Island Hopping in the Mediterranean

This wanderlist is a mere sample of things to do, see, eat, and drink on a few of the more than 200 islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Coastlines ring mountains, windy roads string together hillside towns, and the dinner is today’s catch seafood.

Oia santorini greece, Cyclades, Oía 847 02, Greece
You can’t beat this - a delicious, freshly caught seafood dinner on the edge of the Aegean Sea. Sunset Taverna is located in Ammoudi, at the base of the cliffs in Oia, Santorini - dramatic scenery for simple, rustic, delicious food. From the castle in Oia, enjoy a leisurely, winding walk down to the marina (or take a car down the coastal road). Feast on lobster spaghetti, fresh grilled seafood, baked feta, stuffed eggplant, Fisherman’s Salad. Hike back up to Oia under the clear, starry night.
98050 Lipari, Province of Messina, Italy
With its small shops and outdoor restaurants, the long Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Lipari Town was made for strolling. The Ottoman admiral Barbarossa wreaked havoc here in 1544; following that, Spanish rulers built the imposing citadel over a Greek acropolis. Inside its walls, the Archaeological Museum, located in an old bishop’s palace, displays Neolithic objects alongside fine amphorae and other Greek artifacts. Next door, a gorgeous Baroque facade draws you into the cathedral with its detailed and colorful vault.

8 Route des Sanguinaires, 20000 Ajaccio, France
Young and poor, but frequent-flier-mile rich, my wife and I were able to go to Corsica for our first anniversary...Staying with friends always helps...They lived in Ajaccio, (birthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte), and at sunset one evening, they took us for a drive a couple of miles to the west of the city. Dotting the island’s coast are the distinctive Genoese towers, fortifications built during the 16th century, and here is the view from one of them, from La Tour de la Parata, perched on cliffs at what feels like the end of the world...Ahh, to be newly married and in the Mediterranean...
Valletta, Malta
Who knew Malta was so pretty? Well, I suppose the people who live there knew. I didn’t. There was, to be fair, a lot I didn’t know about Malta, including that the national language is actually Maltese, which sounds like no Mediterranean language you’ve ever heard. But one of the most unexpected delights were the narrow streets of the capital city, Valletta. The closed balconies that jut from almost every house are a major feature; they’re the first thing you see as you walk down Republic Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, where they are painted a uniform dark green. Meander away from the shops and into some of the smaller residential streets, and you will be rewarded with a wider palette. Bright reds and yellows, cornflower blues, pastel greens, and dusky pinks—it’s like something out of a fairy tale. Go feast your eyes.
Megalochori 847 00, Greece
If you want to get away from the crowds in Santorini, try Megalochori - one of the prettiest, quietest little villages on the island. The town’s location further inland, away from the caldera cliffs, removes it from the typical tourist itinerary. A beautiful bell-tower archway frames the entrance as you drive into town, which is easily accessible by a short car, taxi or bus ride from any part of Santorini. Megalochori features a maze of extremely narrow cobblestone streets passing by hundreds of traditional white-washed houses and churches with accents of bright blue. Let yourself get lost. At the the center of Megalochori is a sleepy town square, with two tavernas and bougainvillea-covered patios. Sit in the welcome shade and order a vibrantly-hued Santorini tomato salad, grilled souvlaki and sesame & honey-coated feta. Try Restaurant Raki (above) in the town square, where the locals go. (Live Greek music at night.) And since Megalochori is the heart of Santorini’s wine industry, be sure to visit a winery, where you can meet the local vintners and sample their goods. If you are looking for a very quiet village and a low-key, relaxing day, this is a wonderful place to visit. Sometimes a really lazy day is just what the doctor ordered.
As soon as the ferry pushes away from Kabataş ferry terminal on Istanbul‘s European side, you can feel the frenetic pace of the city slipping away. Sipping a coffee on the ship’s bow, the beautiful scenery and azure Bosphorus waters enchant as the boat makes stops on the Asian side, then on to each of the five Prince Islands (Adalar), just around an hour’s journey away from the city. Büyükada is the largest of the five islands. With no cars on this idyllic and relaxed isle, horse-drawn carriage and bicycles remain the main modes of transportation -- both of which can be hired at the ferry terminal upon arrival. An afternoon’s cycle can cover the whole island, and caters to stopping at the stunning scenic bluffs, hidden beaches, and clifftop cafes along the route at your own pace. In town, mansions boast swaths of bougainvillea and visitors dine al fresco at restaurants serving fresh seafood. Tasty ice cream can be bought near the ferry for the journey home. Go on a weekday to miss the weekending Istanbul crowd, to whom the island’s charm is no secret.
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