25 Breathtaking European Islands You’ll Want To Spend The Rest Of Your Life On

Europe is not just about incredibly old buildings, medieval castles, gothic cathedrals and other architectural or historical treasures. The Old Continent can also boast of marvelous natural beauty. Apart from amazing mountains, wildlife brimming forests or awesome national parks, Europe also offers adorable islands. From glacial Iceland to picturesque sun-drenched islets in the Mediterranean, here are 25 astonishing European islands.

25. Cyprus

www.panoramio.com Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, and as a country, a member state of the European Union. Cyprus has a subtropical Mediterranean climate with summer lasting as long as eight months. The island has witnessed a massive growth in tourism over the last years and has become one of the most popular vacation spot for residents from other EU countries.

24. Wolin Island, Poland

www.golfworldresorts.com Wolin is the name both of an island in the Baltic Sea and a town on that island. Most of the island consists of forests and postglacial hills, in the middle there is the Wolin National Park. A main tourist attraction of northwestern Poland, the island boasts of beautiful sandy beaches backed by steep cliffs.

23. Lanzarote, Spain

www.thomson.co.uk Situated just 80 miles off the northern coast of Africa, Lanzarote is the easternmost island of the Canary Islands. The island was born through fiery eruptions and has solidified lava streams as well as extravagant rock formations. Tourism has been the mainstay of the island’s economy for the past forty years but agriculture is also an important sector.

22. Iceland

www.colbybrownphotography.com Located between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The island is notable for its extremely diverse and unique landscape characterized by sand and lava fields, geysers, glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, mountains, glacial rivers etc. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle.

21. Gozo, Malta

www.dphotographer.co.uk After the island of Malta itself, Gozo is the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago. The island is known for its scenic hills, charming secluded beaches, historic locations and high concentration of churches and temples. However, the prime landmark of Gozo is a limestone natural arch Azure Window that has been featured in several movies such as Clash of the Titans (1981), The Count of Monte Cristo (2OO2) or TV series Game of Thrones.

20. Sv. Ivan Na Pucini Island, Croatia

www.iljournal.it As a part of a small archipelago located near Croatian harbor town of Rovinj, this picturesque tiny islet is actually just 230 by 160 feet rock with a relatively easily accessible shore and shallow waters. The islet is dominated by the St. John lighthouse from 1853 that offers fabulous views. The splendid underwater sites and numerous species of fish, makes this little island a popular fishing and diving destination.

19. Crete, Greece

www.scalus.eu Stretching over an area of 3,220 square miles, Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. Crete was once the center of the Minoan civilization (circa 2700-1420 BC), which is currently regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe. Popular tourist sights such as the archaeological sites of the Minoan civilization, the Venetian old city and port of Chania, the Venetian castle at Rethymno, or the gorge of Samaria attract over 2 million tourists annually.

18. Gotland, Sweden

500px.com With a population of almost 60,000 Gotland is the largest island of Sweden. Gotland is made up of a sequence of sedimentary limestone of a Silurian age. The lime rocks have been weathered into characteristic karstic rock formations known as rauks. Recently, the island has become a versatile vacation spot visited by hundreds of thousands tourist from all over the world.

17. Rugia Island, Germany

www.virtualtourist.com Situated off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea, Rugia Island (or Rugen) is Germany’s largest island by area. The coast is characterized by numerous sandy beaches, lagoons and open bays but the main landmark of the Rugia Island are the spectacular chalk cliffs (e.g. the King´s Chair). The diverse landscape and the long, sandy beaches make this island a very popular summer destination.

16. Krk, Croatia

www.veooz.com Located near Rijeka in the Bay of Kvarner, Krk is the most populous island of the Adriatic Sea. Mild Mediterranean climate, beaches, lakes, picturesque small towns, and diversity of natural and cultural beauty are reasons why this island is recognized as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Croatia.

15. Sicily, Italy

www.neverendingvoyage.co Covering an area of almost 10,000 square miles, Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, which at 11,000 feet, is the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. Sicily’s sunny climate, spectacular sceneries, cuisine, history, and architecture attract many tourists from mainland Italy and abroad. Major cities such as the capital Palermo, Catania, Syracuse or Taormina are also favorite tourist destinations.

