7 Hidden Gems of the Mediterranean

Inspiration is a pioneer of Christian travel. While many of our destinations are world famous—like Rome or Jerusalem—we’ve found that some of the most memorable Christian travel experiences happen in unexpected places. These destinations may be a bit smaller or quieter, but they never fail to captivate. Visit one of these hidden Mediterranean gems and you’ll never forget the exceptional experience.

Panoramic view of Naples

Naples, Italy

Naples, Italy

Just 140 miles south of Rome, Naples is content to let the capital city handle the crowds while offering incredible history and architecture of its own. Naples is the gateway to the ruins of Pompeii, where a third of this ancient city remains unexplored despite ongoing excavation. See newly uncovered mosaics and frescoes, ancient restaurants and even graffiti preserved by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Adventurous travelers can even climb the massive volcano on a guided tour.

Harbor of Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta

Identified as one of the world’s best islands by Travel + Leisure, the island nation of Malta is home to cliffside cathedrals, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a dramatic piece of Christian history. It’s here that, around A.D. 60, the apostle Paul was shipwrecked while traveling under custody to Rome. Acts 27-28 tell this story. As a result, Malta was one of the first Roman colonies to accept Christianity. You won’t just be immersed in beauty on these cerulean shores. You’ll be standing amid literal biblical history.

The Fountain of Arethusa in Siracusa, Italy

Siracusa, Italy

Siracusa, Italy

Siracusa’s perfect encapsulation of Mediterranean life tells a different story than the rest of Italy. Its stunning ruins aren’t Roman but Greek, established by colonists from Corinth in the eighth century B.C. Highlights include a theater that could seat 20,000 ancient spectators and an amphitheater that once hosted gladiators, the third largest in Italy. After exploring history in Neapolis Archaeological Park, enjoy a meal on a restaurant terrace overlooking the water, as the always spectacular sunsets light up the white-stone buildings.

Aerial view of a beach in Corfu, Greece

Corfu, Greece

Corfu, Greece

Santorini and the Aegean Sea get all the attention, but we’re partial to quiet, laid-back islands like Corfu on the western side of Greece. This charming isle is known for cobblestone streets, pastel-colored architecture and stunning views of the Ionian Sea. Breathe in the scent of bougainvillea as you take in whitewashed churches and windmills set against the emerald mountains. We love the relaxed atmosphere, sandy beaches and always warm weather on this island.

Old City street view in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Old City in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

For years, the Adriatic coast has been popular with European tourists, but North American travelers have only recently begun to discover the charms of Croatia. Dubrovnik offers something for everyone: lovely public beaches, lots of sunshine and jaw-dropping medieval architecture. Iconic scenes from Game of Thrones and Star Wars have been filmed here. The city’s popularity is growing quickly, so this gem won’t be hidden for much longer.

Tourists enjoy cafes and shop in Diocletian’s Palace

Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Once you arrive in this seaside village, you definitely won’t want to, well, split. The inviting culture, ancient stone streets and attractions like Diocletian’s Palace—built for the Roman emperor in the fourth century—make Split one of our favorite spots in the Adriatic. It feels less like a tourist destination and more like an authentic place that layers modern living atop hints of the ancient world. Coffee lovers will want to enjoy a Dalmatian “kava” in the abundant daily sunshine.

Aerial view of red-tiled roofs in Koper, Slovenia

Central Square in Koper, Slovenia

Koper, Slovenia

Slovenia’s largest city is a well-kept secret, but it won’t be a secret for long. You’ll fall in love with the compact city center, narrow streets and charming shops of this historical village near the Italian border. The red-tiled roofs and architecture will remind you of Venice, located right on the other side of the Adriatic. Treat yourself to fresh-caught seafood from a family-owned cafe and you’ll feel right at home.

Tomorrow’s Travel Hot Spots

Like everything in our global culture, travel trends come and go, and these trends include specific destinations. We have a feeling a few of these hidden gems are about to become major travel hot spots. That means now is the time to visit—and thankfully, these ports are already on Inspiration itineraries, like next summer’s Deeper Faith cruise with Alistair Begg

If you’ve traveled to the Mediterranean before, what other destinations do you recommend?

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