Visiting Europe can be one of the most exciting and romantic trips of our lives. The continent is filled to the brim of culture, sophistication, and history spanning centuries. But aside from the mainland cities dating back to Roman times, what else is there to see?
We’ve highlighted some of the best small islands in and around Europe that may not be on your radar. Are you planning a trip to Europe soon? You might want to know more about these places.
Gozo is Malta’s second largest island and is the ideal place for those seeking a small and quiet vacation. Visitors can explore the sunny beaches, charming coastlines, and cultural excursions. Have you ever thought about giving Gozo a go?
At the end of a busy day, travelers can try the unique tastes of the Mediterranean with its myriad of food choices. You’ve never eaten some of these foods until you’ve had them on their native land. Just don’t be a calorie counter.
Porquerolles has a population of just 200 people – so you’ll definitely get the chance to meet the locals! The island actually started off as a private island from 1912. Even though it’s open to the public today, much of it remains protected as a nature reserve.
This is what makes Porquerolles such an amazing vacation spot. Found just off the French coast, visitors can swim in its clear blue waters and ride the amazing waves nearby. Every year, the island is the host of an intimate Jazz festival in Europe.
This French island is pretty close to Italy, geographically, which means that you get the best of both worlds! Once you step on to Corsica, you’ll immediately be hit with its incredible views and scenery. In fact, it’s where artist Henry Matisse first fell in love with color. So that’s saying something!
Corsica also boasts amazing hiking trails, nature reserves, and snorkeling activities. This is definitely the island for adventure-seekers. What are you waiting for? Check out the French Island soon!
Greece has dozens of islands to choose from, but why not explore Milos? As you can see, the beaches here are some of the most ‘Instagrammable’ spots in the world. Sarakiniko Beach is full of unique rocks and views.
If you fancy visiting a Greek island, Milos is a great excuse to take a trip to a quieter but equally beautiful island in Europe. Change the view but keep the culture and cuisine. What are you waiting for?
Torshavn, Faroe Islands
Many people haven’t heard of the Faroe Islands – located between Norway and the United Kingdom. Well, among these volcanic islands lies Torshan, a charming harbor town for older travelers.
If you find yourself in this part of Europe, travelers can explore the city center and walk along the fishing areas. It’s a perfect weekend spot to try to catch your breath and relax away from mainland living. Don’t forget to eat some of the freshly caught Salmon!
As soon as you touch down in Mallorca, you’ll be bombarded with outdoor activities taking you every which way. From swimming, diving, boating, hiking, or sunbathing – there’s something for everyone in Mallorca!
A popular destination for Brits who seek some Spanish sun, Mallorca has everything you need to keep your attention busy for a short break in Europe. For younger tourists, be sure to hang around at night for the thriving club scene! It’s one of the busiest parts of the Balearic islands.
Sao Miguel, Portugal
Out of all of the Portuguese Azores islands, Sao Miguel is the busiest. It boasts a lively city center with plenty to do and even more to see. For those who enjoy a more natural side of their vacation, you’re in luck! Here’s why…
Sao Miguel is nicknamed the ‘Green Island’ due to its incredible lush mountains that spread all around the island. If you find yourself here, be sure to check out the amazing Lagoa das Furnas and Lagoa do Fogo.
Menorca is a quieter alternative to its neighbors, Mallorca or Ibiza – which we’re sure you’ve already heard of! This nearby vacation spot is perfect for young couples who want to enjoy a romantic honeymoon, as well as older couples seeking a break.
Once you touch down in Menorca, you’re spoilt for choice for where you can rest along the coastlines. Many restaurants and hotels rest along the rocky cliffs, perfect for watching the sunset each night. Let’s get going!
Isle of Harris, Scotland
If you want to experience some ancient parts of Europe, then look no farther than the Isle of Harris. This Scottish island has it all: old castles, rocky coastlines, and charming beaches. Even though it’s a bit more north than other locations, it still has amazing greenery to walk along.
Once there, you might notice Harris Tweet – they’re known for it! The design is quintessentially Scottish and will ooze European culture and history. Make sure to eat some Haggis, just don’t ask what it’s made of!
Another Italian island that’s a hidden gem within Europe. If you find yourself every overwhelmed by the crowds of Venice, you can hop on a boat to visit this charming Italian island just offshore. This colorful island is everything you can ask for from this Venetian island.
Burano has the same romantic canals as Venice without the large tourist groups scattered all over its floors. It’s pretty easy to go to for the day, so make sure to get going if you can.
Valletta is the capital of Malta and is right at the edge of the biggest island in the region. If you want to learn about some of the cultural and historical parts of Europe, then Valletta is your place. Some of its most popular attractions date back to the 1500s.
