It’s the holiday you’ve been waiting for all year, your chance to get out of the cold wintry gloom and off to a promised land of sun, sea and culinary delights. You arrive in the beachside town which promised to be everything you hoped for from a Mediterranean beach town.
Instead, you’re greeted with a rundown hotel and a 2nd class version of what was promised to you. Looking back you begin to realise why the deal seemed too good to be true. It’s never a nice feeling to travel to a new place to be overwhelmed with disappointments.
In this article, we will look into the top 10 best beachside towns to visit in the Mediterranean, so this failed holiday attempt doesn’t happen to you. In this article, we have carefully reviewed the best 10 places, from trusted sources and personal experiences. Read on and take your pick!
I feel it’s important to mention that this list is NOT influenced by Reuters.
Portofino is a beautiful fishing village on the Italian Riviera coast, southeast of Genoa city. Filled with gorgeous pastel-coloured houses, humming with vibrant Italian culture, high-end boutiques and delicious seafood restaurants fringe its Piazzetta. The small cobbled square overlooking the harbour is filled with the world’s finest superyachts.
A magical path leads from the Piazzetta to Castello Brown, a 16th-century fortress and museum with art exhibitions and panoramic views from the charming town out to the rich blue Ligurian Sea.
This town is known as the ‘golden child’ of the Italian Riviera. Famous for being one of the most beautiful locations in the world, playground to everyone from Brigitte Bardot to Berlusconi. This town offers everything you can dream of from a Mediterranean beachside holiday destination.
The average temperatures in Portofino vary dramatically from season to season. For half the year temperatures feel cold. If you are looking for the warmest and sunniest time to visit this enchanting beachside town, the best months are July and August, but they are usually the busiest too.
So deciding if you’d rather battle the people or the cold is up to you! In the warmest months, the temperatures usually vary between 28 degrees in the day to 18 degrees at night.
If you decide to head to Portofino in the winter, you’ll be there at the perfect time if you like to ski or snowboard. The best time to ski in Portofino is around February when the fresh powder is likely to be deep and light under ski.
Taormina is a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily. It is situated near Mount Etna which is a beautiful active volcano with gorgeous trails leading to the summit. This town is famous for the Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-Roman theatre that is still used now.
Close by the theatre, spectacular cliffs fall away into the sea forming hidden coves and pristine sandy beaches. A narrow strip of sand connects to Isola Bella, a small island and nature reserve home to some special views and exotic wildlife. This town is often referred to as the ‘epitome of southern Italian beach towns’.
A breeding ground for poets, painters, playboys and boulevardiers. This town embodies the creative energy that has made this region famous for the last 60 years. Hotel El Jebel is a world-famous meeting point for many artists, celebrities and politicians from all over the world.
The average temperatures in Taormina vary dramatically from season to season. For half the year temperatures feel cold. If you are looking for the warmest and sunniest time to visit this enchanting hilltop town, the best months are July and August, but they are usually the busiest too.
So deciding if you’d rather battle the crowds or the cold is up to you! In the warmest months, the temperatures usually vary between 31 degrees in the day to 18 degrees at night. If you are looking for snow and a chance to get the skis out, visiting between December and late March is the best bet.
Cassis is a cosy Mediterranean fishing port in the south of France. Overlooked by charming centuries-old chateaus, it’s known for its pebbly beaches and Calanques, narrow bays framed by steep dramatic limestone cliffs. Scattered all around the harbour are vibrant pastel-coloured buildings, sidewalk cafes and restaurants.
The local vineyards produce the famous Cassis white wine. An array of beautiful trails run alongside the gigantic, rocky Cap Canaille headland offering panoramic sea views.
It was once a small fishing village, what’s very special about Cassis is it’s managed to maintain its humble charm and purity of Southern France, without falling into the glitz and glamour of neighbouring high-end cities such as Nice, Cannes and St. Tropez.
Cassis is more ‘off the beaten track’ for tourism, but since the 1950’s it has become a hideaway destination for wealthy Europeans who want to remain under the radar a bit and unburdened by crowds.
A noteworthy meal can be found at the Michelin-star rated La Villa Madie, a delicious and beautiful restaurant catering to the wealthy aristocrats and actors that like to call this charming town Cassis home.
If you are looking for sunshine and warmth, the best time to visit this town is between June, July and August. The peak is usually mid-august with highs of 30 degrees and lows of 20 degrees at night.
