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Best Harbour Towns in Mediterranean

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I know - broad question! I'm looking for some of your favourite mediterranean harbour towns. Here's some details:

Background:
- The trip is for me (in my mid-twenties) and my almost-60-year-old parents (who will be celebrating their birthdays next summer, hence the trip!)
- My parents have not travelled a lot, so I'm trying not to pack a lot of things into one trip or into each day. My dad has never been to Europe and my mom just made her first European trip to Paris, Pisa, Lucca, and Manarola last year.
- It is a 3-week trip
- I was thinking 3 home bases for 5-7 days each
- We would likely rent a car in each place, and do day trips from each home base
- We are planning for late September/October of next year
- We have narrowed it down to the European side of the Mediterranean
- I would love to rent apartments in most places, but this all depends on what's available.
- Given the great flights in Europe, we are fine bouncing around countries.

Interests:
- for me: history, hiking (I also like everything listed below!)
- for my mother: food, people-watching, wine-drinking
- for my father: boats, boats, boats (hence the question) - he loves seeing nice boats, riding in boats, driving boats, etc. The bigger/nicer the boat, the better

I am one of those travel snobs that prefers to go to places that are a little less-traveled. None of us are really "bucket-listers" that need to check anything off our lists.

I would prefer NOT to go to the Balkans (Croatia/Albania/Montenegro) and the Italian Riviera as I have been there several times.

Ideas:
- Malta - the more I look, the more I think this would be ideal for us
- Sicily - have only done limited research on this one thus far, but love what I see so far!
- French Riviera
- Greek Islands
- Puglia - love the trulli and the sassi!
- Southern Spain - I love the Moorish influences here, although I can't find any great harbour towns that would allow us to daytrip to Seville, Cordoba, etc.

So, I'm hoping you can help me brainstorm particular cities in these areas, give me the pros/cons, or suggest others!

Thanks so much!

(I am an experienced TA poster, but I find Fodorites much more helpful on the forums so I am hoping to one day be a seasoned poster on Fodors!)

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