With 22 countries, a few territories, and countless regions, narrowing down where to stay in the Mediterranean is a difficult feat. It’s impossible to explore the whole region in one trip (unless you can take a year off from work).
But don’t worry — we’re experts on finding the best areas to stay, so you can bet that we’ve compiled a guide chalked full of our favorites areas, hotels, restaurants, and more. Let us be your guide!
The Best Places to Stay in the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean is huge, with a lot of interesting and diverse things to see. Every city and area offers something special and unique that’ll probably stimulate you to choose one before the other.
Out of the many areas to stay in the Mediterranean, the following parts are among the most popular:
- Malta: Best area for the quintessential Mediterranean vacation
- Barcelona, Spain: Best area for architecture and the big city life
- Kos, Greece: Best area for families
- Corsica, France: Best area for nature
- Sicily, Italy: Best area for history
- Kusadasi, Turkey: Best area for resorts and amenities
The Best Areas & Hotels in the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean is packed with amazing destinations to discover, so much that it would take a lifetime to know the region completely. These places are the best to get started.
Malta is the best place to explore everything that the Mediterranean has to offer. It has thousands of years of history, from Neolithic shrines to Baroque churches, beautiful beaches, a unique blend of cultures, and great tourist amenities such as hotels and nightclubs.
Plus, the country is small enough that you can explore everything in just a week or two (especially if you rent a car). Even by Mediterranean standards, Malta has a unique blend of cultures.
The languages that locals speak is closer to Arabic than any other European languages. There are influences from Arabic, Aragonese, and Norman culture in the food, architecture, and history.
The island was ruled for centuries by the Knights of Saint John, a Catholic military order, who left behind landmarks such as the Co-Cathedral in Valletta.
Walking through the current capital, Valletta, and the old capital, Mdina, takes you through this unique history. Malta is an island country, which means that it has beautiful beaches anywhere you look.
Families flock to the gentle sandy shores of Mellieha Bay, while more adventurous travelers get away from the crowds in the rocky beaches of Gozo, whose stark landscape reminds many people of the moon.
Since Malta is so small, you can easily explore different beaches during your trip.
However, Malta is not the best place to visit for travelers that want to explore but aren’t planning on renting a car. The public transportation in the island country is not the best.
Read Next: The 5 Best Areas to Stay in Malta in 2023
Malta Budget Hotels
- Sliema Studios. This aparthotel in the resort town of Sliema welcomes guests with spacious suites and a great location.
- Julina Boutique Living. This elegant hotel welcomes guests with antique inspired rooms, unique décor, and a shared courtyard and lounge for relaxing.
Malta Mid-Range Hotels
- Senglea Suites. Housed in an elegant old house, this hotel offers guests spacious rooms with private bathrooms and delicious breakfast.
- Lulu Boutique Hotel. Located in a quiet rural area, this hotel welcomes guests with airy rooms, shared amenities including a pool and barbecue, and great service.
Malta Luxury Hotels
- Lure Hotel and Spa – Adults Only. This hotel pampers guests with an outdoor rooftop pool, a serene spa with Turkish bath, and small touches such as high-end toiletries in each bathroom.
- Palazzo Bifora. Seize the opportunity to stay in a real historic palazzo complete with modern amenities such as a rooftop pool and room service.
2. Barcelona, Spain
Besides beach resorts and small towns, the Mediterranean is surrounded by big cities. Barcelona is one of the most popular of the Mediterranean big cities, thanks to its beautiful architecture, vibrant culture, and great nightlife.
If you want to visit the Mediterranean but prefer to stay in big cities, this is the destination for you. Barcelona’s most famous son is Antoni Gaudi, whose colorful Modernist work dots the city.
His most famous work is the still-unfinished Sagrada Familia and the Parc Guell. Architecture lovers must visit Barcelona at least once to see his unique creations, as well as the other beautiful buildings such as the medieval homes of the Gothic Quarter.
