Top budget Mediterranean islands for your next holiday

By Emma Power,

We’ve combed through our data to come up with the ultimate list of budget Mediterranean islands, perfect for last-minute holiday planning!

Ranked in order of average hotel prices, we’ve put together a great selection of beautiful but affordable Mediterranean islands – did your favourite make the list?

14. Santorini, Greece

Santorini is world-renowned for its white-washed houses, cobalt-blue rooftops and rugged cliffs overlooking the sea.

Picture watching stunning sunsets from the picturesque town of Oia, exploring tiny churches in the beautiful countryside or touring the traditional vineyards.

Sample the local delicacies such as white aubergine, stuffed vine leaves and fried tomato balls – Santorini is famous for its cherry tomatoes. Of course, you can find tasty gyros places all over the island!

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13. Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia is one of the two major islands in Italy and a fan favourite for good reason.

Thanks its miles and miles of stunning coastline, beautiful bays and excellent hiking trails, it promises to be the perfect base for your Mediterranean break.

The beaches are so white they seem too good to be true (they’re not) and the water is so blue it’s as if it’s permanently rocking an Instagram filter. Savour the superb seafood, explore the ancient ruins and admire the rugged mountains.

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12. Corcisa, France

Separated from mainland France by the Mediterranean and lying close to Italy, Corsica has developed its own fascinating culture over the centuries.

Combining glittering blue waters, pretty coastal towns and dense forests, Corsica is ideal for nature lovers who can’t resist a bit of culture and fine dining.

You’ll find plenty of historic sites, nature reserves and museums, plus tasty local delicacies and meandering vineyards.

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11. Malta

Malta offers its visitors a rich history and unique culture, heavily influenced by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, French and British.

An archipelago just south of Sicily, the region has three inhabited islands; Malta, Comino and Gozo.On each island, you’ll find fascinating history, pretty coves, towering fortresses and ancient temples.

If you like to do more than just lie on the beach on your holidays, then you’re in luck – you can hike, sail, snorkel, dive, surf, kayak, cycle and climb!

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10. Zante, Greece

Zante (also known as Zakynthos) is a beautiful Greek island in the Ionian sea, famous for being a top summer destination every year.

Zante is popular with tourists, and for good reason – the island is packed with things to do, from windsurfing, snorkeling and scuba diving to simply sunbathing.

Going off the beaten track will bring you away from the clubs and bars to traditional rural villages and Venetian ruins. Make the most of dramatic shoreline in the western part of the island and go snorkelling!

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9. Cyprus

Located south of Turkey, Cyprus is the third-largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily and Sardinia.

With gorgeous temperate weather, archaeological sites dating all the way back to the Stone Age, beautiful wine regions and endless unspoiled coastline, there’s infinite opportunities to discover and explore Cyprus.

Get ready to enjoy some local delicacies such as meze and drink strong and sweet Cypriot wine after a day spent strolling though ancient cities filled with Byzantine churches and Roman mosaics.

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8. Crete, Greece

Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands, located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea. Although beautiful, there is more to the island than sun, sea and sand – Crete is famous for its culture, hospitality and style.

When you’re there, make the most of the scores of beaches, superb cuisine (think honey, yoghurt, feta, olives, tzatziki) and natural wonders such as gorges, valleys and mountains.

When you’re all beached out, wander amongst the ancient Minoan ruins such as the Palace of Knossos, more than 3,000 caves and countless monasteries dotted all over the island.

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7. Sicily, Italy

The largest island in the Mediterranean – situated just off the toe of Italy’s boot – Sicily has something to suit everyone.

With three different sets of islands – the Aeolians to the north, Aegadians to the east and the Pelagie Islands close to Malta and Tunisia – there’s plenty to explore.

Imagine everything from gorgeous beaches, impressive volcanoes and ancient temples to baroque churches, wine estates and food markets – the dream!

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6. Kefalonia, Greece

Kefalonia (also spelled Cephalonia) is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. Its jagged coastline is marked by concealed coves, limestone cliffs and beach-lined bays.

Thanks to its size, Kefalonia never appears crowded or overly-touristy, even in high season. The island’s exotic beaches are what attract most visitors, with its crystal-clear waters and fine sandy shores.

Kefalonia’s picturesque fishing villages are also worth a visit. Our favourite is the stylish port town of Fiscardo on the northern side of the island, which is frequented by A-list stars such as Demi Moore and Jon Bon Jovi.

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5. Corfu, Greece

The beautiful island of Corfu is situated off the coasts of Greece and Albania in the Ionian Sea.

The Venetian, British and French influences in Corfu permeate throughout the island’s architecture, such as the French-style arcade in the Old Town and the imposing Italian fortresses.

It’s not all about the architecture, however; Corfu is home to an idyllic mountainous landscape, verdant valleys and 200 kilometres of sandy coastline with hidden coves and cobalt-blue bays.

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4. Lipari Islands, Italy

Lipari is the largest and busiest of the Aeolian Islands, off the northern coast of Sicily.

The biggest town of the archipelago, also called Lipari, is a true gem – here you’ll find pretty streets filled cafes and shops, two charming harbours and an imposing citadel.

When you leave the town you’ll come across the more traditional Mediterranean landscape of rugged cliffs, deep blue waters and dense forests. The thermal springs dotted around nod to the island’s volcanic past.

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3. Gozo, Malta

Thanks to its picture-perfect coastlines and rich history, Malta has long been a popular tourist destination, but to go off the beaten track you’ve got to visit Gozo.

Gozo was renowned for the Azure Window until its collapse in 2017, but there’s still plenty to see while you’re there, such as neolithic ruins, spectacular scenery and underwater caves.

More rural than its sister-island, Gozo is a haven for adventurers and water-sport lovers, particularly scuba-divers.

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2. Thassos Island, Greece

The Greek island Thassos (also spelled Thasos) is situated in the North Aegean Sea, close to Kavala.

Thassos is perfect for families or people looking for outdoor activities such as mountain-biking, hiking and water sports. Adventure-seekers can try their hand at cave climbing in ancient tunnels and mines, speed boating, jeep safaris and horse-riding.

It’s not all about action, though. The lush, mountainous island is renowned for its natural beauty, picturesque villages and sandy beaches. For those who prefer a quiet beach experience, try the west side of the island.

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1. Lesbos, Greece

Located in the North Aegean Sea, Lesbos is one of the most picturesque and traditional Greek islands.

Famous for being the birthplace of the ancient Greek poet Sappho, the island is full of historic churches and monasteries,

Once known as the ‘Garden of the Aegean’, the island is covered in meadows filled with aromatic herbs and wild flowers, and thanks to its many olive trees has a long-lasting tradition of olive oil making.

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