Club Med?
March 24, 2013 5:29 AM   Subscribe

Help with finding a vacation destination like Hawaii, but in the Mediterranean... there is just way too much information to filter through on the internet! We're an active, adventurous couple looking for a beachy, but equally as important, ACTIVE escape in early May for seven days! Restrictions: needs to be within a reasonable ~5 hour flight from Moscow, Russia.

We're a French and English speaking couple, living in Moscow, looking for an escape from the endless Russian winter for a week, sometimes May 1-15. We're quite well traveled, having vacationed heavily throughout Asia Pacific and the United States, and are looking for something comparable in the Mediterranean. We like to spend 1-2 days exhausting ourselves with a sweaty-mess of a hike, then spending the following days relaxing in the sun at a pool, zoning out reading trashy magazines.

Similar vacations destinations taken in the past: In Kauai, Hawaii, the 21 roundtrip Na Pali Coast Hike, 16 miles roundtrip Waimanu Valley, Hawaii trail, and also some similar setups in Indonesia, China, and that sort. The point about it being a destination "like Hawaii" is a bit biased, as I am from Hawaii and grew up quite exposed to these touristy elements and where to go to avoid crowds, but am totally ignorant about the Mediterranean.

So any recommendations on a city/country along with "adventure" trail(s) would be perfect!

Other Notes:
- Good probability of sun, warmth in early May
- Reasonable reach by flight from Moscow, Russia (no more than 5 hours). Open to Europe, Middle East, Northern Africa. Absolutely NO Asia Pacific, Americas and Caribbean
- Secluded or intimate area, i.e. no huge crowds of cruise ships releasing floods of people on-land, nor large hotel chains with family-style 8 lagoon swimming pools
- Inclined to rent a villa for the week or small boutique hotel
- No cost restrictions
posted by peachtree to Travel & Transportation around Kissimmee, FL (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Crete! It's less touristy than some of the Greek islands (and big enough that you can avoid the resort towns), has 650 miles of coastline and plenty of hiking, including the 10-mile Samaria Gorge.
posted by payoto at 5:42 AM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

I have not yet been there, but I am planning a trip to Croatia. Some of it is touristy, but the islands accessible only by boat look amazing. Only quandary would be how warm it is in the Adriatic in early May! Not sure about that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:43 AM on March 24, 2013

When I visited Moscow, my next stop was Southern Turkey where we rented a car and just drove up the coast. It's been a while, however, and it may have been built-up/ruined.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:59 AM on March 24, 2013

Sicily? Taormina certainly has tourists but also boutique hotels and the food is amazing. The town is high on a hill and the lido is at the bottom. Great food.

Southern Turkey also has some great beaches and huge amounts to hike. I've only been to the area around Tarsus, but even that had Byzantine castles to climb on and miles of shore. The cruise ships are mainly on the west coast I thought but wouldn't swear to it.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:00 AM on March 24, 2013

Tenerife is virtually the same as Hawaii but is a 7.5 hour direct flight from Moscow. Maybe the Black Sea?
posted by JJ86 at 7:02 AM on March 24, 2013

Early May restricts you to very southern europe. My wife and I spent some time doing day hikes around the Lycian Way hiking trail in Southern Turkey that was pretty awesome. Plus cheap and easy to access from Moscow I'd guess via Dalman.

Datca Peninsula as well was pretty awesome. Basically beautiful beaches to yourself once you drove out from the town. Didn't do much walking there though.

We stayed in small boutique hotels both places, although not so super luxe - there just wasn't much in that category ex-Bodrum - which is probably too touristy - tho maybe not in May? We did stay in a great place in Sirince as part of visiting Ephesus.
posted by JPD at 7:10 AM on March 24, 2013

Hiking in Cappadocia in Turkey? You could use this trip as inspiration or ask the company to set up a modified version with harder hikes.

(I'm not associated with the company in any way, have done one vacation through them that we enjoyed--not this one.)
posted by mvd at 7:14 AM on March 24, 2013

Early May in Cappadocia has a pretty high likelihood of being cool/chilly.
posted by JPD at 7:20 AM on March 24, 2013

2nding Crete and SamariĆ” Gorge. If you start with an overnight stay on the Omalos Plateau, you can take a hike up to the Kallergi Shelter. After the gorge, stay a few nights at The Old Phoenix, near Loutro, both of which are accessible only by boat or foot.

I don't know how much warmth you could expect in early May, though.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:44 AM on March 24, 2013

Both Nikki and Air Berlin service the Moscow / Palma de Mallorca (PMI)/ Moscow route.
There are Mountains to hike in, beaches to bask on and many many hotels for all budgets most of which will have a pool.
The Island is uncrowded at that time of year because schools throughout Europe are not yet on Holiday.
You can expect warm to hot days with cooler nights.
I would look at hiring a car which is reasonably cheap .
You could do worse than look at hotels around Soller in the Tramontana (now UNESCO protected, where you will also be in the heart of the best hiking.
Tourism in Mallorca is a developed industry so what ever floats your boat you will probably find it.
posted by adamvasco at 12:57 PM on March 24, 2013

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