There are so many beautiful islands to visit in Europe that you would probably need a few years to discover them all. The old continent abounds in historical places, beautiful capitals, mountains, seas, lakes, and just about anything you could want from a holiday destination.
One thing is sure: Europe is very complex. So complex that it also has many stunning islands worth visiting at least once in your life. In this article, you will discover 20 beautiful islands to visit in Europe.
From the white houses perched on the hills of Santorini to the volcanic mountains and impressive waterfalls of the Faroe Islands, these are the 20 islands to add to your bucket list for Europe:
PIN IT for later ⇓
20 beautiful islands
to visit in Europe
Lofoten Islands, Norway
Lofoten Islands, located in Northern Norway, far above the Arctic Circle and scattered across the turbulent waters of the Norwegian Sea, are some of the most stunning islands in Europe.
Once remote and hard to access, the islands now have two airports and two main ports; hence getting to the Lofoten archipelago is much easier. However, it still requires some planning ahead. The most popular ways to get to Lofoten are a ferry from Bodo, driving from Tromso, or a flight from Oslo.
What attracts visitors to the archipelago are rugged mountains rising from the sea, famous Norwegian fjords, white sandy beaches, vibrant communities, and charming fishing villages.
Lofoten islands are a hiking paradise with many trails of varying difficulty levels, each providing stunning views. And undoubtedly, hiking is the best activity undertaken by many who arrive there. Wild swimming, kayaking, SUP, and surfing being popular activities for those who love water sports.
For those who want to learn more about Lofoten’s history, there are several museums and a famous Unesco World Heritage Site in Nusfjord.
If you want to spend most of your time hiking, summer is the best month to visit. Just bear in mind that July is one of the busiest months on the island, the second part of August is considerably quieter, but it can also be cooler, but you may have a chance to see the northern lights.
By Beata from stunningoutdoors.com
One of the most beautiful islands in Europe is Santorini in Greece. Getting to Santorini is very easy, and there are various ways to do so. There is an airport on the island where you can get to from various other countries and places within Greece.
Another way to reach the island is by ferry; there are many connections to other Greek islands and Athens. Santorini is a stunning island. Many great villages are picturesque, pretty, and great for views.
One of the best and most popular villages on the island is Oia. Here you can find the famous blue domes that you see on postcards of Greece. Besides that, the view from the village is fantastic.
Seeing the sunset in Oia is a great experience. In fact, it is so unique that many people gather here every day to watch the sunset together. Another thing to do in Santorini is to go to Red Beach, a beautiful beach with red volcanic stone.
Also, visiting the town of Fira is one of the best things to do on the island. You will find here lots of great things to do, including great nightlife activities!
Taking photos at the most Instagrammable places in Santorini is one of the most fun activities! The best time to visit Santorini is in the following months: May, June, and September. During these months, the temperature is pleasant, and there aren’t a lot of people.
By Dymphe from dymabroad.com
Capri, Italy | 20 beautiful islands to visit in Europe
This gorgeous island in the Tyrrhenian Sea is the ideal trip for a day or two-three when visiting the Amalfi Coast, one of the most spectacular places in Italy.
Capri is a beautiful island, for sure one of the most beautiful islands in Europe, with steep limestone cliffs rising from the turquoise waves of the sea, with sumptuous villas, olive trees, vines, citrus trees, multicolored flowers, and breathtaking views.
Whether in Positano, Amalfi, Sorrento, or Naples, you can reach Capri by ferry in about one hour. The nearest airport to Capri is Naples International Airport. And if we talk about traveling inside the island, you can do it on foot, by funicular or bus.
When you arrive in Capri, don’t miss the following tourist attractions: Blue Grotto, Capri, Via Krupp, Faraglionii, Augustus Gardens, Villa San Michelle, and Ana Capri. There are also two lovely beaches on the island: Marina Grande and Marina Piccola.
Capri is also an ideal destination for gourmets. The island is famous for its delicious dishes, mostly seafood pasta. And if we are talking about a simple, quick snack, then you should definitely try panino caprese, a sandwich with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil.
The best time of year to visit Capri is either spring or autumn. In April-May and September-October, the temperatures are perfect, and the island doesn’t get too crowded.
