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The 20 Mediterranean islands you must visit in your lifetime

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Is it the sea, the strange sense of security, or just that wonderful feeling of escaping from life on the mainland that makes an island break so special? Whatever the exact chemistry, islands make brilliant holiday destinations, and nowhere more so than in the Mediterranean. With the help of our experts, we’ve created the definitive list – selecting the best island in each of 10 categories, with a runner-up in case you fancy somewhere different.

Best for beaches

1. Winner: Corfu, Greece

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The warm turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea are hard to beat. From tiny pockets of pebbled perfection hidden beneath firs and pines along the somewhat swanky yet still unspoilt north-eastern coast to surprisingly long, wide swathes of golden sand to the west, there’s a beach to keep everyone happy on Corfu.

Families gravitate toward the larger beaches that are furnished with sun loungers, in easy reach of a taverna or two and replete with water sports. The more adventurous tackle rocky trails that lead to the island’s most secluded and astonishingly beautiful swimming spots. See our expert’s pick of the best beaches in Corfu, and our favourite hotels on the island.


2. Runner-up: Formentera, Spain

As soon as you kick off your flip-flops, step on to the warm white sand and gaze into the gently rippling transparent water that surrounds Formentera, you’ll understand why the tiny island just south of Ibiza is so often compared to the Caribbean. Some parts of Migjorn beach, which curves around the south of the island, get busy in summer, but you can always find a quiet spot. Take your snorkel and mask to Ses Platgetes, a string of tiny coves protected by pines, with boat shacks and places where the freshest fish is always on the grill. See our pick of the best hotels in Formentera.

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