The 20 Best Islands in Europe

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Europe is filled with endless explorations to be had, especially in the warmer months when travellers from all over the world make their way to the Mediterranean and beyond for island adventures. Here’s a list of the best islands in Europe to make your way through on your travels this year and for years to come – there are plenty to make your way through!



The idyllic and highly photographed Santorini is considered by most as the most beautiful of all the Greek islands – though with so many great islands to choose from that would be a hard call to make! The iconic white houses cling to the cliff sides of the island and overlook the ocean below. Topped off with bright blue doors and friendly locals, this is one of the best islands to immerse yourself in during the warmer months.


Although only small in size, Hvar is one of the most charming island cities to find yourself in in the Balkans. Located in Croatia, Hvar is home to terracotta-roofed houses with a bright blue backdrop of the ocean meeting the clear skies. Bliss!


If you find yourself in the Amalfi Coast of Italy, you really can’t go all that way and not make your way over to the island of Capri by ferry. Just a short boat ride away and full of idyllic Italian charm, Capri is commonly regarded as one of the top island destinations in Europe.


Located in Spain, Tenerife is a little different to the other islands mentioned thus far, as it is complete with a green mountainous backdrop and mostly empty, wide beaches.

Zakynthos Island

Located in Greece, Zakynthos is home to an exposed cave that is regarded as one of Europe’s best beaches with crystal blue waters, a large cliff face, and many opportunities to explore both on land and at sea.



Also regarded as one of the best Greek islands to visit on vacation, Mykonos is more renowned for the ongoing (and sometimes never-ending) party atmosphere amongst a younger crowd.


Majorca (Mallorca) is yet another Mediterranean island necessary to visit at least once in your life, complete with limestone mountains, many beach resorts and a much quieter atmosphere to relax in.

Corfu Island

Corfu Island is a great option for travellers who wish to see and do more on their trip rather than laze around on the beach (although there’s plenty of that too!) After being held under Italian, French and British rule (now a part of Greece), this island is rich in both history and culture.


Here’s an island where you can come to hike the rugged landscape and spend days afterwards on the pristine beaches relaxing.


Located just 10 kilometres from the mainland of Tuscany (Italy), Elba can be enjoyed in just a few days and is easy enough to reach to not be too far out of the way.

isle of skye scotland


The isle of Skye in Scotland might not be your usual island getaway but it is certainly a charming one all the same! If you’re looking for somewhere to head in the shoulder season (Spring), the Isle of Skye offers great outdoors activities and scenery to explore.


Another island in the Mediterranean worth visiting and noticeably more low key than its neighbours (Ibiza and Majorca), Minorca is a great alternative if your idea of a holiday is to relax, swim, and soak up the sunshine.


If you find yourself in the Amalfi coast, a visit over to Ischia is not only entirely possible, but extremely popular for visitors to the area.

Gran Canaria

Spain’s Canary Islands are popular among locals and visitors alike, one of the most popular being Gran Canaria. This is also a popular stopover for cruise ships (in the northern capital – Las Palmas), so be sure to avoid this area if you’re looking to relax and unwind!


Spain is full of idyllic islands to visit for a beachy getaway, Formentera being one of those. It is most popularly known for its clear waters, white sand and long coastline.



If you’re up for something a little more lively, Ibiza is arguably the most popular party island in Europe throughout the summer season. Be sure you’re up for it – Ibiza has a reputation it certainly lives up to!

Lewis & Harris

If the summer season isn’t really your thing (be that for the heat or the crowds – or a combination of both), there are many great options in the North that are a completely different island experience – less sunshine but fantastic all the same! For great hikes and scenery, Lewis & Harris in Scotland is a great option.


Although not nearly as talked about as its counterparts, Skiathos has a thriving nightlife scene with waterfront clubs, al fresco dining and a gorgeous main town that is quite literally as pretty as a picture.


Located in the Dalmatia region of Croatia is the unique and sprawling Mljet island. Almost the entire island is covered in lush green forests, though the small villages make up for in charm what they lack in size.


This island in the Adriatic Sea is one of the most stunning locations to find yourself in Croatia. Brač is home to the iconic Zlatni Rat, a white pebble beach that peers out onto a narrow face of the island and attracts many beach goers in the warmer months.

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    January 19, 2016 at 12:48 am

    What about Açores?

    Caroline Farrugia
    January 18, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    What about Malta ?

    January 18, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    I’ve seen so many pics of Skye – I feel like I should definitely make it there this year! Although when it comes to booking flights, it’s hard not to go for somewhere with guaranteed sunshine!!

    January 18, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Nice collection of islands!

    Sarah Spiteri
    January 18, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    You should check malta during summer. Heaven on earth…up till 2 days ago we still had weather as warm as 21 degrees..I’m sure as hell it will make it to the list. great post as per usual bdw!!

