By Beth Klemick
The Mediterranean Sea separates Europe from Africa and forms the boundary for more than a dozen nations (22 to be exact!), including Spain, France, Italy and Greece. The Mediterranean was the cradle of modern civilization, and much of that past is still preserved today. The mild climate makes for perfect beach weather, and the sky blue water is most inviting. The best time to visit is in the fall and spring. Beware in August; there are many vacationing Europeans and crowds galore. In my travels to date, I have explored, relaxed and indulged in some of Spain's and France's Mediterranean cities. Here are some brief facts and impressions.
Spain's Costa del Sol is one of the most popular haunts for vacationing tourist. What I enjoy most about this coastline are the miles of sandy beaches. Marbella is southern Spain's answer to St Tropez, but nothing beats Puerto Banus, just west of the town. This is the place to be pampered yacht-side, watch the world go by or window shop at one of many fashion boutiques or the El Corte Ingles. For nightlight there are many alfresco bars, clubs and discos to party at until dawn!
The French Rivieria became a fashionable resort in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and was particularly popular with the British upper class. Initially it was a winter resort, valued for its mild winter (but is never warm) and later became a summer resort. Nothing exudes glitz and glamour better than the French Riviera: Cannes, Monaco, Nice, but the beaches are less than desirable; instead of sandy the beaches are mostly pebbles and are more or less forced to rent chaise lounges.