Best islands in Europe for seaside Holiday – TOP 27 must-visit islands!

Looking for the best islands in Europe for a vacation, adventure, or maybe a romantic honeymoon? Dive deep into our curated list that sweeps from icy wonders to sun-kissed shores.

Europe is a treasure trove of islands, each unique in its own right. Fancy the ethereal landscapes of Iceland with its geysers and northern lights? Or perhaps the sun-soaked beaches of Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands are more your speed. For those in love with quaint charm and scenic beauty, Madeira and Zakynthos await with open arms.

Whether you’re yearning for a snug hideaway like Gozo, a lively experience in Formentera, or the dramatic volcanic terrains of Tenerife, we’ve covered all bases. And if you’re in the mood to hop from one island to the next, renting a car can turn your trip into a true European island holiday escapade. 😉

But there’s more! Europe isn’t just about the destinations; it’s about the journey. From iconic, romantic spots like Venice and Santorini to the lush, emerald forests of Madeira, and the electric blue waters surrounding Zakynthos, we’re serving up a diverse palette of the most beautiful islands in Europe.

So, whether you’re a beach bum, a nature enthusiast, or a couple looking for that perfect sunset, there’s a European island calling your name. Pack your bags, bring that adventurous spirit, and let’s set sail to discover some exotic places in Europe together

Island holidays Europe – car hire:

We have rented cars many times during our trips to the most beautiful islands in Europe and we always used

Check out our guide to the best rental car in Europe or simply explore the options directly on if you need a car during a trip in Europe.

10 Best Islands in Europe: At a Glance

  1. Capri
  2. Iceland
  3. Santorini
  4. Madeira
  5. Sardinia
  6. Malta
  7. Mallorca
  8. Tenerife
  9. Cyprus
  10. Zakynthos

Ready to fall in love with the best European islands? 🙂

Here is our list of the best islands in Europe we’ve visited (or have on our radar) – a stunning EUROPEAN ISLANDS BUCKET LIST.


Explore the best exotic islands in Europe and top ideas for island holidays Europe:

Best Islands in Europe

1. Capri

One of the small islands in Europe. The island of Capri, located on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, is famed for its stunning landscape, amazing views and one of the best-known natural sites in Europe – the Blue Grotto. If electric blue is your favourite colour, then you have to visit this cave. It is the most unforgettable thing to see on Capri island in Italy!

Is this beautiful European Island on your must-see list?

Capri islands in Europe
Best islands Europe: Capri

Going to Capri island? Read more: Amalfi Coast Italy (Campania) – Italy’s most scenic & famous coastline!

2. Santorini

Where to find the best islands in Europe? This Cycladic island is one of the top-visited destinations in the whole of Greece. If you are looking for a romantic escape in Europe, a holiday to Santorini is a great choice! With a wide range of 5* hotels, Santorini is a mecca for all searching for a luxury vacation in Greece.

This European island is totally unique, and it’s defined by its views – you can enjoy some of the best during a hike from Fira to Oia. From many cliffside villages, you can admire amazing sunsets while staying in an infinity pool – always a highlight on any island holidays in Europe! Looking for the best beaches in Santorini? You will find a few on the island! 🙂 Santorini is also one of the best places in Europe to watch sunsets.

Best islands in Europe - Santorini
Best European islands to visit: Santorini

3. Iceland

One of the top European island countries, Iceland is one of our favourite countries in Europe. This European island with its dramatic landscape, volcanoes, geysers and many hot springs is on top of any travel bucket list. There are many stunning things to do in Iceland including one of the best roads in EuropeThe Golden Circle!

Whether you go for a driving holiday around the whole island, or for a short break you will be stunned! Make sure you pay a visit to Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa, watch Puffins at Reynisfjara Beach or simply go to the capital of the island, Reykjavik.

So, is Iceland on your list of top islands in Europe?

Iceland Island
Most beautiful islands Europe: Iceland

Love Iceland? Read more: Things to do in ICELAND you will REGRET [our honest opinion]

4. Corsica

Looking for the most beautiful islands in Europe? Corsica island, known as a miniature continent, due to its stunning and one of the most diverse landscapes in the whole of France, is a perfect place for a relaxing island holiday. It is also one of the most exotic islands in Europe!

This unspoilt Mediterranean island with its beautiful beaches & azure-blue sea is a very popular destination among tourists looking for a warm climate, fascinating culture and excellent food.

