The New Havens: Discovering Alternatives to the Greek Isles

July 20, 2023 | 

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Joanna Newman

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introduction:


The islands of Greece, with their pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters, ancient ruins, and delectable cuisine, have long been on the bucket list of many avid travelers. However, the world is vast, and there are hidden gems awaiting those who dare to venture beyond the usual. In this guide, we unveil four stunning alternatives to the famed Greek islands. Dive in, and let´s start exploring.

1. Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast: The Mediterranean´s Hidden Jewel


The Beaches and Crystal Waters: Much like the islands of Greece, the Dalmatian Coast boasts a string of idyllic islands. From the larger, more developed islands like Hvar and Brac to the quiet serenity of Vis and Korčula, there´s something for every kind of traveler. Picture white pebble beaches, clear blue waters, and hidden coves, much like what you would expect in Greece.

Rich History and Culture: With ancient towns such as Split and Dubrovnik, you´ll feel transported back in time. Walk along the city walls, explore the remnants of the Roman Empire, or simply enjoy the fusion of Mediterranean and Slavic cultures in local markets and squares.

2. Sardinia, Italy: The Emerald Isle of the Mediterranean


Endless Coastlines: Situated in the heart of the Mediterranean, Sardinia is often overshadowed by its mainland counterpart. Still, it is a marvel in its own right. The beaches here rival those in Greece, from the shimmering Costa Smeralda to the rugged beauty of Cala Gonone.

A Taste of Italy: While you might miss Greek moussaka or tzatziki, Sardinian cuisine more than compensates with its sumptuous offerings. Delve into a plate of "malloreddus" (a type of pasta) or the freshest seafood seasoned with herbs from the island’s maquis shrublands.

Historical Explorations: Sardinia is dotted with "nuraghi" - mysterious Bronze Age stone ruins that offer a unique peek into an ancient civilization. It’s like visiting the ruins on the islands of Greece, but with a distinctly Italian twist.

3. Malta: A Mélange of Cultures in the Heart of the Sea


Archipelago Adventures: Comprising three primary islands, Malta, Gozo, and Comino, this tiny nation is big on experiences. Blue Lagoon in Comino, with its mesmerizing azure waters, could easily rival any beach in Mykonos or Santorini.

Echoes of Time: Malta’s history is a tapestry of various civilizations, from the Romans and Moors to the British. The capital city, Valletta, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, brimming with baroque architecture and tales from centuries gone by.

Diverse Cuisine: Influenced by Sicilian, Middle Eastern, and British tastes, Maltese food is a culinary adventure. Don´t forget to try "pastizzi" (savory pastries) and rabbit stew, a local favorite.

4. Azores, Portugal: Europe´s Best-Kept Secret


Volcanic Wonderlands: Unlike the sandy beaches of Greece, the Azores offer something truly unique. With its volcanic origins, expect dramatic landscapes, from the emerald crater lakes of São Miguel to the vineyards of Pico.

Ocean Adventures: Positioned in the middle of the Atlantic, the Azores are a haven for marine life. Whether you´re diving with dolphins, whale watching, or simply enjoying the bounty of seafood, the islands promise an unforgettable marine experience.

A Greener Retreat: Embrace sustainability in the Azores. With their commitment to green energy and eco-tourism, these islands ensure that you leave the smallest footprint behind while taking away memories for a lifetime.

Conclusion: Beyond Greece - A World of Wonders


While the islands of Greece will always hold a special place in the hearts of many, there’s a wide world out there, brimming with hidden treasures. From the historical allure of Croatia and Malta to the natural spectacles of Sardinia and the Azores, these destinations promise experiences that are both familiar and refreshingly new. So the next time you´re charting out your vacation map, consider casting your net a little wider. The perfect island retreat might just be a place you´ve yet to discover.