CNN Travel: Skyros Among Europe’s Best Island Escapes

Desperate to ditch the crowds this summer? Don’t worry. CNN Travel has compiled a handy list of Europe’s Top 10 islands for getting away from almost everyone.


If Europe has one thing in abundance, it’s islands. From the windswept seascapes of the North Atlantic to the deep sapphire waters of the Aegean, Europe is home to tens of thousands of islands, providing ample choice for travelers in search of the ultimate escape.

For many, the sun-drenched Greek islands are synonymous with warm weather, sandy beaches, and seclusion. Families, couples, lone travelers, young and old, flock to the Greek isles every summer for that much-needed relaxing holiday. The reality, however, is oftentimes quite different. The burgeoning popularity of resort islands like Mykonos and Santorini, despite their spectacular natural beauty, have become wildly overcrowded in recent years, leaving many to seek out lesser-known islands for a more peaceful, isolated experience.

 

Just as many are searching for cheaper options for their summer escape this year, thanks to the ongoing energy crisis and the rising cost of living, CNN Travel has recently compiled a helpful list of Europe’s top 10 islands to enable visitors to “ditch the crowds and get closer to nature.”

On the list is Greece’s very own Skyros, one of two dozen islands in the largely uninhabited Sporades chain in the northeast Aegean. Overshadowed by its more popular neighbors, Skiathos and Skopelos, both famous for being the filming locations of the hit 2008 film “Mama Mia!”, Skyros lies in the southernmost corner of the archipelago, accessible by ferry from the mainland (5 hours from Athens) or nearby Evia, or by direct flight from Athens and Thessaloniki. Despite its strategic position at the heart of the Aegean, Skyros still feels deliciously remote.

“With the exception of the lead up to Lent – when Skyros’ famous carnival puts the island into nonstop party mode with parades and costumed revelry and an inundation of Athenians – it’s a supremely peaceful place,” notes the article.

Described among its many highlights are the secluded beaches, the Byzantine castle towering above the main town of Hora, and the island’s wild horses, one of the oldest and rarest horse breeds in the world.

Of the ten islands on the list, only two are in the Mediterranean, the other being Alicudi, the westernmost and most remote of Sicily’s volcanic Aeolian Islands. Unsurprisingly, the remainder are scattered around the more remote North Atlantic, the North Sea, and the far north of the Baltic Sea, offering visitors peaceful island escapes amid wild nature, unspoiled by mass tourism, and some of Europe’s most pristine beaches.

The full list:

  1. Schiermonnikoog, the Netherlands
  2. Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
  3. Flores Island, Azores, Portugal
  4. Naustholmen, Norway
  5. Isle of Tiree, Scotland, UK
  6. Berlengas archipelago, Portugal
  7. Alicudi, Sicily, Italy
  8. Skyros, Greece
  9. Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland, UK
  10. Fasta Åland, Finland


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