With more than 200 beaches and over 1,000km of amazing coastline, you will definitely find many beautiful places on this European island.

Exotic islands in Europe - Corsica
Exotic places to visit in Europe: Corsica

5. Dugi Otok

Recommended by Martina & Jürgen from

Looking to book European island holidays? The breathtaking beautiful island of Dugi Otok is located in the heart of Croatia, precisely in the Zadar region and is well known as a place of peace and relaxation. Compared to others, this island still has really quiet spots to visit! Dugi Otok is characterized by intact nature, authentic coastal towns and mind-blowing beautiful beaches.

One of the most famous beaches of this fabulous island is Sakarun Beach, a stunning sandy beach with a Caribbean-like flair. Several times this beach has been voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. Another highlight of the island is the Telascica National Park, where unspoilt nature, majestic cliffs and the Silver Lake Mir amaze its visitors.

The island of Dugi Otok is unique in Croatia and for sure one of the most interesting islands in Europe.

Dugi Otok - best islands in Europe
Exotic destinations in Europe: Dugi Otok

6. Sardinia

Best islands to visit in Europe? Home to many stunning European beaches, Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Located west of the Italian mainland with 1800km of unspoilt coastline and many beautiful beaches is a favourite region of Italy for many tourists. Where else in Europe can you find Ancient ruins, amazing forests and spectacular white sand beaches? It really is one of the top Europe islands to visit!

Sardinia island deserves to be added to any travel bucket list! It’s have become known as Maldives of Italy due to crystal-clear, turquoise water and exotic shores.

Exotic holiday destinations in Europe: Sardinia

Read also: When is the best time to visit ITALY? [Month-by-Month Guide]

7. Sao Miguel Azores

Where to find the most beautiful island? If you are after a unique place then book a flight to Sao Miguel – one of the best holiday islands.

Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, São Miguel is the entry point for tourists visiting the Azores. This stunning island, also called “The Green Island”, is full of many amazing landscapes! Lagoa do Fogo or Poça da Dona Beija are only a few among great things to do in São Miguel.

The Portuguese archipelago of the Azores is just stunning, and the São Miguel Island is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal. Would you visit this beautiful Europen island on your next holiday in Europe? 🙂

Islands in Europe for vacation - Sao Miguel Azores
Best island in Euroope: Azores

8. Ireland

Cool islands in Europe to visit? Maybe is small in size but the country of Ireland has plenty to offer. There are many things to see, waiting to discover them on this European island.

From driving the Ring of Kerry (one of the best roads in Europe), visiting Blarney Castle or simply drinking a pint of Guinness in Dublin you will find many must-see attractions. Over one million visitors each year can’t be wrong! So book your trip today and enjoy the best island holiday ever!

Ireland - best islands in Europe
Best island to visit in Europe: Ireland

Read also: 3 days Ring of Kerry itinerary. Is driving the Ring of Kerry worth it?

9. Malta

Top island holiday destinations in Europe? This small European country-island is located in the central Mediterranean between Italian Sicily and the North African coast. It is worth visiting this stunning island as there are many interesting things to do in Malta. Just to mention the historical Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, Marsaxlokk – one of the best European towns, or Valetta – the capital of Malta.

Without a doubt, this island has to be on any travel bucket list as it’s a great place for small island holidays in Europe!

Malta Island
European islands to visit: Malta

Planning to visit Malta island? Read more: Best things to do in Malta & Gozo – TOP points of interest on Malta Island!

10. Madeira

Top 10 best islands in Europe? Unique attractions on Madeira island will make your holiday special!

From hiking Pico Ruivo, driving above clouds on the ER110 road (one of the best road trips in Europe) to swimming in Porto Moniz’s Natural Pools – there are many fantastic places to visit. This amazing European Island is often called the Island of Eternal Spring as the temperature is hardly never outside of 16-23°C.

Would you add Madeira Island, Portugal to your bucket list?

Madeira Island
Best islands off the coast of Europe: Madeira

Is Madeira island on your list? Read more: Unusual Things to do in Madeira – AMAZING Island of Eternal Spring!

11. Ibiza

Looking for the best party islands in Europe?

The beautiful island of Ibiza, or the “White Island” as it’s also called, is a top destination for a beach party lovers. But this European island is much more than a massive club! It is home to many kilometres of beautiful white-sand beaches.

