8 Best Italian Islands to Visit
Best for: Food, beaches, and rustic charm
Situated between Italy and Africa, Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean. It boasts pristine beaches, such as Cala Gonone and Tuerredda, and picturesque traditional towns nestled within rugged mountain landscapes. Savor the local delights, including crumbly pecorino cheese, succulent suckling pig, and tantalizing lobster stew.
Best for: History and architectural wonders
Sicily, with its distinct character, stands apart from mainland Italy. The island showcases a captivating blend of ancient Greek temples, baroque buildings, Norman churches, and Palermo's art nouveau kiosks. Explore Sicily's rich history and soak up the sun on its picture-perfect beaches.
Elba and the Tuscan Archipelago
Best for: Pristine beaches and scenic landscapes
The Tuscan Archipelago, including Elba, surprises visitors with its tropical-like beaches amid the rolling hills and Renaissance art of Tuscany. Elba, famous as Napoleon's place of exile, offers powdery sands comparable to the Caribbean. Embark on hikes to Monte Cappane for breathtaking views of the archipelago.
Best for: Idyllic wild swimming
Discover the hidden gem of Ponza, a tiny island characterized by colorful houses climbing steep hillsides. Explore the ancient Roman caves carved into the island's rockface, relax on crescent-shaped beaches, and savor freshly caught seafood and cactus parmigiana at beachfront restaurants. Ponza is a paradise for ocean lovers.
Best for: Luxury and natural beauty
Capri's striking beauty has attracted artists and intellectuals for centuries. With towering limestone cliffs, azure waters dotted with yachts, and sun-kissed beach clubs, it's an opulent summertime escape. Consider visiting in the off-season to avoid the crowds and experience the island's fragrant wildflowers and warm sea temperatures.
Best for: Volcanic hot springs and local charm
For a more authentic experience than Capri, take a ferry to Ischia. This volcanic island offers invigorating hot springs, glorious beaches frequented by Neapolitans, and a bustling atmosphere. Explore Giardini la Mortella, marvel at Aragonese Castle's dramatic view, and indulge in shopping in the village of Sant'Angelo.
Lipari and the Aeolian Islands
Best for: Hiking and dramatic landscapes
The Aeolian Islands, including Lipari, are known for their volcanic cliffs and canyons shaped by eruptions. Lipari's vibrant town is an ideal base for exploring the archipelago. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the frequent eruptions of Stromboli volcano and visit the stunning white canyon, Cave di Pomice.
Best for: Colorful houses and laid-back atmosphere
Despite being the smallest island on the list, Procida's pastel-painted buildings overlooking the Bay of Naples make it an unmissable destination. Explore the maze-like streets lined with charming wine bars, cafés, and restaurants. Enjoy the island's pretty beaches, and indulge in seafood delicacies and refreshing lemon granita.
Experience the magic of Italy's best islands, each offering a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and authentic culture.