The 20 Mediterranean islands you must visit in your lifetime

With dozens of child-friendly beaches, plenty of activities both in and out of the water for kids of all ages – plus parents and grandparents – and resorts of all shapes and sizes, Majorca is also unbeatable for a family holiday. Platja de Muro, on the north-east coast, has a long stretch of golden sand and shallow water where small children can paddle safely. Just up the coast, the resort of Port de Alcudia offers a huge range of watersports. Cala Mesquida on the east coast, framed by dunes and pine forests, is popular with windsurfers and walkers.

6. Runner-up: Brač, Croatia

One of the closest islands to Split on the central Dalmatian coast, Brač is home to Croatia’s most Instagrammable beach, Zlatni Rat – a finger of fine sand and shingle protruding off the coast from the small town of Bol, its shape ever changing with the surrounding currents. For older children, it is also one of Croatia’s top watersports destinations, with windsurfing, kayaking and kiteboarding all popular, and there’s no shortage of family-friendly hotels with pools. See our pick of the best hotels on Brac. 

Best for culture

7. Winner: Sicily, Italy

The range of cultural sights in Sicily is extraordinary, from the little island of Motya, with its Phoenician ruins, to the great ancient Greek cities of Agrigento, Selinunte, Syracuse and the Doric temple at Segesta. At Piazza Armerina are some of the most charming and extensive series of Roman mosaics to survive anywhere. But even these barely stand comparison with the amazing 12th-century golden mosaics in the great cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu, and the Palatine Chapel in Palermo. If you prefer something more recent, there are the magnificent baroque towns of Catania and Noto. See our pick of the best hotels in Sicily. 

8. Runner-up: Cyprus

Cyprus can’t quite compete with the riches of Sicily, but it does have some treasures of its own. Some of the key sights are in the Turkish north, notably the Roman ruins at Salamis outside Famagusta, and the Byzantine/Venetian castles at Kyrenia and Hilarion. But south of the border are some remarkable Roman mosaics at Paphos, and all over the island some wonderful Byzantine churches, many with ancient wall-paintings. See our pick of the best hotels in Cyprus.

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