Europe is absolutely one of the most highly visited tourist destinations all over the world as people travel to various countries across the continent for sights of famous architectural structures, statues and frescoes created by master artists and to learn from the incredible culture. But apart from all these attractions, there is also the enticement of visiting some unearthly, absolutely gorgeous gifts given to us by Mother Nature in the form of the many islands spread over the various seas and oceans in and around Europe.
With this list, we have tried to compile some of the best islands in Europe that any traveler can’t possibly afford to miss out on!
1. Santorini, Greece: The Volcano Island
Arguably one of the most popular European destinations
, Santorini has been ranked as the world’s top island destination
so many times, that now probably all travel magazines are tired of stating the obvious! Because of a massive volcanic eruption that occurred in the ancient times the whole island is abundant with a plethora of astonishingly beautiful natural attractions like a giant rectangular lagoon surrounded by cliffs from 3 sides, black textured beach and cave-houses. The island is a wonderful mix of historical, cultural and natural beauty and offers a very relaxed and serene atmosphere to all visiting tourists.
Best time to visit: Though April to October is the peak tourist season to visit Santorini, visit between July-September for the best weather conditions possible.
Activities: Cliff jumping, exploring Santorini’s most active volcano, sunbathing at a black sand beach.
2. Capri, Italy: The Trend-Setter Island
Capri is a legendary tourist island located in the Tyrrhenian Sea just off the coast of mainland Italy. It has enjoyed the status of being a tourist hotspot since the Roman Era and continues to be one of the most visited holiday destination in Europe
till date. The island is so popular that a popular type of pant has been in fact named after it! Places to visit in Capri
are one of the most beautiful in Europe, especially the strikingly, clear blue water, gorgeous natural caves and the spectacular harbours. All these reasons ensure that thousands of tourists visit this gorgeous island every day throughout the year.
Best time to visit: The summer months of June to August and late-spring and early-autumn months of May and September are the best months to visit Capri.
Activities: Catch the sun setting at the Punta Carena lighthouse, climb to the top of Mt. Solaro for a breathtaking view and boat tour around Capri.
3. Jersey, Channel Islands: The Land of Adventures
The Jersey Island is a part of the Channel Islands, in fact the largest one, and is a haven for tourists who are looking out for a holiday destination which has more adventurous things to do than just simple sightseeing, sunbathing and swimming. The year-round temperate weather, rich history and avenues for a number of watersports make Jersey perfect for thrill-seeking vacationers. Apart from these natural attractions, structures like the Jersey War Tunnels from World War II, museums and other historic buildings also make up for great sightseeing opportunities.
Best time to visit: Though Channel Islands has a great weather throughout the year, it can become a little unpredictable in the winters. So the months of June to September are probably best for planning a visit.
Activities: Exploring Durrell Wildlife Park, partying during the Moonlight Parade and attending the Battle of Flowers.
4. Majorca, Spain: Beachgoer's Delight!
Boasting of some of the best beaches in Europe
, Majorca or Mallorca as it is also called is the biggest island amongst the Balearic Islands of Spain. It is also one of the best islands in Europe for vacation and is so spectacular that even the Spanish Royal Family prefers spending their summer holidays here. The magnificent coastline is inundated with countless number of beach resorts and there are various opportunities for pursuing a number of wonderful water sports. In the very centre of the island, tourists can also find a number of wineries which have still stuck to traditional Spanish wine-making techniques.
Best time to visit: June to mid-September is the peak tourist season with thousands of visitors flocking to the islands. The spring months of April to June can also be chosen for a visit as the weather is quite mild and rates are not exorbitant.
Activities: Soaking up the sun at the various beaches, antique train ride between Palma and Soller and exploring the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range.
5. Corsica, France: The Isle of Beauty
The island of Corsica has a particular charm associated with it that has attracted visitors to its sandy shores from all corners of the world since times immemorial. And with its incredible geographical features, diverse terrains and plethora of breathtaking attractions, Corsica has something or the other to offer to even the pickiest tourist. Some of the incredible gems of Corsica that are a reason for its undying appeal are the pristine beaches, mesmerizing valleys, lush green forests and charmingly rustic villages.