By Bella from whisperwanderlust.com
The largest island in Dalmatia, Brac, is best known for Zlatni Rat (meaning Golden Cape), a cone-shaped, pebbled beach near the town of Bol. Easily accessible from Split by ferry, Brac is known for its wine, food, and beautiful coastline, and visiting is a must when traveling in Croatia.
Not as busy as the nearby islands of Hvar and Korcula, Brac is hauntingly beautiful and gives a more authentic sense of everyday life than the larger islands. The old town, Supetar, has an 18th Century church, a cemetery filled with sculptures, and several excellent restaurants.
Bol, a resort town, is well worth visiting, with a medieval monastery, small harbor, and the only stone masonry school in Europe. There are also a couple of smaller seaside towns, perfect for escaping from the world for a few days.
Although Brac is small enough to explore it in a single day, there’s plenty to do and see on the island. Spend your time on Brac visiting local vineyards, exploring the tiny bays and coves, and sampling the local olive oil.
Walk along the promenade from Bol to Zlatni Rat and go windsurfing from the pebbled beach. Brac also makes an excellent base for visiting the surrounding islands in central Dalmatia.
Make the most of your trip by visiting Brac in June and September. The weather is beautiful and suitable for swimming, with fewer visitors than in the summer.
By Roxanne from www.farawayworlds.com
Gozo is a beautiful island located in the Malta archipelago in the Mediterranean ocean. The easiest way to get to it is via Malta to Gozo ferry point, which can be accessed by vehicle or on foot, and it takes about 30 minutes. It is best to visit in summer, but it is still much warmer than other European countries in the winter months.
What makes it one of the most beautiful islands in Europe is the many unique Gozo Beaches. From the reddish sands of Ramla Bay, which can be seen from the Tal Mixta cave to the salt pans of Xwejni.
The rocky nature of many of the beaches means that they are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving activities. You can be sure to see a fantastic array of sea life, so make sure you pack the appropriate gear.
Further inland, you will find so much fascinating history and stunning examples of ancient architecture. Take a trip to the Cittadella, a huge sandstone castle and grounds from the medieval period.
Located in Gozo’s capital of Victoria, you can’t miss the Cittadella as it looms on the top of a hill, overlooking the beautiful island. Take a guided walk around this area to discover the old churches, prisons, and natural history museums.
Gozo truly is a brilliant island that makes a great day trip or a more extended stay.
By Kerry Hanson from veggtravel.com
Faroe Islands, Denmark
The Faroe Islands, along with Greenland, is a group of self-governing islands that belongs to the Kingdom of Denmark. They consist of 18 independent and self-governing islands, which are mostly connected by underground tunnels, short bridges, and ferries.
The easiest way to get there is by plane from various points in mainland Europe (Denmark, Scotland), the UK, and Iceland. You can also catch a cruise of the North Atlantic Ocean in the summer months.
Due to its geographical isolation in the middle of the North Atlantic and low tourism numbers, the Faroe Islands is one of the last hidden treasures in Europe. The islands are covered in idyllic grasslands, roofed houses, volcanic mountains, epic waterfalls, and unique rock formations. The lakes that flow into the ocean are indeed one-of-a-kind.
The Faroe Islands is for nature lovers and adventurers, as most of the activities are outdoors. There are plenty of hiking courses at all levels, mountain biking along the jagged cliffs and sailing to the various islands.
Viewing nature is definitely the best part of visiting the Faroe Islands, so taking an epic road trip is the best activity. You can see the most magical waterfalls like Lake Sørvágsvatn, unique rock formations like Tindhólmur, stroll around the quaint capital of Torshavn, or view the cute puffins at Mykines. One of the fun facts about the Faroe Islands is that sheep and puffins outnumber humans!
The best time to visit the Faroe Islands is during the summer months, as winter can get icy cold. There is more sun in the summer (only around 5 hours in winter), there are more festivals, open restaurants, and gorgeous sunny weather.
By Callan from onceinalifetimejourney.com
Rhodes, Greece | 20 beautiful islands to visit in Europe
In general, Greece is a lovely country to visit. It has blue waters, fantastic food, and gorgeous scenery. In the Southern West part of Greece, you will discover the Dodecanese Islands, a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek Islands. One of the largest islands of the group, one that is highly popular and recommended to visit, is Rhodes.
Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands of Greece, the beaches in Rhodes are beautiful, the towns are filled with whitewashed buildings, and the food is absolutely delicious.
However, Rhodes is not just about the scenery; there are plenty of activities to do there and lots of history to learn during your visit. The entire old town is a Medieval UNESCO-listed site, and the architecture is remarkable.
To get to Rhodes, you can take a plane from the mainland of Greece direct from Thessaloniki or Athens. If you choose, you can also get there by ferry from a few of the nearby romantic Greek islands.
One of the best things to do while in Rhodes is visiting the Acropolis of Lindos, located on a steep hill. The views from the top are well worth it!
Another thing to do is visit the historic Rhodes old town, filled with cobbled streets and narrow alleyways; it’s a fantastic place to experience ancient history. If you enjoy hot sunny days, the best time to visit Rhodes is between June and September.
If you enjoy a cooler temperature, then late September/early October may be the best time to visit where rainfall is relatively low, and temperature highs are between 21 and 25°C.
By Alice from adventuresofalice.com
Mallorca is a stunning island, jam-packed with things to do all year round. There is an international airport on the island ( it’s actually Spain’s 3rd largest!), but you can also reach it by ferry from the other Balearic islands and cities like Barcelona, Denia, and Valencia in mainland Spain.
The winter months are perfect for hiking and exploring the many amazing villages. The most noteworthy are dotted around the UNESCO World Heritage declared Tramuntana mountain range.
Among the most notable are the Fortnalutx, Deía, Valdemossa, and Formentera villages. This area makes for the perfect Mallorca road trip. In the summer months, on the other hand, it is way too hot to go hiking, but you will have the luxury of exploring some of the most astounding beaches you have ever seen! Among the must-visit beaches, make sure you head to Cala Agulla, Calo des Moro, and Torrent Pareis.
From the charming capital city, La Palma, where you absolutely must visit the stunning cathedral (!), you can take the old-fashioned tram to the quaint mountain town of Soller. Also, a must.
But Mallorca’s beauty doesn’t end above the ground. With an underground cave system featuring over 200 caves, you will be truly mesmerized. Luckily, the public can visit only a handful of these, or you would be visiting caves for weeks. If you can only see one, make sure it is the Drach’s Cave. You will truly regret it if you skip it.
By Linn Haglund from brainybackpackers.com
Inis Mor, Ireland
The charming island of Inis Mor (Inishmore) is the largest and most populated of Ireland’s Aran Islands. Located off the western coast of Ireland, the Aran Islands are a small archipelago. Kilronan is the main village on Inis Mor and is one of the primary draws to the island.
Inis Mor offers a variety of activities to keep you entertained. Explore the island through its labyrinth of stone walls on a bicycle or foot, or climb to the top of Dun Aonghasa, a prehistoric fort perched on a cliff.
The seal colony is a great place to see the other wildlife of the island inhabitants basking in the sun. If you’re the type to cool off in a natural swimming pool, the wormhole is just what you need.
Inis Mor is an easy day trip from Galway, though Kilronan Village has plenty of B&Bs and Inns if you’d like to stay longer! Although there are only a few restaurants and pubs in the area, they offer quality food, and the locals are friendly.
Make sure you pick up a souvenir of fine Irish wool at Aran Sweater Market!
From Galway, take a bus to Rossaveal, which takes about 20 minutes. From there, you can take a ferry to Kilronan Harbor. The ferry ride lasts around 40 minutes.
By Jade Laurenza from themigrantyogi.com
Mykonos island in Greece is one of the most popular summer destinations in Europe due to its famous nightlife, sandy beaches with turquoise waters, and iconic windmills.
The best time to visit the island is between May and September when all shops, restaurants, and bars are open, and the sea temperature is excellent for swimming. It gets jam-packed during July and August so if you want to avoid the crowds, chose May, June, and September instead.
Getting to Mykonos is easy as it has an international airport; alternatively, you can take the ferry there from Athens or other nearby islands like Mykonos and Paros. Exploring Chora (Mykonos Town) with its winding alleyways, boutique shops, high-end restaurants, whitewashed churches, and beautiful windmills is a must.
