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5 Lesser-Known European Islands You Have to Visit

5 Lesser-Known European Islands You Have to Visit

When you think of a European island paradise, places like Santorini, Ibiza and Capri probably come to mind—but there’s so much more to explore! We’re featuring five off-the-beaten-path islands that aren’t usually a traveller’s first thought. Each of these islands offers breathtaking scenery, incredible activities and attractions, plus a wealth of rental homes available to book right here on Holiday Lettings.

Staying in a rental is a great way to get more value. You’ll enjoy extra living space, a full kitchen for home-cooked meals, laundry, and amenities like a pool, hot tub, or private outdoor area to take in those unreal views! Be sure to check out Holiday Lettings’ great rental options as you plan your visit to one of these European islands. We’re also featuring top in-destination tours, activities, and attractions to experience once you arrive.

Here are five gorgeous European islands worthy of your bucket list. Experiences provided by our friends at TripAdvisor.

Corfu, Greece

While Santorini and Mykonos tend to be the best-known of the Greek isles, the small island of Corfu (just 226 square miles) is definitely a contender. Best part? You can do it all in three days.

When To Go

There’s really no bad time to visit the Mediterranean, weather-wise, but if you’re looking to take a dip in that gorgeous turquoise water, be sure to go in the summer. If you’d rather avoid tourist season, spring and fall are prime times for total relaxation.

What To Do

History buffs will love exploring ancient churches and the remains of Venetian fortresses and Greek temples. Wander the ancient streets of the Roman village of Kassiopi or explore the central Esplanade of the eponymous Corfu Town.

Lather yourself in mineral mud on the shore of the Canal D’Amour. Legend has it that the waterfalls of Nymphes would attract mythological beauties of the same name, who would flock to the village to bathe in the pristine waters.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just stretching out one of the island’s beaches, like Paleokastritsa Beach.

“Water is really blue. Not so crowded. If you need relax, beautiful views, good food, nice people around, it’s perfect.” – TripAdvisor traveler EkaterinaV900.

Where To Stay

Beach House Rena

Check out all Holiday Lettings rentals in Corfu!

Island of Malta

A trip to the island of Malta is like stepping back to the 16th century. The capital city of Valletta is teeming with cathedrals, palaces and forts. The top archaeological attraction is the Hypogeum temple ruins, a macabre, 5400-square-foot underground necropolis and the world’s only underground prehistoric temple. (Trivia fact: “Game of Thrones” scenes have been filmed here.)

When To Go

Optimal months to visit Malta are May and June, when the temperatures are most pleasant. The summer months are popular among tourists, but can get very hot and humid. The winter months are good for those who like crisp temperatures (temps rarely dip below the 50s Fahrenheit), but pack an umbrella just in case ­– winter is also Malta’s rainy season.

What To Do

Attention “Game of Thrones Fans” fans: This is your kind of vacation. Many G.O.T. scenes are filmed in Malta, and there are tours that will take you to the famous locales.

Malta Film Tours

Of course, there are plenty of excursions for non-GOT fans too, from ruins and historic buildings to gardens and boat tours.

Where To Stay

Villa Blue Waters

Check out all Holiday Lettings rentals in Malta!

Menorca, Spain

Ibiza and Mallorca are the holiday bigwigs of Spain’s Balearic Islands – but for those who seek a more low-key holiday with just as much natural beauty, Menorca is a great option. Like its sister islands, Menorca boasts turquoise waters, rocky coves or “calas” and endless beaches. The capital city of Mahon sits on a bluff overlooking the city’s harbor.

When To Go

Though it may be a little less crowded than Mallorca and less of a party scene than Ibiza, Menorca is still bumping in the summer. July and August tend to be the most popular months, so go then if you’re looking for a more social vibe. Those who want a truly serene holiday might want to go in early summer, when the weather is warm enough for the beach, but the crowds haven’t settled in yet. Of course, Menorca’s location in the Mediterranean means that beautiful weather is a year-round reality, so there’s really no bad time to go.

What To Do

The number-one thing to do in Menorca is go to the beach. Nature lovers will enjoy Cala Pregonda, a wild beach with crystal-clear water and beautiful rock formations – and just a 30-minute hike from the main road.

