The Top 10 Mediterranean Drives
|Dubrovnik, on the Mediterranean coast of Croatia (Digital Vision/Getty Images)|
Tiberias to Tel Aviv, Israel
From the ancient city of Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, home to the tomb of the 12th-century sage Maimonides, meander eastward to the coast, a gold expanse of sand. The 100-mile (160 km) long journey takes you through modern Haifa, on the slopes of sacred Mount Carmel, and on to Herod's port city of Caesarea Maritima, full of ancient ruins, to end in bustling Tel Aviv.
PLANNING: May and October are the best months to visit (but avoid holidays). www.goisrael.com
Chania to Palaiochora, Crete
From the beautiful waterfront city of Chania, craggy mountain roads wind 50 miles (80 km) through the heart of Crete, passing ancient villages, including Alikianos and Aghia Irini, where men still wear traditional black baggy pants and high mountain boots. Stop for a peek at Samaria, Europe's longest gorge, before ending in the pink-sand seaside resort of Palaiochora.
PLANNING: Chania has plenty of places to stay. www.cretetravel.com
Mount Pelion Peninsula, Greece
Begin this tortuous, stunning drive in Volos, twisting up Pelion's slopes to the village of Makrinitsa, its 18th-century homes hanging from the green mountainside. Passing slate-roofed villages, ancient churches, and fruit orchards, head up and over the mountain to the peninsula's east coast, where narrow lanes lead to beautiful beach towns, including Agios Ioannis. Return to Volos via Milies.
PLANNING: June is the best month to go: warm and not crowded. www.aroundpelion.com
Jadranska Magistrala, Croatia
Lauded as Croatia's most scenic drive, the Jadranska Magistrala (Adriatic Road) snakes south more than 300 miles (480 km) along a rocky coast between Rijeka and Dubrovnik. Admire national parks, battered peaks, and peaceful medieval villages, and don't miss the most stunning section—running beneath Velebit Mountain, with a view of the island of Pag.
PLANNING: The road briefly crosses Bosnia, so keep your passport handy. www.croatia.hr
Dingli Cliffs, Malta
In Malta's prettiest, most unspoiled corner, the narrow road southwest of Dingli village skirts vertical cliffs that plummet 980 feet (300 m) to the sea. Visit in late afternoon, as the fiery sun drops into the ocean.
PLANNING: Stay in Dingli village or Rabat. Be warned that GPS mapping of Malta isn't always reliable. www.visitmalta.com
Reproduced with permission from Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Most Spectacular Trips, 2010, National Geographic. All rights reserved.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
Best Hotels in Alghero