Other things to do include a boat trip to the archaeological site of Delos, a UNESCO Heritage Site that can easily be combined with a swim stop to the crystal clear waters of Rhenia island.
Mykonos is home to some of the best beaches in Greece. You will find the best beach bars in Psarou beach and Super Paradise beach. If you’re traveling with children, Ornos beach and Agios Ioannis Beach are better choices. Finally, for the best sunset, head out to Little Venice for drinks.
By Chrysoula from greecetravelideas.com
Isle of Skye, Scotland | 20 beautiful islands to visit in Europe
The Isle of Skye in Scotland is one of the most beautiful islands in Europe (and in the world). It’s located in the Scottish Highlands, in the northwestern part of the country. This island is dotted with dramatic landscapes and incredibly beautiful nature. In fact, many attractions look absolutely unreal — as if you’re immersed in a fantasy novel.
One of the top things to do on the Isle of Skye is hiking the Old Man of Storr, which will give you breathtaking views of the iconic rock formations on the island. The landscapes there look straight out of a postcard!
Be sure also to explore the magical Fairy Pools, which (as suggested by its name) is made of many crystal clear pools and waterfalls steaming downhills. You can even take a dip in the pools and go for an adventurous swim!
Some of the other main sights on the Isle of Skye include the Quiraing, Neist Point, and the Fairy Glen.
The best time to visit Skye is during May and June when daylight hours are the longest and rainy days are the fewest. To get to Skye, the best way is to drive as there isn’t any train station or airport on the island. Driving from Edinburgh takes around 5 hours, and driving from Inverness takes 2.5 hours.
By Jiayi from thediaryofanomad.com
Madeira is an island within the autonomous Madeira archipelago in Portugal. It lies in the North Atlantic Ocean between mainland Portugal and Morocco. Madeira Islands are known as the best island tourist destinations in all of Europe.
Take a flight to Madeira international airport to reach the island. From the airport, take a bus or cab to get to Funchal – the island’s capital. Funchal is the largest and most populated city here. The entire town stands as a symbol of beautiful Portuguese architecture. Madeira possesses spectacular natural scenery.
As it used to be a home of active volcanoes, most of the landscape is shaped by lava rocks. Deep river valleys and high cliffs are the key points of attraction. Curral das Freiras, one of the deepest valleys, is also known as Nuns Refuge as it acted as a hiding place for natives there during foreign invasions.
The coastline of this island is a mixture of sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. Cape Girão is a major attraction for tourists. It’s a 580 m high Seacliff and known as the world’s second-highest Seacliff.
The Atlantic Ocean around here has crystal clear blue water. People can enjoy a beach holiday here throughout the year as the weather is neither warm nor cold. The forever spring weather is a big reason why this place is such a tourist-friendly location.
A lot of activities are available like snorkeling, diving, boating, para-gliding, etc. The island also has hiking trails all around. These trails often take you through the depths of nature and let you experience the stone irrigation channel bringing water. This irrigation system is known as Levada.
Early spring or autumn is the best time to visit this lovely island. The weather is pleasant, and the crowd is also less during this time.
By Ruma from theholidaystory.com
Did you know that the Netherlands is home to one of the most beautiful islands in Europe? Texel, one of Holland’s the Wadden Islands, is a paradise waiting to be discovered by beach holidaymakers from all over the continent.
Texel is known for its lovely beaches and marvelous nature reserves. It is the largest and most famous island in the North Holland province. Imagine ambling along 24 km of pristine beaches, with the sound of the sea and the cool breeze caressing you. There is nothing to do here but to relax, eat and enjoy the tranquil and breath-taking views.
Cycling around the island and windsurfing are also great ideas. There is more than 300 km of cycling and hiking paths, with seven villages to visit and meet with friendly locals. Pass by the picturesque lighthouse on the north side of the island, the loveliest spot in Texel.
Texel is very easy to reach from the mainland. Simply board a ferry to Texel from Den Helder (North-Holland) for a picturesque 20 to 30-minute boat ride. You can catch one of many ferries making their way to Texel, especially during peak seasons.