From unspoilt bays, secluded coves to some of the most iconic beaches – Ibiza has lots to offer. The Island is probably on many travel bucket lists and it’s definitely one of the top places to visit in Spain.

So, who’s up for a beach holiday on this stunning Balearic Island in the Mediterranean Sea? ?

The most beautiful islands in Europe - Ibiza
Party islands Europe: Ibiza
Joan Vadell/

12. Kastos

Recommended by Emily from

Yes, there are many Greek islands amongst the best islands to visit in Europe! Beautiful beaches, crystal clear blue seas and a bar in a windmill with views to die for. It would be impossible not to fall in love with Kastos, a stunning Greek island in the Ionian.

As soon as you step onto shore, ‘island life’ starts, and time ticks on slower than usual. Surrounded by some of the bluest, clearest water you will ever see, it is best to spend your days exploring the underwater wildlife around the rocky cliff edges of different secluded bays, or taking it all in from cliff tops walks that span the circumference of the island.

As the light starts to fade follow the coastline south from the harbour you will find a bar in an unused windmill with amazing views out to sea for a sunset cocktail (or three).

Kastos Island - best European islands
Most beautiful island in Europe: Kastos

13. Formentera

Anyone looking for Mediterranean island holidays should consider the Formentera island. It really is one of the best Caribbean like beaches in Europe!

No holiday on Ibiza can be without at least visiting for one date the most beautiful island of all Balearic island – the Formentera! This Mediterranean’s secret island is a top destination for all looking to try snorkelling or sailing in a stunning European destination. It can’t get better than this in Europe ?

With crystal clear waters, pine trees and fabulous dunes, Formentera is THE place to go for your next European beach holiday!

Islands in Europe - Formentera
Best European island holidays: Formentera

14. Åland Islands

Recommended by Marta & Milosz from

Best secluded island vacations? The Åland Islands are a beautiful and little-known archipelago located in the Baltic Sea between Finland and Sweden. You can get here by ferry, e.g., from Turku or Stockholm. The journey takes several hours, but it is enjoyable. Although the islanders Swedish, the Åland Islands belong to Finland. The interesting fact is that the Åland Islands is a non-EU territory!

When you get there, you will definitely be surprised by peace and quiet. There are no tall buildings or busy streets. The houses are colourful and picturesque, and we couldn’t stop taking pictures of them. The capital of this archipelago is Mariehamn, which has 11,000 inhabitants, and you can easily walk the entire city on foot.

Although there are no spectacular tourist attractions and prices are quite high, we think it is a great place to relax close to nature, make some bicycle trips, and watch the slow life of islanders.

Yes, it’s not the largest island in Europe but it’s definitely worth visiting!

Aland Islands - best islands in Europe
Must visit islands in Europe: Åland Islands

15. Gozo

Looking for nice islands to travel to in Europe? Gozo, an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, is full of charm and beautiful places. There are many attractions on Gozo island, which are worth visiting. Even that the Azure Window doesn’t exist anymore, you can still spend a day or two exploring this stunning European island.

Ramla Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, is a must on your Gozo list to do! Make sure you go for a hike around Xlendi Bay or simply admire the Ġgantija Temples.

Would you visit Gozo, Malta’s little sister? ? We think, you should as it’s one of the most beautiful small European islands!

Gozo Island
Europe island holidays: Gozo

16. Mallorca

Best Mediterranean island holidays? The largest island in the Balearic Islands Mallorca (or Majorca) is a top spot for holiday-makers from England and Germany. This gorgeous Mediterranean island with its beautiful weather, amazing scenery and delicious cuisine is one of the must-visit places in Spain.

Make sure you pay a visit to this island – an ever-popular star of the Mediterranean. It’s an amazing island even for a short weekend trip. There are many stunning attractions on Mallorca so you will love it! ?

Island holidays Europe - Mallorca
Best European island vacations: Mallorca

17. Tenerife

Looking for cool islands to go to in Europe? One of the best places in España you have to visit! Tenerife Island is a great choice for all holidaymakers – no wonder tens of thousands of Brits and Germans are spending their holiday on this Spanish island. From amazing beaches at Playa de las Americas to hiking in the Teide national park there are many attractions in Tenerife.

Would you call Tenerife the best island in Europe and add it to your bucket list ideas? ?

