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Revealed: Five of the best hidden gem Mediterranean islands to visit this summer. Which one would YOU most like to escape to?

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There are hundreds of stunning inhabited islands in the Mediterranean. 

Keen on throwing your towel down on one this summer but don’t know where to start looking?  

Allow us to narrow the field for you, with the lowdown on five island hidden gems that make for stunning holiday destinations.

They boast turquoise waters, ancient ruins, spellbinding coves, and boast mouthwatering food. There’s even one that’s car-free.   

Scroll down for some extremely strong contenders for this summer’s bucket list…

Formentera, Spain

Travel guide Lonely Planet noted that Formentera is 'designed for lazy days spent lounging on some of Europe's most exquisite beaches'

Travel guide Lonely Planet noted that Formentera is ‘designed for lazy days spent lounging on some of Europe’s most exquisite beaches’

Formentera is the smallest of Spain’s Balearic islands and can be reached by ferry from Ibiza – it’s just a mile-and-a-half wide at its narrowest point.

Will Hide, who visited the island, said: ‘If you want to do little apart from eat, drink, relax on talcum powder-soft beaches, swim in turquoise waters or meander around village markets, it’s Formentera you should make a beeline for.’

While travel guide Lonely Planet noted that the island is ‘designed for lazy days spent lounging on some of Europe’s (dare we say the world’s?) most exquisite beaches’ – some of which have ‘water [that] glows a startling shade of luminous turquoise’. 

Porquerolles, France

Porquerolles boasts 'one of the best beaches in Europe' - and is car-free

Porquerolles boasts ‘one of the best beaches in Europe’ – and is car-free

A true hidden gem and one of three ‘Islands of Gold’ off the coast of the Riviera, this French island is filled with white beaches, bike trails and limestone cliffs that are ‘unspoilt’ thanks to being car-free. 

MailOnline Travel Editor Ted Thornhill wrote: ‘Porquerolles is the largest [of the Islands of Gold], measuring 4.3 by 1.8 miles, and boasts one of the finest beaches that I’ve ever thrown down my towel on. Called Notre Dame – and about two miles east of the port – its crescent-shaped form wraps around beautiful, shallow, turquoise waters. 

‘It must be one of the best beaches in Europe.’

Hvar, Croatia

Travel writer Jo Knowsley described Hvar as a 'Croatian gem'. Pictured: Hvar with the Paklinski Islands in the background

Travel writer Jo Knowsley described Hvar as a ‘Croatian gem’. Pictured: Hvar with the Paklinski Islands in the background

Billed as the sunniest island on the Med, with 2,800 hours of sun, Hvar is almost guaranteed to brighten up a holiday. But it’s likely to entrance whatever the weather.

Travel writer Jo Knowsley described it as a ‘Croatian gem’, offering the ‘clearest blue water and fragrant, leafy surroundings’.

Rough Guides stated that Hvar is the ‘summertime haunt of celebrities, yacht-travellers and cocktail sippers’ but that it also offers ‘a piece of the Mediterranean that is family-oriented, unspoiled and affordable’.

Visitors can explore spellbinding coves, 13th-century walls, a hilltop fortress and a main square that impresses with a Renaissance-era cathedral.

Elba, Italy

Elba, Italy, has been dubbed 'an ever-glorious paradise of beach-laced coves, vineyards, azure waters and hairpin-bend motoring' by Lonely Planet

Elba, Italy, has been dubbed ‘an ever-glorious paradise of beach-laced coves, vineyards, azure waters and hairpin-bend motoring’ by Lonely Planet

This Italian island off the coast of Tuscany, in the Tyrrhenian Sea’s Tuscan Archipelago National Park, was the location of French Emperor Napoleon’s exile – though it is markedly more popular in the modern age.

It’s dubbed ‘an ever-glorious paradise of beach-laced coves, vineyards, azure waters and hairpin-bend motoring’ by Lonely Planet.

Author Mary Bly, meanwhile, calls Elba a ‘postcard-perfect getaway’, claiming that ‘Elba isn’t fancy, like Capri; even the yachts that pull up to small coves and towns are human-sized’. She adds: ‘It’s a wonderful place to go when you long for excellent, simple food, sunshine day after day, and postcard-perfect sunsets over the sea’. 

Folegandros, Greece

Folegandros, Greece (pictured), is ‘ideal for a peaceful vacation’ with ‘mouthwatering cuisine, stunning beaches, azure Aegean waters and secluded coves’

This ‘off-the-beaten-path’ Greek island is just 32 square kilometres in size and makes up the southern part of the Cyclades between much-celebrated Santorini and Paros. 

Quieter Folegandros is ‘ideal for a peaceful vacation’ with ‘mouthwatering cuisine, stunning beaches, azure Aegean waters and secluded coves’, states Visit Greece, the official website of the Greek National Tourism Organisation.

The island is home to the ruins of an ancient Agora, or marketplace; a Medieval village; the Olympia Archaeological Museum and, according to Lonely Planet, ‘a culture alive with passionate music and thrill-seeking activities’.

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