Best time to visit: Summer is the busiest time of the year, as the great weather tempts a great number of tourists to the island. The months of May, June and September also have excellent weather and are less crowded, making this an excellent time to visit.
Activities: Tasting local cuisine and specialty dishes, indulging in a number of water sports and touring the local sights.
6. Gozo, Malta: A Rendevous With History
Gozo is an island in the Republic of Malta, which is itself one of the island countries in Europe, and is home to some of the best beaches and luxury resorts in Europe. The weather here is excellent with a lot of sunny days throughout the year and spectacular, clear blue water all around. Another reason for Gozo and Malta’s high popularity amongst tourists is its ancient history which dates back to thousands of years and the signs of which can still be found spread over the various islands. Visit this island located in the Mediterranean for a blast of colors, culture and unfathomable sights!
Best time to visit: The weather in Gozo is almost same throughout the year, but the summers have a number of local festivals while early Autumn and late Spring has relatively better weather conditions.
Activities: Take a boat ride to the Blue Lagoon, check out the Azure Window and explore the ancient ruin sites.
7. Gran Canaria - Canary Islands, Spain: The Mini Continent
Gran Canaria is just one of the many magnificent islands that form the gorgeous Canary Islands and is inundated with mesmerizing geographical features, wildlife habitats and luxurious resorts. The unique feature of Gran Canaria is that each part of the island has a different terrain and its own particular features. The eastern portion is reputed for its beaches while the western side has a rocky terrain. The beaches here are especially popular and have white sand with crystal clear water flowing in waves to the shore. Definitely what paradise on Earth would look like!
Best time to visit: Gran Canaria is one of those places that can really be visited anytime of the year! It is called the land of eternal spring for good reason indeed!
Activities: Visit the beaches of Playa del Ingles, explore the famous Palmalitos zoo park and various animal parks and reserves.
8. Rhodes, Greece: The Island of Roses
The largest of the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes is a major crowd puller and an extremely popular holiday destination
, thanks to its sandy beaches, gardens, mountainous terrain and the presence of a number of resorts and clubs spread over the entire island. The reason Rhodes is such a popular tourist hotspot is because it one of those island vacation destinations that can cater to any kind of audience be it a family with kids, college youths or just a couple looking for a honeymoon in Greece
. The island has a multitude of options ranging from historical sites, secluded resorts to awesome nightclubs that are sure to make your visit to Rhodes super special!
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Rhodes is in the months of April, May, September and October.
Activities: Explore the vast coastline, visit the ancient Grecian ruins and freak out at the various bars and nightclubs.
9. Ibiza, Spain: Where The Party Never Ends
Ibiza is one island destination that hardly needs any introduction. The island is synonymous with partying, nightlife and electro music. For these express reasons Ibiza has gained a formidable reputation of being the biggest party destination in Europe
! Various artists and bands have recorded songs detailing their personal experiences or the island’s effect on them, further solidifying and glorifying the Ibiza lifestyle. Some of the biggest and most popular DJs are regular performers at the many nightclubs spread over the entire island! But don’t let this discourage tourists who aren’t much into partying, as the island has a multitude of attractions, both natural and historical that is sure to make your visit a memorable one.
Best time to visit: April to October is considered to be the best months to visit Ibiza. Spectacular parties are hosted during the spring and autumn season.
Activities: Partying and enjoying the nightlife, visiting Ses Salinas National Park and sunbathing at the beautiful beaches.
10. Madeira Islands, Portugal: The Golden European Islands
The Madeira Islands lie southwest of Portugal and are famed far and wide for their exquisite natural beauty and wonderful tropical climate that doesn’t vary much throughout the year. The island has a number of must visit, delightful gardens, jaw-dropping landscapes and fascinating varieties of wildlife. Excellent beaches with glittering, golden sand mark the entire coastline and have great water-sport opportunities. The panoramic views, diverse flora and fauna and the spectacularly blue water are overwhelming experiences for even the most seasoned travelers!
Best time to visit: Though popular as a year-round destination, the months of June to August have exceptional weather conditions with high temperatures and very low rainfall levels.
Activities: Whale watching, golfing at the various golf clubs, wildlife sightseeing.
Do you agree that these are probably some of the best islands in Europe that one can visit? Did we miss out on some of your favorite ones? Do tell us by writing in the comments section below!