The Mediterranean is the largest sea surrounded by land in the world and is home to some of the most famous and beautiful islands anywhere on Earth. The whole place, right from Gibraltar to Cyprus, has a chemistry about it that makes it just about the perfect place to take a holiday and have a wild time.
With so much variation, there is no single best island in the area. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, based on different criteria. Here are the best islands in the Med, ranked by category.
Best Island For Beaches – Formentera
Formentera is a tiny island to the south of Ibiza, a long way away from the drunkenness and vulgar crowds. Here instead, you’re treated to a perfectly blue sea and white sand beaches that stretch around nearly the entire coast of the island.
One of the biggest and best-known beaches on the island is the Migjorn beach, a beach that curves around the southwest flank facing Africa. In the summer it can get busy, so the best time to show up is early on, before the crowds arrive. Formentera is also a great place to go cycling if you want to leave the beach behind for a few hours.
Best For Water Sports – Lefkada
Lefkada has it all when it comes to sailing and watersports: large bays, consistently strong winds all year round, and beautiful white cliffs. It’s the perfect place to experiment and try out new sports, like paddleboarding. The seas can also be dangerous, which is why people should invest in personal floatation devices or PFD for paddle boarding.
The island isn’t just famous for its watersports or large harbor, however. It’s also surrounded by great resorts, fine white beaches and sheer cliffs that are typical of the Ionian coastline. If you want to see the landscape at its most dramatic, head over to Egremni or Porto Katsiki.
Best Place For Peace And Quiet – Vis
The Mediterranean isn’t exactly known for its peace and quiet. After all, Ibiza and Mallorca are famous for their tourist populations and party atmosphere. The region, however, is also dotted in quiet retreats.
There’s a reason you haven’t heard of Vis. For many years during the era of the Iron Curtain, the island was closed to Westerners and was a Yugoslav naval base. Between 1944 and 1989 it remained practically unspoiled, having received practically no tourists or any settlers.
Today the island is very much alive, and well and the tumbledown stone cottages that were built before the Soviet era are being renovated. Most people haven’t heard of the island or the ferry that sails twice daily from Croatia bringing tourists and supplies to the island’s shops. If you’re looking for a back-to-nature escape, this is the island for you.
Best For Value – Malta
Malta is famous for the fact that it gets more than 300 days of sunshine per year, more than practically any other island in the Mediterranean. For this reason, it’s widely considered to be one of the best value places to go, since you’re almost guaranteed sunshine. Accommodation is cheap too, and so is the food, thanks to depressed local prices.