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Home > Guide to the Mediterranean

Guide to the Mediterranean

West Mediterranean

Amalfi Coast & Sicily
Côte d'Azur
Corsica & Sardinia

Amalfi Coast & Sicily

Italy is a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia. Its 7,600 km of coastline have some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, the Ligurian Sea, the Sardinian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy's Amalfi Coastin the west the Sicilian Sea, and the Ionian Sea in the south and the Adriatic Sea in the east.

The Amalfi Coast, Italy (la Costiera Amalfitana) is a beautiful and renowned stretch of mountainous coastline south of Naples, in Campania. The southern end of the Bay of Naples stretches out in a steep and rocky peninsula that reaches towards the Isle of Capri. Sorrento looks back towards Naples from the north coast of the peninsula. The southern side of the peninsula is dotted with picturesque villages and towns clinging giddily to cliffs; this is what is known as the Amalfi Coast. The nearest airport to the Amalfi Coast is Naples Capodichino.

These fishing villages, stacked precariously above the sea, have been one of Italy's major attractions. The area offers a generous selection of restaurants, bars, boutiques to explore. The views are undeniably breathtaking; you can discover the peace that charms every visitor.

The coastal road along the Amalfi Coast is famous for its hairpin bends, fantastic views and general scariness. The busy artery winds along the cliffs, affording glimpses of blue sea directly below. The towns are all built at a very steep angle, so streets zigzag backwards and forwards.

Sorrento is situated on a plain above the sea, overlooking the Bay of Naples. The view from Sorrento stretches back to the north, encompassing Vesuvius, the city of Naples, and the island of Ischia. It has a pretty old town, a harbor with ferry departures to Capri, Amalfi and Naples, and is within easy reach of the Amalfi Coast, Pompei, Herculaneum and the city of Naples. There is some good walking in the peninsula, and plenty of restaurants and bars for the less energetic.

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Côte d'Azur

Imagine a land so blessed by Nature that, within the same day, you can frolic with chamois and marmots in the heights of the Mercantour Mountains, and swim with dolphins and undersea fauna in the Mediterranean Sea. The Côte d'Azur and its Alpes d'Azur offer a complete range of riches, contrast and adventure.

On the coast, one of the most prestigious in the world, let yourself be tempted by all the wonders the Great Blue Yonder has to offer; from a romantic stroll along a coastal trail to the maritime thrills of nautical sports.

With three different bodies of water along its coastlines France has plenty of waterfronts for its beautiful beaches, and a variety of settings to please any sunbather. From the warm crystal blue water of the Mediterranean Sea, to the long, sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, to the picturesque coastline along the English Channel, French beaches are varied and plentiful. The art de vivre, the richness of the local heritage and the beautiful natural sites come together to make the Provence-Alps-Côte d'Azur region one of the most visited of France.

Yachts are an integral part of the lifestyle of Cannes, as many Luxury Yachts can be seen moored in the harbor. A yacht charter is an excellent way to enjoy Cannes, and there are many outfits to choose from. CannesIt's even plausible to sail to St. Tropez, Nice, or Monaco by yacht, and with miles of coastline to explore.

Be sure to see L'Eglise de la Castre, an ancient castle formerly inhabited by the monks of Lerins. The 14th century Suquet Tower looms over the castle, providing excellent views. The Chapelle de Sainte-Anne, a 12th century chapel, displays musical instruments from all over the world.

For shopping in Cannes France, check out Boulevard de la Croisette, home to Doir, Chanel, and Cartier. The best known Festival de Cannes is the Cannes Film Festival, which takes over the city every May. Cannes France, famous for the Festival de Cannes, and the celebrity stars that frequent the boulevards, is an exciting and vibrant city on the French Riviera. Beaches, shopping, and museums keep you busy, making Cannes France a great destination during a France holiday.

