Best Mediterranean cities you need to visit at least once

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Anyone who has been to the Mediterranean will tell you that it is one of the best regions in Europe. France, Italy, Spain and Greece are high on the bucket lists of many of us. However, this area consists of 22 countries. We have picked 17 gorgeous Mediterranean cities and destinations you need to see at least once in your lifetime. It could be a perfect idea to visit these Mediterranean cities for a romantic weekend or summer holiday, or you can just put them on your bucket list.

famous Mediterranean destinations in Europe

You are quite right to think that it is not hard to find a reason to fall in love with the Mediterranean. It is because it has a beautiful sea, sandy beaches and also many world-famous cities.

 

FUN FACT:

Did you know the Mediterranean coastline has about 46,000 km (28,600 miles)?

 

The most famous Mediterranean cities in Europe

 

1. Athens

Mediterranean cities: Athens is one of the best Mediterranean cities because it is Europe’s oldest capital and one of the oldest cities in the world. Moreover, this city has 3,300 years old landmarks that draw millions of visitors. The Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Temple of Olympian Zeus are some of the most famous ruins in the world.

Let us tell you why Athens should be on your travel bucket list if you want to visit the best Mediterranean cities. First things first – Athens is Europe’s oldest capital and one of the oldest cities in the world. The origins of Athens go back thousands of years. In the first millennium BC, this city became the leading city of Ancient Greece.

Athens has a rich cultural and historical past. It is the birthplace of democracy – the idea of voting and freedom started in this city. But there is more to the Greek capital than that.

Athens is like a living museum – its ancient ruins will blow your mind. This city has 3,300 years old landmarks that draw millions of visitors. The Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Temple of Olympian Zeus are some of the most famous ruins in the world.

After you explore its impressive museums, prepare your taste buds for a delicious Greek dinner with views of the Acropolis. Do not forget to explore Plaka and also Monastiraki – these two neighbourhoods in Athens have perfect restaurants and bars.

 

2. Barcelona

Mediterranean cities: Barcelona is one of the most visited Mediterranean cities because it has a rich history, unusual architecture, and beautiful beaches. Moreover, Antoni Gaudi is responsible for the Sagrada Familia, the famous Park Guell and other Works of Antoni Gaudi, which are UNESCO sites.

One of the first destinations that come to mind when thinking of Mediterranean cities is Barcelona. Let us tell you why this cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region should be at the top of your travel wish list. Where else can you practise your flamenco moves, see the surrealist architecture and enjoy the day on the beach?

You are quite right to think that Barcelona is a playground of architectural wonders. Antoni Gaudi is responsible for the mind-boggling Sagrada Familia and the famous Park Güell. But wait, there is more! There are other Works of Antoni Gaudi located in Barcelona, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most famous ones are Casa Batlló and Casa Mila – make sure you do not miss them.

Also, do not forget to explore the Gothic Old Town, where you can find Barcelona Cathedral. If you want to soak up the sun or play beach volleyball, head to beaches – they are hotter than Flamenco dancers. In the evening, visit cool bars and dance clubs in Plaça Reial. Barcelona knows how to party. It also knows how to feast – and we are not talking about light snacks. This city on the Costa Brava is a food lover’s paradise – try tapas, paella and churros to satisfy your taste buds’ wildest fantasies.

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3. Venice

Mediterranean destinations - Venice

If you plan to visit the best Mediterranean cities, you cannot miss Venice. This watery wonderland in northern Italy is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world, built on more than 100 small islands in the lagoon. It has 150 gondola-filled canals, striking architecture and beautiful bridges. Forget about cars and taxis – take an evening gondola cruise along the Grand Canal and enjoy different views of this gorgeous city.

Mediterranean cities: If you plan to visit the best Mediterranean cities, you cannot miss Venice because it is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world, and the whole city is a UNESCO site.

Piazza San Marco is the main tourist hotspot, where you can find St. Mark’s Basilica with its beautiful mosaics and the Doge’s Palace. Also, visit the Campanile bell tower, which offers some of the best views in the city. The highlights are also the Bridge of Sighs, the Rialto Bridge and the colourful island of Burano. And gelato? It is practically mandatory to have a gelato in your hand while strolling the streets.

But here is the kicker – Venice is sinking! Yep, you read that right. So don’t waste any time and experience this magical city before it turns into the lost city of Atlantis. So pack your bags, your camera and get ready to explore this floating city.

