When you think of going to the Mediterranean for a holiday, you probably think of the Amalfi Coast, the Costa Del Sol and the French Riviera. All nice destinations, for sure.
But, then you think of the crowds. And the high prices. And sometimes the food is even very mediocre and not the typical Mediterranean cuisine you were expecting.
If this is you, then you will love to know that there are endless possibilities to explore the Mediterranean and still beat the crowds. You’ll have plenty of beach activities to enjoy, great food and reasonable prices when you get off the beaten tourist path.
Whether you plan to fly, drive or even rent a boat from 12 Knots, then you should read on for all the recommendations.
1. Aeolian Islands, Italy
Sicily is the biggest island in the Mediterranean and off of that island lie many more smaller ones.
In Eastern Sicily there is a group of islands called the Aeolian Islands after the Greek god of wind.
The main island of Lipari is where all the action is and where the best restaurants, cafes and gelato can be found. Outside the town you’ll find a wild island where goats roam freely and there are black beaches from sand from the lava of the many volcanoes of the area.
In fact, the island of Stromboli is an island that is an active volcano and has been erupting uninterrupted for years. At night you can see the glow of the lava as it spews from the crater.
Read more: Best beaches in Europe for swimming
2. Grado, Italy
Everybody knows Venice and it’s Grand Canal. So much so that it is impossible to get away from the crowds there.
What many people don’t know is that just a few miles from there is another, smaller Venice-like town called Grado. Like Venice it was built on an island in a lagoon to get away from Barbarians.
It only has one main canal going through the town and cars are allowed to drive there, but the look and feel is very much like Venice. Without the crowds and without the high prices.
3. Tarifa, Spain
At the very bottom of Spain lies Tarifa. Where most tourists stop well before this town by the sea, you will have the place to yourself. That is except when the winds are blowing and the windsurfers come to town.
This time of year may be crowded but it is definitely worth being there for if you are somebody into water sports. Because of the type of tourists it draws, it has a very laid back and less commercial feel to it than its northern neighbors in the Costa del Sol.
4. Evia, Greece
Stay away from Santorini if you want to avoid the crowds. Instead, if you have a Grecian yearning, head to Evia. It has centuries of history and is like an open air museum. And many of the sites are barely touristed at all.
This sleepy island has many small villages where you can while away a day by people watching and drinking some ouzo. And without wrecking your wallet.