Dutch people love crossing the sea and spending their weekends on the island. Expect a long line of people taking the ferry. Once on the island, you shouldn’t worry about the crowd as there are more sheep in Texel than people.
By Frans from askthedutchguy.com
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. Technically, it is a part of Spain, but it’s located on the West of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. The most common way how to get there is by flying. Several low-cost European airlines have Tenerife on their list of destinations.
Tenerife is a volcanic island. It’s dominated by Teide volcano, which is the highest summit on the island. One can notice the ruggedness created by volcanic activities wherever you go on the island. Many beaches have black sand, steep mountains are rising from the ocean split by magnificent gorges, and Teide volcano is often visible from afar.
If you wish to experience the beauty of Tenerife, there are plenty of options for adventures in nature. You can go to the top of Mount Teide, hike the famous Masca gorge, or go on a road trip in the mountains to enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean, the greenness of the island, and giant rock formations.
Even though Tenerife has nice weather throughout the year, the best time to visit would be in the low season between March and May and from September to November. At this time, there would be fewer tourists in the popular destinations and cheaper accommodations.
By Una from wandernity.com
Naxos island, located in the Greek Cyclades, is often overlooked compared to its neighbors of Santorini and Mykonos. However, visitors to this island will be blown away by its beauty – many claim it has some of the best beaches in Greece with turquoise blue, crystal clear water.
You can reach Naxos by ferry from Athens, which usually takes around 5-7 hours. Another quicker option is by air, a short flight of about 45 minutes.
Naxos is a large island, and the most popular beaches are located on the west side of the island. Visitors shouldn’t miss Plaka and Agios Prokopios, where you will swim in the azure blue waters with fine sand beaches. If you hire a car or ATV, you can visit some of the more secluded bays around the island, such as Aliko.
Make sure to catch the beautiful sunset from the ancient Greek monument, the Portara Gate. This unique marble doorway can be found at Chora, also known as Old Town. Another picturesque spot is the traditional village in the middle of the island, Halki Village, which features bougainvillea-lined alleyways and colorful buildings.
Visit Naxos during the summer months to make the most of the beautiful beaches.
Naxos is a lesser-known gem of the Cyclades and an excellent option for those wanting to enjoy the beauty of this authentic Greek island without the crowds.
By Tess from Tessomewhere
Korcula, Croatia | 20 beautiful islands to visit in Europe
Korcula in Croatia is definitely one of the most beautiful and worth seeing islands in Europe. It is located in Dalmatia and can be easily reached by ferry from the port city of Split. Still relatively quiet, this island is a hidden gem among the idyllic island pearls in the Mediterranean.
What is unique here is, above all, are the tranquil atmosphere, the dreamlike beaches and the natural bays, the various local wines, and the picturesque island towns along the coast, which will undoubtedly inspire you.
However, the absolute highlight and a must-see is Korcula town, a UNESCO old town that enchants with a lot of medieval charm and therefore also bears the nickname “little Dubrovnik”. And really, the city walls and towers are somewhat reminiscent of the famous Croatian port city.
Another highlight, and why this island is so unique in Europe, are the picturesque beaches. From rocky beaches to pebble coves and sandy beaches, there is a wide choice of bathing spots.
A true paradise for sun-seeking holidaymakers! Although the beaches stretch across the entire island, some of the most beautiful can be found in the resort of Lumbarda. Wine lovers will also love this place, as Korcula grows here their best wines on the sandy hills overlooking the sea!
Korcula is a perfect island in Europe for relaxing and swimming, but there are also many exciting things to do. One week is often almost too little to enjoy this island to the fullest. The best time to visit Korcula is in the summer months, from May to September! At this time, you can expect little rain and lots of sun.
By Jürgen & Martina from placesofjuma.com
Located in the Venetian lagoon is Burano, one of the most beautiful islands in Europe. This Italian destination is a tourist hotspot with multi-colored houses, winding canals, and delicious restaurants and bars.
A day trip to Burano on the ferry will take around 45 minutes from Venice and can be combined with visiting the two other Venetian islands of Murano and Torcello. However, Burano is the star of the show and has been catapulted from a sleepy fishing village into a magnet for visitors keen to see this unique destination for themselves.
