While most people head to such islands as Mallorca, Sicily or Crete, many European islands remain overlooked. Either because they’re tiny, or because they just haven’t been discovered yet, these places are rarely reached by tourists. They’re fascinating though and worth-visiting. It doesn’t mean Mallorca, Sicily or Crete aren’t – they’re gorgeous as well.
Unknown Islands in Europe
If you want to escape crowds of tourists and explore something delightfully new, consider visiting one of the unknown islands in Europe. You’ll be rewarded with the enchanting atmosphere of isolated villages, pristine nature, and friendliness of locals. Here’s a list of 5 wonderful European islands that probably aren’t included on your bucket list, but they should.
Few people know Estonia has more than 1500 islands and islets. Hiiumaa is the second largest of them, right after Saaremaa. Sparsely populated and serene, Hiiuma attracts mainly nature-lovers. The tourism industry isn’t developed out there, but you can find a few different accommodations and some good eateries. Most importantly, Hiiuma can boast with charming, unspoiled nature a part of which is protected by a nature reserve. It’s dotted with beautiful light-houses, wooden cottages, and old Soviet bunkers. With over 100 bird species, the island is a great destination for ornithology enthusiasts. You may also sail, relax on the beach, wander around the mellow villages or hike across the mysterious woods, which are believed to be inhabited by elves, fairies, and other magical creatures.
Despite being Croatia’s largest island, Cres isn’t a popular tourist destination. Unlike many Croatian islands and coastal towns, it has remained wild, quiet and natural. Amongst its numerous beaches, there are many small and secluded, so you can enjoy lots of privacy while sunbathing or swimming. The northern part of the island is covered with atmospheric forest composed of oak, elk and hornbeam trees. Cres has few towns, but what towns are they!
Located on the hilltops, historic settlements overlook the island and add their charm to its beautiful landscapes. The lovely marina in the city of Cres (the major town is called Cres, just as the island itself) is full of colorful boats and their edgy owners equipped with fishing nets. There are lots of excellent restaurants serving fish, seafood, and lamb, the last one being a local specialty. Summing up, Cres is a perfect place for everyone who looks for a fabulous getaway.
Hydra isn’t exactly unknown. Because of its proximity to Athens, it’s often visited by day-trippers. Nevertheless, it isn’t nearly as famous as many Greek islands, and most of the visitors leave it as soon as they have a quick look around. Hydra deserves more attention though. With its whitewashed houses, clear blue waters and lovely harbor, the island’s picturesque and cozy. There’s also something that makes it even more interesting: Hydra is almost entirely free of vehicle traffic. Only donkeys, mules and humans move around its marble-cobbled streets. It’s a favorite destination for artists, writers, musicians and other creative individuals. No wonder they’re dragged to Hydra – its vistas are inspiring indeed. Even those who haven’t been interested in arts so far can find their inner poets there.
Colonsay is a treasure box, a tiny one, but packed with precious gems. It belongs to the Inner Hebrides archipelago. Not only its size is small, but also the population – Colonsay has only over 100 inhabitants. They might complain about having few neighbors, but surely they can’t describe their home as dull. There’s a school, a church, an airport and a golf course. To keep both visitors and locals entertained (and tipsy), there’s even a small brewery. Besides, Colonsay’s nature is fascinating. A variety of birds fly above the woods, rugged cliffs, rolling hills and grassy plains. The island is reachable by plane and ferry, but none of them arrive there daily, so make sure to check the schedules carefully.
Inis Oírr, Ireland
Inis Oírr is the smallest of Aran Islands, and it covers only 8 square kilometers. Surprisingly for such a tiny place, Inis Oírr is gifted with lots of atmospheric beauty. There’s something that makes it especially alluring; perhaps it’s the sleepy village, or the bewitching landscape, or the rich mythology, or all of it combined. There are few locals, and most of them are fishermen. Observing them as they come back from work each evening, with the nets full of fish, is a great activity for those who enjoy people-watching. Anyone interested in unique cultures, anthropology, and small societies will find Inis Oírr captivating. Anyone who appreciates serenity, nature, and seclusion might fall in love with it too.
Do you know some other unknown islands in Europe? Let us know! And share this article with your friends, so that they too could choose an original destination for their next holidays.