Valletta has proven itself to be the ideal location for those who appreciate European sunshine and Baroque history. It’s the perfect place for couples both young and old.
Pakleni Islands, Croatia
Found spread along the Adriatic Sea, the Pakleni Islands are resting in crystal clear waters spanning miles. As well as the wonderful blue waters you will find white sand beaches lying along the coasts.
Once there, tourists can enjoy local cuisine and rock climbing tours. After that, why not attend a wine tasting? Tickle your tastebuds with some European wine dating back centuries. Finish your evening by dipping into some warm lagoons to grab that Instagram shot!
Hamnoy is home to one of the world’s most amazing natural phenomenon. Resting among the Lofoten islands, visitors can witness the Northern Lights. The striking views from the sky with its blend of color and movement will amaze anyone who sees it.
As well as the Northern Lights, tourists can explore the small fishing towns, hike along the mountain peaks, or simply sit and people watch. You can access the mainland with a bridge, so you can easily travel between the two.
This small Portuguese island of Madeira is the perfect blend between a European town and tropical vacation spot. There are lush green sceneries, white coastlines, and charming homes spread along the island’s waters.
For those who wish to venture into the island’s mainland, you can always dive deep into Funchal’s thick forest, home to the amazing Risco waterfall. Finally, be sure to hike up the Vereda dos Balcões for panoramic views. Trust us, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
Malta has three islands and Comino is the smallest of all of them. Careful: if you blink you might miss it! The small limestone island is only one and a half mils long and only half a mile wide. If you find yourself there, you’ll be staying at its single hotel: The Comino Hotel.
Despite its small size, the island has proven to be incredibly popular among tourists in the know. Once there, you can enjoy the quiet, barren landscape and magnificent blue lagoons.
There are many islands in and around Greece – you might wonder why you would choose Mykonos over any other island. Well, Mykonos has it all! As well as a vibrant nightlife, there are also plenty of white beaches and blue waters to dip into when the sun shines extra bright.
Those from across the Atlantic may not be aware of the cultural significance that Mykonos has. It is consistently one of the most popular Greek islands for tourists all over the world.
Ischia lies just off the coast of Naples, not too far from Capri (more on that later!). In fact, there are many benefits to choosing this quiet place over its more popular neighbor. On Ischia, you can appreciate the Italian culture without the incessant tourists!
The island is full of ancient castles, unpretentious locals, and a few boutique stores for shoppers. If you want to journey onto an authentic Italian island without a bunch of tourists, Ischia is your place.
Fans of Europe know that the Baltic Sea is full of amazing islands to visit. If you’re not put off by the colder climate by venturing north, then Gotland is definitely for you. Located just off the Southeastern coast, the island offers a slightly different experience to other places.
The old city found on Gotland is, in fact, a Unesco World Heritage Site. This means you’ll be able to explore buildings dating back to Medieval times hundreds of years ago.
Eysturoy, Faroe Islands
If you made your way on to the Faroe Islands, mentioned earlier, you should book a time to cross over and visit Eysturoy. This small island only has a few thousand people who will be happy to welcome you to their modest way of life.
While you’re there, you can explore the jagged and rocky cliffs, walk along the coast, or even try your luck at bird watching. There’s something for everyone on Eysturoy for those who enjoy a more relaxing break.
Tenerife is a wonderful chance to visit Spain while escaping the mainland. But watch out: Tenerife is actually the busiest Canarian islands! This is a great spot for younger travelers who can enjoy the buzzing nightlife with plenty of bars and restaurants.
For older visitors, there’s always the coast of the Western Sahara which shows a unique coastline of beautiful landscapes. Make sure to visit the Poris de Candelaria and journey within the mystical grotto. You won’t regret it!
Here’s another whole country you can visit which acts as its own island away from mainland Europe. Cyprus has a bunch of rich history, blue seas, and wonderful culture to explore. Cyprus is technically in Asia, but its culture and history is more aligned to European values.
Once you arrive in Cyprus, tourists can immediately explore some of the unique communities. These include the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots. Don’t forget to check out some of the old Roman empires!
Have you ever been to a place with pink sandy beaches? Well, this Italian island might be the place for you! Budelli is located just off the northern coast of Sardinia and epitomizes beach bliss and summer sun.
There isn’t much to do on Budelli once you get there, which is what makes it so amazing. Next time you want to escape the buzz of mainland chaos, book a flight to this paradise today. Don’t forget to pack your favorite book.
