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6 Lesser Known Mediterranean Islands To Visit This Year To Avoid The Tourist Crowds 

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If you are considering a trip to Europe this summer, it’s likely that you are going to be looking for some beaches to enjoy. Luckily the stunning and diverse countries of Europe offer endless beaches of all sorts, from seas to lakes, wild to manicured, and everything in between. 

A woman with a white hat enjoys the view to the famous beach of Tis Grias to Pidima with emerald sea on the island of Andros, Cyclades, Greece copy

It’s a well-known fact that many European beaches get very crowded in the popular summer months, making the experience much less enjoyable for those who come seeking rest and relaxation. 

However, there are always gems to discover, and the postcard-perfect Mediterranean region offers many islands that are still off the beaten path.

Back view of beautiful girl with hat sitting on wall looking at stunning panoramic view of Procida Island, Naples, Italy

Consider some fairytale island locations that are favored by Europeans who head here to avoid the masses of tourists that flood the other, more popular islands in the region. 

The countries of Greece, Italy, and Croatia are more popular than ever this year, and if you're looking for a quiet beach to lounge away on, it’s time to turn to the locals for their favorites. 

Here Are 6 Lesser Known Mediterranean Islands To Visit This Year To Avoid The Tourist Crowds:

Rab, Croatia 

Reachable by just a short ferry ride from the mainland of Croatia’s northern coast, the island of Rab is one place that is worth a visit this summer. Nicknamed the Island of Love, Rab is known for locals who are welcoming and friendly and who love to see the occasional tourist pass by their shores.

Speaking of shores, another claim to fame here is that the island has the highest number of sandy beaches in all of the Adriatic region, including over 20 located on the islands Lopar peninsula, some of which are the best beaches in all of Croatia.

Aside from the beaches, the town of Rab is picture-perfect, and the island also boasts an ancient forest to get lost in when you need some downtime from the beach. 

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Croatian town of Rab during the sunset

Ponza, Italy 

Located a little over three hours from Rome, you can find the stunning volcanic island of Ponza, part of Italy’s Pontine Islands. Unlike some of Rome’s other nearby islands and beaches, Ponza won’t greet you with huge sandy beaches but rather smaller and rustic coves and cliffs, perfect for exploring by boat.

Quieter and more laid back than nearby Capri and Ischia, Ponza is the island to go to have some dolce vita by the sea without the massive overcrowding that some of Italy’s other popular destinations will see this year. 

Island of Ponza, Italy with colorful umbrellas on the beach

Agistri, Greece

Popular with locals from Athens, the unique Greek island of Agistri is a favorite laid-back island paradise to explore. Located in the Saronic Gulf, the island is calm and natural. Despite how close it is to the booming metropolis of Athens, the small island remains unspoiled, with lush green nature and your choice of sandy or rocky beaches to enjoy.

One of Agistri’s charms is the fact that it’s not polished and cosmopolitan like some other Greek Islands, and many come here to recharge in the unpretentious setting among the taverns and traditional villages. 

Aerial bird's eye view photo taken by drone of Aponisos beach and lake with clear turquoise waters and pine trees, Agistri island, Saronic gulf, Greece

La Maddalena, Italy 

Tucked away off the northeastern coast of Sardinia, the archipelago of La Maddalena is still very undiscovered by the masses — for a few reasons. For a long time, the island served as a home for a U.S. Navy nuclear base, and thus tourism wasn’t a factor here due to the unwelcome nature.

Since 2008 though, La Maddalena was handed back over to Italy by the U.S. Navy, and the island has begun to blossom into a natural playground for beachgoers. 

Loaded with wild beaches and ice-blue water, this area is actually a protected national park, so take care when visiting not to disturb anything here (you are not even allowed to take sand home). La Maddalena is home to one beach that has even been referred to as the Tahiti of Italy, so plan for some seriously clear waters. 

Cala Corsara, Maddalena archipelago on Sardinia island, Italy

Pantelleria, Italy 

It’s been called Italy’s last secret island, although it seems the secret might be out soon. Pantelleria lies between Tunisia and Sicily and has a vibe that can be considered North Africa meets Italy.

As one of Italy's most southern points, this volcanic island lies alone out in the Mediterranean Sea and therefore doesn’t get many international visitors.

The famous Elefnate rock juts out into the sea, and the majority of this island is jagged and rocky shorelines, making it a bit hard to reach by air or boat. Those who do reach Pantelleria, however, are greeted with a quiet and chilled island vibe with small towns and villages dotting the landscape. 

View of Lago di Venere in Pantelleria, Sicily

Lopud, Croatia 

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the trendy and sunny Croatian hotspot of Dubrovnik this summer, consider taking a trip to the island of Lopund for some beach time.

With a ferry trip of around one hour, Lopund is a great place to spend the day on a sandy beach such as Beach Sunj.

Lopund is considered to be the most beautiful of the Elafitis Islands, and the fact that it is car-free makes it more laid back than many other options on this list. While it can get a bit busy with day trippers, stay and explore the ruins and views with a hike to the hills overlooking the archipelago. 

Island of Lopud in Croatia

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