Mediterranean – West
The Western Mediterranean offers you an exquisite range of places, people, cuisine and lifestyles. Coose from the secluded anchorages of the Balearics, the ancient sites of Sicily, the chic ports of the Italian and French Rivieras.
The Italian Riviera is a nature-lover’s paradise, famed for its temperate climate and luxuriant vegetation of silver olive trees, vines, cypresses, pines and array of beautiful flowers, all of which can be seen in the superb botanical gardens of La Mortola. The Italian Riviera is a constant delight with azure seas, green mountains and pretty little villages and towns. Its history can be traced back hundreds of years to ancient cave-dwellers. A proud seafaring region with along history of trade and commerce, it not only attracted the ancient Romans but also the unwelcome attention of marauding pirates
In Liguria you will see the rocks, as is so often the case on the Eastern Riviera, where the tormented folds in the hillsides sweep right down to the sea, or situated on the narrow shoreline, as are many resorts on the Western Riviera, where the landscape leaves more space for the meeting with the sea – all testifying to the struggle of man in a difficult environment. The contrast between the land along the coast and the immediate hilly hinterland is very marked and often holds pleasant surprises: in the limited space left between the sea and the nearby mountains, you will find a treasure trove of the tastes and wealth of rural culture, the villages nestled amidst the vineyards and olive groves and rural towns planned to meet the needs and rhythms of a life far removed from our own.
Elba is situated about six miles from the mainland. It is in the province of Livorno and is linked to the mainland by an excellent ferry service that runs between Piombino and Portoferraio, the island’s main town. Its most famous resident was Napoleon, who spent several months there in 1814-15. Nowadays it is a well-established resort and its beaches are crowded with tourists during the summer months. It has a variety of natural attractions – from the white beaches on the west coast which are ideal for water sports, to the wilder, less accessible beaches on the east with their steep cliffs and rocks, from which rises the little town of Porto Azzurro. Other well-known resorts include Marciana Marina, Rio Marina and the medieval village of Marciana Alta. Considering its size, the Elba coastline is remarkably developed, with 147 km of coast, over 70 well-known beaches and a host of little bays, inlets and tiny beaches. Altogether, the beaches cover a distance of 17,126 metres, of which 7,908 metres are sand, 3,510 shingle and 5,708 mixed.
Mediterranean – West
Legend tells that the winds of Menorca modify the personality of people. Maybe that is the reason why those who came here once as tourists mostly return … Menorca certainly has a very strong personality, and a very different one to the rest of the islands. Menorca, the “minor” island, as it was called by Romans, has an almost virginal interior (compared for instance to the “major” island, Mallorca) and shows interesting remains of its old history. On the other hand, there are beaches and lonely bays around it at a length of 216 kilometers. An ideal resort for all those who are looking for true relaxation.
Ibiza is one of the smaller Balearic Islands, situated in the western Mediterranean Sea and governed by Spain. Ibiza’s landscape appears, even today, beautiful and unspoilt. On many of the exposed coastal projections are peculiar shaped towers that served as watchtowers and defence towers against pirates. These were essential because for centuries the Pitiusas were a popular target for pirates from all nations. The economy now is more than 95% dependent on tourism.
Internationally regarded as the Party capital of Europe, Ibiza really does have an awful lot more than its nightlife to offer. A true paradise, it is a magical island with a unique charm that combines a very modern, forward thinking attitude towards tourism with respect and tradition. Ibiza has some of the best beaches in the world and during the holiday season sun seekers flock to them in their hordes. The water is also amongst the cleanest in the Med, making it a dream come true for water-sport enthusiasts. A favourite spot with families and those looking for a quieter holiday is Santa Eulalia. Sited on the banks of the only river in the Balearics it is Ibiza’s Gastronomic and Cultural Centre. Its most famous gathering place is Calle San Vincente or ‘Street of Restaurants’, where people come to relax, drink, eat and socialise as musicians and artists wander amongst the crowd, creating an idyllic Mediterranean scene.