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4. Dubrovnik

Mediterranean destinations: Dubrovnik is one of the best Mediterranean destinations because this UNESCO-listed city will make you feel like you have stepped into Game of Thrones episodes. What's more, Dubrovnik is rich in history. It is also a popular summer destination for beach lovers.

Let us paint a picture of why Dubrovnik is one of the best Mediterranean destinations. Maybe you do not know, but Dubrovnik in Croatia is not your average destination. This gorgeous UNESCO-listed city will make you feel like you have stepped into Game of Thrones episodes (minus the dragons, unfortunately). But hold on, it is not all knights and castles – Croatia’s capital offers much more.

Mediterranean cities - Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik lies on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Its massive stone walls from the 16th century encircle its Old Town. Walk along the city’s walls, and find the baroque St. Blaise Church, fortresses and Rector’s Palace. Dubrovnik is a maze of cobblestone streets and is a haven for history buffs. But let’s not forget about those pebble beaches. They are an ideal place to relax and soak up the sun. The Clifftop Buža Bar is a perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail(s) during sunset. Just prepare for the crowds during the summer months.

And the food? Croatian mouthwatering delicacies know how to spoil your taste buds too! So pack your bags, and start planning your escape to Dubrovnik.

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5. Rome

Mediterranean cities Put Rome on your list of the best Mediterranean cities because the capital of Italy is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Rome has thousands of years of history, is a living museum, and you will feel like you are in a time machine. No wonder UNESCO added this Italian city to its precious list.

If you love all things Roman, put Rome on your list of the best Mediterranean cities. The capital of Italy is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and for good reasons. The eternal city of pasta and pizza is gorgeous and has thousands of years of history. Rome is a living museum, and you will feel like you are in a time machine. No wonder UNESCO added Rome to its precious list.

Mediterranean destinations: Rome in Italy is one of the best Mediterranean destinations because it is the only city in the world that is home to a country. Because of that, you can visit two countries in half an hour.

If it is your first time here, walk in the footsteps of emperors at the Roman Forum. Visit the Palatine Hill and the 2000 years old Colosseum, where gladiators fought real lions. The highlights are also the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon – its dome remains the single largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. And let’s not forget about the Vatican. This city-state is home to the Pope and iconic art and architecture.

FUN FACT:

Rome in Italy is one of the best Mediterranean destinations because it is the only city in the world that is home to a country. Because of that, you can visit two countries in half an hour.

 

Did we mention the piazzas? Rome’s squares are not only beautiful, but also ideal for people-watching while enjoying a delicious cappuccino. And the food? Mama mia! Head to the colourful Trastevere neighbourhood for a plate of authentic carbonara and say “delizioso” with every bite.

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6. Malaga

Mediterranean cities: Malaga is one of the best Mediterranean cities because this Spanish coastal city is one of the oldest cities in Europe. What's more, Malaga has beautiful beaches and a rich past because it spent some time under Moorish rule. It has numerous museums, galleries and is also the birthplace of Pablo Picasso.

Malaga is also one of the Mediterranean cities you need to experience dear traveller – here is why.

 

Alright amigo, let me tell you why Malaga is one of the best Mediterranean destinations. Maybe you do not know, but this Spanish coastal city is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Malaga has a rich past because it spent some time under Moorish rule. Attractions such as Alcazaba or the Gibralfaro Castle come from this time. Also, do not forget to visit the rooftop of Malaga Cathedral. It offers stunning views of the city.

Mediterranean cities: Malaga is one of the most visited coastal cities in Andalusia because it is famous for its beautiful beaches and sunny days. Because of that, Malaga is one of the best Mediterranean cities.

Malaga has numerous museums and galleries. It is also the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. But let’s not forget about beaches that stretch for miles. Malaga is one of the most visited coastal cities in Andalusia, with a warm breeze and sunny skies. Say adios to your umbrella because rain is not common in this city. Malaga is also a go-to destination for flamenco, and do not even get us started about the food. So, pack your sunglasses and bikini and start planning your next adventure in this city.

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The best Mediterranean destinations for beaches

 

7. Naples one of the best Mediterranean cities

Mediterranean cities: It is easy to see why Naples in Italy is one of the best Mediterranean cities. Naples is the birthplace of pizza, and the historic centre of Naples is UNESCO Site. Moreover, Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius are fantastic day trips from Naples, and coastal hotspots like Positano, Ravello or Sorento are only a short drive away.

It is easy to see why Naples in Italy is one of the best Mediterranean cities. Naples is the birthplace of pizza, and you haven’t truly lived until you tasted an authentic slice of this cheesy masterpiece. Trust us, once you sink your teeth into one slice, you will never look at your regular takeaway pizza the same way again.