Tenerife island in Europe
Islands around Europe: Tenerife

Going to Tenerife island? Read more: 21 Unusual Things to do in Tenerife: Top Attractions & Places to visit!

18. Terceira

Recommended by Emma from

One of the most beautiful islands to visit in Europe. Terceira is the second largest of the islands in the Azores – an archipelago which lies in the Atlantic Ocean about 900 kilometres west from the Portuguese mainland. So named because it was the third of the nine islands to be discovered, it’s a magical place with a plethora of natural treasures and is definitely worth a few days of your time.

It has a very unique landscape, with stunning volcanic scenery and a beautiful, capital – Angra do Heroismo – which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and perhaps the most picturesque of the islands’ capitals. It is a joy to wander around its compact centre.

Visit the Serra do Cume mountain range to gaze out over a huge crater in the centre of the island; the Algar do Carvao, a volcano that you can climb down inside to look around; and Gruta do Natal (which translates as “Christmas Cave”), a 700m lava tube underground that you can walk along. You should also make your way to Serra de Santa Barbara, the highest point on the island. At over 1,000m, on a clear day, you can see neighbouring Sao Jorge and Pico islands.

So, is Terceira on your list of the most beautiful islands to visit in Europe?

Terceira - best islands in Europe
Beautiful island holidays Europe: Terceira

19. Venice

What about not one, not 50 but 118 islands? ? Yes, the Italian city of Venice is situated on a group of 118 small islands. All of them are separated by many canals and linked by beautiful bridges. Venice Island is a must-see place in Italy! Where else in Europe would you see so many small islands than in the Venetian Lagoon?

Venice is the capital of the Veneto region in north-eastern Italy and one of the most romantic places in Europe – make sure you visit this European island with your second half on a romantic vacation!

Island cities in Europe: Venice

Ticket to Venice already booked? Read more: TOP 15 Things to do in VENICE Italy – The most romantic Italian city!

20. Great Britain

Great Britain is the biggest of all islands in Europe. It consists of 3 countries (England, Wales and Scotland) and is part of the United Kingdom (together with Northern Ireland).

You will need many weeks of vacation to be able to see the most interesting places, including Seven Sisters Cliffs, Snowdonia, Cotswold District or the amazing Cornwall. There are many activities and things to do in London as well as great trips out of the capital like visiting Stonehenge. Honestly, so much to do on the largest island in Europe!

Would you add Great Britain to your list of the best islands in Europe? We think you should ?

Great Britain
Largest islands in Europe: Great Britain

Not sure what to see in the UK? Read more: Bucket List Ideas UK – 50 MUST have on your UK List!

21. Lanzarote

Best island of Europe? Home to one of the nicest European beachPapagayo Beach. This island is a great choice at any time of the year. Whether you are looking for a winter sun escape in Europe or a stunning summer holiday on the beach you will always find many great things to see on Lanzarote. Charco de Los Clicos or Los Hervideros are very unique places you will not see on any other European island.

Lanzarote is definitely in the top 10 islands in Europe we have visited so far!

Make sure you add Lanzarote to your Spanish bucket list – try to visit Lanzarote at Christmas – it’s really worth it! 🙂

Lanzarote Island
Popular holiday islands in Europe: Lanzarote

Next holiday on Lanzarote island? Read more: 21 Things to do in Lanzarote, Spain – TOP Attractions & Places to see

22. Cyprus

Looking for amazing islands in Europe?

From stunning European beaches to ancient historical sites there are many great things to do in Cyprus. Visit the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, try delicious food or swim in the stunning waters at Nissi Beach.

This all-year-round European destination is one of the most visited islands in Europe. You will love Cyprus ?

European holiday ideas - Cyprus
Exotic holidays in Europe: Cyprus
Vladimir Sazonov/

23. Isles of Scilly

Recommended by Julia from

Exotic islands to visit near UK? St Mary’s is the largest of the Scillies, served by the Scillonian Ferry from Penzance, and the starting point for an idyllic island-hopping holiday on this most southerly archipelago of the United Kingdom. The vibe is very relaxed, with daily boats to the ‘off islands’ of Tresco, St Martin, St Agnes and Bryher, and excursions such as snorkelling with seals, paddle boarding and bike hire available.

