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coastal escape

Eight Idyllic Island & Coastal Escapes

Read time - 4 minutes 

From the towering cliffs that weather the crashing, foam-tipped waves of the Atlantic to the idyllic, sun-soaked beaches of the Mediterranean, Europe's many diverse and entrancing islands come to life during the summer.

Best Dramatic Cliff Tops

Madeira

Near Boaventura, Madeira 

Madeira’s jagged mountains etch a formidable outline on the Atlantic horizon. Its dramatic landscapes plunge into a series of gullies, cliffs and waterfalls into the Atlantic.

We’ll tackle fascinating high- altitude walks, invigorating coastal tracks and ancient pathways through arboreal forests with stunning views of the island’s highest mountain, Pico Ruivo.

Find out more about Walking Madeira.

Best for Ancient History

Greece

Santorini, Greece 

The epicentre of all that’s captivating about island escapes, the Cyclades island group- a sun-baked cluster southeast of the mainland in the Aegean Sea – offer up some of Greece’s most important archaeological treasures, the prettiest villages and dramatic landscapes. And everywhere, those dazzling azure seas. 

We explore the Greek Islands of Paros, Santorini and Naxos hopping from lush valleys to sandy beaches, citrus orchards to Venetian towns. 

Find out more about Walking on the Greek Islands.

Best for Iconic Views

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, Italy 

Coastal walking doesn’t get much better than the curvaceous corner of northern Italy known as the Italian Riviera. The Cinque Terre is a succession of five well-preserved medieval fishing villages.

Sherbet coloured villas cling to steep terraces - nowhere better encapsulates this dazzling beauty than the 16 century fishing village of Portofino. The port that launched a million post cards.

Find out more about Walks of the Cinque Terre & Portofino

Best for Volcanoes

Sicily

An explosive introduction to Sicily and its Aeolian Islands – a smoky string of volcanic landfalls off Sicily’s northern coast. Explore volcanoes famous for their fumaroles and mud baths - fiery Stromboli, which has been erupting almost continuously since 1932, and of course the mighty Etna: the heart of this most dramatic of island clusters.

Find out more about Sicilian Volcanoes.

Best for Hidden Beaches

Mallorca

Northern Mallorca really is a world apart. If you’ve only experienced the sultry, resort studded south, prepare to be pleasantly – no, make that dramatically surprised. Here the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range informs everything: rising to craggy peaks, falling to sleepy villages and rocky coves.

Mule tracks weave their way between hamlets, citrus trees and olive groves and in Deia a clutch of art galleries and fine restaurants offer a little creature comfort too. Well, you’ve earned it after those mountain hikes…

Find out more about Walking in Mallorca.

Best for Winter Sun

Tenerife

It might come as a shock for some, but Tenerife can rightly stake its claim to be one of Europe’s most diverse and ecologically arresting islands. We’ll explore this Canary Island's rich biodiversity, cultural heritage and dramatic terrain on our eye-opening itinerary.

Ascending the volcanic terrain of Mount Guajara (one of the islands highest peaks), you're rewarded with spectacular and contrasting views of the south island and the inside of the national park caldera.

Find out more about the Secrets of Tenerife.

Best for Waterfalls

Croatia

Waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes N.P, Croatia 

The coastline of Croatia has more than a thousand outlying islands- rock outcrops some no bigger than a football pitch, which form an aquatic, offshore national park.

We stick to the tiny unmarked trails to discover some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in Europe. Discover the castle, fortified town and sun-warmed rocks – the perfect picnic spots. The mainland, is no less dramatic, with epic waterfalls in Krka National Park being a real highlight.

Find out more about Croatia: Islands & Mountains.

Best for Hot Springs and Geysers

Iceland

Strokkur, Iceland 

Some islands never fail to surprise us, somehow managing to squeeze more sights, more world-class walking opportunities per square mile than seems physically possible. Such is the case with Iceland.

At the northern edge of Europe, wonder awaits. This full-circuit trekking itinerary includes five of the best walking areas in Iceland. And for an island as blessed with walking opportunities as this, that’s really saying something. Our highlight? The lunar-like landscape of Lake Myvatn, with its hot springs, craters and lava fields. Otherworldly and magical – a bit like Iceland itself.

Find out more about Iceland Explorer.

If you're longing for an island or coastal escape, view more of our trips below.

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