But the third largest city in Italy and the capital of the Campania region is not only about pizza. Start exploring the historic centre of Naples (a UNESCO Site). This part of the town is a labyrinth of narrow streets filled with churches, markets and gelato shops.

FUN FACT:

Did you know that Naples is home to more than 450 churches? Some of them are tiny chapels, but others are large buildings.

 

And let’s not forget about the mysterious underworld of Naples. Maybe you do not know, but beneath the bustling streets of this city lies a labyrinth. The locals call in Naples Underground, and you can explore its catacombs on a tour.

Now, onto beaches! If you stay longer, you can go to the Amalfi coast. It is famous for coastal hotspots like Positano, Ravello or charming Sorento. Alternatively, Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius are fantastic day trips from Naples. If you prefer sunbathing and people-watching, take a ferry to Capri Island. Here you can experience la dolce vita like never before.

 

8. Saint Tropez

Mediterranean destinations: Even though St Tropez is small, this coastal town in the Province region is one of the most famous Mediterranean destinations in the world. It is because Saint Tropez is the playground of the rich and famous and has some of the best beaches in Europe.

Forget those cliché tourist traps, Saint Tropez on the French Riviera is the real deal. Even though it is small, this coastal town in the Provence region is one of the most famous Mediterranean destinations in the world. It is because Saint Tropez is the playground of the rich and famous.

As you probably know, St Tropez is famous for its beaches. They are some of the most stunning stretches of sand in the world. Pampelonne Beach and the Plage de Tahiti are just a few places where bronzed bodies relax under the Mediterranean sun.

But Saint Tropez is not just a beach destination, it is a cultural hotspot too. This glamorous destination has got that undeniable French charm. You can stroll through its charming streets, sipping café au lait and feeling like you are in a movie set. Visit vibrant boutiques, art galleries and also the citadel on the hill, which offers fantastic views.

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9. Mykonos Island

Mediterranean destinations: You are right to think that Mykonos is one of the most beautiful Mediterranean destinations because it is one of the most visited Greek islands. Mykonos has gorgeous beaches, and its iconic windmills and houses in Little Venice are the reasons why tourists flock here.

If Mykonos is calling your name, you should better answer that call! This pretty island in the Cyclades is, in fact, one of the most beautiful Mediterranean destinations. It is also one of the most visited Greek islands.

However, you should know Mykonos is the party animal of the Med and Instagrammer’s playground. Its beaches with sunbeds are like a postcard come to life, and its waters are gorgeous. Beaches such as Paradise and Super Paradise are famous for clubs and beach parties that go until the crack of dawn.

Mediterranean destinations: If Mykonos is calling your name, you should better answer that call! This pretty island in the Cyclades is, in fact, one of the most beautiful Mediterranean destinations. It is also one of the most visited island in Greece.

But there is also the other side of Mykonos. Mykonos Chora, with white-washed buildings and bougainvillaea trees, is well worth a visit. This traditional Cycladic village with small white churches and colourful windows offers perfect photo opportunities. The iconic windmills of Mykonos overlooking the town and former fishermen’s houses in Little Venice have become synonymous with the island’s identity.

So, pack your dancing shoes, a sunscreen a prepare your taste buds for feta cheese and Souvlaki. Your belly will be singing with every bite.

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10. Nice 

Mediterranean cities: Nice is one most famous Mediterranean cities on the French Riviera because it is one of the favourite hotspots in Europe. What's more, Nice is the largest city on the French Riviera. It has gorgeous pebble beaches, a charming old town and numerous museums.

If there is one more place you should visit, it is Nice in France. Nice is one of the favourite hotspots in Europe and one most famous Mediterranean cities on the French Riviera. Hold on to your beret and practice your best “Bonjour”, because Nice is calling your name and is not taking no for an answer!

First things first, Nice is the most famous of its gorgeous pebble beaches. No matter which beach you choose, you can expect beautiful views of the azure sea. The seaside Promenade des Anglais and viewpoints atop Castle Hill offer Instagram-worthy shots you do not want to miss. But that is not all – the charming Old Town has narrow streets with cafes and quirky shops. There are also vibrant markets like the Cours Saleya Market, where you can buy fresh-cut flowers and fresh produce.

Nice is also an art lover’s dream – its museums and galleries are worth a visit. Afterwards, order a croissant or Nicoise salad to tickle your taste buds at the Place Massena (the main public square). And let’s not forget to explore other beautiful places to visit on the French Riviera.

