When most people think of beautiful islands they immediately think of the Caribbean, Philippines, Hawaii, etc. but the continent of Europe is home to some of the most beautiful islands in the world! Most of these islands capture beauty, crystal clear seas, and history, which make them popular destinations for any kind of traveler. I have collaborated with some great travelers to share the must see islands in Europe.
11 Must See Islands in Europe
1. Bol, Brac Croatia
“If you are in search of the most beautiful crystal clear waters and quaint old town, than Bol is a must visit for you! Bol is on the Island of Brac in Croatia. It is very well known for its Zlatni Rat beach (Golden Cape). The beach as shown in the photo is in the shape of a horn with the Adriatic sea on either side of the beach. Bol is also very well known for its many cafes, restaurants, and old churches/buildings along the harbor. Windsurfing is very popular in Bol as well due to the wind and sea conditions. While in Bol enjoy the beautiful horn shaped beach, climb up the mountain above Bol named Vidova Gora to enjoy spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea, enjoy the old churches and monuments, and delicious food served at this coastal town”. – Andrea’s Travels
2. Hvar, Croatia
“Hvar on the Island of Hvar in Croatia is like stepping back in time to the 1200s. Hvar is very famous for its many Franciscan Monasteries and Churches and the old Fortress above the port.The old Fortress easily show cases the most beautiful views of the port of Hvar with the Pakleni Otoci island chain. Enjoy beautiful architecture, history, views to die for, breathtaking beaches with crystal clear waters, and great food in the town of Hvar. Hvar also has some of the best night life in Southern Croatia”. – Andrea’s Travels
“Malta is an affordable island lover’s dream, with 300 days of sunshine per year and ten Blue Flag beaches. Located in the Mediterranean, between Sicily and North Africa, Malta has been at the cross roads of history for centuries. From the crystal clear waters of the Blue Lagoon in Comino to the rugged Azure Window in Gozo and the perfectly preserved medieval town of Mdina, there is something for everyone. Ryanair, EasyJet and other low cost carriers fly to the island from most major European capitals.Public transportation (including ferries between the main island, Gozo, and Comino) is efficient and cheap. Valetta, the capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been selected as a European Culture Capital for 2018. Other heritage sites include the Megalithic Temples and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. The fortifications of the Knights of Saint John and the islands rugged landscape have been featured in countless films and television shows. Viator and other tour operators run excursions to popular Game of Thrones film locations and Popeye’s village. Mdina’s colorful doorways and homes draped in vibrant bougainvillea are immortalized in countless Instagram accounts. For nightlife, fine dining, and spa resorts, head to St Julian’s Bay”. – Dolce and Masala
4. Gozo, Maltese Archipelago
“Gozo, one of the islands making up the Maltese archipelago is thought to be Calypso’s mythical Island home described in Homer’s Odyssey. Slightly quieter and more rural than its sister island Malta, it is the perfect place to chill and unwind for a few days. From golden beaches to ancient temples and magnificent churches, to perfect walks along the rugged coastline, there’s no shortage of historical sites and spectacular view points all around the island. Gozo is also the place to experience local village life especially in summer during “festa” time. Old bakeries and village houses offering farm produce and wine are plentiful and artisans still practice traditional crafts such as lace-making”. – Cheeky Passports
5. Garachico, Tenerife (Canary Islands)
“Garachico Is a town located on the Northern Coast of Tenerife. The town itself is nestled below a 500 meter cliff. The coastline is essentially volcanic debris but this gives this small town its charm. In 1706 the town of Garachico suffered the destruction of one of the Canary Island’s most devastation volcanic eruption. The small town was smothered by the volcanic eruption. Garachico had a very Carribbean-feel to it. Bright colored facades, colonial-style churches and tranquil plazas. All the color combinations were a bit odd, but somehow, they worked. With the heat of the Canary Island sun, these colors just seemed to put you in a bit of a trance. Garachico is said to be one of the best kept secrets of Europe, until it becomes overrun with tourists. Things to see in Garachico include the little fortress of Castillo San Miguel, which has been defending the town since the 16th century. The Plaza de la Libertad provides a peaceful way to escape the big city feel of many European cities. There are several old churches that are worth exploring and museums about the history of Garachico and the volcanic eruption”. – Caffeine Berry
6. Paxos, Greece
“Located just 11 kilometres from the southernmost tip of Corfu, Greece, and accessible via catamaran from Corfu Town, the tiny (it’s just eight kilometres long and three kilometres wide) Ionian island of Paxos has a population of just 2300 permanent residents. What I love about Paxos is its natural, untouched beauty, and the fact that it still remains largely undiscovered by foreign tourists. A lot of the island’s best beaches are so well hidden that you’ll likely have them all to yourself, even in the height of summer. Come here to enjoy incredible rugged vistas (one of my favourites is Tripitos Arch, pictured), take long walks through traditional villages and areas of lush vegetation, explore abandoned ruins from the island’s Venetian occupation, and sample some of the best and most authentic Greek food you’ve probably ever tasted”. – Gallop Around the Globe
7. Sicily, Italy
“My favorite island in Europe is Sicily. Ok, it’s not really fair for all the other beautiful islands, since Sicily is my second home. I’ve been there many times – I can’t even count how many – and I still discover new things. Well, it’s obvious: Sicily is also called the Queen oft he Mediterranean for being the biggest island there. But even in the city where my mother comes from, Palermo, I could wander around for hours and hours and would still see things for the first time. That’s why I love this place so much. For this and for its beauty!
