Island Getaways are one of my favourite way to spend a summer (and to be honest with you, a winter as well…). With all the sailing I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been dreaming of sailing away to a deserted island and leaving all the real world drama behind. I came quite close to doing that when I sailed to Ibiza and Formentera this April, and it got me thinking… what islands should go on my bucket list? I’ve asked my fellow travel bloggers, and they came up with loads of ideas.
So many ideas in fact, that I’ve had to cut this post into three parts. Let’s get started with part 1: Island Getaways Europe. The trendiest, most beautiful or most relaxing islands for an escape in Europe this summer. Which one’s your favourite?
Island Getaways Europe: 9 Islands to Check Out
There is little doubt that Sardinia is the best island for summer holidays. In fact, I don’t mean to brag but I think it is the best island in the world, regardless of seasons! Sardinia is blessed with gorgeous beaches. From small coves, to long and wide beaches; from tiny white quartz pebbles to fine white, gold and even pink sand; from turquoise to azure waters; from the most accessible to the most remote beaches: there truly is something for everyone in Sardinia. Add to this the beautiful villages and cities, the millenary culture, the unique archeological sites, the glorious jazz festivals, the fun hikes, the delicious food and the superb wine, and it is easy to see why Sardinia is the best island in the world!
Claudia Tavani, My Adventures Across the World
The Azores of Portugal are a collection of nine volcanic islands located in the Atlantic Ocean essentially halfway between Europe and the United States.
The islands are known for dramatic scenery, incredible seafood, wine production and some of the best cheese I’ve ever tasted in my life. Also, because of their location, the islands are one of the top places in the world for whale watching.
Many people choose to visit the islands for hiking. Pico Island is the best island for hikers as Mount Pico is located on this island. The hike to the summit of Mount Pico is one that is challenging but rewarding.
I consider the Azores the perfect summer destination as it has it all- beaches, nature, amazing food and wine and some of the most genuinely nice people you’ll ever meet.
Nathan Aguilera, Foodie Flashpacker
Lokrum is an island in the Adriatic Sea, located across of the Old Town of Dubrovnik. The island is a perfect getaway from your Dubrovnik vacation. Even though the island is small and you don’t need more than half a day to explore it, a whole day wondering around it or swimming would be great additional to your holiday.
Despite its small size, Lokrum can offer various things to do. Don’t miss swimming in the Dead Sea (a little salt lake within the island of Lokrum), a seat on the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones, exploring the Botanical Gardens and enjoy the silence.
All the summer months would be a great time to visit it and have a pleasant time there.
Bilyana Petrova, OwlOverTheWorld
With many lovely beaches to rival those of Mallorca or Ibiza, and the same crystal clear, turquoise waters of the Mediterranean lapping at it shores, the lesser known Balearic island of Menorca is a fabulous location for a beach based summer holiday.
There are, of course, plenty of other reasons to love this friendly island including a plethora of fabulous harbourside seafood restaurants, tasty local cheeses and wonderful wines, not to mention the local gin, a very traditional drink when mixed with lemonade, known as pomada.
If you like to be active on holiday there are some stunning walking trails and bridle paths that will lead you through lovely countryside, as well as around the scenic coastline overlooking secluded coves, wide sandy beaches and the wild rugged shores of S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park, although it’s best to set out early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the midday summer heat.
For those that like digging a little deeper the island has a rich ancient history with numerous prehistoric sites from the Talayotic culture, as well as the fascinating and beautiful historic towns of Ciutadella and Mahón to explore.
With so much to offer it is surprising that Menroca is somewhat off the radar. It is said to be the most authentic Balearic island. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Kathryn Burrington, BoutiqueTravelBlog
The German island of Rügen might not sound like a tropical island, it still can become up to 20°C during summer. It means summer is the perfect period of the year to discover this off the path European island.
I discovered Rügen when my boyfriend and I were looking for an unknown destination in Northern Europe within driving distance from Amsterdam. We decided to explore Rügen. Rügen is Germany’s largest island and exists of one main island, several smaller islands and some peninsulas.
Highlights on Rügen are: Jasmund National Park: chalk cliffs, magical lakes and beautiful views of the Baltic Sea. There are beautiful hikes, we spotted birds, red frogs and deer. KdF Seebad: A planned 4,5 km length resort complex that was built on behalf of the NS-Gemeinschaft between 1936 and 1939 and meant to provide affordable holidays for the working class. The complex is the second largest architectural legacy of the Nazi period and is a listed monument. Sellin: A pretty village on the coast, known for its beautiful pier with restaurant. The almost white sand beach invites for a romantic stroll.
Maartje van Ringen, Quokka Travel
The Greek Islands are among the most popular summer holiday spots around the world. One of my favorite and the most unique to visit with unparalleled beauty is Santorini. Located in the Aegean Sea a short 35-minute flight from Athens and with an international airport, Santorini has a breathtaking scenery. White cube houses, blue domed churches perched on the cliff of the caldera overlooking the volcano and the endless blue of the sea.
Although small in size, Santorini has many things to offer to its visitors; crystal clear waters, volcanic beaches, archaeological sites, hiking paths, picturesque village, unique wines and amazing gastronomy. There are also some of the most luxurious hotels in Santorini with infinity pools, and first -class dining options. Santorini is among the most popular places to get married or spend your honeymoon as it is incredibly romantic. A visit to Santorini will take your breath away.
Chrisoula Manika, Travel Passionate
We visited Malta over a long weekend and still managed to touch the key attractions of the island. Malta is composed of three Mediterranean islands with a gorgeous stretch of coastline and plenty of historical monuments to explore in the main island of Malta. Dwerja bay in Gozo is a spectacular stretch of coastline popular for the iconic Azure window which collapsed early this year (2017). Nevertheless, there is still a lot to do and see around.
You can take a boat ride from an inland sea to the Mediterranean sea through a narrow tunnel. You can also visit the Fungus rock an interesting natural phenomenon and a historic watchtower. The scarcely populated third island of Malta is popular for the crystal clear waters of Blue Lagoon bay. Comino is a paradise for trekkers and hikers interested in exploring the nature around. The best way to explore the island is to rent a car and drive around at your own pace and interest.
Rashmi & Chalukya, GoBeyondBounds
Rhodes is one of the biggest Greek islands with many different experiences to offer. It has a balance of the culture, history, breathtaking views and tasty cuisine. The island has over 2000 years of history and stories to share with you from the old ruins of Acropolis to the medieval town. Its history was formed from the mix of Byzantine, Roman, Greek and Turk cultures.
Rhodes is surrounded by the two seas – Aegean from the west and Mediterranean from the east. In the extreme south of Rhodes there is a small sandy road connecting the main island with a small land. During the winter these two seas meet and cover the road. Due to the hilly structure of the island, there are beautiful natural spots on every turn.
There will be always activities to do and places to visit in Rhodes whether you stay a few days or a few weeks. The tourism peak is in summer from June to September.
Formentera is my own personal recommendation for an island getaway in Europe. I’d been there on a sailing trip five years ago but had forgotten just how beautiful it was. I had the luxury of visiting this April with our sailing regatta group, and we had the island and most beaches pretty much to ourselves.
Formentera has beautiful coves and beaches featuring crystal clear water thanks to the big underwater meadows of Posidonia seagrass. The island has a relaxed and laid back flair and is especially popular for sailing holidays.
Edwina, Traveling German