Barcelona has all of the benefits of staying in a big city, such as plenty of choice when it comes to restaurants, art galleries, shops, and nightclubs.
Best of all, since the city is right on the Mediterranean Sea, it even has its own beach accessible by public transportation! However, if you are looking to avoid crowds, you should skip Barcelona, especially during the summer.
The city is packed with tourist crowds to the point that locals are beginning anti-tourism campaigns. The crowds provide cover for other problems such as pickpockets.
Read Next: The 5 Best Parts of Barcelona in 2023
Barcelona Budget Hotels
- limehome Barcelona Carrer de Besalu 82. This simple hotel has comfortable, clean rooms and seamless online check-in instead of traditional concierge service.
- Hotel Omnium. This simple hotel is located in a quiet area and has simple, stylish rooms and quirky touches such as free muffins for breakfast.
Barcelona Mid-Range Hotels
- Sansi Pedralbes. This beautifully designed hotel features high-end rooms and access to a spa (for an extra cost) and a restaurant.
- Casa Camper Barcelona. This sleek boutique hotel has spacious rooms, each with their own lounges, and unique amenities such as a round-the-clock buffet.
Barcelona Luxury Hotels
- Hotel Boutique Mirlo Barcelona. This elegant, intimate luxury hotel has spacious rooms with private bathrooms, a spa open to all guests, and a great breakfast nook, housed in a stately old house.
- Hotel El Palace Barcelona. This historic luxury hotel is the best in Barcelona, with amenities such as a Mayan-style spa and even limousine service that make it a hotel fit for royalty.
3. Kos, Greece
Greece has hundreds of inhabited islands (and thousands more that are uninhabited), but Kos somehow stands out.
This laid-back island is a favorite beach destination thanks to its sandy beaches and calm atmosphere, which is a welcome atmosphere from the overwhelming crowds and wild nightlife at some other European Mediterranean destinations.
These factors make Kos a great destination for families. The primary draw in Kos is its beaches. Kos has beautiful sandy beaches, such as white-sanded Marmari Beach or Tigaki Beach.
There are also beaches with pebbles, such as Agios Stefanos, and wilder shores such as Cavo Paradiso. Most of the beaches have shallow, calm waters, making them perfect for children of all ages, while older folks can try their hand at sports such as snorkeling and even windsurfing.
There are also other activities to do in Kos. You can explore some of the beautiful historic sites, such as Ancient Asklepion, an Ancient Greek healing center and temple.
For travelers that want to do a bit of exercise while on vacation, Kos has one of the best developed cycling networks in Greece. Older children will get a kick out of exploring the island by bike, and adults will rest safely knowing that kids won’t be in danger on the well-marked trails.
Kos is beautiful and has a well-developed tourist infrastructure, but it doesn’t have the cultural life of a big city such as Barcelona, or the world-famous historic sites of some other Greek islands such as Crete.
If you’re the type of person who gets bored after two days on the beach, you’re better off visiting somewhere else.
Kos Budget Hotels
- Pillbox Seafront Studios and Apartments. These spacious apartments have private bathrooms, bedrooms, and kitchens, plus a shared sun terrace, all near the beach.
- Gelli Apartments. This aparthotel offers spacious apartments, access to the pool and bar at a nearby property, and organized activities such as horseback riding.
Kos Mid-Range Hotels
- Kyma Rooms & Suites. This elegant hotel has spacious, air-conditioned rooms and suites, sunbeds for lounging, and staff that go above and beyond.
- NISSEA Boutique Hotel. This boutique hotel pays attention to every detail, from the design of the interiors and the grounds to the breakfast which is served on the beach.
Kos Luxury Hotels
- Euphoria Suites and Spa. Guests at this luxurious hotel stay in spacious suites and enjoy the run of the hotel spa and private beach area.
- Blue Pearls – Adults Only Luxury Suites. Even family-friendly Kos has a few adults-only resorts, and this one stands out thanks to its gorgeous grounds, peaceful location, and intimate size, ensuring personal service.
