Sitting amongst the most sought-after destinations from around the world, the Mediterranean has gained notoriety for its beautiful, azure waters; jaw-dropping landmarks and wealth of worldwide dishes. For many travellers, picking the popular destinations is a great choice, but if you are looking for something a little different, the lesser-visited ports could be the better option.
Offering the main draws of any country in the Med, they can also promise untouched landscapes and hidden hotspots that adds a more authentic feel.
Situated just to the north of Greece, Albania has been mainly kept under the radar because of its fan-favourite neighbours, Croatia and Italy. But what a lot of tourists miss in Albania is the abundance of diverse landscapes, starting with awe-inspiring beaches as you dock and extending to tranquil national parks nearer the heart. Tirana (the capital) is well worth a visit, showcasing some of the country’s best UNESCO World Heritage Sites and iconic monuments.
Located in the city centre, Skanderbeg Square is the poster child for Albania. Filled with the national opera house, library, clock tower and city hall, it’s a must-see spot for any culture seekers. Otherwise, taking a trip into the Albanian peaks, touring to a rural village or seeking out historic hidden churches are the best ways to experience what the country is all about.
Once again, Montenegro might not land in your top ten destinations in the Med. But, as it may be the most affordable country in the region, you are likely to grab a few bargains whilst heading into the quaint towns dotted along the coastline. One thing that you will be quick to notice is the uncanny similarities that resemble that of Croatia. As you enter the cities, you will still find the devastating effects of the 1979 earthquake, a fascinating snapshot though time.
If you prefer to delve into the vast culture that is on display, numerous art galleries, archaeological sites and museums all offer a reflection of the country’s diversity. If the cities aren’t for you, there are plenty of national parks awaiting avid hikers and nature lovers alike.
Unlike the other hidden gems on this list, Slovenia doesn’t have the stunning shorelines that you have come to expect of a Mediterranean destination. But, what it lacks in shoreline, it more than makes up for in beautiful landscapes, snow-capped mountains and colossal lakes. Included in its historic timeline, Slovenia’s wine production has to be amongst the country’s greatest attractions, with Maribor producing grapes since the 16th century.
For travellers looking to do something a little different, cave exploration has been a long-standing tradition. There are around 22 caves that are open to the public, with karst formations that have been growing for millions of years. Finally, adrenaline junkies will feel right at home. Slovenia is home to the world’s steepest zip line, whilst kayaking on the river Soca and bungee jumping are also available.
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