When you think of tropical locations you probably consider the Bahamas, the Caribbean, or even Mexico. But, did you know there are a surprising amount of tropical islands in Europe that are worth considering for your next vacation destination?
White sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and warm tropical sun can all be experienced in Europe.
So, in this article I list 11 tropical islands in Europe that you need to have on your bucket-list.
Alright, let’s get into it!
11. Sark – Channels Islands
If you’re looking for a secluded tropical island to get away from the hustle and bustle of today’s world then Sark, which is the second smallest of the Channel Islands, is a great place to visit. With a mere 4.5 square miles of land, cars are banned from being used here.
If you’re interested in the history of this island, La Seigneurie, which is a traditional residence, is a great place to start. This property has its own windmill that was built in 1571 and a garden that surrounds the home. Because there are no street lights on the island, this is a great location to go stargazing.
If you’re interested in visiting Little Sark, which is the southernmost section of the island, you will need to cross La Coupée. This is an area that has a sheer drop on both sides of the path, but the views are so picturesque.
10. Islands of Ksamil – Albania
The Islands of Ksamil, which are located on the southern border of Albania, are a hidden gem that not many people are aware of. In total, there are four rocky islands that make up this island chain. There are quite a few coves and beaches in the area that you can relax on and enjoy. One of the most popular beaches it’s called Monastery Beach. At the top of the road, there is a monastery that will give you breathtaking views of the beach below.
Another great location to visit while you are on this island is called Blue Eye, which is a natural spring that you can dive into, but nobody has yet reached the bottom. Burtrint, which is an ancient Greek city, is also a great option to explore when the weather is cooler as well.
9. Porquerolles – France
The island of Porquerolles, which is located in France, has quite a unique history. This island village was originally built in the 1820s, but in the early 1900s, a man bought the island as a gift for his wife. Many and the vineyards that he planted for his beloved can still be seen today, and it is one of the most known reasons that tourist visit the area.
Cars are forbidden on this island, so when you get around, renting a bike will be ideal. Insofar as the history of the island, Fort Saint Agathe, which was built in the 14th century, is a great location to visit as well as the Cap d’Arme lighthouse, which was built not long after the origins of the town. There are also plenty of beaches to explore on both the northern and southern shores.
8. Capri – Italy
There are plenty of beaches to explore in Capri, Italy, but if you want to explore the water taking a boat tour around the island is a great place to begin. In doing so, you will find natural wonders like La Grotta Verde, La Grotta Azzurra, La Grotta Bianca, and Arco Naturale. La Grotta Verde, which is also known as the green cave, has green-tinted waters. La Grotta Azzurra, which is also known as the Blue Grotto, is an enchanted cavern where the sunlight that enters the cave makes the water glow.
To explore some of the more scenic views of the island, take a lift up to Monte Solaro. This mountain is one of the tallest peaks in all of Capri. Another popular place to explore by foot is Villa Jovis. It is a long walk but the view from these higher elevations is simply breathtaking, and the trail ends at the ruins of Villa Jovis, where you can explore a Roman castle that was built by Tiberius.
7. Gozo – Malta
If you like to go diving, Gozo, which is an island in Malta, has some of the best diving locations in the Mediterranean. The waters are warm, and the underwater landscape is full of caves, chimneys, arches, and tunnels. Here, the sea is typically calm with water temperatures that never drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so visitors will be able to dive all year.
One of the best dives in this area is called the Blue Hole, which is a natural underwater archway that leads to the sea. Sadly, this natural rock formation collapsed in 2017, but the debris from the rocks can still be seen under the water. In addition, Calypso’s cave which is from Homer’s “The Odyssey” is located on the other side of the island. The cave is not accessible to the public, but you can still take pictures from the outside.
6. Zakynthos – Greece
If you’re looking to take some time to explore some extreme watersports and beaches, Zakynthos, Greece, is a place to consider. Navagio beach, which is known for its shipwreck cove, is a white sandy beach that is positioned amongst cliffs. Here, the sand is a bit rusty from the shipwreck, and the limestone cliffs and the sea itself create a beautiful color contrast. To see the ship that crashed on the beach, you have to either take a boat around the island or get a photo from the cliffs above. These cliffs can be dangerous, especially if you are attempting to get a picture from above. However, this is a great place for base jumpers.
