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11 Best Islands To Visit in Italy For An Ideal Summer Vacation

It is not unexpected that Italy has a number of islands, given that it is a country that is largely encircled by water. But what surprises is their diversity. This list of the greatest islands in Italy can help you identify the best destinations, whether you’re searching for a quiet beach, a buzzing resort scene, a romantic getaway, or a chance to visit intriguing prehistoric sites.

1. Sicily


Sicily is frequently ranked among the top tourist destinations in Italy. However, it may seem more like a separate nation. It is the largest island in the Mediterranean, with a size of around 10,000 square miles, or almost the same as Luxembourg.

Sicily undoubtedly has enough tourist attractions to warrant a separate trip rather than a brief stop on a larger tour. Sicily attracts a wide range of tourists because of its seven UNESCO World Heritage monuments, which include three ancient monuments, two natural wonders, and two architectural icons.

The best ancient buildings still standing are temples, amphitheatres, and villas from the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. One of the biggest Greek temples is located in Selinunte, while one of the best-maintained is located in Agrigento. San Vito Lo Capo is one of Italy’s top beaches due to its fine white sand and azure waves.

2. Sardinia


Sardinia feels even more isolated from the island than Sicily does, with its own language, cultural practices, and even distinctive food. If there are any foreign tourists who are aware of it, it is because of Costa Smeralda, one of Europe’s top summer vacation hotspots, with its legendary white beaches and green oceans. The beaches on the island’s southern and western sides are equally stunning, and much of the island is surrounded by golden sands.

Many people are more surprised by how rapidly Sardinia’s interior rises to towers, and rocky mountains, concealing communities that seem to belong in a bygone era. The hundreds of prehistoric ruins, particularly the circular stone towers known as nuraghi that dot the island landscape, are also astonishing, much to the joy of those interested in the riddles of history.

Although nothing is known about their origins, several of them are so well-built that you may explore tunnels and ascend spiral steps that date back to the Bronze and Iron periods. The history of the island is further complicated by more puzzling megaliths and stone carvings. And gorgeous sandy beaches are never far away.

3. Capri


Even the name of this island in the Bay of Naples exudes romance. Its most recognizable landmark is concealed beneath the steep cliffs that virtually soar straight up from the lake. Small boats can enter The Blue Grotto, a marine grotto where sunlight reflections render the water a brilliant blue.

More caverns, arches, and the Faraglioni, a distinctive group of sea stacks on the island’s south shore, can be seen during boat tours around the island.

The two cities on the island, Capri and the upper Anacapri, exude a festive atmosphere as visitors arrive on ferries from Naples and Sorrento.

The stunning San Michele mansion and grounds and the Giardini di Augusto (grounds of Augustus), perched high on the cliffs overlooking the Marina Piccola and the Faraglioni, are among the highlights of Capri, in addition to the cafés and retail boutiques.

You can hike along the coast for breathtaking vistas or take a chairlift to the top of the tallest hill for panoramic views of the entire island.

4. The Venetian Islands


Venice is made up of islands that are connected by bridges or dispersed around the lagoon, despite the fact that the city itself is connected by a causeway. Tourists are particularly drawn to four of the so-called “detached” islands.

Europe’s first beach resort and Venice’s playground is the long, beach-lined Lido, where royalty gathered at the opulent hotels that still stand today. It has a festive Christmas feel and some beautiful Art Nouveau architecture, albeit being less flashy now. Families travelling to Venice with kids frequently spend a day at the Lido.

The famous Venetian glass industry is centred in Murano, and its canal is lined with studios and stores run by glassblowers that sell both their creations and less creative foreign glass items. Visit the glass museum in the 17th-century Palazzo Giustinian to learn more about the glass blowers and the history of the island while admiring the artisans at work.

You may reach Burano, which has canals lined with beautifully painted homes, after a lengthy boat voyage. Although much of what you see in its shops is imported and not handmade, lace manufacturing is its claim to fame. Visit the Scuola dei Merletti and its tiny museum to view the genuine article.

5. Ischia


Ischia, an island in the Bay of Naples, first attracted Greek and Roman settlers because of its hot springs, and tourists have since flocked there for its beautiful beaches and lush gardens. To find all three, go to Spiaggia Citara, where a luxurious thermal spa’s exquisite gardens look out onto the beach. Three open-air thermal pools are accessible from the three-kilometre beach at Spiaggia dei Maronti, which is close to the settlement of Sant’Angelo in the south.

In the summer, be ready for busy beaches; instead, take a water taxi to one of the quiet coves. You can travel to Giardini Ravino, on the west coast, to see succulents and cacti or the breathtaking La Mortella, a garden designed by Susana Walton and British musician Sir William Walton.

Ferries connect Naples and Ischia, and from either location, you can take a boat to the smaller, less populated island of Procida.

6. Elba


Elba is best known to beachgoers for the miles of beaches that border its rugged shore. It is also recognized by history lovers as the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte’s home.

Elba is an island off the coast of Tuscany that may be reached by ferry from Piombino, which is located on the Tuscan coast south of Livorno. They range from extensive sand dunes to little coves with pebble beaches. Some, like Sansone, offer gentle, shallow slopes that are suitable for families to visit. SCUBA divers frequently dive in the waters around sea bluffs.

