Low in fat and high in vegetable oils, the Mediterranean diet is famed for its health benefits and delicious, fresh flavours. It is reported that those who follow this lifestyle live a longer, healthier life, with areas such as the island of Ikaria in Greece named a “Blue Zone,” fascinating scientists with its exceptionally healthy residents.

The Mediterranean lifestyle focuses on unprocessed produce, and can be characterized by fruit, vegetables, olive oil, nuts and seeds, small amounts of fish, meat and dairy, smaller amounts of red meat and eggs, and wine in moderation – no foods are forbidden. There is an emphasis on seafood over meats, with fishing taking priority along the coastline.

Community is something those living along the Mediterranean coast hold dear, with all meals shared and enjoyed as family or group.

Bursting with tempting dishes at every turn, here are a few of our favourites to inspire your next trip to this beautiful area.

Spaghetti al nero di sepia in Italy

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Traveling to Italy and not indulging on its pasta options would be like heading to Paris and not acknowledging the Eiffel Tower – impossible. One fresh Mediterranean pasta dish you should try in the South is Spaghetti al nero di sepia. Consisting of squid, garlic, white wine and pepper, the dish is turned black with the addition of squid ink.

Related trip: Ultimate Italy

Paški sir in Croatia

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Dairy has historically played a crucial role in the Mediterranean diet, with cheese and yoghurt being two fundamental ingredients. On your journey to this heavenly part of the world, make sure you try paški sir. A hard cheese produced on Pag Island, it is made from the milk of the sheep that graze freely on the island. The unusual herbs the sheep consume here give the cheese its distinctive flavour. Combine the dish with pršut. A common starter in Croatia, Pršut is salted, dry-cured ham. It is traditionally cut in long, thin slices and served with olives and cheese.

Related trip: Captivating Croatia and Montenegro

Seafood tapas in Spain

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It really doesn’t get better than indulging on seafood tapas with a group of like-minded travelers . Nourish your taste palates and indulge on this delicious tradition in Spain, where olives, bacalao (salted cod), calamares (batterd squid) and gambas (prawns sautéed in perppercorn sause), are just a few fresh delicacy options.

Related trip: Spain & Portugal in Style