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11. Malta

Mediterranean destinations: Malta is also one of the Mediterranean destinations because this island has one of the warmest climates in the Med. What's more, Malta has some stunning beaches and crystal clear waters. It is the tenth-smallest country in the world, so everything you want to explore will be within close proximity.

Malta is also one of the Mediterranean destinations which you can explore during your holidays. It is the tenth-smallest country in the world (by area), so everything you want to explore will be within close proximity. Malta has some stunning beaches – golden sands and crystal clear waters are one of the reasons tourists flock here. Many tourists visit Malta for a winter city break because this island has one of the warmest climates in the Med.

But Malta is not only about beaches but is also rich in history. Some of its UNESCO temples are at least 1,000 years older than the famous Egyptian pyramids of Giza.

Valletta is Malta’s capital, and her fortified walls and charming cathedral will make you feel like you are in a real-life Game of Thrones. Find the only signed Caravaggio painting in the world in the cathedral and visit Triton Square and Fort St Elmo. Also, do not forget to go to the beautiful sea caves Blue Grotto and explore beautiful Gozo beaches.

free travel planner for travel around Europe

 

12. Marseille

Did you know that Marseille is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in Europe? This large city in the Provence region of southern France is, in fact, the oldest city in France. The Greeks founded it approximately 2600 years ago, and today it is one of the most popular Mediterranean destinations.

The highlights are the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica, the Longchamp Palace and the Marseille Cathedral – one of the largest churches in France. Stroll along the Vieux Port – the Old Port is the most beautiful part of the town. Here the fishmongers sell their catch of the day. Marseille is the birthplace of bouillabaisse – you will not find a more authentic bowl of fish stew anywhere else.

And did we mention the beaches? Marseille’s coastline is to die for – its beautiful beaches are a perfect place to work on your tan. So pack your striped shirt, brush up on your “merci” and “s’il vous plaît,” and get ready to fall in love with this pretty port city.

 

Mediterranean cities that might not be on your bucket list (but should)

 

13. Alexandria

Mediterranean cities: Alexandria won’t be the first place that comes to mind when you think of Mediterranean destinations. But it is one of the best Mediterranean cities because it has a bustling city port with sandy beaches and Greco-Roman landmarks. Also, Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt and is rich in history.

Alexandria won’t be the first place that comes to mind when you think of Mediterranean destinations. But it is a place you should visit because it is the second largest city in Egypt (after Cairo). Alexandria is rich in history – Alexander the Great founded it around 331 BC. It was once the capital of Egypt and one of the greatest cities in the world. Alexandria was home to the Lighthouse of Alexandria – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This famous city was a great centre of learning. It once had the largest library in the ancient world.

FUN FACT:

Did you know Alexandria on the southern coast of the Med Sea was once the second most powerful city in the Mediterranean region (after Rome)? Today this city, with 32 kilometres of coastline, is one of the largest cities in the Arab world.

 

Alexandria is one of the best Mediterranean cities because it has a bustling city port with sandy beaches and Greco-Roman landmarks. Even though you cannot see the famous lighthouse and the old library, it is well worth a visit. The highlights are the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, a 4th-century amphitheatre, Fort Qaitbey and the Alexandria National Museum. Also, do not miss the ruins of Roman baths, Montazah Gardens and Pompey’s Pillar.

 

14. Bay of Kotor

Mediterranean destinations: Kotor is one of the best Mediterranean destinations because it is one of the best preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic. It is a double UNESCO site, and its old town will transport you back to the Middle Ages.

Kotor is like a smaller version of Dubrovnik with gorgeous views from every direction.

 

Not many would place the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro high on their bucket list of the best Mediterranean destinations, but it would be a mistake. The Bay of Kotor is like a fairy tale brought to life, and you will feel like a character straight out of an adventure novel. But hold on to your pirate hat, because the real treasure is the view!

You are quite right to think that the Bay of Kotor is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Montenegro. This fjord-like bay is Mother Nature’s masterpiece – it has towering mountains and a beautiful sea that will leave you speechless.

Mediterranean cities: Kotor is one of the best Mediterranean cities because it is one of the best preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic. This double UNESCO site has a medieval old town and fortified walls which offer the best views. Moreover, Kotor's fjord-like bay is Mother Nature’s masterpiece – it has towering mountains and a beautiful sea that will leave you speechless.

