Many of the islands you visit in Europe are in the Mediterranean. Balmy breezes and spectacular views guarantee a memorable and uplifting island holiday. You can reach these destinations any time, as the pleasant year-round temperatures allow visitors to escape cold chills or extreme heat and humidity. Whether you seek a white sand shore or wish to go back in time, you can easily find a European island that meets your expectations.
Featuring over 1,200 miles of coast, Sardinia attracts both beachcombers and hikers alike. Thousands of Bronze-aged nuraghi dot the countryside. One of the largest of the statues, Su Nuraxi, found in Baruini, dates back to 1500 BCE.
The archipelago of Malta sits in the Mediterranean between the north coast of Africa and Sicily, Italy. History buffs will enjoy exploring the megalithic temples and fortresses. The island's history marks a succession of rulers, including the Romans, French, British, and Moors. While the megalithic temples are older than the stones at Stonehenge, most people visit Malta to scuba dive or take part in beach activities.
"Charming" is a word that immediately comes to mind when visiting Bozcaada, Turkey, also known as Tenedos. The Aegean island features cobblestoned paths that wind past rustic houses with colorful flower boxes. The island's vineyards and tavernas with grapevine walls are welcoming sights to anyone who wants to get away from it all. Only 3,000 people live on the little island, also known for its vibrant red poppies.
Located off the southern coast of Morocco, Tenerife is the largest of the seven isles that make up the Canary Islands. The island is a popular winter getaway, as sunseekers enjoy an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Top attractions include Mount Teide, a volcanic mountain you can access by cable car; Siam Park, a Thai-themed waterpark; and Loro Park, which features dolphins and tigers.
While the Isle of Skye is not a tropical island, it has plenty of attributes that make it an engaging getaway. You can access Skye, part of the Inner Hebrides, from Scotland's northwest coast by bridge. Travelers visit the island for its medieval castles, idyllic fishing villages, and rocky landscapes. Most visitors use the town of Portree as a starting point for visiting the sights.
Spanning the Bay of Naples, the island of Capri in Italy highlights designer fashions, water sports, and a natural attraction called the Blue Grotto. To get to Capri and its yachts and glistening coves, visitors take the ferry from Naples.
Home to the port and resort town of Hvar, the Croatian island of Hvar features yachting in the summer and secluded shores for people who wish to have more privacy. If you wish to explore further offshore, take a ferry to one of the Pakleni Islands located nearby. Don't forget to check out Hula Hula Beach, known for its nighttime entertainment and lively restaurants and bars.
Known for its production of olive oil, Corfu, Greece, sits in the Ionian Sea off the northwest coast of Greece. Its rugged mountain terrain and resort-lined beaches mingle with a history where Venetians, the French, and British ruled before the island fell under Greece's rule in 1864. Venetian landmarks flank Corfu Town, which invites visitors back into time with its winding medieval paths and the imposing Palace of St. Michael and St. George.
Rich in culture and home to dense woodlands and popular beaches, such Rondinara and busy Pietracorbara, Corsica is also the birthplace of Napoleon. Since 1768, the island has been part of France. However, the culture is distinctively Italian. Corsica is a trekker's haven, as half of the island features hiking paths and sits inside a park and nature preserve.
Made up of an area of 9,992 square miles, Sicily represents the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The island, which has 5 million inhabitants, is also home to Palermo, Sicily's largest city. Street vendors on the island sell the much-loved arancini (meat-stuffed fried rice balls). Mount Etna, on Sicily's eastern boundary, is one of the highest active volcanoes in Europe.
A popular destination for honeymooners, Santorini Island, offers stunning panoramic views over a glistening caldera. A look at the island's whitewashed homes with blue-topped roofs will confirm you have landed in a Greek paradise. Tourists visit the island for its black, pink, and white sand beaches, pebbled village streets, and stunning harbor views.
The fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean, Crete, is also Greece's largest isle. Home to beautiful beaches, memorable vistas, and lighthouses, the island is less crowded during the winter months. A throwback to Old Greece, the small fishing village of Loutro is one of Crete's hidden gems. You can only access the village by boat but will find the adventure well worth your time. Visit the beautiful swim-through caves of Marmara Beach. You may also want to go on one of the nature tours featured in the village.
Start your exploration of Rhodes with a trip to Old Town, Europe's oldest inhabited medieval town. Wander the pebbled narrow paths and sit for a savoring moussaka at an outdoor cafe. The Palace of the Grand Master, on the island, is a popular site, as is the ancient Olympic Stadium — another must-see attraction.
A colorful Venetian island, Burano is a 60-minute ferry ride from Venice. The island's buildings, colored in vibrant pastels, lighten the moods of everyone they greet. Local law prohibits property-owners from painting their buildings the same color. Burano, known historically for its fishing industry and production of lace, is home to 1,000 residents; however, about one million tourists visit the island each year. One of the more colorful buildings in Burano is Casa Bepi. You can also find specialty items and gifts at Vitturri Angelo.
Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands in Spain. Because the island is small, you can see the sights and relax in four or five days. The best way to see Mallorca is by car. Explore the capital of Palma de Mallorca and its cathedrals, such as the Castillo de Bellver, built during the 13th century. The religious building sits on a hilltop, close to the city's historic center. You'll want to add Alcudia to your itinerary, known as one of the most scenic towns on the island. Stroll through the medieval walled town, home to unforgettable foods and traditional festivals.