4. Corsica, France
While many Mediterranean destinations have been overrun with crowds and the beaches crowded with tourist resorts, Corsica is different.
This island off the coast of France, which proudly maintains its separatist tradition, is one of the least touristy parts of the Mediterranean. Many of its natural landscapes have remained untouched, making it the best place to visit if you love nature.
Corsica is covered with rugged mountains, making it the perfect place for experiencing stunning scenery. Experienced hikers can tackle the tough GR20 route, one of the toughest trekking routes in Europe.
There are also options for less experienced hikers, such as visiting Les Calanques de Piana, a spectacular rock formation.
Corsica is a great destination for sports of all kinds, from trekking to mountain biking to kayaking. If you want to enjoy nature in a more laid-back way, such as laying on the beach, you have plenty to choose from, such as the black sand beach of Nonza.
The great news is that you won’t have to fight for space as you would in many other Mediterranean beaches as Corsica is still blissfully uncrowded.
Although Corsica has some hotels and resorts, it is not the best Mediterranean destination in terms of creature comforts and high-end resorts. If you prefer to be pampered and shop until you drop, you should probably pick a different destination.
Corsica Budget Hotels
- Les Bergeries de Figari. Getting close to nature doesn’t get better than this rural hotel, where guests can mingle with alpacas on the grounds while staying in a historic farmhouse.
- Hotel Macchia e Mare. This warm hotel has a great location on the coast, and helps guests organize activities such as car rentals.
Corsica Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Les Chambres de Mila. This elegant hotel has airy rooms with private bathrooms and a pool for guests.
- Boutique hotel Chateau Rouher. Located in a historic house on the beach, this hotel boasts elegant, vintage-inspired rooms, a breakfast buffet, and exceptional service.
Corsica Luxury Hotels
- VILLA FLAKA Boutique Hotel. This sleek modern hotel has airy rooms and amenities such as exercise classes, a pool, and a sauna.
- “La Cabane” de l’Hotel Le Tourisme. This stunning hotel has suites with their own jacuzzi on the terrace, a shared pool, and beautiful mountain views.
5. Sicily, Italy
Although most places around the Mediterranean have a unique history, there’s no place quite so unique as Sicily. The history on the island stretches back thousands of years, to the Ancient Greeks and beyond.
The unique blend of cultures that influenced the island, from Arabic to Byzantine, make it a destination unlike any other in Italy or the Mediterranean.
Sicily’s ancient history is spectacular. It started not with the Ancient Romans (who left their own traces such as with the Roman theater of Taormina) but with the Ancient Greeks, who made Sicily one of their colonies.
Check out the spectacular Agrigento Valley of the Temples, one of the best Greek sites anywhere in the world. In the Middle Ages, Sicily was a cultural melting pot, which is visible in the capital of Palermo.
Visit the spectacular Byzantine cathedral of Monreale, which seems like a relic of the Eastern Mediterranean, or the colorful Norman Palace. Like most other destinations in the Mediterranean, Sicily also has beautiful beaches.
The town of Cefalu is a popular seaside resort, although it has become rather crowded recently. If you want more space on your beaches, you can visit the Aegadian Islands, which are a quiet retreat.
If you want a calm vacation, Sicily is probably not for you. The island is crowded and busy, especially in the summer, and the capital Palermo has notorious traffic.
Read Next: When You Should Travel to Sicily in 2023
Sicily Budget Hotels
- Hotel Grel. This tidy, simple hotel is the perfect place to rest your head, and it even has gardens to explore.
- Hotel Punta Barone. This simple yet comfy hotel has a location right on the seaside that can’t be beat, and great views from the terrace.
Sicily Mid-Range Hotels
- Criu Boutique Hotel. This elegant hotel has sleek minimalistic interiors and a garden perfect for relaxing.
