Europe has some of the most famous landmarks in the world, from the Eiffel Tower to the beautiful beaches of Greece. What if we told you there are some secret, hidden, remote islands that are just as stunning and worthy of a visit?
Check them out here so that you can beat the tourists on your next visit!
Let us walk you through a day spent here.
You get off a 4-hour ferry ride on the crystalline Adriatic and immerse yourself in nature. In fact, 70% of the island is covered in forest. You pick up some fresh red strawberries as you walk the trails that connect the village to the coast. You stop for a swim at Mihajla beach and end the day with a glass of locally produced Maraština wine with Lastovo’s famous lobster spaghetti at a restaurant in the village.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
This island is extremely remote. It is located right at the top of Norway and requires a few hours of travel from Oslo. But it’s absolutely worth the trek. In fact, its remoteness makes it an ideal location to watch the Northern Lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer; for the rest of the year, it’s simply an untouched gem with breathtaking scenery.
Graciosa is easily accessible by ferry. It has an interesting history as, during the 17th century, it served as a pirate hideout. Today, it is home to a little charming village with white sandy beaches and whitewashed houses.
Trade in the French Riviera’s luxurious lifestyle for a traditional cultural escape at this peaceful island. You can rent a bike from almost every corner and go on an adventure, exploring the many wineries of the island with pit stops at breathtaking beaches like Pointe Prime.
Cunda Island, Turkey
What’s special about this island is that it is one of only 20 islands that is between Turkey and Greece. It has some tumultuous history, as in 1923, when all the island’s Greek residents left and were “replaced” with Cretan Turks.
Today, the island has a quiet and peaceful vibe with ruins left behind, such as Greek buildings and churches. This is also a great spot for some of the best restaurants for fresh fish.
This is the perfect location for foodies! The climate is ideal for fresh produce, herbs, and fish. For that reason, Bornholm is now considered one of Scandinavia’s culinary hotspots.
It has been gaining more and more popularity, even attracting top Danish chef Nicolai Norregaard back in 2007. He opened two restaurants including the Michelin-starred Kadeau.
Most tourists frequent Tuscany’s famous Cinque Terre islands. However, few foreigners are aware of Isola d’Elba, Italy’s third-largest island. Historically, it was once the place of Napoleon’s exile.
Today, it offers a mix of landscapes and beaches with fun excursions like snorkeling. It is also home to Europe’s largest marine park (the Tuscan Archipelago National Park).
If you’re looking for authenticity, Cochem is the place to be. It is located on the German side of the Moselle. Although famous for its rivers and scenery, the island has a lot to offer for those looking for a historical adventure.
You can visit the medieval town center for a glance at a 1000-year-old castle as you make your way through beautiful alleyways and half-timbered houses.
Santa Maria, Portugal
This island is famous for having served as Christopher Columbus’ refuge in 1493. History aside, it is also home to beautiful beaches such as Praia Formosa in the south of the island.
Between its nature reserves and the 15th-century town of Vila do Porto, it feels like an escape back to a simpler time.
There are quite a few beautiful hidden beaches in this area near Athens, so it’s hard to pick just one. Instead, here you’ll find a few secret spots along a stretch of coastline. It should take about an hour’s drive if you start at Vouliagmeni and stop at Sounio.
Along the way, you’ll find even cooler stops like the Temple of Poseidon Sounion. End the day at one of the local taverns on the seafront!
Here is the perfect getaway from the city. A trip to this peaceful island, not even two hours from the capital, will be like a relaxing nature escape.
The reserve is both car-free and carefree. All you have to worry about is lying on its sandy beaches, and if you get bored, you can go cliff jumping or kayaking.
This is a prime location to get up close and personal with whales and dolphins. Trade your running shoes for boots to hike this volcanic island and find some vineyards.
Make sure you keep an eye out for the whales, as this is one of the world’s top destinations for whale-watching, being the closest landmass to their migration routes.
This island is free of distractions and noise. In fact, not many tourists know about it, and only about 100 people actually live there.
Those who find it are sure to experience a little piece of paradise with its crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and dramatic cliffs. A walk through will also reveal rare flora and fauna.
You’ll be sure to find some peace and quiet if you get away to Texel (pronounced “Tessel”). It offers a long stretch of beaches off the coast of Noord Holland.
They say you can walk for miles and still not run into anybody. If you need a beach break, there are plenty of cycle trails that cross through tulip fields and pretty villages to explore.
Forget about what century we live in for a second and get lost in this island off Estonia’s western coast. In the middle of this pine forest-covered island, you’ll find the most charming windmills along with impressive ruins of churches and cottages. Make sure you stop at the medieval castle in the capital city of Kuressaare.
Only 15 people call this place home. The little 2.3 square mile island is famous for its caves. Make a day trip out of it by renting a boat or joining a tour to explore 10 entirely different caves along the coast, such as Modra Špilja (The Blue Cave), where sun rays shine through cracks in the underwater rocks.
This island tends to get overshadowed by its famous neighbors, Mykonos and Santorini. Although this is where the Louvre’s “Venus de Milo” was found, the volcanic island is also known for its fascinating rock formations, hot springs, and over 75 non-crowded beaches.
Île de Ré, France
This island is gaining more popularity in recent years. Île de Ré is a 30-kilometer long strip of land full of fishing villages, pine forests, and scenic beaches. All the villages are connected by cycle lanes, so it’s very easy to explore on a bike.
Along the route, you’ll find cute little boutiques, boulangeries, and cafés. Make sure you stop for some seafood, as oysters are the island’s specialty.
Here is an island where you can mix luxury with relaxing. In fact, some refer to this island as Germany’s version of the Hamptons. You’ll find candles everywhere, creating a cozy ambiance as you explore the restaurants, resorts, and beach bars on the island.
Kynance Cove, U.K.
This is Britain’s little piece of the Caribbean. In fact, you’ll find quite of few stretches of beaches such as Kynance Cove, a beach located in the most southerly part of the U.K., on the Lizard peninsula. It’s known for stunning beauty, golden sandy bays, and clear blue waters. There are also plenty of wild islands and caves to explore in the area.