Burano is tiny but beautiful, and visitors can lose themselves in the labyrinth of narrow lanes lined with rainbow-colored houses. Wander past houses painted vivid green, pink and blue, then turn a corner and witness orange, yellow, and red hues. It is a true delight for photographers.
Other activities in Burano are visiting the Lace Museum, climbing the Bell Tower, and watching with a refreshing Aperol spritz, the traditional local tipple.
It’s best to visit first thing in the morning if you want to enjoy Burano without the crowds. It can get hectic during the day, and catching a photo without many people may prove difficult. Another good time to go is late afternoon/early evening when visitors have returned to Venice, and Burano becomes calmer.
By Angela Price from whereangiewanders.com
The Isles of Scilly, England
The Isles of Scilly are a small archipelago of five inhabited islands with only 2000 people just off the coast of Cornwall in England.
Just getting there is part of the fun as you either have to take the ferry from Penzance, which takes around two and a half hours or fly by a small propellor plane from Lands End or Newquay in Cornwall, which will take about 20 minutes of flight time and give excellent views of the islands when landing.
What makes the islands unique for the U.K. is that it has a sub-tropical climate very close to the mainland of Britain thanks to the gulf stream that flows through it. This allows for sub-tropical plants that can’t be grown anywhere else in the U.K. to flourish, and there is the famed Tresco Abbey Gardens, where you can see many of these plants.
The white sand beaches add to the tropical feel; however, the water is still freezing as it’s part of the Atlantic Ocean.
It has one of the highest densities of shipwrecks in the U.K., making it a paradise for divers, and there are historical castles and ancient villages to explore.
The best time to go is during spring and summer when the weather is at its best, or if you are an avid bird watcher in October when migrating birds stop on the islands when heading south for winter. The islands are all but closed during the winter months.
By Jonny from guidetocastles.com
Situated in the Aegean Sea in Greece, Milos is a small island home to unspoiled beaches, authentic Greek villages, and a dramatic coastline. Thanks to its volcanic origin, the island boasts unique sceneries abundant with impressive rock formations and moon-like landscapes.
One of the top things to do in Milos is to visit the famous Sarakiniko beach. Walking along its dazzling white cliffs will make you feel like you’re on another planet. Since this is the most popular tourist attraction on the island, it can get crowded, so I recommend arriving early.
Another activity that you shouldn’t miss is taking a boat tour around the island. This allows you to explore the more remote corners of Milos, where you’ll find empty beaches with stunning aquamarine water and colorful landscapes.
To see the classic Greek whitewashed houses, make sure to visit Plaka, the capital of Milos. With its picturesque white streets, purple bougainvillea trees, and blue doors, Plaka is an Instagrammer’s paradise!
The best time to visit Milos is from May to October. This is when the weather is sunny and warm, there’s a meager chance of rain, and all the restaurants, cafes, and tour operators are open.
Most visitors arrive in Milos by ferry from Athens, which takes roughly 3-4 hours, but it’s also possible to take a 45-minute flight from Athens.
By Marjut from thesmoothescape.com
Procida, Italy | 20 beautiful islands to visit in Europe
Procida is an underrated but beautiful island in Europe and was just named Italy’s Capital of Culture! It is a colorful hidden gem in Europe, often skipped for Capri or even Ischia.
However, it is one of the prettiest places to visit along the Amalfi Coast, known for its fabulous sunset. You can view the sunset from the best location, at the top of the village at Terra Murata. Here you will see the colorful fishermen’s houses dotted along the cityscape.
It is one of the best things to do in this town. During your visit, explore the central area of Marina Corricella, where you can take a boat ride or have a drink by the sea.
Relax at one of the beaches like Chiaiolella or Spiaggia del Pozzo Vecchio. The best place to eat is La Lampara, a delicious seafood restaurant where you get to enjoy the view as well! You only need a few hours to explore the town, but it is a treat if you wish to stay overnight.
Make sure to stay near the main town center – San Michele Procida is a cute boutique hotel with the perfect location. The best time to visit is in early summer when you can enjoy the weather and the beach.
By Jackie from joujoutravels.com
islands in europe