- Principe Di Salina Boutique Hotel. The architecture of this hotel is stunning, blending in with the surrounding salt pans, and the pool is also fun.
Sicily Luxury Hotels
- A.D. 1768 Boutique Hotel. Housed in a historic building, this boutique luxury hotel boasts individually designed rooms and great service.
- Villa Fiorita Boutique Hotel. The views from the terrace on Taormina can’t be beaten, except maybe by the view from the pool.
The shores of the Mediterranean are full of towns wholly dedicated to making sure that tourists have a good time, including many along Turkey’s Mediterranean shore.
Kusadasi is one of the most famous resort towns and has truly everything that a tourist would want for a relaxing vacation. The biggest draw of Kusadasi is definitely the beach.
Kusadasi has a long stretch of sandy shore, which includes some public beaches including Ladies Beach. A good chunk of the shore is made up of private beaches owned by local hotels and resorts.
If you stay in one of those resorts, you get your own private beach area and other luxurious amenities. There are a few other things to do around Kusadasi, such as visit the spectacular Ancient Roman ruins of Ephesus.
But the primary thing to do is definitely lay on the beach and walk along the boardwalk. For someone that wants a more authentic vacation, this may not be the right choice.
Kusadasi Budget Hotels
- Hotel Stella. This recently renovated hotel has regular hotel amenities, such as a pool and a restaurant.
- Villa Konak Hotel. For a calmer stay in Kusadasi, stay in this family-run hotel in the historic part of town, and enjoy the outdoor pool.
Kusadasi Mid-Range Hotels
- Unique Life Style Hotel. This quirky hotel and resort has an outdoor pool, spa, and a partnership with a nearby activity center to organize water sports for guests.
- Ilayda Avantgarde Hotel. This lush hotel offers air-conditioned rooms and unparalleled views of the sea from the rooftop pool.
Kusadasi Luxury Hotels
- Korumar Ephesus Beach & Spa Resort. This all-inclusive resort has its own private beach, pool complete with water slides, and breakfast buffet.
- Charisma De Luxe Hotel. This resort has everything guests could want, such as a private beach complete with a diving center, infinity pool, and spa baths in every room.
Why You Should Visit the Mediterranean in 2023
There is a reason why the Mediterranean Sea is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The offerings in this region of the world, which spans dozens of cultures and three continents, simply can’t be beat.
Most people flock to the Mediterranean to relax on the beach, and after seeing a few photos, it’s easy to see why.
From southern Spain to Turkey, the Mediterranean is surrounded by beautiful beaches. You can relax on sandy shores such as the famous Bol in Croatia or visit more dramatic places such as the rocky shores of Malta’s Gozo.
The Mediterranean is packed with history and culture. Some people call the sea the “cradle of civilization,” and it’s easy to see why since the region was home to ancient cultures such as Rome, Athens, Minoa, Carthage, and the Phoenicians.
Every country along the Mediterranean boasts traces of thousands of years of history. The modern culture of the Mediterranean is also a primary draw.
The cuisine of the region is so famous that it’s been inscribed on the UNESCO intangible heritage list. Wherever you go, you’re bound to eat with relish — people in this region value their food and take their time to enjoy it.
In fact, relaxing and enjoying life instead of rushing is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean way of life. From Spain to Lebanon, Croatia to Cyprus, the Mediterranean is packed with beauty to discover.
So, Where Should You Stay in the Mediterranean?
|🐚 The Best Quintessential Mediterranean Vacation||Malta|
|🏢 Best for Architecture||Barcelona, Spain|
|👪 Best for Families||Kos, Greece|
|🌳 Best for Nature||Corsica, France|
|🏰 Most Historic||Sicily, Italy|
|🏖️ Best for Resorts||Kusadasi, Turkey|
The Mediterranean is a vast region full of beautiful beaches, history, and culture. Wherever you go in this storied paradise, you’ll probably want to see even more of this beautiful area. Happy travels!