If you’re researching your next European adventure then you should look beyond the traditional holiday spots such as Spain and Italy. The Eastern Mediterranean is where you will find some of the most unspoiled beaches, charming historic cities and breathtaking landscapes on the continent. Cheaper and more flexible travel options have made less well known destinations more accessible as travelers seek to visit as many of the region’s highlights as they can, rather than simply reclining by a pool in a resort town.
Here are three increasingly popular destinations to visit:
Croatia’s attraction as a destination has boomed in recent years as more people have revealed its charms. Croatia is a destination for people on a range of holiday budgets, served by several no-frills airlines with plenty of campsites for the thrifty traveler while also offering many upmarket coastal resorts. Historic treasures like the ancient city of Dubrovnik and the Gothic splendor of Split also make Croatia a great destination for city breaks.
There’s also plenty of natural beauty to enjoy from the waterfalls at Krka National Park to the lakes and forests of Plitvice National Park. With its turquoise lakes and waterfalls, Plitvice is one of the most beguiling landscapes in the Eastern Mediterranean. Along the Dalmatian coast you’ll also find serene beaches and islands, some of which provide a sense of solitude.
Lovers of the great outdoors will find a new favorite place in Bulgaria. (Although not technically right on the Mediterranean, it does border the Aegean Sea.) You’ll find rare wilderness settings where wolves, bears and lynx still roam. Seven mountain ranges provide well-maintained hiking and biking trails as well as huts for overnight stays. Meanwhile, on the Black Sea Coast, there are beaches that stand up to those anywhere in the Mediterranean. Bulgaria’s unique culture is another of its charms, enjoy folk music and dancing with the locals in traditional taverns. There are also country villages little changed for hundreds of years, historic monasteries and UNESCO World Heritage churches to visit.
An island country near Sicily, Malta provides superb beaches and weather along with its other attractions. It’s also a popular film sight where parts of Gladiator, The Count of Monte Cristo and Captain Phillips were shot.
Explore over 7,000 years of history from pre-historic temples and Roman catacombs to the UNESCO World Heritage capital, Valletta and the medieval Mdina. Megalithic temples date back to 3,600 BC and are the oldest known freestanding temples in the world. The island also appeals to hikers, with scenic coastal walks that include a treasure trail of historic and archaeological sites. There are, of course, numerous beaches for sunbathers too, including Paradise Bay and Armier.
The countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean are well worth a visit, whatever type of holiday you’re after. Try Croatia for a city break, Bulgaria for a hiking holiday and Malta for a tour through history.
This post has been contributed by Thomson Cruises, a UK company offering a wide range of travel experiences.