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It’s nicknamed the Eternal City for a reason. In Rome, you can drink from a street fountain fed by an ancient aqueduct. Or see the same profile on a statue in the Capitoline Museum and the guy making your cappuccino. (Which, of course, you know never to order after 11 am.) Rome is also a city of contrasts—what other place on earth could be home to both the Vatican and La Dolce Vita?
Stretching along the southern side of Italy's Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi coast dazzles with its mysterious grottos, craggy cliffs and shimmering bays. Grab a seat on the sea side of a regional bus to soak up views on the fabled route from artsy Positano to Amalfi. Ravello offers some respite from the crowds, plus the stunning Villa Cimbrone, which overlooks the Bay of Salerno. The winding streets of Sorrento's historic district are filled with craftspeople. Capri is only a hydrofoil or ferry ride away.
<p>Sardinia has been an overlooked Mediterranean island, as it lies between Italian Sicily and French Corsica. But it is an amazing holiday destination, great for kids, which is packed full of amazing sights and activities, with a great climate. Whether you've chosen to visit Sardinia to check out Phoenician or Roman ruins, or just to soak up some sun and enjoy some excellent Sardinian wines, you're sure to have a great time.</p><p>As a relatively large autonomous island, Sardinia presents a huge range of activities for a family holiday. From the sunbathing perfection of its Mediterranean beaches to the exploration of sites such as Su Nuraxi di Barumini - a building structure dating from the Megalithic period - there is something to interest everybody. About a quarter of the island is designated as either a National Park or other protected reserve territory, so much of the environment is unspoiled and the naturalists in your family can have a great time spotting incredibly rare creatures such as the Sardinian Fox or the Mediterranean Monk Seal. It's definitely a destination for fans of the great outdoors, but with such a diverse amount of wildlife on display, no one can fail to be captivated by the Sardinian landscape. </p>
The Mediterranean's biggest island is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina. A mountainous spot, Sicily's coast and its small islands sit at the foot of volcanoes, including Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano. The Greeks, Romans, Normans and Catalans all left their mark on the island in the form of Byzantine palaces, Gothic castles and Baroque flourishes in capital Palermo. Most larger towns offer interesting museums, but Etna and the Hellenic temples in Agrigento offer particularly unique sights.
Glamourous Santorini is deliciously different. Geographical newness is in part to thank. The island’s popular black volcanic Perissa and Kamari beaches are big draws, as is its arguably most famous Red Beach near Akrotiri (which is the place to go for archaeology buffs). Santorini curves round a giant lagoon in the Cyclades islands, offering stunning views from sky-high towns, eclectic cuisine, lovely galleries, thriving nightlife and excellent wines.
Attracting visitors from all parts of the world, Majorca is a dreamy island destination in the Mediterranean Sea, just off the southeast coast of Spain. There's something for every taste—beaches and coves, a spectacular mountain range, romantic fishing villages and a rustic countryside dotted with almond and olive groves.
One of the three principal islands of the Maltese archipelago, the island of Malta is the largest of the chain. Its capital Valletta, a lively, bustling city with many buildings dating back to the 16th century, teems with cathedrals, palaces and forts. The impressive Grand Harbour offers a dramatic arrival. The top archaeological attraction is the UNESCO-designated Hypogeum temple ruins, a macabre, 5400-square-foot underground necropolis and the world's only underground prehistoric temple.
If your kids are sick of the same old beach holiday you take every year, consider taking them to Lanzarote. There are great beaches, to be sure, but this UNESCO World Biosphere reserve has unique attractions and activities. We're talking camel rides on volcanoes (at Timanfaya National Park), or eating at a restaurant in a volcanic cave (at Jameos del Agua). Even the most jaded teens will be impressed.
Strongly influenced by the tribal culture of the Guanches (the original inhabitants), Tenerife was conquered by the Spanish 500 years ago. It's home to Mount Teide, Spain's tallest peak, and to the popular beach resort of Los Gigantes. Today visitors flock to Loro Park to see tropical birds, to Tenerife Zoo Monkey Park and to Parque Nacional Las Canadas del Teide's volcanic rock formations. Explore by car or with a "bono bus" ticket, which offers reductions on regular prices.
Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment. Catch a show at the Dubai Opera, see downtown from atop the Burj Khalifa and spend an afternoon along Dubai Creek exploring the gold, textile and spice souks. If you’re looking for thrills, you can float above the desert dunes in a hot air balloon, climb aboard a high-speed ride at IMG Worlds of Adventure or skydive over the Palm Jumeirah.