Top 10 Most Beautiful Islands in Europe
Are you looking for a place to visit this summer? Find out which ten destinations are a must-see for the warmest season of the year.
Europe might be one of the smallest continents in the world, but when it comes to the cultural and historical legacy, it sure is one of the greatest. Hence travelling through Europe during the summer is an adventure that can mix together so many different activities - swimming and hanging out at the beach, partying at night, but also visiting numerous historical sites and learning about the local culture. Here is a list of ten of the most beautiful islands in Europe where you can enjoy a very colourful vacation.
1. Capri, Italy
As a part of Campania in the Province of Naples, Capri is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Old Continent. It was established centuries ago by Ancient Greeks and has been a resort since the time of the Roman Republic. Capri is perhaps most famous for its beautiful beaches and sapphire-blue sea, but the sites like the Gardens of Augustus, the rock formation Faraglioni, the sea cave Blue Grotto, and the footpath Via Krupp are not to be underestimated.
2. Corsica, France
For centuries, Corsica was conquered by both Italy and France until it finally became a region of the latter. Its culture is hence very eclectic in the midst of these two countries, and so is the local, Corsican language. One of the biggest Mediterranean islands, Corsica features a magnificent coastline, but also many castles and churches that should not be skipped. The most famous one is certainly Maison Bonaparte in Ajaccio, the ancestral home of the famous Napoleon Bonaparte.
3. Crete, Greece
If you are into history, especially that of the ancient world, then Crete is the place to go. Being the biggest and the most populated Greek island, Crete was once the centre of the Minoan civilisation, which is considered to be the earliest recorded civilisation in Europe. An absolute must-see is the island’s administrative capital Heraklion and its site, the palace of Knossos, which was believed to be the site of Labyrinth and the home to Minotaur.
4. Hvar, Croatia
Croatia has one of the most splendid coastlines in the Adriatic Sea area so it is hard to pick just one island as the most beautiful, but for many people, it is Hvar that tops the list. Apart from its great beaches, Hvar also provides a vast historical and cultural offer. The island was annexed by the Republic of Venice several times, and therefore its churches contain paintings by famous Venetian artists such as Tintoretto, Veronese, and Bellini. Other numerous sites include an antique theatre arena, the Saint Stephen’s Square and the ducal palace in the city of Hvar, the Tvrdalj Castle in Stari Grad, etc.
5. Ibiza, Spain
No list of the most beautiful islands in Europe can exclude Ibiza. This Mediterranean island, a part of the Balearic archipelago, is considered to be one of the most recognisable party places, not just in the Old Continent, but also in the entire world. Although it is best known for its association with parties and electronic music, Ibiza is also the place of a fascinating history. It was first settled by the Phoenicians and then by the Romans, who left many stunning palaces and buildings behind them. The port in Ibiza Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. Isle of Wight, the United Kingdom
The Isle of Wight may not be the most popular place for a summer vacation, but it sure is worth visiting. Although its history traces back to the Paleolithic era, its popularity increased in the 19th century when Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert built Osborne House, a stunning Italian Renaissance-style palace, and made it their winter home. The palace also contains the famous Durbar Room, dedicated to India, which was constructed after Queen Victoria was crowned the Empress of India.
7. Madeira, Portugal
To most young people, especially young men, Madeira is famous for being the birthplace of Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo. But this island, situated in the north Atlantic Ocean, is so much more than that. Madeira is home to many beautiful palaces and churches, such as the Cathedral and the Town Hall in Funchal, and to numerous species of flora and fauna in Laurel forest. Many of them are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island is also famous for its rich cuisine and exquisite wine.
8. Mykonos, Greece
Mykonos is one of the most popular tourist sites in Greece. Its fame lies in its typical Greek landscape, which features the bright blue sea and white houses on the hill, but also in its reputation as a party place. Besides that, Mykonos is a place of rich history; it played an important role in the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century and was led by the local and national heroine Manto Mavrogenous. A statue of Mavrogenous is erected in the main square in the town of Mykonos, which also bears her name.
9. Santorini, Greece
Another beautiful and popular islands in Greece, Santorini is situated in the Aegean Sea and is a remnant of a former volcano. It was one of the biggest centers of Minoan culture outside Crete, with Akrotiri being one of the most famous sites from that period. Other famous places include the towns of Fira and Oia and the village of Emporio. Due to an eruption and tsunami that occurred on the island some 3,600 years ago, many believe that Santorini was the place where the Biblical Exodus happened and where the mythical city of Atlantis once had been.
10. Sicily, Italy
Sicily is arguably the most famous for the notorious Sicilian Mafia and for being the birthplace of The Godfather, Don Vito Corleone. But there is so much more Sicily has to offer. It is a place of a rich and unique culture. Its numerous historical and tourist sites include Mount Etna, 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 Cathedral of Palermo and much more.
These are just ten among numerous jewels that Europe has to offer. But there are many more whose beauty is not to be underestimated. Do you want to learn more about them? Erasmus might be a great way to discover them! Fill in your application now!
The article simply represents the author’s perspective and as such, it is not meant to represent the ESNblog as a whole.