Nice France is a sparkling jewel on the French Riviera. Charming markets, narrow lanes, and all the enchantments of France, including art, food, and gorgeous architecture are present in Nice. Located along the Mediterranean Sea, Nice France features long promenades, pebbly beaches, and good weather. In town you'll find picturesque buildings, art museums, and good hotels. Nice Vacations are a sun drenched affair with white, pebbly beaches, and the sparkling blue waters of the French Rivera, St. Tropezknown as the Côte d'Azur in France. Sunbathers rejoice, as Nice France is the place to lay back and soak. Nice France is blessed with sunny weather, charming French atmosphere, and plenty to see and do while on holiday.

St Tropez
Saint Tropez, a beautiful and famed destination on the French Rivera, is surrounded by endless white sandy beaches and a sunny climate.

Monte Carlo casinoMonte-Carlo
Monte-Carlo, created in 1866, is named in honor of Prince Charles III. Monte Carlo, an exquisite emerald in a setting of craggy rocks rising from the azure-blue Mediterranean Sea, basks between enchanting French Medieval villages and the ski trails of the Alps. Monte Carlo is on the Riviera between Provence and Italy, close to the museums of Nice (Matisse, Chagall) and the glamorous shopping boulevards of Cannes.

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Corsica & Sardinia

Perfect beaches, magnificent mountain scenery, fine towns and villages that simply belong in the surrounding landscape - Welcome to Corsica! The hundreds of beaches and 1,000 kilometer of coastline form the basis of many holidays on the island, with swimming, snorkeling, wind-surfing, scuba diving and sunbathing the most popular activities.

Corsica enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with summers being hot and dry, and remaining mild even in winter, at least at coastal level. The mountains are of course a little cooler all year round.

Ajaccio and the Southwest
This region of Corsica includes the town of Ajaccio on the western coast of Corsica, and the inland regions to the east of Ajaccio. The region also provides ready access to the scenic highlights of southern Balagne and the northern part of the Bonifacio region, e.g. Filitosa. Towns and villages include Ajaccio, Porticcio, Bastelica, and Zicavo.

Isles Sanguinaires
One of the more common boat trips from Ajaccio, the Isles Sanguinaires are about 15km from the town by boat but only just off the headland at Pointe de la Parata. Stunning, Homerian red rocks dramatically silhouetted against the blue sky. Try and catch them at sunset to see them at their most photogenic. The islands are a designated reserve for sea birds and other wildlife.

Bonifacio -- CorsicaCorsica - the South
The Bonifacio region includes the southern part of Corsica. It is perhaps best known for having some of the most magnificent beaches on the island - indeed some of the best in the Mediterranean. Towns include Propriano, Bonifacio, Porto-Vecchio and Sartene.

The coastal town of Propriano is found in southwest Corsica, at the head of the Valinco Gulf. From here the town marina plays an important role, with ferries to both Sardinia and mainland France.

"Modern" Propriano dates from the 19th early century, when the port was established and most of the buildings constructed, although the same location had previously been occupied by the Romans and Greeks.

There are numerous beaches close to hand for visitors to Propriano, including the Plage de Lido 1 km from the town. The coast north of the town is very built up however, and it can be a challenge to escape from the hordes.

The renowned village of Campomoro is nearby, with its fine beach and lovely setting, and is always a very popular place with visitors to this region of Corsica.

The medieval (old) town of Bonifacio is the oldest town in Corsica, based above a natural harbor on the site of a 9th century citadel, on a white limestone peninsula, with many of the tall sturdy houses along cobbled streets in a spectacular setting along the top of the cliffs. The town is at the southern tip of Corsica (just 12km from Sardinia) which helps give Bonifacio and its harbor a rather exclusive, sophisticated Italian feel - very elegant, with palm trees and expensive restaurants lining the quay. Several glorious Mediterranean beaches are also close to hand.

