The Mediterranean Sea offers a host of adventure as well as long sunny days and spectacular scenery that make for the ultimate escape. From Spain, France and Italy to Slovenia, Greece, Turkey and beyond, there is truly something for everyone in this region of the world. In between taking part in one of these top outdoor adventures, enjoy a wide range of gastronomic delights, ancient ruins, a rich culture and more.
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Sailing in the Greek Islands
The Mediterranean is a true paradise for sailing with endless possible routes, but its hard to beat the Greek Islands. Sailing has been a part of Greek life since prehistoric times. With some 6,000 islands, each with their own distinct character, you’ll find a nearly endless number of ports to stop in. Search for secluded spots, stop to dine on dishes like octopus and sample the national liquor, ouzo. The small islands, punctuated by traditional whitewashed villages and Greek ruins are fabulous to explore. There are several island groups to choose from, with some of the most popular including the Cyclades, home to Mykonos and Santorini, and the Ionians which include Skorpios, the private island of late shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis, Corfu and Lefkada.
Paddle Around the Croatian Shoreline
Paddling coastal Croatia offers the chance to glide over incredibly surreal blue waters, with one of the top spots found in Kornati Islands National Park, home to nearly 150 islands, rugged cliffs, hidden coves, caves and beautiful unspoiled beaches. For the ultimate adventure, book a sea kayaking/camping trip with an outfitter like Go Explore Croatia. Campers can explore one of the islands that were used by herders for some 2,000 years and enjoy opportunities to meet the locals as well as sample local specialties, including fresh-caught fish.
Kitesurfing, Tarifa, Spain
The southernmost port town in Europe can be found on the Strait of Gibraltar at the southern tip of mainland Spain along one of the most unspoiled, undeveloped coastlines in the country, the magnificent Costa de la Luz. A kitesurfing mecca, Tarfia has been referred to as the “Adventure Capital of Europe, with a long list of other activities to enjoy as well, not to mention the fantastic food, wine and friendly locals. As the beaches are vast, there’s plenty of room for the thousands of kitesurfers that arrive to enjoy the frequent sunshine and winds. For those who’ve never tried the sport, there is a wide range of schools to help get you up and running quickly.
Hiking in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Treks in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco have been compared to hiking the Himalayas, and include cultural experiences as well as jaw-dropping scenery. These dramatic mountains in North Africa are home to the Berbers, who have a rich traditional culture that includes hardy indigenous people who took to the hills to escape ancient Arab invasions. Today, their descendants welcome walkers with mint tea.
Horseback Riding in Cappadocia, Turkey
Turkey’s Cappadocia region is famous for its mushroom and anthill shaped towers known as fairy chimneys, as well as its cave cities that were once home to ancient settlers. Sometimes referred to as the “Land of Beautiful Horses” as well, it also makes for one of the world’s best horseback riding destinations. Riders can saddle up on the native Barb or Arabian horses, following trails that meander through ancient villages, past old Byzantine churches and underground cities to valleys that are filled with the famous chimney rock formations. For the ultimate experience, stay in one of the cave hotels where you’ll get a glimpse of what it might have been like to live here in ancient times. The Museum Hotel offers 30 converted cave suites, packed with artifacts. While you’re here, be sure to take one of the world’s best hot-air balloon rides, providing bird’s-eye view over the fascinating landscape.
Cycling in Sardinia, Italy
Avid cyclists may want to book a cycling tour through Sardinia, a large island in the Tyrrhenian Sea between the Balearic islands and the Italian peninsula, with a variety of options available via multiple outfitters. A week’s excursion might begin in Olbia before rolling through Cannigione and Costa Smeralda, a sophisticated retreat for celebrities and Italy’s jet set with powdery white sands, quaint Mediterranean villages and elegant resort towns. You’ll cycle along this magnificent stretch of coastline, occasionally taking a break for a refreshing dip in the azure waters or to relax on the beach before venturing to the green, rocky hills of Gallura. Explore eroded granite cliffs and wind-carved boulders in Moon Valley before crossing lush pastures that lead to red cliffs and hidden bays. Explore the medieval streets of Alghero, one of the prettiest towns on the island, set along the edge of the sea.
Diving in Alexandria, Egypt
When you think of diving, you probably envision the South Pacific or the Caribbean, but dives off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt offer something very unique, a glimpse at ancient civilizations from the Pharaohs to the Romans. Sites like the sunken City of Cleopatra allow divers to explore ancient buildings and statues, columns and amphorae, as well as shipwrecks dating from ancient times to the Second World War. There are dives for all skill levels, from beginner options to expert only.
Windsurfing in Cyprus
Cyprus is an island nation in the Eastern Mediterranean and one of the best locations for windsurfing in the region. While it’s a year-round destination for the sport, the wind is at its most consistent in the summertime, blowing at around 15 knots most days. This is also when you can watch competitions that are hosted here, including the junior world championships. While conditions are less predictable in the winter, the water will still be warm enough and provides fantastic challenges for the more experienced with frequent big waves.
For those that want to try the sport for the first time, Windsurf City Cyprus can be found at Mackenzie Beach Watersports in Larnaca, the ideal location with calm, flat water in the mornings and plenty of wind in the afternoons.
Skiing and Snowboarding in Slovenia
If snow-covered slopes are what you’re after, the Mediterranean offers that too. In Slovenia, you’ll find over two dozen resorts for skiing and snowboarding between December and March. Avoid the crowds found in spots near the capital of Ljubljana by venturing east to the Pohorje Massif. The largest ski area in the country, it boasts nearly 25 miles of slopes and 17 miles of trails along with ski and snowboarding schools, gear rentals and other facilities.