The Best European Islands for Summer Vacations

Photo: Luke Webb / CC0
Caption: The Greek Island of Mykonos has everything you could need and more  

It’s impossible for anyone to resist the allure of a sun-drenched island in the glittering blue sea. But while many people assume that the best islands are in the tropics, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Europe has a plethora of gorgeous islands with cosmopolitan cities, historic monuments and sandy beaches, making it one of the best places to take a sunny vacation.   

Whether you’ve always fancied a trip to Spain or you can see yourself enjoying a touch of Greek life, there is an island to suit every taste. Here is a roundup of the best islands to check out in Europe. 


The beautiful whitewashed island of Mykonos is ideal for anyone looking to experience a glamorous party lifestyle while exploring the stunning architecture and historic culture. The most famous of the Greek islands, Mykonos, has a cosmopolitan vibe that means it regularly draws comparisons with Ibiza. But it’s not all about parties. There are plenty of places to relax and soak up the sun and scenery, such as the 18th-century district of Little Venice and the chilled-out beaches of Órnos and Psaroú. 


The fourth-largest of Croatia’s idyllic islands, Hvar is famous for receiving more than 2,800 hours of sunshine a year. The generous weather allows for fields of lavender, thyme, rosemary and sage to grow abundantly, giving the island a uniquely pleasant scent. Sit back and enjoy the mouth-watering local cuisine while you try to spot celebrities or stroll around the island’s Gothic palaces and stunning marble streets.  

Photo: Magdalena Smolnicka / CC0
Caption: Popeye Village in Malta is a great place to visit for everyone


The stunning archipelago of Malta is ideal for those who love their islands steeped in monuments, prehistoric temples, fossil-studded cliffs, and culture. There are plenty of national treasures to explore here, from the gorgeous gorges of Gozo to the shimmering aqua waters of the Blue Lagoon. If you’re looking to stay in the hub of activity, St Julian’s in Malta has it all. Bustling bars, cool clubs and plenty of restaurants to choose from when you need to refuel from your escapades. 


Famous for its raucous nightlife, Ibiza also has a quieter, more chilled outside. There is a wealth of coves, cafes and relaxed beaches to discover if you can part yourself from the super clubs for a few moments. The views from the Sa Talaissa mountain are certainly worth writing home about, while the tiny village of Es Cubells offers fresh local cuisine and uninterrupted views of the nearby island Formentera.


The stunning backdrop of white buildings, turquoise seas and deep blue skies make Santorini a firm favorite among honeymooning couples. The group of Santorini islands is actually located on an active volcano, the only volcano on earth whose crater is in the sea. If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, the food certainly will be. From fresh goats’ cheese and fava to white eggplants and amazing local wine, the culinary delights are worth coming here for alone.


If it's white sandy beaches and clear azure waters that you’re after, then it doesn’t get much better than Sardinia. Known as a paradise in the Mediterranean, the sunny coast and fascinating history make Sardinia a big favorite with holidaymakers. Be awed by the spectacular Neptune Caves or pay a visit to the bustling town of Villasimius to watch the pink flamingos flying over the deep blue sea.   


A picture-perfect holiday destination, Mallorca has everything you could need from a paradise island vacation and more. From its perfect beaches and azure waters to the rugged mountains and cultural hillside villages, there is something for everyone on this beautiful island. Known as one of the world’s best sailing hotspots, Mallorca has plenty to offer anyone who loves to go boating. 

As you can see, you don’t need to travel to the tropics to get your fix of island living. There are many Europe tours to choose from if you want to enjoy the beautiful colors of the sea. The next time you feel the need to escape it all, simply pick one of these beautiful European islands and enjoy the vacation of your dreams!