By Ben West | June 2017 | 6 minute read
The islands of the Med will always be a very popular holiday choice, with the huge number of inexpensive direct flights from the UK and ferries making accessibility a doddle, excellent infrastructure and plenty of accommodation choices on the bigger islands, and a guaranteed lengthy season of sun and a great choice of beaches.
“Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, Corsica and Crete (the top five Med islands in size), lead the way, and have product to appeal to solo travellers, couples, families, budget travellers and those wanting wall-to-wall luxury”
BEN WEST, TRAVEL WRITER
Menorca Ideal for a watersports-focused holiday. The large, sheltered harbour at Fornells Bay provides calm waters and gentle winds ideal for tuition
Crete: With scattered remnants of the ancient Minoan civilisation, a great choice of accommodation at all price levels, beautiful beaches and wonderful walks including following old shepherds’ trails and through dramatic gorges, this island has all-round appeal
Sardinia: Note its top-notch hotels, posh bars and boutiques, 1,000 miles of beautiful beaches and sailing options aplenty
Formentera: This small island has white, sandy beaches, turquoise waters and tiny coves to explore
Hvar: Technically in the Adriatic, but with a mild Med climate, terracotta tiled houses cling to the lush hillside. Enjoy an afternoon in one of Hvar’s many open-air cafes
Corfu: A great Greek island for kids, family-friendly attractions include safe beaches, horse-riding and a water park
Sicily: Historical sites include extensive Roman mosaics, Phoenician ruins and ancient Greek cities like Selinunte and Syracuse
Santorini: With its panoramas, dreamy walks, charming accommodation and exciting bars and restaurants, this volcanic island is a must for romantics. Ibiza: The Med’s party central destination, with an unrivalled choice of high-energy nightspots, from cheap bars to upmarket restaurants and world-class clubs
Ibiza: The Med’s party central destination, with an unrivalled choice of high-energy nightspots, from cheap bars to upmarket restaurants and world-class clubs
Malta: There’s a great choice of cheap accommodation and eateries, year-round sunshine and plenty of historic sites, romantic marinas and crystal waters. And Malta is a top diving spot
Caught on film
Being featured in a TV series or film certainly does wonders: think how Captain Corelli’s Mandolin put Kefalonia on the map, and this year it’s Corfu’s turn, the location for ITV series The Durrells, primarily filmed in the regions of Perama, Kontokali, and Criseda. The stars of the series stayed at the five-star Corfu Imperial Luxury Resort while they were filming.
What the experts say
“Booking trends for Europe seem to be changing: customers are holding back and waiting for special last-minute deals, which could be related to the current Euro exchange rate.
“With paradisiacal beaches, maquis-covered mountains, wildlife, hiking trails and superb cuisine, the French island of Corsica offers something for every traveller. From authentic hillside bergeries (farm) to luxury villas and hotels, and whether a beachside escape, an outdoor adventure or a fun-filled family holiday, Corsica is perfect.”
AMANDINE BLANCHARD, CORSICAN PLACES
Accommodation: The Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay is taking shape on Ibiza. Set on Talamanca beach, it will feature 152 Balaric-style bedrooms, three restaurants, two beachfront, saltwater swimming pools, and a spa operated by Six Senses. Reservations from June 30.
Menorca’s farmstead-turned-luxury hotel Torralbenc has introduced new horse riding experiences. Guests can tour the island’s famous Cami de Cavalls astride a Menorquin horse, indigenous to the island.
Operators: Thomas Cook is opening its first own-brand hotel in Sicily, the 100-room SENTIDO Acacia Marina, located at Marina di Ragusa. It will offer a private beach area, traditional Sicilian cuisine and spa facilities.
Five new properties have been added to Sardinian Places including Villa Petra Manna, 400 metres from Capriccioli beach.
Thomas Cook’s second Casa Cook hotel opens on the Greek island of Kos this summer. Meanwhile, its Sunwings brand is opening new hotels in Mallorca, Cyprus, Gran Canaria and Rhodes this summer, while its Sunprime arm, geared to adults travelling without children, will be launching in Cyprus and Rhodes.
Airlift: Norwegian Airlines begins a new weekly Gatwick-Rhodes service on June 17.
Where to book it
Corsican Places offers Le Home, a short stroll from Calvi town, self-catering apartments in luxuriant grounds with two shared pools. Seven nights are from £399pp, based on two sharing a studio apartment. Flights, transfers and welcome pack are included.
Simply Luxury by Travel 2 offers Seven nights at the four-star Hotel Costa dei Fiori, which dates from the 16th century, from £769pp, including flights from London, return private transfer and lounge access in the UK. The hotel is on the southern coast of Sardinia, close to the beaches of Nora, Chia and Teulada.