The best alternatives to another predictable Mediterranean holiday

So the chills may well be multiplying where you are as we head into the depths of winter, but that doesn’t mean a trip to Greece over the next few months is out of your control. In fact, there are a huge number of exciting trips to soak in and around the Mediterranean this winter, whether you’re based in Europe or further afield.

And you don’t need to stick to the same old Groupon destinations, either – Barca, Rome and the South of France can get a bit, well, old hat. The countries dotted around the Med are awash with exciting cultural hotspots a little off the beaten track. Take a look at some of the finest options when it comes to alternative getaways for a touch of winter sun.

The Azores

Blessed with some of Europe’s most stunning views, The Azores are Portugal’s best-kept secret. Often described as “Europe’s Hawaii”, it really is as beautiful there as that nickname would suggest, with the travel blog from The Telegraph putting their coastlines up there with the best in the world.

The three unspoiled islands sit just a considerable distance from the country’s western peninsula and have a rich history, uninhabited until as late as the 15th century, with pleasingly little development since. Sao Miguel is the Azores’ biggest island and provides the central airport and offers the opportunity to swim with dolphins.

Samos

Since their cuisine burst onto into the world’s consciousness a few years ago, Greece seems to be all the rage these days, but there is no reason for your Greek experience to be kept to a Greek takeaway from Deliveroo this winter with a range of alternative options to that trotted-out trip to Santorini.

And Santorini isn’t alone, of course. Mykonos and Corfu are holiday staples for people all over Europe and beyond, and things can get a little westernised in certain areas. For a more authentic Greek experience and all the moussaka you can muster, Samos is an unblemished haven with a close proximity to Turkey.

Formentera

There’s no need to lay on a sunbed with your Ministry Of Sound playlist on for a drop of chilled Ibiza this winter. Often closely compared to the Caribbean in terms of its beautiful beaches and relaxed atmosphere, Formentera is a tiny island just south of Ibiza that offers the best of the region without the hustle and bustle of wide-eyed partygoers.

It has the essence of a party island, but it’s a whole lot more refined. Beach days are well catered for, with stunning white beaches stretching across the island and fresh fish grilled by local fishermen on the beach is a lunch everybody should sample at least once in their life.

Vis

Once a Yugoslav military port completely closed to foreigners, Vis is one of the most serene and beautiful islands in Europe and is another venue completely unspoiled by tourism. Access to Vis is by ferry only, which runs twice a day, although locals have been known to offer lifts for a handful of coins.

This all adds to the charm of the place, of course, and for that the island has few competitors around the world. The locals are warm and engaging, the food is incredible and the place is relaxed beyond belief. Vis might not be one of the most well-known holiday destinations in the world, but it might just be one of the best.

The old favourites have their place in terms of winter getaways, of that there is absolutely no doubt. But there is a whole wide world to sample out there, and there is a whole host of stunning and alternative holidays to sample over the coming months.

Turner barr
turnerbarr@gmail.com

Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

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