When I was working from Palermo for 6 weeks this summer, I realized how perfect this city is for digital nomads. That’s why I ended up writing my „Palermo Guide for Digital Nomads“ – hoping that many nomads will learn about the place and come to live and work here”. – Barbara Riedel
8. Santorini, Greece
“I finally got to go to Santorini, Greece for my birthday. It was so hard to leave from the beautiful architecture to the clear blue water and the breathtaking view.
Things to do and see:
Watch the Sunset: Oia has been known for the best sunsets in the world. Make sure to arrive early and get a good spot as people come from all over just to experience it.
Stay in a Cave house: They have a lot of small houses in Oia, with great views. We stayed at Kaleidoscope Cave Houses, which was close to all the restaurants, bus stop and shops in Oia. It also came with its private hot tub and free breakfast delivered to your door.
Rent a Quad Bike: The taxi drivers don’t like to come to Oia and the buses can also be unreliable, so if you don’t want to be standing around for hours, just hop on a quad bike. The scooters were around 20 euros a day and the four wheelers were 40 euros, this might vary depending on the time you go.
Take a boat tour: This is one of the best ways to see the island and the “Caldera”, which was created when the area collapsed from a volcanic eruption.
They take you to all the famous beaches, the red, white and black beaches. You can jump off and snorkel, then they take you to the hot springs and includes lunch on the boat”. – Unqualified Nomads
9. Milos, Greece
“Milos was unbeknownst to me until I met a Greek girl on my transit flight from Paris to Istanbul. True to her words, it is nothing like the tourist crowd of Santorini and Mykonos. unspoiled Milos sounded, as compared to Mykonos. Milos indeed is an underrated island, which perhaps is the reason why it holds its charms. Milos is the epitome of true turquoise Aegean beauty.
Don’t miss the villages of Adamas, Plaka and Pollonia. Their seafood is so fresh and so big you don’t want to miss it! Also, hike up the Kastro in the Plaka village for an unobstructed view of the sunset”. –Bel Around the World
10. Isle of Capri, Italy
“The Isle of Capri, Italy is a destination out of a fairy tale. Isle of Capri is part of the Region Campania, Provence of Naples. It is probably about an hour from Naples via Ferry. On arrival to Capri, I was astonished by its beauty from the first moment I departed the ferry. The beautiful blue sea of the Mediterranean with unique colorful houses on the mountain drew us in instantly. Capri is very famous for its blue grotto located on the other side of the Island. The grotto is only open during certain weather conditions because the cave is very small. Unfortunately, we were unable to see the grotto because of the sea conditions. We did however, do a tour of the island by boat, which was spectacular. The major things to see on the island is of course the Blue Grotto if possible, Faraglioni Cliff beach (you can do a boat tour around the rock formations), Villa Jovis Roman Imperial Palace Ruins, Via Krupp Augustus Garden, and Villa San Michele for the best views of Capri from above. Another must do while in Capri is take a cable car ride up Mount Solaro in Anacapri to see some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen! Visiting this island was one of my favorite memories and is easily one of my favorite destinations to date, It should be on everyone’s bucket list”. – Andrea’s Travels
11. Sao Miguel, Acores (Portugal)
“Of the southern European islands, most people forget about the Açores which is smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic! All the islands are beautiful with their own sense of identity and culture, but São Miguel has by far the widest range of things to do. My favorite town on the island is Furnas because you can go see live, volcanic hot springs! There are also numerous naturally warm pools that you can swim in, like at Poça da Dona Beija and Parque Terra Nostra. The water is orange due to the naturally occurring iron in the water. Other great towns include Sete Cidades, which features probably the most famous and beautiful lake in the Açores. Another beautiful lake and hiking area not to be missed is Lagoa do Fogo. Seriously, there are so many areas to visit, like the Azorean capital with the long harbor and delicious restaurants, or Mosteiros and their famous octopus dishes, or the northern coast where surfers get their thrills. My favorite things about the island include the sheer natural beauty, the unique beaches, as well as the delicious food. Azorean cuisine is original in its own right and can’t be beat. Try things like Bolos Lêvedos in Furnas, Queijadas in Vila Franca do Campo, Azorean tea, and Azorean cheese and milk from those happy cows. São Miguel truly is a nature-lovers paradise where tourists have yet to taint the beautiful wonders of the island”. – Tata Cheers
Each Island has something unique to offer a variety of travelers. If you are ever in the area of any of these destinations, make sure and stop by for some R&R.