But Kotor is not just about the scenery. Kotor is one of the best Mediterranean destinations because it is one of the best preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic. It is a double UNESCO site, and its old town will transport you back to the Middle Ages. Wander through narrow streets and explore museums and churches, including Kotor Cathedral. Do not forget to climb the fortified walls around Kotor – the views of Kotor are the best from here.

Kotor has that laid-back, friendly vibe and enough bars to keep you dancing for hours. And the food? Try fresh seafood and also local wine – your taste buds will be dancing a jig of joy. Don’t forget to explore nearby Perast and its offshore island Our Lady of the Rocks, which offer breathtaking views of this idyllic town.

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15. Istanbul

Mediterranean cities: When most people think about Mediterranean destinations, they forget about Istanbul. However, Istanbul is one of the best Mediterranean cities because it is rich in history and is the only city in the world that lies on two continents.

When most people think about Mediterranean destinations, they often think of Barcelona, the French Riviera or Dubrovnik. Istanbul is somewhat forgotten, but it is definitely worth a visit. The capital of Türkiye is rich in history and is also a food lover’s paradise (try mouthwatering kebabs and Moussaka).

 

FUN FACT:

Istanbul is the city where East meets West. It is the only city in the world that lies on two continents. You can literally have breakfast in Europe and lunch in Asia!

 

Istanbul - one of the best Mediterranean cities in Europe

One of the first attractions you should visit is the Hagia Sophia which has beautiful Byzantine mosaics. This beautiful building is a UNESCO site, is almost 1,500 years old and remembers the Eastern Roman Empire. During its long history, the Hagia Sophia was once a church, then a mosque, a museum and now is again a mosque.

Then we have the Blue Mosque with a beautiful blue interior and six minarets. It is a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. Also, do not forget to visit the Topkapi Palace – the former residence of Ottoman sultans. The Basilica Cistern and the Galata Tower need to be on your itinerary. And let’s not forget the chaotic and colourful Grand Bazaar, where you can practise your bargaining skills. These are just some reasons why Istanbul is one of the best Mediterranean cities.

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16. Tel Aviv – one of the less visited Mediterranean cities

Mediterranean cities: Even though Tel Aviv is one of the less visited Mediterranean cities, it should be on your bucket list because this large city in the Middle East has beautiful beaches and buzzing city life. Tel Aviv is a cosmopolitan city, and its coastline with golden sand stretches for miles. It is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, surfing and beach volleyball.

Believe it or not, Tel Aviv is also one of the Mediterranean cities. Get ready to party and visit beaches – this large city in the Middle East has beautiful beaches and buzzing city life. Tel Aviv is a cosmopolitan city, and its coastline with golden sand stretches for miles. It is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, surfing and beach volleyball.

The highlights of Tel Aviv are Jaffa’s port (one of the oldest ports in the world) and UNESCO’s White City. Tel Aviv’s White City is famous for Bauhaus architecture. You can see many examples of this style along and near Rothschild Boulevard. The best museum is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which has an impressive collection of modern art.

Tel Aviv is not just a beach destination. It is also the modern centre of Israel, where you can enjoy a variety of international cuisines. Day trips to the Dead Sea, Nazareth, Masada National Park and also Jerusalem are good reasons to visit this vibrant city.

 

17. Monaco

Mediterranean destinations: Monaco is one of the best Mediterranean destinations because this microstate on the French Riviera is the second smallest nation in the world. It is also one of the wealthiest countries in the world and is the playground for the rich and famous.

A land of fast cars, superyachts and mega-mansions attracts celebrities and vacationers all year round.

 

If you want to live like James Bond for a day, add Monaco to your travel bucket list. Monaco is a country where the sun shines brighter, and the money flows like champagne. This microstate on the French Riviera is the second smallest nation in the world. It is also one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It is so posh it makes King Charles blush.

FUN FACT:

Did you know that one in three people who live in Monaco are millionaires?

 

But Monaco is not only the playground for the rich and famous. You are right to think that you do not need a gold-plated credit card to enjoy this Mediterranean destination. Wander through the narrow streets of the charming old town. Find the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, visit the Oceanographic Museum and enjoy breathtaking views from the Prince’s Palace. You can even soak up the sun on man-made Larvotto Beach (the only public beach in this city-state).

Alternatively, visit Casino de Monaco on a guided tour – it is a part of the early morning cultural experience. Pack your finest sunglasses, practice your poker face and add a touch of glitz and glam to your Mediterranean escape.

 

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Now you know what the best Mediterranean cities and destinations are!

What is your favourite Mediterranean destination? Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments below. If you like our post, save it to Pinterest.

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