The most beautiful islands in Europe

tropical island washed by blue sea water on sunny day

The most beautiful islands in Europe can be large or small. Islands can sometimes be found a few meters from the shores or in the middle of the ocean, just waiting for you to discover them.

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Europe’s best islands to visit

Mílos, Greece

sea landscape art water
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This island is famous for being the location where the Venus de Milo statue was discovered in ancient ruins, but it has much more to offer visitors than its antiquity and it is one of the most beautiful islands in Europe. Before dinner at one of the island’s exceptional restaurants, visitors can explore the family-run, award-winning Kostantakis winery, sun on the volcanic rocks at Sarakiniko Beach, and snorkel through the island’s caves. The island’s accommodations are typically small but stylish, such as Skinopi Lodge, which consists of three modern one-bedroom suites perched on a cliff overlooking the Aegean. “Drop-dead gorgeous!” said one voter.

Ibiza, Spain

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Ibiza has two National Parks of particular ecological interest and natural beauty: the National Park of Ses Salinas and the nature reserves of es Vedrà, es Vedranell, and the small islands to the west of Ibiza. The Ses Salinas National Park is located between the south of the island of Ibiza and the north of the island of Formentera. Natural features ranging from salt lakes and beaches to lunar cords with centuries-old ghost trees, cliffs, and rocky coastlines can be found.

Look here for the best accommodation options!

Sicily, Italy

bird s eye view photo of coastline during daytime
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Sicily, the Mediterranean’s largest island, is known for its distinct culture, cuisine, and history. Food and wine enthusiasts will feel right at home here, as Sicilian cuisine features plenty of fresh seafood, handmade cheeses, and the distinct Arabic influences you’d expect from an island so close to the North African coast.

The wines here are storied and complex, and while they’ve only recently arrived on the global stage, Sicily has a winemaking tradition dating back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Try the Etna Bianco, the name given to a group of Sicilian white wines made from the Carricante grape.

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Aside from history and culture, the island’s incredible diversity of landscapes translates into an endless variety of outdoor activities (think hiking along rugged shorelines, climbing active volcanoes, and diving among caves and grottos in some of the Mediterranean’s clearest blue waters). It’s one of the most fascinating Italian islands, whether you’re looking for a deserted white-sand beach, a quaint fishing village, or a chance to explore mysterious archaeological sites.

Zakynthos, Greece

clear blue sea
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The Venetians dubbed this lush island “The Flower of the East,” and it still has all of the natural charms that inspired its moniker.

Some sections of the island are only for wildlife, including dolphins, sea turtles, and even the occasional seal, because many of them are endangered. The iconic Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach, may be the highlight of Zakynthos. This wild patch of powdery sand surrounded by steep cliffs is easily one of Europe’s most Instagrammable places.

Corsica, France

bird s eye view photography of seashore
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Corsica is known for its beaches and pastoral setting, but unlike other Mediterranean islands, it also has several ski resorts. A summer visit might entail capping a day on the sands with an alfresco meal and several glasses of local wine, whereas winters here are quite different, with quaint snow chalets, skiing, and mountaineering.

Whatever season you visit, this is the ideal location for a holiday that is a little off the beaten path, but with a distinctly French flair.

Madeira, Portugal

scenic photo of coast during daytime
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Everyone on Madeira has a story to tell, which we adore.

The no-nonsense locals know how to have a good time, and if that isn’t enough, there are other ways to get around. Jeep tours, boat tours, and whale watching around the island are all fantastic.

Madeira is rightly compared to Hawaiian islands because the vibe and sights are very similar, with a year-round balmy climate, black volcanic beaches, and its vibrant capital Funchal. Where they differ is in the food; Madeira is famous for its local cuisine, which includes incredible sea fare and a variety of baked sweets in addition to traditional Portuguese fare.

Look here for the best accommodation options!

Burano, Italy

Burano, Italy, colorful houses

Burano, located seven kilometers from Venice in the Venetian lagoon, has embraced its new life as a tourist destination.

The colorful row houses are one of the main draws here; while it’s unclear when the tradition began, houses here are painted vivid, contrasting colors, with no two adjacent structures sharing a shade. The result is extremely photogenic, and its proximity to Venice inspires many visitors to come here for the day just to take pictures.

Burano, however, is more than just one of Europe’s most colorful destinations; beyond its kaleidoscopic facades, you’ll find cute bridges, small artisan shops, and a plethora of lovely places to dine al fresco by the canal.

Malta

aerial photograph of coastal city
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Malta is its own sovereign nation in the Mediterranean. When you visit, you’ll notice clear influences from all of its neighbors in Europe and the Arab world, especially in Valletta, one of Europe’s most charming capital cities.

Interestingly, one of the country’s most famous tourist destinations, the Casa Rocca Piccola, is a palace that has been inhabited by the Marquis de Piro family for 9 generations. While a tour does not give you access to the entire house, you can hire the Marquis himself to show you around for an additional fee.

Majorca, Spain

aerial seashore
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Majorca is one of Europe’s best islands for all-around fun for visitors of all ages.

Of course, there are beaches to visit (that’s a given), but there’s so much more to do here than sunbathe and sip cocktails! (Though I’d happily spend a significant amount of time here doing just that!)

For a taste of history, visit Alcudia Old Town, which was a walled city in the 14th century. There are more bars and restaurants here than you can shake a stick at, so find a table, select a nice bottle of wine, and tuck into some delicious Spanish cuisine.

Iceland

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Talking about the most beautiful islands in Europe, We leave the warm islands behind and travel to our first colder island, Iceland.
Iceland is one of those places that we’re all familiar with, but just in case you’re looking for reasons to visit, here are a few.
To name a few, the Northern Lights (in winter), the Midnight Sun (in summer), volcanoes, ice caves, black beaches, iceberg lagoons, delicious food, geothermal springs, the Blue Lagoon…

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