Several notable sites can be seen in the town, including the "Staircase of the King of Aragon" cut into the stone to reach the old town above; the monument to the dead; and a sprinkling of attractive churches among the medieval buildings. The town is a major centre for sea based leisure activities sich as yachting and diving. Be aware that the success of the yachting is partly due to the fact that Bonifacio is one of the windiest places in France! The Lavezzi Islands, a designated marine preserve, are just off Bonifacio and can be visited by boat.

Palombaggia Beach
To the south of the island near Porto Vecchio, a perfect white sandy beach with the sea an amazingly deep blue, and backed by sand dunes and pine trees, and bright red rocks. The beach is internationally renowned and also perfect for children.

Saint Giulia Beach
A little further on from Palombaggia beach, Saint Giulia beach is extremely popular with lovers of watersports and sun-worshippers alike.

Calvi Beach
The long sandy beach running for several kilometers along the coast north of Calvi is an attractive, white sand beach with water shallow enough that children can play safely. Snack bars are dotted along much of the length of the beach.

Loto and Saleccia Beaches
Being accessed by boat from Saint-Florent means that these beautiful beaches are two of the most lovely beaches in Corsica. Saleccia beach, in the Desert des Agriates, is often said to be the best beach to be found anywhere in France.

Saint Restitude Beach
Attractive, quite secluded, small beach accessed via the tramway from Calvi, Restitude beach is a beautiful sandy beach backed by typical Corsican scrubland and pine trees, and offering excellent conditions for swimming.

Barcaggio Beach
Right at the northernmost point of Cap Corse, the inaccessibility of Barcaggio has helped preserve its allure. Calm and peaceful, this amazing sandy beach shelves gently into fabulously turquoise waters.

Ostriconi Beach
Near Ile Rousse, northwest Corsica, a great beach accessed by fording a small river and backed by mountains.

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Dalmatian Coast

Dalmatian Coast
The most popular stretch of shore is the Dalmatian Coast which stretches 350 miles from the mainland city of Split south toward the medieval town of Dubrovnik. The region has 17 inhabited islands, including Brac, Hvar, Vis, and Korcula. All are within easy reach of one another and the mainland, linked by an elaborate ferry network.

Dubrovnik Airport is in Cilipi, about ten miles from downtown. Dubrovnik is the most magnificent and well preserved fortified Dubrovnikcity in the world -- its history dates back to the 6th century. The old city is fully encapsulated by its fortified walls stretching 1940 meters. The walls at their highest are 25 meters and up to 6 meters thick. These impregnable walls have helped maintain this city's history, culture and beauty. Dubrovnik is thoroughly a by-foot kind of place, even if you're staying outside of the walls. Ferries run to the islands surrounding the city, such as Lokrum and the Elafiti chain.

Istria - Pula
Pula is the undiscovered Rome: Its history, its architecture and its traditions are largely influenced by Roman History. This is especially visible looking at the architecture. The Temple of Augustus, for example, dates back to 2 BC. Pula has the sixth largest amphitheater in the world and is the best preserved, with the majority of its impressive walls undamaged. The amphitheater is knows as the "Arena." Another historic jewel is the "Golden Gate," which was the main gate to the old town.

Croatia Islands
If you prefer to explore, you can choose one of the 1185 Islands of Croatia. Many of the larger islands are inhabited. Every island has its own unique history and attributes.

Island of Korcula
Korcula is the birthplace of Marco Polo -- that alone provides enough history to make this island a unique destination. Korcula has been described by some as "Little Dubrovnik."

Island of Mljet
The island of Mljet is the greenest island on the Adriatic -- there are two large salt water lakes on the island making it a unique ecological environment. The island of Mljet is protected as a National Park.

HvarIsland of Hvar
Croatia's sunniest island, Hvar has on average 2718 hours of sunshine per year.

Many private Marinas are scattered along the Croatian Adriatic sea. The largest Croatian marina is "Marina Dalmacija"-- it is not only a private marina but has also been awarded the prestigious "Blue Flag" award. Most private marinas are well equipped and provide equivalent facilities to the larger chain ACI Club marinas.

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