Looking for affordable Mediterranean trips? You’re not dreaming – you CAN afford a Mediterranean cruise or even a brief jaunt. Okay, so I have a thing with Mediterranean Travel. Ever since reading The Odyssey as a kiddo, I’m all about sailing the balmy seas around the Greek isles with my partner and best friends.
I also have a pretty intense thing for food – and I’m telling you, what you can eat in Cyprus or Athens at this time of year beats ANY niche takeout you can get at home. Do you think all tzatziki sauce is the same? Trust me, you haven’t tried tzatziki until you’ve tried it sitting in an authentic Greek cafe.
But that’s beside the point. You need a little getaway, a trip that’s not just about relaxing and renewing yourself but building memories that last a lifetime. So let’s take a look at six budget-conscious, totally affordable places on the Mediterranean that will give you a little of both.
Malta’s a cute little island south of Sicily, one in a chain of three islands: Malta, Comino, and Gozo. Each of these islands has its own unique characteristics, and are worth a visit without breaking your bank!
My hands-down favorite thing about Malta is history. I’m no history buff, but I have to tell you – the ruins of old Malta take you back to a whimsical life, with incredible architecture made for the gods. Malta makes you feel as if you should be holding a glass of wine while taking in the breathtaking views. You won’t want to miss Mdina, Malta’s ancient capital, known for its famous circled forts on the outside and its cool boutiques, cafes, and activities within the city itself.
I also REALLY love Gozo’s Ggantija temples, which have been around even longer than the periods. The temple stones are massive, and it’s difficult to think about how they were fashioned, considering the temple itself has been around longer than the wheel. You CANNOT miss Ggantija.
For eats, I recommend Pappani’s in Valletta, Malta’s capital city. It’s got the old world Italian dishes and wines you’d expect from a Mediterranean town. It’s always SUPER busy, or at least it was the few times I’ve visited – so you’ll want to make sure to grab a reservation before heading that way. If you’re nervous about the language barrier, you’ll find that the folks on the phone typically speak English.
In terms of places to stay, check out the Grand Harbour Hotel in Valletta. With harbor views, breezy rooms and rustic, old-world charm, this was the perfect hotel for me and one other guest. In case you’ve never been to Europe, keep in mind the rooms can get small – so you’ll want to plan on using the room for sleeping and that’s about it. But it’s definitely comfortable, the views are killer, and it’s also affordable. Right now JIFU has Grand Harbour Hotel deals at only $85 a night – woot! This is a great rate for a mid-level hotel in Malta.
Traveling in Santorini
Okay, confession time, I’ve been to Santorini many times. There’s a ton of tourist activity there, but I think it’s definitely worth a view. It’s one of those absolute must-see places, and the architecture against the clear blue sea is a view so breathtaking, you might shed a tear or two. I know I did!
In case it wasn’t obvious from my raving about Ggantija, I’m really into ruins. Thera in Santorini is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to. A long, rocky path up a mountain takes you through the ruins of what was once an ancient capital city. There’s a bit of a hike/climb involved, so keep that in mind, you’ll want to pack your walking shoes. It’s also a bit high up – but if you’re a risk-taker when it comes to heights, the stunning views are worth it.
If you’re a fan of seafood, you MUST try Metaxí Mas, on Exo Gonia. For seafood fans, their seafood pasta with prawns is well worth the wait. Definitely utilize their outdoor seating!
If you’re looking to travel to Santorini, a European cruise is one way to do it. For less than $2000 a person, Norwegian hits both Santorini and our next island, Mykonos, for a 12-night European hauler that takes you across five different countries. While you’ll want to budget a little more for food, entertainment, and trinkets on all your stops, it’s well worth it for the vacation of a lifetime. Now don’t forget about shopping and dining, save money on a crazy deal with JIFU and treat yourself with a 5-star dining experience you can find in our travel portal!
Mykonos has a reputation as a party island in Greece. Truly, every island in Greece is a party island if you’re with the right people. I enjoy my parties with as few people as possible, and that’s why I highly recommend visiting Ftelia Beach if you’re headed to Mykonos.
Ftelia is the “less-crowded’ option on an island virtually surrounded by water, with all the sand you could hope for. The keyword here is, chill. It’s a chill place to spend time with your friends and relax for drinks at the Ftelia Beach Club. There’s white sand everywhere, and you can save your non-relaxation time for a four-hour tour of Mykonos’ relics and ruins later on in the trip. This one’s my favorite:
We’re not finished here! There’s even more Mediterranean goodness headed your way tomorrow, as we discuss Cyprus, Montenegro, and Monaco. And as always, take a look at time-limited deals and savings from JIFU! It’s how I book ALL my travel, and I’m excited to be a JIFU Ambassador!