Fancy an overseas vacation, but want to skip out on the crowds? Instead of visiting tourist hot spots like Santorini or Rome, why not opt for a lesser-known city on the Mediterranean?

Iglu Cruise, a cruise travel agency that provides packages to destinations around the world, has revealed five lesser-known Mediterranean destinations that offer fewer crowds without sacrificing on culture, beauty and adventure.

These hidden gems are perfect for those looking for a quieter vacation spent lying on the beach, visiting historic sites and swimming in crystal-clear azure waters.

Grab your passport — here are five destinations in the Mediterranean you'll want to have on your radar.

Kotor, Montenegro

Why You Need To Go: Located on a beautiful bay on the coast of Montenegro, Kotor is a city brimming with tradition and history.

The UNESCO World Heritage site is filled with medieval churches, cathedrals, Venetian palaces, pillars and fortresses to explore, and almost looks like a scene straight out of Game of Thrones.

St. Tryphon's Cathedral is a must-visit spot in the city, and has been called one of Kotor's most impressive buildings. The cathedral was built in 1166 and is a stunning piece of architecture, with Corinthian columns and Byzantine-style frescoes.

Be sure to also check out the San Giovanni Fortress, a magnificent structure located at the very top of the city walls that offers a unique panoramic view of Kotor.

For those looking for nature experiences, just a short drive away is Lovcen National Park, where you can hike, zipline and get unparalleled views of Montenegro's Boka Bay.

Kotor tourism website

Ravenna, Italy

Why You Need To Go: Skip out on the overcrowded tourist cities like Venice or Florence and head to this vibrant Italian city instead.

Ravenna is an art and history lover's dream, most famous for its many mosaics. The city is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage monuments, including the Basilica of San Vitale, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, and the Chapel of Sant'Andrea.

Its location along the Adriatic Sea means you'll find "some of the most exquisite coastlines in Italy," here, with nine charming beach towns to explore along 35 kilometres of coast.

You'll find many traditional trattorias and osterias in Ravenna serving up authentic Italian cuisine, like Antica Trattoria al Gallo 1909, a family-run restaurant recently called one of the best in the city by Travel + Leisure.

As for what to eat, piadina, cappelletti al ragù, passatelli in broth and caramelized figs with Squacquerone cheese are a few of the traditional dishes of the city, according to Emilia-Romagna Region Tourism.

Ravenna tourism website

Rijeka, Croatia

Why You Need To Go: Instead of visiting Croatia's most popular cities like Dubrovnik or Zagreb, consider paying a visit to this lesser-known gem.

Rijeka, Croatia's third-largest city, is chock-full of historical heritage, Austrian architecture and trendy galleries. The city is a major port considered to be the cultural centre of western Croatia.

The fully pedestrianized Korzo is the main street in Rijeka, offering laidback cafes, souvenir shops, seafood restaurants as well as museums just a short walk away.

The city's beaches are also some of the best in Croatia, according to Iglu Cruise, with crystal-clear waters ideal for snorkelling and swimming.

Be sure to include a visit to Tsrat Castle during your stay, the main attraction in the village-like neighbourhood of Trsat that offers beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding region, including a string of islands on Kvarner Bay.

The bustling Rijeka is also close to other towns, resorts and islands should you wish to hop over for a day trip.

Rijeka tourism website

Katakolon, Greece

Why You Need To Go: This port town is said to be one of Greece's best-kept secrets.

Katakolon is a picturesque coastal town on the mainland with museums, souvenir shops, restaurants and even horse-drawn carriage rides, all without the crowds of other Greek tourist spots like Mykonos or Athens.

Here, you'll find sparkling turquoise waters and pristine beaches, traditional tavernas and a quiet town perfect for a relaxing vacation.

The town is home to several churches and chapels, with some decorated in the traditional Greek colours of white and blue.

Visitors to the town can also walk around and admire the traditional houses and narrow streets, or board a Hop On Hop Off bus tour of the surrounding peninsula and the larger town of Pyrgos.

About 30 minutes away, the Archaeological Site of Olympia is a must-see while in the area, providing a glimpse into the history of Ancient Greece.

Here, you'll find sites such as the Ancient Stadium where the Olympic Games were held, the Temple of Hera, and the Temple of Zeus.

Katakolon tourism website

Catania, Sicily

Why You Need To Go: Located on the stunning blue waters of the Ionian Sea and on the eastern side of Sicily, Catania is where you'll find Baroque architecture, rich history and plenty of attractions to explore.

The city can be found on the slopes of Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. Its location makes it perfect for those looking for an adventurous vacation, without having to sacrifice on delicious Italian food and wine.

The city is known for its fresh and decadent Sicilian cuisine, which you can experience for yourself on a food walking tour or lunch at a working farm.

Speaking of food, one surprising attraction in the city is the fish market, where the ritual of selling fish, meat and fruit has continued since ancient times. While it's a great place to get a taste of Sicilian life, it's also the perfect spot for trying some Sicilian street food.

If adventure is what you're after, you can visit Mount Etna on a guided excursion or on your own on one of the many trails in Mount Etna Park.

One not-to-be-missed site in the city is the Massimo Bellini Theater, a 19th-century theatre considered to be a Sicilian wonder that hosts an opera and ballet season, a symphonic season and a chamber season each year.

Catania tourism website

Bon voyage!

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

2023-08-11T00:14:15Z dg43tfdfdgfd