4 Must-Visit Mediterranean Destinations

It's what everyone dreams of: A fantastic vacation, exploring new territory, and not having a care in the world while doing so. While it's a nice daydream when sitting in your cubicle, why not get it out of your head and make it happen in real life?

The world's a beautiful place and there are thousands of places just begging to be explored.

Here are a few of those places in the Mediterranean.

Venice, Italy

Venice is a beautiful and unique city composed of 118 smaller islands that are separated by canals and are connected by bridges. The architecture is enough to make you fall in love with the city. If you travel to Venice, you must ride in a Gondola, which has been used to navigate the narrow canals for almost a dozen centuries. You could also take a water-bus or the Venice People Mover. Venice is designed to keep you walking, so ditching the map and just exploring is the best way to navigate this city and stumble into everything it has to offer.

Sicily, Italy

Sicily is about 800 miles south of Venice and is the largest of the Mediterranean islands. Sicily has a ton of historic sites, such as the Valley of the Temples. The Valley of the Temples is a national monument in Italy and it includes seven temples: 

  • Temple of Juno. Used for celebrations like weddings.
  • Temple of Concordia. Used as a church in 6th century AD.
  • Temple of Heracles. A well respected deity. The temple itself was destroyed in an earthquake. Only the pillars remain.
  • Temple of Zeus Olympic. Built in 480 BC, originally served as a symbol of victory over Carthage.
  • Temple of Castor and Pollux. Symbol of modern Agrigento.
  • Temple of Vulcan. Constructed in 560 or 550 BC. Once a magnificent temple. Now just ruins. 
  • Temple of Asclepius. A temple that was the destination for those who were ill.

That's not all there is to Sicily, though. Sicily is filled with unique art, architecture, and music. In fact, Italy has the largest opera house in Italy and it's the third largest in Europe. Sicily is also well known for its amazing food and wine, so while you're there make sure to eat as much as you can. 

Athens, Greece

Athens is known as the location of the beginning of civilization. There are multiple historical landmarks to see, such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Zeus and Acropolis.

The Parthenon was dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena. It's half-demolished look comes from an incident in 1687, which saw Francesco Morosini leading an attack in an attempt to capture the Acropolis. Despite warnings, the Turks holed up in the Acropolis and used the Parthenon as a gunpowder magazine. A single Venetian mortal round blew up the magazine, causing an explosion that crumbled walls, knocked pillars down, and started fires that destroyed nearby houses. 

The Temple of Zeus and Acropolis was constructed in 6th century BC. The temple was completed in a little more than 600 years and it was damaged not long after that. It was once hoped to be the greatest temple in the world, but now it's nothing more than a couple of pillars. Still, the history behind it is extremely fascinating.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is unique in that it spans two continents, connected by a suspension bridge. It's the largest city in Turkey and has a population of 13.9 million. There are a ton of historic sites around Istanbul, such as the Basilica Cistern, the Aya Sofya, the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, and many other locations. The museum even has a copy of the peace treaty of 1269 BC stored in it. 

No matter where you decide to go in the Mediterranean, you're going to come face to face with ancient history. Do yourself a favor, take some time off work, and go explore the world. You deserve it.