Nowadays, it is quite difficult to travel to a holiday destination without the location being overcrowded and expensive. We scoured Europe to find beautiful hidden islands, to allow you to enjoy a peace of mind and avoid big crowds on your holiday. Whatever your schedule, these island treasures are just waiting to be discovered.
1. Italy, Procida, Bay of Naples
Procida has Ischia and Capri as its neighbours. The most picturesque and charming spot on the island of Procida is Marina Corricella. Marina Corricella is the oldest village of Procida and it is arranged in an amphitheater on the sea and surrounded by nets lying on the dock, this small fishing village is a peaceful and attractive place for those who prefer relaxing holidays. You could find beautiful fine brown sand on the island’s beach. If food is big in Italy, it’s even bigger on the islands where seafood reigns supreme at cheap prices the cities can’t approach.
2. France, Île de Bréhat, Brittany
Bréhat is an island and commune located near Paimpol, a mile off the northern coast of Brittany. A ten-minute ferry trip from Pointe de l’Arcoeuest takes you to Île de Bréhat, with its pink granite, immaculate gardens and smart shops in the main town called Le Port Clos. Bréhat is actually two large islands linked by a bridge and if you fancy going on a cycle you could cycle to the popular spot Du Paon lighthouse. Consider decent shoes when cycling because you are going to want to walk the craggy landscape and grassy hills. Everywhere you look, you could spot well-tended gardens of pretty stone cottages boasting a myriad of luscious plant life including eucalyptus, agapanthus, hydrangeas and geraniums and birds too.
3. Greece, Alonissos, Off Skiathos
Did you know? Lovely Skiathos in the Sporades Islands was a key location for the 2008 film Mamma Mia! but this verdant gem to the north is even more beautiful in real life. It has picturesque sugar-cube villages, such as the fishing harbour of Votsi, and is part of the largest national marine park in Europe. There is plenty to do on the island, ranging from, go kayaking, canoeing, hiking or cycling, or spot monk seals on a boat trip. If you fancy exploring more of the island, head to clear blue water and beach of Lalaria and the Kastro peninsula, an ancient village, at the north tip of the island.
4. Spain, La Graciosa, The Canaries
Lying off the north coast of Lanzarote, La Graciosa is the antithesis of the mass-market holiday resort associated with the Canaries. The tiny island of La Graciosa has officially become the eighth Canary Island. La Graciosa welcomes about 25,000 tourists annually, and its beaches, including Playa de las Conchas, Playa de la Cocina and Playa de El Salado, have been described as the best in Spain. The real gems of La Graciosa are its incredibly untouched quiet beaches, where the sand on the beach is near-white and aquamarine waters, due to the lack of any tourism infrastructure on the island. There are a handful of shops, a few seafood restaurants and of course gorgeous beaches.
5. Portugal, Santa Maria, The Azores
When you’re in the middle of the Atlantic, the water can be pretty chilly, so head to Santa Maria, the southernmost of the Azores. Often eschewed by tourists who go to the islands’ capital, São Miguel, it has the best beaches in the group. The highlights of the island are the golden beaches and tidal pools making it great swimming spots, above water; and world-famous diving spots like Gruta Azul, underwater. Elsewhere there’s great hiking around Pico Alto and the eerie red sands of the semi-desert Barreiro Da Faneca.