Sometimes you want something more than just a city break for your holidays. Here are the most beautiful islands in Europe that are perfect for summer holidays.
Summer is just right around the corner and it’s time to start planning your summer seaside escape adventure. If you want to explore more European destinations that don’t involve big cities, then small islands are your perfect choice. Here is a list of the most beautiful islands across Europe, including popular and lesser-known options.
Being the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, Corsica offers an incredible array of attractions for any type of traveler. Due to its history, the island has an interesting mix of French and Spanish cultures that you can observe as you travel around. Corsica has a magnificent coastline, as well as more historical attractions such as castles and churches. The most famous one is Maison Bonaparte, located in Ajaccio. It is the ancestral home of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Another distinctive feature of the island is its mountainous landscape. The Corsican Mountains feature 20 peaks that exceed two kilometers, the highest one being Monte Cinco at 2,706 m. The island is also home to the challenging GR 20 long-distance trail that is admired by all mountaineering lovers.
Everyone probably has heard at least something about the famous island of Mallorca. It is one of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean that is known for its world-class beaches and beach resorts. However, Mallorca is much more than just a beach resort destination.
The island has a rich natural heritage that consists of sheltered coves, limestone mountains, and Roman and Moorish remain. This is why it is a perfect destination for sports lovers that are interested in scuba diving, windsurfing, and sailing. Palma, the capital of the island, has a wonderful nightlife scene, as well as the Moorish Almudaina royal palace and 13th century Santa María Cathedral that are worth a visit.
Another island located in the Mediterranean that is a great mix of history, culture, and relaxing beach life. Crete is a perfect island to visit if you are interested in ancient world history. The island was once the heart of the Minoan civilization that is now considered to be the earliest recorded civilization in Europe.
Among the must-visit places in Crete is the capital Heraklion, the city of Chania, the famous palace of Knossos that is believed to be the site of the Labyrinth, and the home of the Minotaur. Aside from historical attractions, there is Samaria Gorge, stunning Elafonissi Beach that is known for pink sand, and beautiful Balos beach.
If you are looking for a wild adventure, then the Azores is a perfect choice for you. Situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, it is an archipelago of nine islands: Santa Maria, São Miguel, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, Graciosa, Flores, and Corvo.
The Azores is known for its untouched nature, lush forests, fresh waterfalls, fishing villages, and great spots for observing wildlife. The islands offer an array of adventures for adrenaline and sports enthusiasts such as diving, hiking, whale-watching, and exploration of hot thermal waters.
Sicily is one of the most famous destinations and the largest island in Italy. It is known for the notorious Sicilian Mafia and for being the birthplace of the Godfather, Don Vito Corleone. Although it is one of the reasons the tourists choose to visit Sicily, the island has even more to offer.
The island has numerous historical and tourist sites that you definitely can’t miss, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, the Baroque town of Val di Noto, the ancient city of Selinunte, the Castello Ursino in Catania, the city of Palermo and Mount Etna.
Among lesser-known European islands, you can find Hvar. It is a Croatian island that has one of the most magnificent coastlines in the Adriatic Sea. The island is often considered a party destination for its wild nightlife scene, famous beach, and boat parties. Hvar is the island where you can often find such celebrities as George Clooney or Beyonce holidaying.
Apart from the fun parties, you can relax at one of the many beaches, explore the history of the island by visiting Hvar town and its castle or immerse yourself in the gastronomical experience of Dalmatian foods and wines. The beautiful landscape of olive trees and vineyards will make it a great location for a relaxing countryside holiday.
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