Port Grimaud, France
Grimaud is a seaside town that forms part of the commune of Grimaud in the Var department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. It is perfectly located on the French Riviera with stunning views. The village of Grimaud is a perched village with historical links to the Grimaldi family.
This town also gained the nickname ‘Venice of Provence’. The town is virtually free from traffic but very popular with boat owners. If you are keen to camp or stay in your caravan, there are a large campsite 5 minutes from the port with amazing views.
It’s known as Les Prairies De La Mer. This special town was brought to life by architect Francois Spoerry in the 1960s and soon found its nickname is ‘Provencal Venice’. It’s claimed that Port Grimaud retains the same canals and islands of its Italian inspiration, but with a decidedly more exotic and enchanting atmosphere.
This town is now home to some of the wealthiest yacht enthusiasts in the world.
The best time to visit Port Grimaud is from May until October, this time of year has a pleasantly warm temperature with plenty of sunshine. The highest average temperature is 27 degrees in July and the lowest at 11 degrees in January.
Haifa is a northern Israeli port city built in tiers extending from the Mediterranean up the north slope of Mount Carmel. This beautiful city’s most iconic sites are the perfectly landscaped terraces of the Bahâ’i Gardens and, at their centre, the gold-domed Shrine of the Báb.
At the foot of the gardens lies the German Colony, with an array of shops, galleries and restaurants in beautiful 19th-century buildings.
Many people don’t immediately think of Israel when thinking about idyllic Mediterranean beach towns, but Haifa is a real hidden gem and one of the absolute best.
Haifa is surrounded by sea on three sides and is buzzing with luxurious European vibes with a middle eastern twist. The famous Lolka restaurant is nestled away hidden in a low light alley, offering some of the most delicious dinings in the entire region.
Temperatures feel nice most of the year, excluding some cold weeks in the winter, with a low chance of precipitation most of the year. The area is temperate. If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Haifa, the hottest months are August, July, and then June.
The warmest time of year is generally early August where highs are regularly around 31 degrees with temperatures rarely dropping below 20 degrees at night.
Naxos is a stunning Greek island and the largest of the Cyclades. It was the centre of the archaic Cycladic culture. The island is particularly famous for its emery, a rock rich in corundum which until recently, was one of the best abrasive materials available.
The largest town and capital of the island is called Chora. What makes this place so special is its stunning greenery combined with its dramatic high mountains and mystical meandering valleys abundant with colour and life.
The beaches are immaculate, straight out of a postcard. The Lucullus taverna is a 100-year-old restaurant famous for the best freshly grilled octopus in the entire region.
The best time to visit Naxos is between April-October if you are looking for warm sunny weather. The spring and autumn are ideal for some of the best hikes in the Mediterranean and exploring the island’s natural beauty.
It is also warm enough to enjoy the beaches, although the ocean is still a bit too cold to swim in unless you are one of those people who love a cold bracing dip to wake you up! The warmest month is July and it’s also the driest. The beaches are bust with swimmers, sunbathers, windsurfers and kitesurfers.
This is one of the busiest months of the year so expect to be fighting the crowd. The average temperature for this month is 28 degrees.
Positano is a cliffside village on southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast. It’s a famous holiday destination with an iconic pebbled beachfront. The streets are narrow and steep lined with boutiques and charming cafes. Its Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta features a majolica-tiled dome and a 13th-century Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary.
There are the well known Sentiero Degli Dei hiking trails that link Positano to other charming little coastal towns. Perfect for those who love walking. This beach town isn’t so much your classic lush, sandy beach vibe that you find in other Mediterranean destinations, but instead makes up for it with its rugged seaside cliffs.
There is a vast selection of luxurious hotels and restaurants. The Hotel I1 San Pietro is built into the side of a seaside cliff, one of the most iconic hotels in the area. It also has a lift in the lobby which takes you directly to a private beach.
The best time to visit the Amalfi Coast is in May or September. The weather is stunning, with temperatures between 20°C and 25°C, and the activities are endless, without the crowds July and August bring.
Although the months from November to March bring fewer crowds, restaurants and hotels in smaller towns along the coast shut down for that reason.
This makes hotel options limited outside Naples and Sorrento. Many of the ferries and hydrofoils don’t run during this period, so it’s best to visit after Easter when they reopen and everything is easier to navigate.
Murcia is a university city in southeastern Spain and the capital of a region also named Murcia. Plaza Cardenal Belluga is the city’s architectural showpiece, where the ornate cathedral, with its mash-up of styles from Gothic to baroque, and the colourful 18th century to the modern 1990’s Ayuntamiento annex by architect Rafael Moneo. Similar to Naxos, Murcia is well known for being ‘off the beaten track’ and away from the crowded party scene.