If you are visiting to take a look at the local sea life, the Coretta Coretta sea turtles are definitely worth visiting. The Turtle Museum at Daphne and the Marine Park are designed to protect the turtles nesting areas on the beach.
5. Crete – Greece
Crete, which is the largest of the Greek Islands, is a great place to visit if you wanted to explore the natural beauty of a tropical island in Europe. If you want to go hiking, Samaria Gorge National Park is stunning; in fact, right at the entrance of the park, there is a part of the gorge that is simply breathtaking and well worth going out of your way to see. Another one on the best hiking routes to take in Greece is the area around Balos Lagoon. The views of this area are spectacular, and there is even an opportunity to swim in the sea if you wish.
If you are interested in the history of this island, Knossos Palace is a place to explore, and it is considered to be the oldest city in Europe. In addition, Spinalonga is a secluded little island that you can easily take a boat to and enjoy some quiet time on the beach.
4. Koufonisia – Greece
Koufonisia, which is a small island off of the coast of Greece, is only a little over two miles from one end to the other. This means that walking from one end to the other will only take about 40 minutes, so cars are not necessary when you visit this island. In all reality, walking and enjoying a bike ride across the island will take you anywhere that you need to go.
In total, there are six beaches located across the island. Pori Beach is one of the most popular locations. Here, the tamarisk trees serve as umbrellas, and at night, there is a tavern-style bar with live entertainment and late night board games that you can enjoy. If you are looking for a picturesque place to swim away from the beaches, there are caves and other rocky locations where you can easily explore.
3. Hvar – Croatia
Hvar, which is an island in Croatia, is considered to be one of the top 10 most beautiful islands in the world. Not only is this because of the lovely peaches that you can find here and the warm climate, but the town is also filled with olive trees, vineyards, and fields of lavender that smell sweet in the summertime.
If you are looking for a secluded spot, Robinson Beach is a beautiful location where you can spend the day swimming in the ocean. Here, the water seems to be clearer than everywhere else because the stones and the pebbles on the beach are bleached white. If snorkeling is your thing, the Pakleni Islands provide beautiful secluded coves where you can spend your day exploring. Another fun place to explore, especially if you’re an experienced diver, is the site where the Paulina sank to her death in the early 1800s.
2. Brač – Croatia
Brač is an island in Croatia that is positioned in the Adriatic Sea. This location is most known because of Zlatni Rat, which is a horseshoe-shaped beach that is ideal for windsurfing. If you like to hike, Brač is the home to some of the highest mountain peaks on the Adriatic Islands. From the top of Vidova Gora, you can see the beautiful Mediterranean as well as the thin sliver of beach that is probably about 90 percent of the reason that most tourists visit this part of Croatia.
In the evening, the harbor has many restaurants and places to sit and enjoy the view of both the island and the sea. If you’re looking for more of a private getaway, Murvica is a secluded seafront with plenty of caves to explore as well as murals painted by the monks who have lived here since the early 1400s.
1. Sardinia – Italy
Sardinia, which is located in Italy, is the second largest island in the Mediterranean. On the central east coast of the island, there are several hidden picturesque beaches, grottos, and coves that you can explore.
On the northwest coast of the island, you can find Neptune’s Grotto, which is a spectacular sea of stalactites. The cavern can only be reached using a boat or climbing the 654 step staircase that was cut from the rocks in the cave. Once you are in the cave, the view is incredible to see.
If you are searching for a bit of history, the town of Nora and Tharros date back to 1000 BCE, and both of these towns are partially underwater. If you have come to Sardinia looking for beaches, there are more than 50 beautiful waterfronts across the island, and on the southern part of the island, you may even see flamingos.
Now that you have a little more information about some of the best tropical islands in Europe, it’s time to explore. You can go snorkeling, swimming, or simply relax on the beach.