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Awe-inspiring art, ancient ruins, fascinating cities unlike anywhere else and a food culture to rival all others; the world of the Mediterranean is in a league of its own, and its associated destinations have the lifestyle and geography to captivate any traveller – whatever your interests. Sun worshippers can always find the promise of perfect weather in Nice, France, with its icing sugar sands and sea so dazzlingly blue it looks photoshopped. You could go for the idyllic craggy coastlines of Croatia, or escape to Slovenia’s secret towns of Izola or Koper. Culture vultures can follow their calling to the cradle of Western Civilisation with Greek and Roman monuments to testify the ambition of ancient superpowers. Art lovers will be enthralled by Renaissance palaces and relics of Gaudi in Spain’s Valencia and Barcelona; whilst those in search of something different can find beauty seldom seen at Olympos, one of Turkey’s more unusual travel destinations. Whether you’re smitten for sun-kissed beaches in Greek capital Athens or craving freshly made pasta in Italy’s Florence, Mediterranean Europe is a sensual and visual feast: dive in to explore paradise this year and book your spring or summer adventure below. We’ve got HI hostels in all the best spots to have you hooked.