14. Azores, Portugal

www.dailymail.co.uk Located in the North Atlantic Ocean, these islands were formed through volcanic and seismic activity during the Neogene Period. Its unique ecosystem hosts many endemic species of plants, two species of birds and even an endemic bat. The resident population of the islands totals 237,000 people but tens of thousands of tourists visit Azores every year.

13. Svalbard, Norway

dxing.at-communication.com Situated north of mainland Europe, this archipelago is about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. With its arctic climate, Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds, and also features polar bears, reindeer, and marine mammals. It is also a popular spot for watching the “midnight sun”.

12. Zakynthos, Greece

everydaytalks.com Zakynthos, often called Zante, is part of the Ionian Islands with beautiful sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. It is famous for its rich, green hillsides and for the quaintness of its mountain villages. The most popular tourist spot of the island is the world-known Navagio beach which houses a shipwreck.

11. Bornholm, Denmark

www.visitdenmark.com Located in the Baltic Sea, to the east of Denmark, south of Sweden, and north of Poland, the island of Bornholm is a prime summer destination. Because of its strategic position, Bornholm has been fought over for centuries. The Hammershus castle ruin, at the northwestern tip of the island, is the largest medieval fortress in Northern Europe, testament to the importance of this place.

10. Tenerife, Spain

traveltimes-mag.com With almost 890,000 inhabitants, Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands. About five million tourists visit Tenerife each year. The island hosts one of the world’s largest carnivals and the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is attempting to become a World Heritage Site. The island of Tenerife also has a remarkable ecological diversity and is home to about 1400 plant species with well over a hundred entirely endemic to the island.

9. Comino, Malta

www.dealsmalta.com.mt Occupying just 1.4 square mile (2.25 Kilometers), Comino is one of the smallest islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It has a permanent population of only four residents but in summer, the island is literally crammed with tourists who come here to swim in the Blue Lagoon famous for its crystal clear, incredibly blue waters. Today, Comino is also a bird sanctuary and nature reserve.

8. Jersey, British Crown Dependency

www.jersey.com Located just off the coast of Normandy, France, the island of Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands. It is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems. Jersey has a rich history and is packed with sites like picturesque medieval villages, ancient churches, and impressive castles.

7. Brac, Croatia

www.uniline.hr Populated by some 14,500 inhabitants, Brac is the largest island in Dalmatia, and the third largest in the Adriatic Sea. The economy of Brac is based mostly on tourism, but fishing and agriculture (especially growing of wine and olives) is growing in importance. Its beach Zlatni Rat is rightly considered one of the most beautiful in Europe.

6. Madeira, Portugal

www.alitours.com This Portuguese Archipelago is an outermost region of the European Union. Located in the North Atlantic Ocean, Madeira has become a popular year-round resort, being visited every year by about one million tourists. This sun-drenched island is especially notable for wine, flowers, panoramic landscape, beautiful beaches and New Year celebrations.

5. Skye, Scotland

www.mydestinationunknown.com Stretching over an area of almost 640 square miles, Skye is the largest and northernmost island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island’s peninsulas radiate from a mountainous center dominated by the Cuillins, the rocky slopes which provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the country.

4. Corsica, France

www.suitqaisdiaries.com Occupying an area of 3,350 square miles, Corsica is one the largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Although the island is separated from the continental mainland by the Ligurian Sea and is closer to Italy than to the French mainland, politically Corsica is part of Metropolitan France. The world-known emperor Napoleon was born in 1769 in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio.

3. Santorini, Greece

www.santoriniholidaycars.com Situated in the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea, Santorini is a relaxed island with many trails along the edge of high mountains and cliffs that overlook the sea. Volcanic activity that transformed local landscape thousands years ago left a black beach along the shore. Santorini´s prime tourist attraction is the Faros lighthouse in the south.

2. Capri, Italia

www.forwallpaper.com Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, Capri is one of the prime tourist destination in Italy. In the latter half of the 19th century, Capri also became a popular resort for European artists, painters, writers and other celebrities who have come here for inspiration.

1. Mainland, Scotland

rockable4.rssing.com Mainland is the largest island of the Orkney Island group and is divided into Eastern and Western part. The Western part features most of the best known Neolithic ancient monuments including the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you liked these charming European Islands then you’ll love these 25 Amazing Caribbean Islands That You Wish You Could Visit.

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