Perennial sunshine, expansive beaches and world-famous cuisine… what more can a tourist ask for? Mediterranean Europe is strewn with provincial fishing villages, alfresco seafood restaurants, and quaint period architecture. Daytrips from the beach reveal Roman ruins, hidden olive groves and expansive vineyards. From the elite communities of the Côte d’Azur and Monaco to the emerging tourism markets of Croatia and Albania, Mediterranean Europe has something for everyone.

Sun-drenched beaches, ancient ruins, medieval architecture and world-class dining await visitors in Mediterranean Europe. Whether staying in exclusive resorts or hiding away in sleepy fishing villages, tourists are met with first-rate hospitality, myriad cultural opportunities and impeccable wine lists.

Mediterranean Europe has a long-standing reputation as a land of fascinating cultural encounters, world-class wine lists and impeccable hospitality. Visitors can base themselves on sun-drenched beaches in sleepy fishing villages or exclusive resorts and enjoy sightseeing excursions among ancient ruins, medieval villages and hidden olive groves.

The Mediterranean is one of the cradles of civilization, offering visitors an incredible range of cultural, historic and seaside attractions. The Greeks and Romans both created their empires around this massive sea, establishing a roster of ancient sites that seems endless. Warm dry weather and sunny skies makes the Mediterranean a popular travel destination any time of year.

For many travelers, the Greek Islands such as Santorini come to mind when imagining cobalt seas and whitewashed fishing villages. But the lesser visited islands of Malta, Crete and Rhodes are even more ancient and just as impressive. Turkey also has a handful of beautiful historic coastal towns and islands more off the beaten track.

There’s plenty to do along the Mediterranean if you’re well-heeled. Exclusive enclaves like Monaco, San Marino, Andorra and Gibraltar are yachting havens catering to the wealthiest of the wealthy. France’s Cote d’Azur is also a hot Mediterranean spot if you want to hang with the rich and famous.

However, there’s more to the European Mediterranean region than just water and sand. Sure, most visitors make a point of staying along the coast, and every country has an excellent array of seaside resort towns. But if you tire of the sea, simply head inland and a whole other world awaits.

Italy isn’t as popular as it used to be, but it’s hard to beat the treasures of Rome and the Vatican, or the romantic canals of Venice. Fashion-conscious Milan buts right up into the stunning Dolomite mountains and on to the Alps. Spain and Portugal are also fascinating destinations. Cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, and Salamanca offer different perspectives on Spanish culture.

Greece has plenty of ancient sites from its golden era, as does Turkey, whose capital Istanbul remains one of the most alluring and mysterious places on earth. Olive groves, vineyards and timeless villages containing the remnants of the first great Western empires lay mostly forgotten and ready to be rediscovered.

But it may be that tourism newcomers Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia capture the imagination and wallets of adventurous travelers. Croatia’s beautiful Dalmatian Coast is just one blossoming site to consider.