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These Are 4 Of The Trendiest Mediterranean Destinations Right Now

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The Mediterranean is undoubtedly Europe's most popular tourist offer, drawing in millions of visitors each year with an enviable collection of historical nations, sandy beaches, and turquoise-colored waters.

Now that borders are open and flights have been reinstated, the ancient sea is brimming with life once again.

Aerial View Of A Beach In Sarande, Albanian Riviera, On The Adriatic Coast Of The Mediterranean Sea, Albania, South Eastern Europe

Tourism is close to reaching pre-pandemic levels across many Mediterranean destinations, but these 4 seem to be leading recovery trends, as established in new research published by travel intelligence provider Mabrian tracking air connectivity in 2023.

They all belong to the Southeastern flank and stand out among their peers in terms of air capacity, which already surpasses that of 2019.

If anything, this means demand for travel to these destinations is at an all-time high and that they have never been trendier than they are right now:

Aerial View Of Paphos, In Cyprus, East Mediterranean Sea

Cyprus

Last year we predicted Cyprus would become one of the leading Mediterranean destinations in the near future, and it turns out we weren't completely wrong: it is now one of the fastest-growing vacation spots in the Eastern Med.

According to Mabrian, Cyprus is one of four Southeastern European countries where traffic is up compared to 2019, at a 5.2% increase.

While this may not seem like a significant increase, we must consider Cyprus had enacted some of the strictest anti-tourism policies throughout the crisis, including vaccination mandates and a multiple testing regime for entry.

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Paphos City Center, Cyprus, East Mediterranean

It also reopened less than a year ago, and despite earlier predictions that it would take much longer to reach its pre-pandemic traffic, it has already recovered by as much as 80%.

Cyprus is famous for its Greco-Roman and Ottoman-Turkish heritage, crystal-clear beaches, and a rapidly-developing nomad scene.

Greece

Cyprus' sister nation, Greece, is only further asserting its status as a Mediterranean power. The European Travel Commission (ETC) confirmed in early 2023 that it is one of the countries American vacationers are most likely to travel to in 2023, overtaking Italy and Spain in popularity.

A culturally-charged nation whose rich History spans at least four millennia, Greece has been quickly gaining traction since becoming the 30th country to drop all travel restrictions.

Female Tourist Wearing A Large White Hat As She Sits On A Parapet Overlooking A Charming Harbor Dotted With Whitewashed Houses In An Island In Greece, Southeastern Eirope, Mediterranean Region

From the classical grandeur of Athens to the remote monasteries of Meteora, it has an endless supply of World Heritage Sites to be discovered.

Between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023, the flight schedule looks 14.7% busier than it was in 2019, indicating more tourists can be expected this year, still according to Mabrian. This makes Greece the third-best performing destination in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Croatia

The newest country to have been welcomed into the borderless Schengen Zone, Croatia expects a 16.1% increase in air traffic in 2023, having come a long way since the early days of the pandemic, when arrival figures reached historical lows as a result of stricter border policies.

Now, it is open and restriction-free, and it is, in fact, Europe's most sought-after destination at this point, according to AirDNA, though it trails behind another Balkan country on Mabrian‘s list.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The rise in notoriety is largely attributed to its impressive list of jet-setting destinations for movie and television geeks, including Dubrovnik, best known as ‘King's Landing' among Game of Thrones fans.

On top of that, Croatia has been voted the ‘most liked' Digital Nomad destination for 2023, serving as a base for a growing number of remote workers who are drawn to its sunny weather, laid-back coastal culture, and nomad-friendly society.

Albania

Beating Croatia to the number one spot by a very comfortable margin and boasting a jaw-dropping 75.9% increase in air traffic in 2023, Albania, once dubbed Europe's ‘underdog', is arguably the continent's most promising sunny destination this decade.

Straddling the Adriatic Coast, it is home to unblemished sandy crescents, pebbly beaches with translucent waters, incredibly charming cobblestone villages, and an irresistible youthful atmosphere.

As we have suggested before, it can no longer be considered a ‘hidden gem' now that it's gone viral and tourist numbers have risen dramatically.

Kruje Castle In Kruje, A Small Historic City In The Mountains Of Albania, South Eastern Europe

Tirana, the modern, quirky capital, has been recently proclaimed the European Capital of Youth, owing it to its reputation as a center for innovation and entrepreneurship. With its lively social scene and strong cafe culture, it is a favorite in the digital nomad scene.

Further afield, visitors often find themselves mesmerized by the Old World charm of small cities like Kruje and Gjirokaster and the underdeveloped, off-path appeal of the coastal resort towns of Sarande and Vlore.

Albania's greatest strength, however, lies in its affordability as a Mediterranean destination and its openness to foreigners.

Aerial View Of Dhermi, A Greco-Albanian Village In The Albanian Riviera, Facing The Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean, Albania, Southeastern Europe, Balkan Peninsula

Unlike other entries on this list, it is the only country that is not part of the European Union nor the Eurozone, as well as the only mainland European state where Americans are allowed to remain for an entire year visa-free.

Mabria has concluded that prices in Albania are 4.1% below 2022 levels for 4-star hotels and up only 6.3% for 3 and 5-star properties. Cyprus, Greece, and Croatia, in particular, on the other hand, have all seen prices soar more than usual in 2023.

Traditional Whitewashed Ottoman Era Houses In Berat, Albania, Balkan Peninsula, South Eastern Europe

Albania's glorious comeback has been helped by a 278% increase in connectivity with Germany, where one of Europe's main transit hubs connecting the United States to lesser-known Eastern European countries like Albania is located, such as Frankfurt and Munich.

Read the full Mabrian report here.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Joe

Tuesday 4th of April 2023

Albania and Croatia on the Mediterranean Sea?

Hristos Konstantinou

Friday 7th of April 2023

@Joe, the Adriatic is merely one of the arms of the Mediterranean Sea. It is only one sea, with minor sections called differently You have the Aegean, the Adriatic, the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Ligurian Sea... they're all just one sea - the Med. These are imaginary divisions to help break it down into smaller parts, often associated with the cultural heritage of nearby countries