Apart from the beaches, this place offers other activities. The island’s trails are popular with hikers, and if you enjoy vertiginous rides, you can ascend Monte Capanne in a cable car that resembles a basket.

Napoleon’s Villa dei Molini in Portoferraio and his summer home, Villa Napoleone on Monte San Martino, are two of the most visited locations.

7. Borromean Islands


On the tiny island of Isola Bella, off the coast of Stresa on Lake Maggiore, Count Vitaliano Borromeo constructed terraces in the middle of the sixteenth century, resulting in a lavish summer castle and a tiered garden that attempted to cram every characteristic of Italianate gardens into a very limited area. A sensuous explosion of gilded flourishes, huge salons, statuary, trees, flowers, and even a false cave covered in shells is the end product of both.

After your visit, you can take a leisurely stroll through the expansive gardens and covered lakeside paths of the nearby Isola Madre, which has a more modest summer castle.

The third and final Borromean Island is the fishing settlement of Isola Pescatori, where you can pause for a feast of lake fish. By boat on Lake Maggiore Isola Bella, you may conveniently see all three in a single day. You may spend as much time as you like touring the palaces and gardens on the Hop-On Hop-Off Ferry Tour from Stresa.

8. Aeolian Islands


Because of how frequently the volcano erupts, cruise liners schedule their departures from Sicily during the evening so that passengers can sit off Stromboli and view the fireworks against the starry night sky. It’s a pretty sight, and seeing it from a cruise ship’s deck chair on a warm Mediterranean night is one of Italy’s most romantic activities.

Because it is a real, active volcano, it is extra thrilling because you never know what an uncapped hole in the earth might do. In 2002, Stromboli completely destroyed one of the island’s hillsides, sending it tumbling into the water.

One of the Aeolian Islands, Stromboli, is only accessible by ferry from Messina or Milazzo and is located off the north coast of Sicily. The other six major islands of the archipelago, which all rise out of a 4,000-meter-deep seabed, are Vulcano (which is the closest to the Sicilian shore), Lípari, Salina, Filicudi, Alicudi, and Panarea.

The islands are well-liked travel destinations because of their warm climate, volcanic scenery with fumaroles and thermal springs, ancient relics (humans have lived here since the Neolithic era), as well as hiking and water sports. On the Vulcano and Lipari Aeolian Islands Daily Cruise from Messina, you can tour Lipari and see another Aeolian island.

9. Caprera & the Maddalena Islands


The Arcipelago della Maddalena in the Strait of Bonifacio, between Sardinia and Corsica, and within sight of both, appears to have been created exclusively for sailing, swimming, and relaxing on a quaint small beach of beautiful white sand. After travelling for 30 minutes from Palau, the ferry drops off tourists in one little town in northern Sardinia.

The picturesque tiny island of Caprera, which has more beaches and, for history buffs, the home and farm of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the nationalist general who brought Italy together, is connected to the main island by a causeway. On Caprera, there are numerous walking routes. The tiny Cala Coticcio is encircled by wind-sculpted rocks, and Spiaggia di Cala Brigantina is an especially lovely beach.

Once on the islands, it won’t be difficult to get a small boat to take you to a beach that can only be reached by sea. Alternatively, you can join the La Maddalena Archipelago Boat Tour from Palau, which makes stops at a number of islands and allows you to go swimming.

10. Ponza


Off the Mediterranean shore between Rome and Naples lie the little Pontine Islands. The largest of them, Ponza, is a little under eight square kilometres. Ponza is rarely visited by tourists from outside of Italy despite its legends (the witch Circe is said to have spent her summers here in Homer’s Odyssey) and popularity among Romans.

Don’t intend to bring a bicycle because of the steep terrain. The harbour is full of taxi boats and other ships you may charter to explore on your own, making it simple to view the island from the sea, which is the ideal way to do so. Alternatively, you might join a round-island cruise that makes stops at popular tourist spots and beaches.

These include sea caves, the Arco Naturale sea bridge, the Cala Feola natural pools, Roman-era caves, and starkly white cliffs. A botanical park with exotic and Mediterranean flora is located high above the town, above the port, where taffy-coloured buildings climb the roads. Ponza is accessible by ferry from Naples or Terracina, located south of Rome.

11. Giglio Island


Take a boat for the 15-kilometre trip from Porto Santo Stefano to Giglio for a change of pace from the Renaissance cities and medieval hill towns of Tuscany. The little island rises abruptly from the Tyrrhenian Sea, its rugged topography dotted with terraced farmland, Mediterranean vegetation, and extensive pine forests.

You can ride a bus between the three major coastal towns or hike the granite summits for breathtaking vistas. The majority of the sandy beaches along the coast are accessible by bus as well as a variety of cliffs, rock promontories, and coves. You can take a trip around the island to see the cliffs and sea caves, or you can take a taxi boat to other locations. In the turquoise waters that surround you, which are famous for snorkelling, you might spot dolphins.

Giglio is the ideal getaway for nature lovers and walkers, but it also includes historical landmarks, like Nero’s villa and the castle of Giglio Castello, built in the 12th century and encircled by high defensive walls and seven ancient towers.

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