Little-known isles and off-the-beaten path enclaves
From Tuscany to Corsica and beyond, these private destinations are not those that one simply decides to travel to. Rather, these are locales that define how one travels. Accessible to those who drop anchor off the coast, they provide otherworldly fascinations, natural preserves, and untouched beaches accented by the azure waters and sea breezes of the Mediterranean.
Discover the 5 top seaside retreats in Italy and Malta:
- Porto Ercole & Porto Santo Stefano, Tuscany
- Gozo Island, Malta
- Lipari, Sicily, Italy
- Positano, Italy
- Bonifacio, Corsica
Porto Ercole & Porto Santo Stefano, Tuscany
Porto Ercole (“Port Hercules”) sits pretty in the municipality of Monte Argentario, in the Province of Grosseto, Tuscany—one of two towns that form the township, along with Porto Santo Stefano located on the opposite side of this unique peninsula. Stroll their picturesque marinas with sidewalk boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Travel to Montalcino for the tasting of fantastic Brunello in one of the most celebrated Italian wine regions. Hike to the few castellos (castles) located on top of the three hills surrounding the port, or take in a round of golf with one of the most picturesque backdrops in the Mediterranean.
Gozo Island, Malta
Part of the Maltese three-island archipelago, at just 26 square miles Gozo basks in the Mediterranean off the coast of Sicily. Visit Mgarr Harbor, with its quiet marina and hilltop church. Crystal-clear water, beautiful beaches, and walks in the countryside define this idyllic spot, and all roads lead to the Citadel in Rabat (Victoria), a fortified town that dates to 1500 BC.
Lipari, Sicily, Italy
Lipari, one of seven islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the northern coast of Sicily, boasts a fortified castello and the impressive Aeolian Archaeological Museum. For centuries the world center for pumice production, Lipari has the finest white pumice dust on its beaches. Spot Stromboli, a majestic volcano, as you sail into port.
The celebrated writer John Steinbeck once said, “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” One of the most charming villages along the UNESCO-awarded Amalfi Coast in Campania, Italy, Positano is perched on the face of a hill and winds down toward the sea. Besides the incredibly romantic atmosphere, the seaside retreat offers excellent shopping, beautiful beaches, and secluded hiking trails.
Perched high on a white limestone cliff on Corsica’s southern coast, Bonifacio is separated from the Italian island of Sardinia by a six-mile strait, accessible to very few. Known as the “Mediterranean’s Sentinel,” or “Citadel of Cliffs,” France’s best-kept secret is untroubled by visitors despite its fairy-tale cobblestone alleyways and stunning shoreline. Its many monasteries, chapels, prehistoric sites, and Roman cisterns are only upstaged by the secluded beach of L’Arinella, accessible via a panoramic coastal hiking route.
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