Maldives Alternatives in Europe
If you're on the lookout for destinations that won't break the bank like the Maldives might, or perhaps something a bit closer to home, you're in luck. These spots offer the ideal mix of stunning beaches, a touch of romance, a sprinkle of luxury, and even a bit of adventure thrown in for good measure.
You'll hardly find anything quite like the Maldives. Truly, if you ever get the chance to visit this island paradise, grab it with both hands—it's as dreamy as everyone says! But I get it. Sometimes, for various reasons, we need to find alternatives. And here they are:
Hvar & Zlatni Rat, Croatia
With its incredible islands, Greece feels like a slice of the Maldives in Europe. Sure, not every island has those super fine, powdery sands, but the variety is something else. That’s why my colleague once included it as one of the best destinations for honeymoon.
There are plenty of options out there, but personally, I think Elafonissi, a tiny island near Crete, really hits the mark for something similar to the Maldives. When the weather's warm, you can actually walk through the water to get there. Once you arrive at its beach, you're greeted with white and pink sands and the kind of turquoise waters in its lagoon that you'd expect in a postcard from paradise. Elafonissi stretches out for a mile, dotted with coves to discover and rock formations that just add to its charm.
So, if you're thinking about places that remind you of the Maldives,but are actually closer to home, let me tell you about Ksamil in Albania. It's this stunning spot people call "the turquoise pearl," and for good reason. Crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and mountains looming in the background. It's the kind of place that's just begging to be on your Instagram feed.
And here's a cool tip: from the nearby town of Saranda, you can hop on a boat and find yourself in Corfu in just about two hours. It'll cost you around €19 each way. Just don't forget to pack your passport for ID.
BTW, getting to Ksamil is a breeze if you fly into Corfu. It's both the easiest and cheapest route. Trust me, the whole experience is a hidden gem that's worth exploring.
Corsica is like a hidden gem, Europe's answer to the Maldives but with its own unique twist. The water is this unreal shade of blue, reminding the Maldives. Absolutely amazing. It's not just about the beach, though. There's so much history to explore, and the adventures you can have are endless, from diving into the sea to hiking in nature.
And let's talk about the food – it's incredible. Food is bursting with uniquely Corsican flavors, yet with a hint of French sophistication. Despite being closer to Italy, Corsica feels very French, from its cuisine to its laid-back lifestyle. There is only one pain point: getting there is not easy.
Corsica is also famous for its breathtaking hiking trails, especially the GR20, which is known as one of the toughest but most beautiful in Europe. The island's rugged mountains meet the sea, creating stunning landscapes that are a photographer's dream.
It's the tiniest of the Balearic Islands, but let me tell you, its beaches could easily make you think you've teleported straight to the Maldives. And it's super easy to get to as well—just a quick ferry ride from Ibiza. So, if you're over on the party island and looking for a bit of peace, Formentera is perfect for a day trip, especially since it doesn't have its own airport, which honestly, keeps things nice and quiet.
The vibe here? It's all about kicking back, unwinding, and really soaking…relaxation and simply chilling. You won't find the wild club scene like in Ibiza. Instead, Formentera is more about savoring the good life, with amazing food and drinks. It's this laid-back atmosphere that makes Formentera a standout spot for anyone looking to find a peaceful escape with all the beauty of the Maldives, but without the long haul flight.
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Hvar & Zlatni Rat, Croatia
Zlatni Rat, also known as the Golden Horn, is a magnet for tourists in the summer due to its unique shape, situated on the scenic island of Brac, where the beach's tip shifts shape with the weather every few years.
And Hvar Island in Croatia is a spot that gives the Maldives a run for its money, especially if you're hunting for a European getaway. I heard about this island six years ago and I was stunned. Hvar isn't just about the luxury resorts; it's got fields of lavender, lush vineyards, and waters so clear you'd think they were straight out of a travel magazine. And you've got to check out the nearby towns like Bol, Jelsa, and Vrboska. They've got that same vibrant feel you'd expect from a tropical paradise.
This place, often dubbed the 'Maldives of Europe,' really lets you escape the hustle and bustle, offering peace and tranquility in spades. Plus, there's plenty to do from day to night, from diving into Croatia's historical treasures to soaking up the lively local scene.
I would be cursed if I finish this list without mentioning Italy! Especially Puglia! Firstly, Puglia is this stunning region right at the heel of Italy's boot, and it's got this laid-back vibe that's just infectious. The coastline? Absolutely breathtaking, with crystal-clear waters that can easily rival those Maldivian blues.
Secondly, Puglia isn't just about the beaches. It's packed with these charming little towns, each with unique character, not to mention the olive groves and vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. And the food—oh, the food is to die for! Fresh seafood, handmade pasta, and olive oil that's out of this world.
Then there's the architecture, from Alberobello's trulli houses to Lecce's baroque beauty, often dubbed the "Florence of the South." Puglia offers a blend of culture, history, and natural beauty that's hard to find elsewhere.
So, if you're looking for an escape with all the allure of the Maldives but with a hearty Italian twist, Puglia's where it's at. Whether you're sunbathing on its gorgeous beaches, exploring its historic towns, or simply enjoying a glass of Primitivo as the sun sets…
That's it. You don't need to spend your last money on the Maldives while there are several breathtaking places here, in Europe. I really Hope that you find your dream location from this list and maybe - maybe- you'll visit it this year:).