.

How to get there?

You can fly direct to Nice for under £100 from London, Birmingham and Bristol.

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11. Zante (Zakynthos), Greece

Zante, perhaps better known for it's nightlife, has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. Navagio beach will make perfect drone material, and you can find Xigia, Gerakas and Shipwreck beach if you rent your own boat too.

Where to stay in Zante?

The best beaches in Zante are in Vasilikos, and Argassi, located 10 minutes away, is a great place to stay with restaurants and amenities nearby. Windmill Bay Aparthotel is in the perfect spot. If you're here to enjoy the best nightlife in Zante, stay in Laganas - Cheeky Tikis is open till the early hours.

How to get there?

Fortunately Zante has it's own airport. You can reach most major resorts like Laganas, Argassi or Kalamaki in just 15 minutes by cab from the airport.

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Beaches beaches in the Mediterranean

12. Sicily, Italy

If ruins, volcanoes and mountains, topped with pasta, gelato and copious amounts of sunshine sounds like your thing, Sicily is your ticket. Mount Etna is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, and this is one of the best regions for hiking in the Mediterranean. The best time to visit Sicily is in the later seasons too, as it's still warm enough to swim in October and November. The cities of Catania and Palermo offer castles, cathedrals and aperol spritz' aplenty too.

Where to stay in Sicily?

The capital, Palermo, is perfect for city breaks, but if you're looking for a secret Mediterranean destination check out these hillside apartments in Taormina. You're within day tripping distance of Etna, the beaches and Catania.

How to get there?

Fly into Sicily directly. Catania Airport is the closest airport to Mount Etna and Catania.

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Sicily - Med holidays

13. La Manga, Spain

Join Spanish royalty and savvy Spaniards enjoying a break in the Mar Menor, a salty lagoon inlet off the Spanish mainland. La Manga is both a resort on the lagoon and a sinewy sandbar, as well as being famous among golfers too due to the excellent local courses. Due to the high salinity of the local water, floating around is easy for lazy swimmers and families will appreciate the gentle, shallow waters. The Mediterranean Sea lies on the other side of the sandbar. Need more sun and sangria? These are the top 10 beaches in Spain.

Where to stay in La Manga?

Las Gaviotas is in the heart of La Manga within easy reach of both the Mar Menor and the Med.

How to get there?

Fly to Murcia and the centre of La Manga is about a half an hour drive away.

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14. Korcula, Croatia

It says it all that although legendary explorer Marco Polo toured the globe, he chose to return to his native Korcula. This Dalmatian island is a gem, sporting a mini-Dubrovnik in the postcard perfect capital of Korcula Town, but also a collection of top Mediterranean beaches. The island sports its very own wine too, you won’t find the super dry grk anywhere else. Handy, as it goes perfectly with the bountiful local seafood - try the waterside Mimi's Bistro at Tara's Lodge for a rotating menu of fresh fish caught on the day.

Where to stay in Korcula?

The Lesic Dimitri Palace is the best place to bed down on the island, a plush bolthole that reclines in the picturesque historic district of Korcula Town.

How to get there?

Fly to Dubrovnik and take the ferry from Dubrovnik harbour for the scenic 2-hour sea journey to Korcula.

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15. Corsica, France

Affectionately named 'the little mongrel - a French island basking in the Italian sun' by Balzac, there's something to be said for this Mediterranean hybrid off the south coast of France. Corsica is still wonderfully wild compared to other islands in the Mediterranean. The red-rock cliffs of Calanques de Piana and Scandola clash nicely with the azure waters and skies you'll get year round on Corsica. And as Sardinia is just a stone's throw, you could always extend the holiday a little. Got the littl'uns? Here are the best destinations for family holidays.

Where to stay in Corsica?

La Signoria is one of those hotels you have to check off your bucket list. The views of the red rocks and ocean are everywhere you look, and guests rave about the ambiance and service.

How to get there?

Luckily, Corsica has four airports. Sud Corse is in the south, and Bastia is in the north. To reach La Signoria, fly into Bastia, and drive or catch a transfer down to Calvi.

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Take a look at those flights to Croatia, Kos or Corsica today 👇

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