Located at a strategic intersection of Asia, Europe and Africa, Mediterranean Region Mediterranean Basin is marked by the region surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the most complex and biologically diverse and rich regions of the world with about 12,000 species exclusive to the region. Tourists, with the varied topography of the region including vast mountains , rocky shoreline, lush forests, sandy beaches, steppes, wetlands and plethora of islands spotted amid the sea, are bound to be awe inspired.
Rich biodiversity. Diverse topography. Pristine nature. Panoramic landscape. Rich aquatic life. Multi-cultural region. Splendid architecture.
Expensive. Mosquito-bourne diseases in some countries.
Mediterranean region comprises of country members belonging to three continents including Asia, Africa and Europe. All these twenty-one countries forming this region contribute to the diversity of the region in terms of flora, fauna, culture and nature in its raw form. The region between Portugal and Lebanon in west to east direction whereas from Italy to Morocco and Libya from north to south. Greece. Italy, France, Turkey, Cyprus, Monaco are some members from Europe, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia from North Africa, and Syria, Israel and Lebanon from Levant.
Mediterranean region is packed with some of the leading economies of the world along with countries known for their tourism. One will find varieties of accommodation options including budget to mid-range and high-end luxurious hotels along with guesthouses varying in facilities depending upon its tariff. Hostels in the region are yet other option that is available for per night basis in form of dormitory or private bed (single or double) with or without private bathroom. One can also rent studio apartments or bungalows, if planning a long visit, but once again, price depends upon the location and facilities offered.
The culture of Mediterranean region is as varied as the topography of the region. Apart from giving the world some of the most ancient artistic and scientific works, the region is also known for the culture of its monuments, music, dance, colours and food. The region is also a wonderful exchange of religion, philosophy and traditions co-existing peacefully over the years. Christianity (Catholics and orthodox), Islam and Judaism are three major religions that co-exist in the region. As for the language, there is no official language of the region. A variety of languages are spoken here depending upon, which country you are visiting. Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Greek, French, Latin, English, Galician are few of the languages of the region. It is advised to learn few common phrases of the language of the country you are planning to visit.
The cuisines of Mediterranean region are extremely diverse including the staple dishes of Europe (Greece, Italy, and Spain etc), Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, Turkey etc) and North Africa (Algeria, Libya, Morocco etc). However, some ingredients are common to the region including olive oil, food grains such as wheat, and grape yielding breads, olive oil, pasta and wine. Roast lamb or mutton, meat stews served with vegetables and tomato, the salted cured fish roe, bottarga are some of the main dishes found across the region. Fruits are also used profusely in the entire region. Maghrebi, Levantine, Ottoman, Greek, Italian, French and Spanish are some of the cuisines defining the food of the region.
Make sure to seek permission before taking a photograph of a person or their property, especially in Muslim countries. Beware of petty crimes in public places in some countries of the region. Avoid going out along after dark, especially in case of female travellers (applicable for some countries). One should avoid wearing tight-fitted clothes beyond the hotel premises. It is recommended for women to dress modestly i.e. long skirts and dresses and men should wear trousers and shirts with sleeves in part of the region. Homosexual behaviour is strictly illegal in many countries. In some countries, foreign women may become subject of flattery. It is advised to avoid giving hints of encouragement. Carry along the medication for minor ailments like colds, fevers and stomach upsets. A pair of sunglasses, sun screen lotion, brimmed hats, toiletries, flashlights and spare batteries. Carry appropriate clothing according to the weather conditions. Carry proper woollen clothes for winters and light cotton clothes for summer season. Make sure to remove shoes before entering the mosque at someone’s home.
Nightlife in Mediterranean region is quite varied and limited to major cities in some countries. While some countries offers good cinema, few night clubs and world famous casino such as Monaco, other countries such as Egypt and Algeria are known for its folk theatre, or coffee shops, street vendors and nightclubs. Countries such as Spain, Greece, Morocco and France have no shortage of bars, nightclubs, playing local bands and DJs along with other options including fancy restaurants, opera and ballet houses, cinema halls etc. Other places such as Syria and Israel have almost no nightlife.
Shopping in the Mediterranean region is a lifetime experience for visitors with beautiful and colourful handicrafts exhibiting the background of each country. Leather ware, rugs, copper and brassware are speciality of Algeria; Morocco offers traditional metalwork lamps, blue and white glazed earthenware, carpets and bright coloured rugs, rose water and argan oil; aromatic spices, alabaster vases, copperware or papyrus prints are must buy from Egypt. Check out the markets of Greece for jewellery, lace, rugs, local wines and spirit, olive oil, knitwear, and pottery whereas France for lace, crystal glass, cheese, coffee, designer clothes and lastly wines, spirits and liqueurs.
Tourists visiting Mediterranean region gets an opportunity to experience the variety of festivals depending upon the countries one is planning to visit. One will find festivals of many religions including Islam, Christianity, and Judaism etc. Eid, Christmas, Tisha B’av, Rosh Hashana, Hannuka, Ramadan, Ashura and many more such festivals are celebrated with colours, lights and great enthusiasm. Apart from these, music, dance, and arts hold a great significance in the region and is thus celebrated with great zeal and fervour through various festivals and events.
The medical facilities in Mediterranean region vary greatly from country to country. Where France, Greece, Monaco offers world-class medical care, few countries in the region may not be up to the standards. In addition, in some countries healthcare system are good in large cities whereas have poor facilities outside. No specific vaccinations are needed to enter the region. However, tuberculosis and hepatitis B shots are recommended. In some other countries diarrhoeal diseases, hepatitis E, tick-borne encephalitis and rabies are commonly present. Tap water in some countries of the region is not fit for drinking and is advisable to buy packaged water. Beware of tick-borne encephalitis present in the forest areas.
Customs and traditions vary greatly from country to country mostly based on the continent. Family culture is almost a common string in the region. Handshake is the most common way of greeting in some countries; however, some cultures are reserved with the way of greeting a person of opposite gender. Taking photographs without permission in most countries is considered impolite and can make people angry. Men should dress modestly and avoid wearing shorts while women must carry a headscarf and should cover their arms and legs if visiting conservative Muslim areas. However, the dressing varies from country to country. In other countries, especially falling in Europe allows casual western wear. In most of the countries tip is expected in restaurants and by hotel staff, while in countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece, it is customary to pay a tip. Most of the times 10% is fine but rounding off the amount is also acceptable at some places.