“We felt the walk there was part of the experience. unusual rock colours and chances to spot wildlife. Shorter walk than to Cala Pilar and no tough gradients, though we would recommend sensible footwear. Rewarded by a beautiful, relatively uncrowded beach with superb swimming. Crystal clear water and protected from the considerable waves that other beaches were getting that day on the north coast of the island.” – TripAdvisor traveler 784neilt.

Cala Pregonda

For an easier beach trip, head to Playa de Son Bou – known for its soft white sand and that same crystal-clear water as Cala Pregonda (just without the hike.) Holidaymakers come here for sunbathing, water sports and boating.

Off the beach, be sure to explore the area’s incredible ancient churches – and check out the restaurants and shops in the main city of Mahon.

Where To Stay

El Alcor Apartment

Check out all Holiday Lettings rentals in Menorca!

The Azores, Portugal

This volcanic archipelago sits in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Portugal. With a gorgeous landscape of lakes, volcanic caves and lush mountains and pastures, the Azores are the perfect destinations for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. And while all of the islands are certainly worth seeing – if there’s only time for one, head to the biggest and most bustling, Sau Miguel.

When To Go

Because you’ll want to be outside most of the time on a tip to the Azores, the summer months are the best time to go, weather-wise. From June through September, temperatures are usually in the 70s Fahrenheit – and in the winter, they generally don’t dip below about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that winter is the rainy season, so if you do go then, be sure to pack waterproof gear.

What To Do

There’s so much to do in the Azores, from hiking to watersports and relaxing by the beach. One of the top attractions is the village of Furnas on São Miguel. Here, you can relax in the natural hot springs, gaze at the beautiful hydrangea fields and eat “cozido das furnasa”, which is a meal cooked underground (travelers recommend getting this at Tony’s).

Europe’s only tea plantation, Chá Gorreana, is also located on São Miguel.

Gorreana Tea Plantation

“A visit to the Gorreana Chá pantation and processing plant is throw back to a time in history, when “organic” tea production was started in the 19th century in the island of São Miguel.” – TripAdvisor traveler corisco7444.

Where To Stay

São Miguel Apartment

Check out all Holiday Lettings rentals in the Azores!

Isola d’Ischia, Italy

Mention of an Italian beach holiday might bring to mind images of the Amalfi Coast, but the volcanic island of Ischia, located in the Gulf of Naples, is a lesser-known paradise.

Surrounded by turquoise water, the island is rich with colorful architecture, natural wonders like the hot springs at Maronti Beach, historic Roman ruins and even a medieval castle.

When To Go

Plan your Ischia trip for the summer, when hot sunny days turn into balmy nights perfect for dining al fresco and strolling the town streets. You’ll find pleasant weather April through August; July and August are the hottest month of the year with temperatures rising into the 80s Fahrenheit. The winter months, on the other hand, tend to be cold and rainy.

What To Do

The largest city on the island of Ischia is also named Ischia. The city is divided into two; the first part, Ischia Porto, is a harbor and the commercial center of the island. Here you’ll find colorful restaurants and bars, shopping and the Museo del Mare (it’s especially popular among seafarers). The other part of the city, Ischia Ponte, is the historic district and home to Castello Aragonese, an ancient castle that almost appears to rise from the sea on a stone bluff. Head to the top for amazing, far-reaching views.

Castello Aragonese

“The Aragonese Castle is the most intriguing place in Ischia. The views are simply gorgeous and there is a lot to see. There are always interesting art exhibitions in some rooms. The burial crypt of the monastery is quite impressive.” – TripAdvisor traveler MilediBiella.

For sunbathing and swimming, Maronti Beach and La Spiaggia e la Baia di Cartaromana are popular beaches. There’s also a big spa scene in Ischia for even more R&R. Adventurers can explore the area by Vespa, boat or even underwater, thanks to scuba and snorkeling tours.

Where To Stay

Fisherman’s Village Rental

Check out all Holiday Lettings rentals in Isola d’Ischia!

The post 5 Lesser-Known European Islands You Have to Visit appeared first on Holiday Lettings Blog.

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