Do the words tropical and Europe even belong in the same sentence?
You might not think so, but there are actually some incredible tropical islands that easily rival the Caribbean.
And before doing all of this research, I had no idea some of these places even existed.
So, in this article, you’ll find the top 15 tropical islands near Europe.
15. Koufonisia, Greece
Koufonisia, which is a small tropical island off the coast of Greece, is a little over two miles long.
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.
Pori Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Koufonisia.
If you’re looking for a picturesque place to swim away from the beaches, there are caves and other rocky locations that you can easily explore. At night, there’s a tavern-style bar with live entertainment.
14. Chrysi Island, Greece
Chrissi island is an uninhabited (small) tropical island located about 9 miles from Crete.
The word Chrissi or ‘Χρυσή’ literally translates to golden, referring to its sand.
The main reason most visit Chrissi island is because of its tropical seclusion.
Oh, and not to mention it’s actually home to one of the oldest European Cedar Tree Forests.
It really feels like you’re in another world.
A quick tip: Never take the sand or shells as they’re protected and you could be fined.
13. Ksamil Islands, Albania
The tropical Islands of Ksamil, 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.
Monastery Beach is one of the most tropical beaches in Albania is located South of the main town of Saranda. It can be accessed by a 15/20min car ride.
Another cool location to visit while you’re on Ksamil is the Blue Eye Nature Preserve, which is a natural spring you can swim in. It’s located off the island of Ksamil (about a 50/60min drive by car).
12. Porquerolles, France
The tropical island of Porquerolles 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’s one of the main reasons that tourists visit the area.
Cars are forbidden on this island, so rent an electric bike to get around. Better than a regular bike because of the many hills.
Fondation Carmignac is a corporate art foundation started in 2001 that supports contemporary artists. A really neat place to visit, especially if you’re interested in art.
Or you could visit Courtades Beach, which is one of the many beautiful beaches of Porquerolles. About a 20min walk from the harbor, you can be sure to find your own slice of paradise at this beach.
11. Formentera, Spain
Formentera is an underrated tropical island located in the Mediterranean Sea. Even though it’s the smallest of Spain’s Balearic islands, you shouldn’t ignore it. It’s well-known neighboring island is Ibiza and many often take a day trip there.
Formentera has long stretches of white sand, surrounded by crystal clear water (ideal for snorkeling)
Things to do
- Ses Illetes Beach
- Es Arenals Beach
- Calo Des Mort
10. Zakynthos, Greece
If you’re looking to explore some beautiful beaches, Zakynthos, Greece, is a place to consider.
One of the most tropical Instagrammed destinations of all time, Navagio beach, is known for its shipwreck cove and white sandy beach that’s positioned amongst insanely beautiful cliffs.
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’re attempting to get a picture from above.
The loggerhead sea turtles are definitely worth visiting when in Zakynthos. The Turtle Museum at Daphne and the Marine Park are designed to protect the turtle’s nesting areas on the beach. A really neat place to visit!
9. Menorca, Spain
Menorca is part of the Balearic Islands, located in the Mediterranean (part of Spain).
This island has several beaches that are worthy of exploring.
One of the coolest attractions in Menorca is this unique cave bar. Have a few cocktails while overlooking the stunning Mediterranean Sea.
8. Hvar, Croatia
Hvar is easily one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world.
Not only is this because of the warm climate, but the town is filled with olive trees, vineyards, and fields of lavender that smell sweet in the summertime.
A beautiful, secluded beach that you can only access via boat is Robinson Beach. There’s a Seafood Restaurant located here which is very well-reviewed.
The water at Robinson is clearer than everywhere else because the stones and the pebbles on the beach are bleached white.
The Pakleni Islands provide beautiful secluded coves and beaches for you to spend the day.
Perfect if you’re looking to get away from the crowded beaches of Hvar. You can either rent a boat of your own or pay a small fee for a boat shuttle to take you to the islands.
There are also a few bars and restaurants to choose from.
7. Gozo, Malta
If you enjoy diving, Gozo has some of the best locations in the Mediterranean. The waters are warm, and the underwater landscape is full of caves, arches, and tunnels.
The sea is typically calm with water temperatures that never drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s a place where you can dive year-round.
The Blue Hole is a natural archway formation that leads to the sea.
Sadly, this natural rock formation collapsed in 2017 during a storm, but the debris from the rocks can still be seen under the water.
6. Brač, Croatia
Brač is most known because of Zlatni Rat, which is a horseshoe-shaped beach that’s 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 which 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.
5. Gran Canaria, Spain
Part of Spain’s Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is located northwest of Africa. From surfing to scuba diving, Gran Canaria should be a top choice if you’re searching for a tropical island in Europe.
Oh and not to mention its annual average temperature hovers around 75 Fahrenheit (24 Celcius).
Noteworthy Things to Do
- Amadores Beach
- Natural Dune Reserve of Maspalomas
- Pico de las Nieves
4. Corsica, France
Located Southeast of France, Corsica is a mountainous tropical gem that is a great choice for your bucket list.
Whether you’re looking to chill in the coastal towns or hike in its lush forest, Corsica offers a wide variety of things to do.
Noteworthy Things to Do
- Palombaggia Beach
- Filitosa (Prehistoric Site)
- Aiguilles de Bavella
3. Sardinia, Italy
Sardinia is the second-largest tropical island in the Mediterranean.
On the central east coast of the island, there are several hidden picturesque beaches, grottos (caves), and coves that you can explore.
On the northwest coast of the island, you can find Neptune’s Grotto.
A stalactite cave that can be reached using a boat or by climbing the 654-step staircase that was cut from the rocks. Once you’re in the cave, the view is incredible.
If you’re searching for a bit of history, the town of Nora and Tharros dates back to 1000 BCE.
Sardinian beaches are a big part of why most people have it on their bucket list. There are more than 50 beautiful waterfronts across the island.
2. Crete, Greece
Crete, which is the largest of the Greek Islands, is a great European tropical island for your bucket list.
Samaria Gorge National Park
Visit Samaria Gorge National Park. 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 of the best hiking routes to take in Greece is the area around Balos Lagoon. The views here are spectacular, and you can even swim in the lagoon if you’re up for it.
If you are interested in the history of the island, Knossos Palace is a place to explore, and it’s considered to be the oldest European city.
In addition, Spinalonga is a secluded little island that you can easily take a boat to and enjoy some quiet time on the beach.
1. Capri, Italy
There are plenty of breathtaking beaches to explore in Capri, Italy.
The Blue Grotta (also known as the Blue Cave), is a beautiful sea cave where the sunlight shines from an underwater cavern, making the water glow blue.
Arco Naturale is a natural arch formation, located on the East Coast of Capri, overlooking the turquoise Mediterranean Sea. It’s actually the remains of an old cave that collapsed.
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’s a long walk but the view from these higher elevations is breathtaking, and the trail ends at the ruins of Villa Jovis, where you can explore a Roman castle that was built by Tiberius.
Now that you have a little more information about some of the best European tropical islands, it’s time to get out there and explore!