What islands in Italy are worth visiting – 10 best islands

by Guide Nancy
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photo of an island in italy

The full list of Italian islands includes over 400 names. There are not only islands in the sea, but lake and river ones as well. Most of them have many tourist facilities and can be the best places to spend your holiday. You will enjoy fishing, diving, swimming or boating. Or maybe you are more interested in history and like to visit some places where Napoleon and Garibaldi lived? Italian islands give you a lot of opportunities. But the problem is how to choose the most suitable option among hundreds of so different and beautiful islands. Let’s get through the top ten islands in Italy to help you make the right choice.

1) Sicily

Sicily is the largest island not only in Italy, but in the whole Mediterranean sea. It is located to the south of the mainland and is known as a major tourist destination. Besides the local beaches, there are a lot of natural and historic sites like Mount Etna, old cities of Syracuse, Palermo and well-preserved buildings of the Greek period. According to the UNESCO rating, Sicily has seven world heritage sights. Moreover, the Sicilian language and culture are different from Italian ones. So, the Sicilians consider themselves a separate people. Don’t forget about this while visiting the island.

Photo of houses by the sea
Photo of houses by the sea

2) Sardinia

Sardinia is the second largest island in Italy. Together with Sicily, they form the so-called Insular Italy region. Tourism is the fast-growing sector of Sardinian economics. Every year millions of people visit the island. Sardinia is well known for its national parks. About ¼ of the island’s territory is environmentally preserved. Here you will also find a lot of beaches, ancient ruins and other tourist activities. Like in Sicily, the Sardinia inhabitants prefer to say that they are a separate nation with their own language and culture.

3)    Capri

Apart from the large islands, there are a lot of smaller ones along the coast of Italy. And probably the most beautiful one is Capri in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Many poets and writers from different countries visited this island and reflected this experience in their works. Even in our days Capri is the destination for elite tourists. So, it can be quite expensive for common people. But anyway, the warm subtropical climate, natural caves and high cliffs make Capri one of the most beautiful places to visit.

4)    Ischia

The island of Ischia is also located in the Tyrrhenian sea. This island is known for the Aragonese Castle built on a rock, beautiful villas and other historical sights. Thanks to volcanic origin, Ischia has a lot of thermal waters that make it one of the largest spas in the region. Every year people come here to climb the local mountains and enjoy thermal springs, fishing and boat tours.

5)    Caprera

Caprera is a small island north of Sardinia. Most of the island’s territory is covered with forests and this is the best place to spend your vacation in nature without any ruffles or excitement. Also, Caprera will suit those who like sailing. This sport is very popular on the island and even a special sailing school has been established here. One more place that is worth visiting is the museum of Giuseppe Garibaldi. This famous Italian revolutionary spent the last years of his life on Caprera.

photo of an island in Italy
photo of an island in Italy

6)    Elba

Elba is a Mediterranean island known for one more famous inhabitant. From 1814 to 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte spent his first exile on Elba. So, here you can visit museums devoted to the former French Emperor. Speaking about more up-to-date activities, on Elba there are a lot of options for diving, hiking and tasting local dishes. So, everyone will find things to do according to their preferences.

7)    Stromboli

Stromboli is not just an island but one of the four active volcanoes in Italy. A lot of people come to this island to see minor eruptions that occur periodically. But be careful, it is forbidden to go to the top of the volcano alone – only with a special guide. If you violate this rule, you can get a huge fine. After descending from the volcano, you can do less dangerous things like diving, taking boat tours, and tasting local cuisine.

8)    Lipari

Lipari is one more island of volcanic origin located to the north of Sicily. Here you can enjoy boat tours, visit ancient ruins and medieval buildings, go hiking to the mountains or just relax at one of the local beaches. Also, tourists can explore some volcanoes that are absolutely safe – last eruptions took place hundreds thousand years ago.

9)    Giglio

Giglio is one more island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. This is a cool place for wild nature lovers, because most of the island is covered with forests. So, you have a very high chance to see free-roaming animals. Diving and fishing are other options for Giglio’s visitors. Also, it should be mentioned that up to 2014, one of the main local sights was the half-sunk liner Costa Concordia. The huge ship looked really impressive. But later the liner was towed to the port of Genoa.

Photo of a yacht sailing near a coastal village
Photo of a yacht sailing near a coastal village

10) Ponza

Ponza is an island west of the mainland. As many islands mentioned above, this one also originated due to volcanic activity. Ponza is a local center of boating and fishing activities. Many tourists from mainland Italy and other countries come here for these reasons. Apart from fishing, people on Ponza raise domestic animals and birds like chickens, rabbits and goats. All this contributes to the local cuisine variety.


As was mentioned before, Italy has a lot of different islands. They can be large like Sardinia and Sicily that even form separate administrative regions or rather small. Almost all of them can offer you boat or fishing tours and guided excursions to historical sights. Some of the islands are active or sleeping volcanoes that can be very interesting for tourists looking for some extreme activities.

But what all Italian islands have in common is local cuisine based on seafood and fish. Moreover, you can anyway enjoy beaches and great sea views. So, whatever Italian island you decide to visit, you will enjoy every minute spent there.

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