Island travel destinations in Europe
Spring is the best season to enjoy a self guided walking holiday on an island in Europe, the days are long and the temperatures are perfect to pursue outdoor adventures such as travelling by foot . Walking is the only way to discover many lesser-known areas of the Continent, and to enjoy the beauty that arises from the harmony of landscape, history and culture.You can walk in complete comfort as transportation of your luggage can be easily arranged.
Majority of the islands in Europe offer excellent walking trails in a compact area. Forests, steep volcanic slopes, mountain ridges, exuberant river valleys, beaches and secluded coves are all waiting for you in what will be an unparalleled personal experience. As John Muir said; “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”.
Here is a selection of alluring islands you can visit:
A Mallorca walking holiday takes you to some of the most beautiful and historically interesting walking trails in Europe. North-west of the island, walk along Mallorca’s most dramatic scenery, the Tramuntana Sierra. Here old paved mule tracks wind through wooded valleys and terraces of olive and citrus groves. The village of Soller, nestling in a fertile, bowl-shaped valley surrounded by 1,000-metre-high peaks, can be a great base for exploring Mallorca north-west corner.
You can also make the most of city life by visiting cosmopolitan Palma. The city’s most imposing site is the beautiful 13th century cathedral. This huge building is close to the 10th century Arab baths and is the gateway to the city’s old quarter of narrow winding streets and ornate squares where orange and olive trees give shade to the many lovely street cafés.
Another Mediterranean island ideal to explore on foot during spring time is Corsica , one of the 18 regions of France and also known as ‘L’Île de Beauté’ (the Island of Beauty) by the French. This mountainous island actually resembles a tiny continent because of its geographical diversity. The natural landscape is rich in vegetation with coloured wildflowers, olive groves, pine forests, rolling vineyards and fruit farms. Walk the island from east to west, and the places you visit will be as contrasting as the island itself.
Sardinia , the second-largest island in the Mediterranean, will impress you with its wild and pure nature. Visit the pristine beaches of the south-east coast and delight in the beautiful landscapes which lie behind it. You can also explore Monte Linas on foot, a quiet mountain range that slopes gently towards the sea, separated from the rest of the island by the Medio Campidano plain to the east, the Iglesiente Mountains to the south and Oristano to the north.
For a walking holiday with a great deal of contemplation and a true taste of the Mediterranean Sea largest island, head to the Madonie Mountains. A mountain range in north Sicily that is perfect for nature lovers.
Here, the wonderful open landscapes are dotted with medieval villages as well as gorgeous flora and fauna. In fact, these mountains contain one of the most noted mountain eco-systems in the Mediterranean with over 2,600 different species of plants, many of which are endemic to the area.
Daily life passes slowly here, the tucked away villages and thick woodland, offer a snapshot of rural Sicilian life. As it happens, the people of the Madonie mountains and their way of life have little in common with that of coastal city-dwelling Sicilians.
Situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira is also known as Portugal’s “pearl of the Atlantic”. This archipelago is remarkable for two reasons: The Levadas and the abundance of both familiar and exotic flowering plants. The Levadas are an open canal system developed centuries ago, to distribute water from the rainfall heavy regions on the north of the island to the dry and sunny regions of the south. The Levada “Walks” are iconic walking trails and an amazing way to see the island.
The Azores, about 800 miles west of mainland Portugal, remain one of Europe’s least-discovered outposts. A land full of natural beauty with bright blue/green lakes, volcanoes, breathtaking waterfalls and panoramic sea views. The Azores archipelago is located between Europe and North America and all the islands are volcanic. The largest is São Miguel, known locally as the ‘green island’. It is also the island with the most to offer.To its south is Santa Maria, which boasts white sand beaches and lovely forest trails.It is also the sunniest of the islands in the Azores.
Crete is Greece’s largest island. The north-western region of the island offers quite magnificent coastal walking, probably some of the very best you will experience in the whole of the country. As you discover the island on foot, you will come across unhurried pathways, great swimming spots, remnants of ancient civilisations, fertile valleys and a rich gastronomic culture. The journey around western Crete, takes you through Aiolos, homeland of the god of the winds; and Elafonisi, land of the Cyclops according to Homeric legend.
A walking holiday in Cyprus promises plenty of warm sunshine, dramatic scenery and a very friendly hospitality. The three best regions for walking in Cyprus are the Troodos Mountains, the largest mountain range in Cyprus; the Krasochoria wine region on the Troodos’ Southern slopes; and the Akamas Peninsula with its more Mediterranean landscapes.Even though Cyprus is a small island , it has a rich culture that spans 10000 years, making it one of the oldest civilisations in the Mediterranean.
The Faroe Islands
If you want to be inspired by the forces of nature, a walking holiday in the Faroe Islands is the best way to discover this remote archipelago in the Norwegian Sea. You will relish the scenery, the unique alpine flora, the prolific bird life and the lack of commercialisation. The Faroe Islands comprise 18 small islands, characterised by steep cliffs, tall mountains and narrow fjords.Centuries of relative isolation have resulted in the preservation of ancient traditions that to this day shape life in these Islands.