Highlights are unspoiled beaches, kind locals, great weather (for the UK!) and a leisurely pace of life. Teams of locals compete in weekly rowing races called ‘gigs’ in the harbour, and watching the action from the end of the jetty at sunset is an absolute must! There’s one campsite on the island, a smattering of B&Bs, and even Hugh Town, the ‘capital’ is slow-paced and picturesque.

If quiet walks, secret beaches and a holiday back in time float your boat, then the Scillies are just the ticket!

St Mary's Isles of Scilly - best European islands
Islands near Europe; Isles of Scilly

24. Gran Canaria

One of Spain’s Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is a perfect choice for your next island vacation!

Located just off north-western Africa, the Gran Canaria island is known as an all-year-round destination – a perfect way to escape from cold winter in Europe. Home to one of the nicest beaches in Europe is a great idea for a Spanish bucket list!

Is Gran Canaria, Spain your favourite one from all European Canary Islands?

Islands in Europe - Gran Canaria
Best islands Europe: Gran Canaria

Going soon to Gran Canaria island? Read more: 20 Things to do in Gran Canaria & best places you HAVE to visit!

25. Bled Island

Best islands in Europe for a honeymoon? One of the most recognizable symbols of Slovenia, Bled Island is a tiny isle in the middle of Lake Bled. In fact, this is the only natural island in Slovenia. If you are looking for an unforgettable experience in the beautiful country of Slovenia, the island of Lake Bled is a perfect choice – it is one of the best things to do in Slovenia.

This is a very popular tourist destination in Europe known for its scenic beauty and stunning landscapes.

Would you rent a boat to get to this small but beautiful island?

Small islands in Europe - Bled Island
Best Europe islands: Bled

26. Isle of Wight

Best island holidays Europe? You don’t have to go far!

The Isle of Wight (one of the top places to visit in England), with its famous landmark – The Needles (3 huge, white-chalk rocks), is a small island located just short distance off the south coast of England. It’s a perfect place for a weekend trip from London.

Garlic Farm, Great Military Road and Shanklin Beach are only a few of many attractions on the Isle of Wight.

Isle of Wight
Best islands in Europe for holiday: Isle of Wight

Going to the Isle of Wight? Read more: Isle of Wight things to do – TOP 11 attractions & places to visit on the I.o.W.

27. Zakynthos

Without a doubt, Zakynthos is one of the best islands in Europe to visit from all European islands!

Zante is one of the most popular Greek islands. It is also known by the Greeks as Zakynthos. This stunning island the Ionian Sea is a perfect destination for a romantic holiday or even a honeymoon. With so many interesting things to do in Zante, you will definitely need at least a week to see all of them.

From watching turtles in Zante, eating Greek food to simply relaxing on one of the best beaches in Europe – the Shipwreck Beach there are countless attractions on Zakynthos island!

Zakynthos island in Europe
Exotic places in Europe: Zakynthos

Is Zakynthos island on your list? Read more: TOP 13 Things to do in Zakynthos [Zante – Ionian Island in Greece]

Best islands in Europe FAQ:

Which European island is best for winter sun?

The Canary Islands are the best choice as winter sun destinations in Europe.

What is the most underrated Island in Europe?

Madeira is one of the most beautiful islands in Europe and still less touristy than other European islands.

3 most popular islands in Spain

Gran Canaria, Ibiza and Tenerife and the most visited islands in Spain.

Which European island is best for Christmas?

Christmas in Lanzarote is an unforgettable experience. Book Hotel Lanzarote Village and enjoy the winter sun on Lanzarote!

Europe, with its myriad islands, is a traveler’s dream. Whether you’re seeking the untouched beauty of Iceland or the vibrant rhythms of Tenerife, there’s an unforgettable experience awaiting. Dive into the serene waters of Zakynthos, embrace the wild landscapes of Madeira, or soak up the sun in Fuerteventura. These best islands in Europe not only offer scenic views but also rich cultures, unique cuisines, and endless adventure.

For those keen on making memories, be it a quiet European island holiday or an exotic European escapade, Europe’s islands promise moments that’ll be etched in your heart forever. So, why wait? Europe beckons with its tapestry of exotic destinations. Come, uncover the magic!

Which of the above European islands would you choose for your next vacation?

The choice is thought. There are many you can call the best European islands!

From dramatic landscapes in Iceland, turquoise water in Zakynthos to dramatic views on Canary Islands (Tenerife, Lanzarote or Gran Canaria) – the list of the most amazing island in Europe is long. Make sure you go for the right one!

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