On the flip side, this makes it a hotspot for the creative types. Murcia is a quiet beautiful strip of long, deserted beaches. The Hotel Rincon de Pepe sits at the town centre of Murcia and its bar, La Muralla, is known for its wide selection of liquor. This is the only area of town where original Arab walls still stand.
If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Murcia, the hottest months are August, July, and then June. The warmest time of year is generally early to mid-August where highs are regularly around 35 degrees with temperatures rarely dropping below 22 degrees at night.
Abruzzo is an Italian region, east of Rome, with an Adriatic coastline and the Apennine mountains. Beautiful national parks and nature reserves cover much of its charming rugged interior. It encompasses hilltop towns, dating back to the mediaeval and Renaissance periods. Regional capital L’Aquila is a walled city, sadly damaged in a 2009 earthquake.
The Trabocchi Coast, with mysterious sandy coves, is named after its traditional wooden fishing piers. Despite the town facing the Adriatic, the town is buzzing with the quintessential charm of the Mediterranean. Abruzzo is 50 miles east of Rome and home to a whopping 21 ski resorts! So this isn’t just a summer destination.
Ernesto is a well known classic Italian restaurant that brings back the heydays of 1950’s Rome and the bon vivants who made the short drive east here.
The best time to visit this town if you want to beat the crowds is between late April to mid-May, at this time of year it’s still untouched, wild and vibrant with colour and wildlife.
The best time to visit the region if you want the warmest conditions is from June until September when the temperatures are lovely with very little rainfall. The highest average temperature in Abruzzo is 25 degrees in July and the lowest is 5 degrees in January.
Menton is a town on the French Riviera in southeast France. It’s known for its beautiful beaches and gardens such as the Serre de la Madone garden, which showcases some of the rarest plants in Europe. The hilly medieval old town is home to Basilique Saint-Michael, with its 18th-century bell tower and the ornate facade of La Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs.
Nearby, the Musée Jean Cocteau collection Séverin Wunderman displays works by poet Jean Cocteau. Menton is home to some of the most desirable real estate on the planet. This beautiful town is nestled between Monaco and Italy.
This town isn’t as energetic and wild as its neighbours but is a luxurious, relaxing place for those looking to unwind and relax in peaceful quintessential France. The Casino Menton is a grand old establishment offering high-end gambling and entertainment.
I think that May, June and September are the best months to visit Menton, France. The streets are less crowded, but the days are warm and it is easy to get a seat at the many excellent restaurants in the town.
If you are looking for the warmest possible time of year to go then July and August are the months, however, the streets are crowded, and getting restaurant reservations can be difficult. At this time of year, the highs are regularly around 27 degrees with temperatures rarely dropping below 22 degrees at night.
Before booking your Mediterranean beach getaway there are a few things you should look into to help you decide where to go. I will highlight a few key points below.
The culture in these beachside towns varies from place to place being in different countries. Italian, Spanish, French, Israeli and Greek cultures all vary in some ways, offering different cuisines and ways of life.
Depending on which country you decide to travel to, the food on offer is different. If Italian food is your number one choice and restaurant hopping is likely to be the main attraction in your visit then it’s wise to consider this.
Although all the places listed above have relatively similar climates, they do vary, and if you’re looking for a scorching hot summer holiday then some places lend more to this than others for weather consistency.
If you are an art fanatic, a few of these places listed above lend themselves to the art scene more than others.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Most Beautiful Beaches In The Mediterranean?
- Zlatni Rat – Brac, Croatia.
- Jaz Beach – Kotor, Montenegro.
- Villefranche – Nice, France.
- Banje Beach – Dubrovnik, Croatia.
- Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach) – Sardinia, Italy.
- Red Beach – Santorini, Greece.
Which Mediterranean Country Is The Best To Retire In?
“Spain is considered the best Mediterranean country to live in for many reasons, and Malaga is a favourite destination for retirees. This gorgeous city is located in Spain’s Costa del Sol and is similar to Southern California. Many Europeans and British retirees make this area their home”.
Which Mediterranean Beaches Are The Cleanest?
“Now with Cyprus having been awarded the cleanest waters in Europe, paradise on earth is much closer than you might think… Cyprus is home to some of the finest hotels, perfect beaches and clearest waters to be found along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea”.