Mediterranean Europe is a wonderful destination for those who want to enjoy the pristine glory of nature and the soothing music of the sea. This region is known for its carefree coastal culture and for its awe-inspiring architecture that is displayed by the palaces, churches, and monasteries that dot the lush green landscape. Each island of Mediterranean Europe bears some unique natural and cultural treasures that make it stand out from the rest. Here are some of the most beautiful island retreats of the region that will allow you to enjoy the most enthralling delights that the continent has to offer.

Crete in Greece

Be it a 16 km long gorge that is one of the most popular hiking trails of Europe or the pink-sand beaches that offer a stark contrast against the blue of the sea, the island of Crete in Greece is home to some unique sights and sounds. The lovers of nature must explore the Samaria Gorge National Park for some mesmerizing scenery, while the aficionados of history are recommended to head over to the Palace of Malia and the Palace of Knossos to admire ancient Minoan artifacts that date back to 1900 BC. The Arkadi Monastery is the immortal symbol of resistance against the Turkish invaders of the 19th century while the Venetian fortress called Fortezza offers some fascinating views from its elevated position. With its plethora of attractions, Crete has something for everyone, from the sunbathers and hikers to the fans of ancient architecture.

Capri in Italy

Capri is an eclectic fusion of hidden coves, breathtaking piazzas, and ancient Roman ruins. On one hand, there is the ethereal blue glow of the Blue Grotto that attracts several tourists to the magnificent sea cave, while on the other, there is Villa Jovis, an opulent Roman Villa that is now reduced to ruins that emanate a mystical charm. Take a chairlift to the summit of Monte Solaro, Capri’s highest peak, for a phenomenal view of the island or stroll through the flowered terraces of Giardini di Augusto that look over limestone stacks that rise out of the sea. To soak in the local culture, head over to Piazza Umberto I, which is situated beneath a majestic clock tower and is surrounded by popular cafes. This island has retained its old-world glory in the face of urbanization and is perfect for a relaxing vacation.

Hvar in Croatia

The island of Hvar is known as a party destination in Croatia, owing to the lively nightlife at its glorious beaches. However, the interiors of the island are equally alluring and offer more peaceful retreats in the form of serene monasteries and fragrant lavender fields. One can hike up to the medieval castle of Fortica to enjoy a stunning view of the town or can settle down with a cup of coffee at St. Stephen’s Square and admire the imposing architecture of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The local wines offer some unique flavors that you must sample at the vineyards that cover a majority of the terrain. Furthermore, Croatia property prices are actually affordable here, so you can also consider making this island your permanent home, to enjoy its splendid sunshine and cool sea breeze all year round.

These enchanting islands of Mediterranean Europe are ideal for a peaceful vacation in the lap of nature. The lively squares and the colorful markets will allow you to experience the local culture while the mighty monuments will offer you a glimpse of the history of the region. So if you wish to enjoy the authentic Mediterranean lifestyle during your next beach vacation then make sure to keep these wonderful options in mind.