Five Cool European Islands To Visit

On my travels, I have visited a lot of European islands, in fact I was born on one of them having grown up in Bangor, Northern Ireland on the island of Ireland. Being surrounded by sea is pretty cool and it does seem unusual that I now live on the mainland – i.e. Poland. However, these are my favourite European islands to visit.

Backpacking across to Herm on my lonesome to chill out…

Ireland is an island with two main countries on it – Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. I was born in Northern Ireland and of course love my wee country in the north especially Newtownards, Ballyhalbert and Belfast City. However, the south part is always worth a visit too – especially Donegal, Cork City and to kiss the Blarney Stone.

Backpacking in Belfast: Northern Ireland’s intensifying capital

Similarly to Ireland, Cyprus is an island with at least two countries on it – Northern Cyprus and Cyprus. Plus there are an extra two potential countries here that issue their own stamps and have been recognised as separate by the Travellers Century Club – British Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia so you can theoretically backpack 4 countries here on one island. I crossed the land border into the North and based myself in the only hostel in the capital city – Nicosia.

Backpacking in Northern Cyprus. Tourist alert!

Northern Cyprus to Cyprus border

You might have read about my return to Greece in 2018 after an absence of 28 years. I visited Athens on route to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. Crete is a truly tropical and beautiful island to visit, it also includes caves and historic buildings.

Crete, Greece.

Rental Center Crete
If you do visit Crete, it is recommended to tour it in a car, try a car rental in Heraklion and off you go exploring this beautiful Greek paradise. This will save you a lot of time and also give you the freedom to move around and stop whenever you want.

Heraklion, Crete

Back in 2009 while working on the Cross Channel Ferries for Condor Ferries I was able to visit 4 of the 5 main Channel Islands. I class Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Herm and Sark all as separate countries and I managed to tour all of them except for Alderney. I also visited Lihou island, off the coast of Guernsey.

sark tourist centre

At the Visitor Centre on Sark.

smallest prison sark

Outside the world’s smallest prison, Sark.

Last but not least, Malta is a beautiful island to visit. You can tour Valletta the capital city, where I based myself and also take a trip to Gozo and Comino islands. Popeye Village is worth a visit too for the uniqueness of it and if you are into unusual and less recognised countries, you need to head to Birgu and visit the Sovereign Military Order of Malta!

Backpacking in Malta: Touring Comino Island (Which Has A Population Of 3)

Thirsty Thursdays: Top 6 Bars in Valletta, Malta

Souvenirs from The Sovereign Military Order of Malta Within Fort St. Angelo

Safe travels to these cool islands!

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