You’ll definitely recognize the iconic look of Santorini island, what with its blue and white buildings resting above the sea. Travelers who choose Santorini are in for a delightful experience as soon as they touch down on the sandy beaches.
This particular Greek island is perfect for young couples due to the dining and cultural things available. For a brief weekend trip, it might just be the best choice out there. Don’t forget to grab your camera for those classic shots.
Just because Germany doesn’t have much access to the sea, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t also have access to some of the most beautiful islands that Europe has to offer. Herreninsel is so small you might just miss it: the island is located in the middle of Bavaria.
Tourists are advised to plan a day trip there, since there isn’t much to see or do once you’re there. Some of the artifacts go back to the 8th century, so be sure to be careful when looking around.
Terceira is one of the smaller islands in the Azores, but that doesn’t mean it’s shy of any natural wonders to keep our interests up. It is home to the amazing town of Angra do Heroismo. In fact, Portugal only has six Unesco World Heritage sites, and this is one of them.
Travelers walking around Terceira will immediately be struck by the colorful town and amazing colorful patchworks. You won’t need to look far to find your perfect Instagram spot.
You might not consider Iceland a ‘small, underrated’ island, but it’s certainly worth exploring. It is the biggest island (and island country) on the list and has a lot of ‘cool’ features to enjoy! As well as the famous hot springs, tourists can also explore sandy beaches and volcanoes!
Those who travel to Iceland can expect to spend much of their time outside. What will all the outdoor activities to try, you won’t be inside until bedtime! Careful: it has one of the world’s most dangerous roads.
Guernsey is found on a small peninsula on the northwest coast of France – just off Normandy. For those who don’t know, Guernsey is a true gem for tourists who wish to see more of western Europe.
It has an impressive blend of French, Norman, and Anglo histories. This means that its concoction of cultures will please anyone who wishes to visit it. When you’re there, be sure to check out St. Peter’s Port or examine some of the amazing cliffs.
Zakynthos (or Zante) is a beautiful island full of blue seas and white beaches. Running along its coastlines are massive rugged cliffs and mountains that stand tall over the visitors who journey to this Greek paradise.
Just look out for Laganas! This small town on the island is home to thousands of teenage Brits who venture down there in the Summertime. You’re better off going to some of the smaller regions that are more family friendly. Don’t forget to hop to another island nearby…
For those who are seeking a quieter Greek island to explore in the summer, why not check out Corfu? It’s found just off the northwestern coast and has plenty of charming resorts along its shores.
As well as the classic white, sandy beaches, Corfu also has a bunch of cultural and historical landmarks to visit. You can see medieval lanes, the grand palace, or the Venetian fortress. Make sure to spend a few days on this European island to get as much from it as you can.
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, full of beautiful beaches and nice, mild weather. Packed full of history, Sicily has a bunch of sites and landmarks you can visit once you touch down on its shores.
These landmarks include museums, churches, and protected sites that deserve a walk around. After a long day of cultural activities, you can spend your dinner enjoying some of the best food in Europe. You won’t need to go far to fall in love here.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
For those who aren’t looking for a place in Europe that promises sun all summer, then Scotland is for you. The Isle of Skye rests along the country’s west coast and boasts deep cliffs with amazing landscapes overlooking the sea.
Once you get down to sea level, you can walk along the harbors and even visit the Fairy Pools. Their amazing blue-green waterfalls are something of a wonder. Don’t forget to hike across some of its incredible mountains and hillsides.
There are so many islands in Greece to visit, you can go to a different one each time. If you find yourself returning to this heavenly spot in Europe, then consider checking out Crete. It is the largest and most populated of all the Greek islands – but that doesn’t make it crowded.
Once there, you can explore a myriad of views, landscapes, and white mountains. Crete is also home to the Ideon Cave, the alleged birthplace of Zeus. So, you might want to catch up on your Greek mythology before you head over there.
Faial Island, Portugal
Faial is part of the Azores and is the home to the Capelinhos Volcano. Technically, it is one of the most western parts of the whole of Europe. So, you’re going to want to visit Faial Island during the summer. Here’s why:
The island has a large number of hydrangeas that bloom that time of year. This means that you’ll be treated to some of the most amazing views possible thanks to the unique floral displays each year.
This small island is just a quick ferry from Italy’s mainland. You’ve probably heard of Capri already, but there’s good reason why: it’s one of the most popular destinations in Europe. With a blend of breathtaking views and pedestrian-only roads, who wouldn’t want to spend the day there?
As well as the small, picturesque, feelings the island evokes, travelers can also spend some hard-earned cash at some boutique luxury shopping centers also found there. There’s something for everyone on Capri.