Mallorca is the largest, most populous, and most visited of the Balearic Islands, and along with its sister islands of Minorca and Ibiza, lies in the Mediterranean Sea off the South East coast of mainland Spain. Some areas, such as the S’Arenal district of Palma, cater to British and other Northern European package tourists who come for sun, fun, and sport. But the capital city of Palma de Mallorca has many historic sights worth seeing, and a surprising number of villages and rural areas still have much of the charm that attracted visitors and expatriates to the island in the days before resort hotels and charter flights. Since the onset of mass tourism in the 1960’s, Mallorca has without doubt, been one of the most popular holiday destinations for all nationalities, offering a wide range of attractions to suit all tastes. As a generalisation, the resorts on the islands south coast are the more lively and perhaps more suited for groups of young singles, or those seeking an active nightlife.
Menorca or Minorca, whatever way you prefer to spell it, and whatever way you wish to pronounce it, is the second largest of Balearic Islands, and along with its sister islands of Majorca and Ibiza, lies in the Mediterranean Sea off the South East coast of mainland Spain. The main tourist airport at Mahon is a fairly small, but nevertheless modern facility, however, on departure be aware that the luggage trollies will need either a 50 cent or 1 Euro coin to release them. Despite the onset of mass tourism in the 1960’s, Menorca still remains relatively un-spoilt and quiet when compared to its neighbours. The resorts do tend to be concentrated along the islands south coast and are almost all purpose-built in the last 30 years to meet the ever increasing demand for accommodation. In contrast to the south of the island, the north coast is very rugged with very picturesque horse shoe bays. Mount Toro is the only real mountain on Menorca, and is well worth a visit to the monastery at its peak. The only main road joins Mahon in the East to the former capital Ciudadela in the West and this road effectively splits the island in two.
Mediterranean – West
South of France
With 120km of coastline, a succession of well known resorts, 40km of sandy or pebbled beaches, many note-worthy sites, superb capes and islands and 33 sailing ports allowing thousands of boats to moor all year long, including some of the most extraordinary. All watersports can be enjoyed with pleasure on the Riviera. Not forgetting , of Course, that the Côte d’Azur is a major port-of-call for all Mediterranean cruises.
The French Riviera-Côte d’Azur stretches along the Mediterranean at the foot of the last outcrop of the Alpine chain. Thanks to its southern situation, the proximity of the sea, the full southern exposure and, above all, to the screen of high mountains which protect it from the cold continental winds, it enjoys an exceptionally high winter temperature. Its privileged position means that the slopes are covered with tropical vegetation: orange and aloe, cactus and eucalyptous, rose-laurel, bougainvillea and mimosa. In under two hours you can travel from the palms and lemon trees of the coast to the nearby Alpine peak for coolness in the summer and snowsports in winter. With such a number of attractive features combined with the variety and quality of entertainment and the multitude of hotels and villas, it is no wonder that it attracts visitors from all over both in summer-time and wintertime. A few kilometers back from the shore is a less publicized side of the Riviera – a world of romantic hill towns and perched villages balanced on craggy peaks. Worn stone stairs and cobbled byways lead through modest hamlets crowding around ancient chateaux. Clusters of narrow-fronted houses, Roman ruins, modern museums and perfume centers cling to steep hillsides. Within sight of the sea are towns such as Eze, Vence, Grasse and St. Paul which are known to sophisticated travelers. Here, one sees olive groves and pine woods stretching for miles down to the shore. Perfumed foothills are carpeted with flowers in the luminous light that inspired generations of painters from Renoir to Matisse, Picasso, and the Fauves. Now a gentle, subtle resort-life flowers here in soft air and sun above the Mediterranean, and modern art museums flourish. For many others, today’s shoreline Riviera offers all the grandeur of old: casinos, splendid hotels, villas to be rented by the week, month or season.
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