Take a long trip: Southern Europe's Malta, Greece, Croatia, and Montenegro on a budget

2018-11-06 15:17
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If you’ve decided to group all your leave days together (and even take some non-paid days off) in order to take a real, long (and well-deserved) break in 2019, let us get your planning juices flowing with this long-adventure trip ideas.

We’ve done a few and have tried to highlight some of the best reasons for doing this one. If you’d like to follow along on our travels, you can do so on Instagram or over on our blog.  

Best for: A relaxing European escape with sensational history and scenery.

Overview: Ah, countries in the Mediterranean. We don’t have many bad things to say about them. Great weather, reasonable prices, and the most gorgeous views. The food is wonderful too, and we could honestly spend over a month in each country, simply exploring the waters and bays, and all the cute ancient towns. Malta, despite being so small, has some of the most incredible waters and natural wonders we’ve seen in this region, so we definitely wanted to include it in the list. The islands in Greece are all different, so you’d need to do some research to see which is best for you (although we’d personally recommend Corfu and Hydra).

Croatia will surprise you in many ways – the smaller islands off Split are particularly beautiful. Finally, the not-so-much talked about Montenegro, sitting just next to Croatia, has everything you may want from a relaxing European beach holiday. Whether you choose to hop around or only choose one of these countries, we can guarantee you can’t go wrong.

Spots you have to include on your trip:

1. Solta Island in Croatia. The “nature island” as it’s called by locals, is green, beautiful, and offers many secluded beaches and tranquil waters (without the crowds).

2. Corfu Island in Greece. From towering cliffs, to 360-degree panorama restaurants, this island has a lot to offer, so we recommend renting a car and venturing all over.

3. Kotor in Montenegro. This hidden village is at the end of a Fjord-like valley, and is a spectacular stop. Make sure to hike up to the little church above the city for the best views.

4. Gozo Island in Malta. Some of our favourite spots in the Med’ surround this island – picture curvy, limestone rock formations, hidden caves, salt pans, and cliffs towering above the sea.

5. Hydra Island in Greece. An island with no cars, only donkeys, and many gorgeous alleys to explore.

What to know if you go:

Where to stay: You can either hire a sail boat, book a sailing tour, or if you prefer staying on land, Airbnb is the way to go, catering to all budgets. Our only tip is to book in advance, as the best apartments get taken quickly in these popular cities and islands.

Quick tip: The best way to see the Med’ is by boat, and there are many boat and sailing tours that stop off in many of the spots we mentioned above, so if you’re not spending the entire trip aboard a ship, make sure to at least book yourself a day trip on the water.

Best time of year to go: We recommend going from September to mid-October, as this is towards the end of the season, meaning less people, less boats to compete with, and the slightly cooler (yet perfectly warm) temperature will make it an incredible time to enjoy this part of the world all day long.

Paperwork: South Africans will need a Schengen Visa for Malta and Greece, and holding this Visa will allow entry into Croatia and Montenegro too.

TRAVEL PLANNING: UK, US and Australia visa costs: What South Africans can expect to pay in 2018