Escape to hidden gems

Our Favorite “Secret” Islands of Europe

September 4, 2020

Who doesn’t like the idea of a deserted paradise island with fewer crowds and more freedom? The Art In Voyage Team has compiled this list of our personal favorite “secret” Islands of Europe that many have never heard of or considered visiting. One of these island, Port Cros Island, notorious for its palm trees and protected marine life, is the birthplace of Art In Voyage Founder and CEO, Mikael Audebert.

Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voygae
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, by Art In Voyage

Lastovo Island, Croatia

Lasvoto is located in the south of Dalmatia region, Croatia. Being the furthest inhabited Croatian island, this island prides itself in its untouched, beautiful nature – making it the best choice in the Adriatic sea and one of the best Islands of Europe for those dreaming of a peaceful holiday. Lastovo is the most forested Croatian island, with 70% of the surface is covered in forest and it is the largest island in the Lastovo archipelago which counts 46 small islands and cliffs – in 2007 Lastovo islands were proclaimed a nature park. It is ideal for both lovers of active or passive holidays. Since the island is mountainous and mainly covered in the forest there is a possibility to go hiking, walking, or even cycling; the island has marked hiking and cycling trails. Bike rental is possible only in Pasadur. The island has no poisonous species (snakes or spiders) so you can safely go hiking. For those who like the submarine world, there are two diving centers, in Pasadur and Zaklopatica.

Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage

Pico Island, Azores

Pico Island is located in the central island group of the Azores. The island is less than 30 minutes in length and can be completely circled in about 3 hours. One of our most recommended Islands of Europe, Pico offers countless unique activities that you can’t miss when you’re on the island. Firstly, Pico is the second-largest island of the Azores archipelago – After Sao Miguel. In spite of being mostly volcanic, it still boasts an incredible variety of landscapes. Between the green meadows, the lava fields, the UNESCO World-Heritage worthy vineyards, and the views over the neighboring islands, there is a lot to wonder about in Pico Island. Start by climbing the highest peak in Portugal, Mount Pico, although it can be difficult due to the lava rock formations that create a very tricky terrain. You can’t hike Mount Pico? No worries, it’s not all about trekking Mount Pico. There are easier and flatter options – explore the island on foot and visit the Whale museums in Lajes do Pico, which reminds us of fortunately a forbidden whale hunting since 1986.

Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voygae
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage

Gozo Island, Malta

Despite being the largest island in the archipelago, Malta’s Gozo Island is not a very well-known destination, enabling its unique tranquility and sparkling coves. This rugged island surrounded by cerulean waters forms the perfect backdrop for myths and legends – and for films. The island is featured in the first episode of Game of Thrones, despite such claims ti fame, Malta’s smaller sister island remains unspoiled and untamed. North Africa, Arabia, and Sicily meet in this sizzling and spiky stone in the sea. Spend your days swimming in sparkling coves, sipping a Kinnie – the locals’ favorite orange-flavored fizzy drink – in the sun, and feasting on plates of sea urchin spaghetti.

Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage

Prangli island, Estonia

Estonia has over 2000 islands scattered off its ranging coastline, most of them dotting the brisk Baltic Sea. Prangli Island is located just 30 km from Estonia’s capital. It is the only Northern Estonian Island that has been continuously inhabited for more than 600 years. It has its own dialect of the Estonian language, a very diverse nature with plants that can boost your immune system, friendly locals, and strong traditions in fishing. Mass tourism hasn’t touched the small island, so it still has wonderful and lonely sandy beaches. Prangli pine forests create enough fresh air to overwhelm the senses. Come and visit this beautiful Estonian island. Being one of the ‘secret’ Islands of Europe, activities on offer are more authentic, including exploring the nature reserve, traditional ferry rides, open-top jeep drives, and going off the beaten path to authentic fishing villages offering local island food.

Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voygae

Filicudi Island, Sicily

The best European island for an under the radar Italian escape. Filicudi Island is located in the west of the archipelago, and it is less well known than other islands, but no less enchanting. Slightly oval in shape, and has only one true settlement, Filicudi Port: the rest of the island has maintained, due to the massive emigration of the fifties, the unspoiled look of the absence of man. In fact, even during the hottest periods of the year, Filicudi can boast of its calm and tranquility. Since 1997 the island has been able to count on the protection of its natural beauty. The coast of Filicudi is typically high and rocky, with some exceptions such as Pecorino Mari, which has a magnificent beach with pebbles.

The northwest has many places where you can take a dip in the water, but accessible only by boat. The island is the Aeolians’ best-kept secret, a wild paradise with clear waters and few visitors. Arrive at Filicudi Port, a simple place where you can rent boats and dine on the island’s spaghetti alla filicudara – with capers, olives, anchovies, and rosemary – and pick up sugar-coated sfinci doughnuts at the bakery. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, and there are no swimming pools on the island; stay at Casa Belquis, just three minutes by scooter from the island’s best beach, Pecorini a Mare.

Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage
Islands of Europe, By Art In Voyage

Port Cros Island, France

As always said, “save the best for the last” – This island is the birthplace of our very own CEO, Mikael Audebert. Port Cros Island is located between Porquerolles island and Le Levant island, it’s the smallest of the three islands which make the Golden Islands. Since 1963, the entire island has become a National Park and is unique in Europe as the park takes in a maritime zone that extends 600 meters around the coast. Port Cros Island is the first national park in Europe and on the Mediterranean sea – Its sea bottom is preserved, and the fauna and flora is exceptional with its meadowsweet smelling. The National park has three main hiking trails for adventurous people, the first one is the botanical trail that lets you discover all the richness of the port Cros Vegetation. This walk will take you along the coast and give you incredible views of the sea, then come back to the village through the island’s interior beauty and nature. All trails on this island have their own distinct highlights, making each experience of a different trail an adventure in itself. Nature, beautiful views of the sea, mountains, and superb marine life are just some of the reasons why Port Cros Island is one of our favorite Islands of Europe!