From the days of Odysseus, the Mediterranean has been a centre of trade, tourism and culture. Western civilisation grew up around this oceanic kernel, and today its sun-soaked shores are dotted with ancient sites. The sea also acts as a geographical barrier between Africa and Europe. In the north are the bar-lined beaches of the Spanish costas and lively European cities such as Barcelona and Athens. In the south, the souks of Algiers and Tunis perch between the water and the endless sands of the Sahara. Veg out on a brochure-ready beach or delve a little deeper into Mediterranean culture – the choice is yours.