The Mediterranean is known the world over for its food, its climate, its historic towns and cities and, of course, its people. Here are five charming places that you may not have heard of:

Sorrento, Italy 

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Italy’s rugged Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful places in Europe to enjoy the view. Look out to sea and you’ll see islands dotted in a dazzling sea of blue and green, look inland and you’ll see hilltop castles, vineyards and traditional Italian life taking place in rustic towns and cities. If you could only visit one place along this stunning stretch of coastline, it has got to be Sorrento. The town is relatively small, but it has the buzz of a place that has been recommended in guidebooks for centuries. Enjoy a trip to the beach, beautiful seafood from the coast, historical tours at world famous sites like Pompeii and take part in the relaxing Italian nightlife with a glass of good wine.

Seville, Spain 

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Next on the list is Seville, the capital of Spain’s legendary Andalusia region. This is one of the most popular parts of Spain to visit, combining history and culture with beach holiday weather and vibes. Picturesque civic spaces like the Plaza de España and buildings like Seville cathedral will delight architecture aficionados. Animal lovers will equally love the famous dancing horses found in this part of Spain. The scent of Orange blossoms fills the air in this colorful city.

Mahon, Menorca 

The island of Menorca is a great place to get away from it all. The streets of Mahon, the island’s capital, are filled with music and the bustle of sidewalk cafes. The city is set above the largest natural harbour in the Mediterranean and its distinctive architecture harks back to a time when the island was under British rule in the 18th century. The city is famous for its gin (which is also a legacy of British occupation) – try some free samples at the Xoriguer distillery followed by a plate of tapas on the waterfront.

Ajaccio, Corsica 

Ajaccio, on the west coast of Corsica, was famously the birthplace of Napoleon – it is now a tourist hotspot due to its warm climate and laidback atmosphere. The town is perched on the coast and backs onto forests and mountains, meaning that everywhere you look there is a stunning view. Walking through Ajaccio reveals some fine examples of 16th Century Renaissance architecture, epitomised by the town’s grand Cathedral. Other highlights include the botanical gardens, the beautiful beaches and the boat trips that can be taken in the region.

Carcassonne, France 

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This fortified medieval town is a historical treasure set in rolling French countryside – the old town is like something from a movie! In fact, rumor has it that the castle in Sleeping Beauty was inspired by a visit that Walt Disney once took to Carcassonne. The history here dates back 2,500 years, and the town was once the main border post between France and Spain.  A trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is like stepping back in time.

One of the best ways to see these charming places is on a Mediterranean cruise. It’s easy to board in the UK with a company like Thomson and set off on a maritime adventure through Europe. Start revising your bucket list today!

*This post has been created in collaboration with Thomson*