Who says you have to jet off to the Caribbean to bask in the island lifestyle? Here, we give you the skinny on a few of Europe’s top places to find paradise. Throw some sunscreen in a weekend bag, and get ready to experience the continent’s ultimate hideaways.
Most Gorgeous Island in Europe
Santorini is the quintessential Greek island: pastel buildings, soaring cliffs and some of the clearest, most crystalline waters you’ll ever see. Head to Oia for the stunning scenery, or spend a week kicking back on the magnificent black-sand beaches scattered across the coast.
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
Luxury and excitement seem to permeate the air in Fuerteventura. This is where the jet-setting scene goes when Ibiza gets too crowded; golfing and sunning are the activities by day, but the island really sizzles when the sun goes down. Have that extra cup of afternoon coffee, and get into the swing of things at the late-night clubs.
Mainland, Orkney Islands
Europe’s best islands aren’t restricted to the shores of Spain and Greece. Scotland has a horse in the race with Orkney’s breathtaking Mainland, and this must-see spot calls to beach lovers and history buffs alike. Start your trip at the tranquil Dingieshowe Beach, head to the historical Skara Brae, and then make your way to St. Mary’s for a peek at the eastern village. Want a little inside advice? Use your American Express Platinum travel points to score a deal on a local hotel. The perfect Mainland vacation is always anchored by a truly fantastic place to stay.
Capri, Province of Naples
Its name conjures images of hushed ocean views and spectacular grottoes, but Capri is more than its mythology. Wowing visitors for centuries, this Italian island captures antiquity and modernity in equal measure. Take a leisurely walk along the oceanfront promenades, or let the scenery wash away every bit of stress at the historical Marina Grande.
Jersey, Channel Islands
This one’s for the adventurers. Name an outdoor activity, and Jersey offers it: Kayaking, sailing, and surfing are just a few of the options in this United Kingdom paradise. Plus, St. Helier is a fantastic place to shop, dine and relax at a local cafe. When you want an unforgettable getaway that’s a touch closer to home, Jersey makes the grade.
Crete may be one of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean, but don’t let the crowds keep you from visiting. Despite the throngs of sun-seeking tourists, this classic Greek isle retains every bit of its original charm. Mythology enthusiasts will love Mount Ida, history lovers can catch of glimpse of ancient fortresses, and the Old Venetian Harbor offers endless ways to spend a laid-back weekend.
Minorca, Balearic Islands
Welcome to Spain’s most jaw-dropping gem. Honeymooners and serenity seekers alike flock to Minorca for its relatively quiet atmosphere, and outdoor enthusiasts get their kicks at the windsurfing and skiing spots. If Majorca feels too mainstream for your tastes, this picturesque spot is the answer. Bon voyage, globe trotters.