When we think of islands with unspoilt nature, beautiful beaches and nice weather, we quickly think of long-distance and expensive trips outside Europe. However, Europe has quite a few beautiful islands in its possession. A 4 to 6 hour flight will take you to paradise islands where you can simply pay with the euro. A holiday in Europe can be more surprising than you might think.
Corsica is an island located between France and Italy, but it belongs to France. Corsican is spoken in Corsica, but English is also spoken due to tourism. Summers are dry and warm with temperatures ranging from 26 to 30 degrees. It is also easy to do in the spring, but the sea water can still be a bit too cold for swimming. In winter it can freeze at night and during the day, depending on where you are on the island, it will be between 10 and 15 degrees.
The island has an area of 8680 km² and the capital of Corsica is Ajaccio. The island is about a six-hour flight away. Corsica is an island with many mountains and is very popular among hikers. The best-known hiking route is the GR20 which runs from the south to the north of the island. Along the way you will see mountain lakes, meadows, rocky areas and beautiful views. The trip takes about six days, during which you will spend the night in mountain huts. Would you rather relax? The coast is varied with cliffs and sandy beaches. Some beaches are touristy, but on other beaches you will hardly find anyone. From Corsica you can also take the ferry to the neighboring island of Sardinia.
Sardinia is located right under Corsica, but this island belongs to Italy. With 24,090 km², the island is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The capital of Sardinia is Cagliari and has a Sardinian archaeological museum, an amphitheater, a castle and a port. In addition to Italian, Sardinian is also spoken on this island. The weather is similar to that of Corsica.
One of the most famous sights is the Grotta di Nettuno, also known as the Cave of Neptune. You can get there by boat or you can descend about 700 steps. In the caves you will find beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
The nature of the Azores / Source: Cotrim, Pixabay
The Azores are actually an archipelago consisting of nine islands. The total area is 2247 km². The Azores belong to Portugal and are just over a four-hour flight away. You can fly from the Netherlands to the island of São Miguel or Terceira. The Azores is also great for island hopping, you can go to one of the other islands by boat. In winter the temperature is around 14 degrees, while in summer it is around 25 degrees. In winter there can be heavy showers, but these usually pass quickly.
The Azores are not very touristy, while the islands are very beautiful. You will not find a typical sun holiday here, but the Azores are breathtaking for nature and adventure lovers. You will encounter volcanic landscapes and unspoilt green nature. Some of the craters have filled with water, creating beautiful lakes. If you want to enjoy a beautiful sandy beach, you can choose the island of Santa Maria. This island is the southernmost and therefore has the most hours of sunshine. The Azores are also very famous for whale watching. More than twenty-five different species of whales and dolphins regularly pass through the Azores.
The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands consist of seven large islands and six small ones, all belonging to Spain. The islands together have an area of almost 7,447 km². The islands were all created from volcanic activities under the sea. Gran Canaria and Tenerife are the most popular holiday destinations. The islands of El Hiero and La Gomera are not accessible by direct flight. You can reach the other islands in about four to six hours by plane.
The islands furthest south are of course also the warmest. It is very pleasant on the islands all year round. In the summer it will be around 30 degrees with occasional outliers. In winter it is between 18 and 25 degrees. The weather very much depends on where you stay on the island. Because of the mountains, it is often warmer and drier in the southern part of the islands than in the north. Each island has its own charms, one is greener, the other has nicer beaches, more beautiful snorkeling locations or beautiful hiking trails.
Mallorca is an island of Spain and has an area of 3642 km². Mallorca is a wonderful holiday island, but many people realize that. It can be quite busy with tourists, especially in the summer. By plane you can reach this island in about two hours. In summer it is around 30 degrees, but it remains pleasant because there is always a supply of wind. In winter it can sometimes rain heavily, the showers come hard, but it will never rain for long periods of time. You will find several beaches on Mallorca, there are both sandy and pebble beaches. A special attraction is La Seu Cathedral. Construction took more than 300 years and the imposing building has a length of 120 meters.
Madeira is a Portuguese island located between Portugal and Morocco. The capital of this island is Funchal, which is also the largest city on the island. In winter it can rain a lot, but temperatures are always between 16 and 22 degrees. The rain also ensures the beautiful vegetation on the island. Madeira is known for its flowers and is also called the floating garden. This amazingly beautiful island is only a four to five hour flight away. On the island you can enjoy waterfalls, caves, cliffs, mountains and tranquility. However, due to the rough coastline, you will find few beaches on Madeira. The two sandy beaches that are easily accessible by car are man-made beaches. Do you want to experience something unforgettable in Madeira? Then visit the island on New Year’s Eve. Madeira has a place in the Guinness Book of Records for their beautiful fireworks shows.
Although it will only be between 7 and 15 degrees in winter, the Greek islands should not be missed. The Greek islands are beautiful in the summer. Greece consists of many islands that differ quite a bit from each other. The archipelagos are called:
- The Cyclades
- The Dodecanese
- The Ionian Islands
- The Eastern Aegean Islands
- The Sporades
- The Argo-Saronic Islands
Santorini / Source: Skeeze, PixabayNot every island can be reached by plane from the Netherlands. The better-known destinations are Kos, Crete, Lesbos, Corfu and Zakynthos. You will find beautiful sandy beaches, a clear blue sea, amazing cliffs and green nature. One of the most famous sights and often photographed for travel guides is Navagio beach on Zakynthos. A beautiful white beach with the remains of a ship on it. The beach is located between high cliffs, so you can look up from above or go there by boat. In addition, Oia Santorini is a very special island. The houses there are white with blue roofs, there are picturesque villages and from this island you can enjoy the most beautiful sunset of all the Greek islands.
The island of Cyprus does not belong to a country, but is a country. The island is 9521km² and is located 70km south of Turkey. According to Greek mythology, Cyprus is the birthplace of Aphrodite. In winter it is about 16 degrees and in summer temperatures are around 30 degrees. You will find beaches, forests, waterfalls and cliffs on the island. In addition to nature, there are also many excavations to visit. For example, you can visit Eustolios’ house which has a mosaic floor from the 5th century or the King’s Tombs.