    January 18, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    I’ve been to Skye and Zakynthos! So different and beautiful!
    I love love loved the Island of Skye! One of my favourite places on earth!
    And Zakynthos (or Zante) – has the best of everything!

    Hena Tayeb
    January 18, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    gorgeous.. hopefully we can check a few of them out one day

    January 18, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Great list!! However, the Maltese islands should definitely be on this list!! 😉

    January 18, 2016 at 4:01 am

    What about Azores islands? 🙂

    Samantha Johnstone
    January 17, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Love this post. Been to a few of these islands – my favourite being Gran Canaria! All year round sun.

    Daniela @ Grumpy Camel
    January 17, 2016 at 5:01 am

    Malta deserves to be on the list too 🙂 I really recommend Skye to anyone visiting Scotland – it really is such a magical place!

    All things nice... (@4allthingsnice)
    January 16, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Great list, I’ve been to Mallorca, Mykonos and Corfu… Madeira is another one many people forget about..,. it is very quiet and relaxing. What about my homeland of Ireland- although it is larger it is still an island 🙂

    January 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Love the inclusion of the Scottish islands! Another beautiful one is Arran which is often called “Scotland in miniature” because it has every aspect of Scottish landscape from mountains to beaches to forests and only takes around 30 minutes to drive the diameter!

    January 15, 2016 at 7:13 am

    These places make me wanna go on vacation

    January 15, 2016 at 5:30 am

    I’d like to visit them all !!

    But I also think like Harry that you forgot Corsica 🙂

    Kenza from

    January 15, 2016 at 3:44 am

    Hey. U mentioned a few great places <3 I don't know even when to visit all those places 🙂

    January 15, 2016 at 3:43 am

    I loved Mykonos, Santorini, and of course, Tenerife in the Canaries!

    Micaela Janatuinen
    January 15, 2016 at 3:29 am

    I would like to recommend my home-island Gotland. Located in the baltic sea, Gotland is one of Sweden’s most beautiful places. Visby is a UNESCO-world herretage sight and during the summer months the city has so much to offer! If you want to come here to party, “Stockholms-veckan” is the week for you, interested in midivil times, come here during the week of 32 for “Medeltidsveckan”. We have crime-time festivals, art-festivals.. Around the island you can do everything from pottery to go surfing. I can’t think of a better place to live at!

    January 15, 2016 at 1:23 am

    I’ve lived in the Canary Islands for almost 30 years, and wouldn’t recognize either Tenerife or Gran Canaria from your descriptions. I appreciate you have to stick to a word count but your descriptions are misleading.

    Gran Canaria Local
    January 15, 2016 at 1:08 am

    You’re right to say Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, to give the capital its full and correct name, is busy. It’s the ninth-largest city in Spain, after all, and the island’s original resort. We just love its buzz.

    Sarah - Tasting Lifestyle
    January 14, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I still have a lot of traveling to do it seems 😉

    January 14, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Las Palmas city is actually the local bit of Gran Canaria while the resorts in the south are the bits you’d want to avoid if you want a quiet holiday (well, the big ones anyway).

    Las Palmas, on of Spain’s biggest cities, has a superb urban beach, lots of restaurants, a great shopping and an authentic feel that you don’t get in many cities that get cruise ships.

    Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
    January 14, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    3 islands from Croatia!:)

    Liliana Coelho
    January 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Hi WOW Team!
    You have to know Azores! It’s amazing all the nature of the 9 isles! The whales, the lagoons, the waterfalls,…, I really recommend you! 🙂


    January 14, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Fantastic islands indeed! But a bit incomplete for an european list.
    Do you know the Azores?

    The slow pace
    January 14, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Formentera has to be my favourite! Followed closely by Capri and Mykonos… Oh the Mediterranean islands!

    January 14, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Glad to see that Sardinia is at least mentioned. Too bad there isn’t one picture of it! If you need any, let me know. I live here and… well I love it! Best island in the world!

    January 14, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    A lot of great Islands. I have visited a lot of them and all i visited were great. In February i’m visiting Sardinia for a loveshoot.

    January 14, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    I’ve been to many of these and couldn’t agree more with Santorini, Hvar and Mljet on this list! They are breathtaking!

    January 14, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Nice try, but you forgot the MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND IN THE WORLD.
    And this, no doubt!, Corsica.

    January 14, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Great post – so many wonderful places to visit!

    January 14, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    I didn’t visit Hvar, but I ~really~ loved Korcula in Croatia, which is right nearby.

    Celeste |

    Brittany Justham
    January 14, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Loved this post! I plan to teach English in Spain so I will definitely have to put some of these Spanish islands on my bucket list… I looked them up on a map and most of them are near Morocco, it’s so interesting that it’s closer, but it’s still Spanish… you know what I mean?
    Haha, anyways, great post Brooke!