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colourful houses overlooking the sea in one of italy’s harbours

Italy is well known for its tranquil island list, where you can spend your days lounging on their beautiful beaches. Explore the 5 most popular islands Italy has to offer by referring to our essential guide. You can discover what makes each island irresistible, how to arrive safely and reasons why you may want to visit again and again. Get ready to book your flights because our Italian island list will have you craving your next holiday.

Table of Contents:

How Many Islands are in Italy?

  • 100 islands located in lakes and lagoons (eg. 5 islands in Lake Garda and 1 island in Lake Como)
  • 350 italian islands located at sea (13 of these are archipelago islands)

In total there are 450 islands in Italy. All of the Italian islands which make the list are not inhabited, but can often be visited by plane or boat. Similar to Italy’s mainland, each island or region can offer visitors a diverse landscape, culture and climate. It is easy to understand how Italy became known for its islands when we take Venice as an example. Within the city of Venice they count 32 lagoon islands within its territory and this can be replicated through other regions of Italy too.

an italian coastal town overlooking the sea filled with boats

5 of the Most Popular Italian Islands

Capri

The Italian island of Capri makes our list as it is a popular choice with holiday makers. Its breathtaking views and crystal blue waters capture the hearts of many who visit. What is perfect about this location is that you can visit for the day or spend longer if you wish. We are sure you can never see too many pastel houses in Italy! If you do decide to visit this beautiful island, be sure to try the world-famous Limoncello! 

Fun fact: Limoncello first originated in Capri, although the date varies around the early 20th century. What makes this liquor special is the type of lemons used. To try authentic limoncello, it must be made using lemons from Costiera Amalfitana (Amalfi Coast), as these types of lemons are rich with essential oils and fragrant with a fresh aroma! 

How to get there:

  • You can only reach the island of Capri by sea. Ferries can depart from Naples and Sorrento during the year but in the summer you can also reach the island from Positano, Amalfi, Salerno and Ischia.

Sicily

Sicily is found to be the largest island in the Mediterranean. This Italian island is on our list as it can be the perfect holiday spot, since it has something to offer every type of traveller. With turquoise waters, white limestone cliffs and beaches galore, you will not be short of things to explore in Sicily. A must-see on this popular Italian Island is hiking to the top of Mount Etna. Not only can you say you’re an adventurous traveller, ascending to the top of Europe’s highest active volcano, the sights you will see at the summit are truly breathtaking!

How to get there:

  • By plane – Sicily has two national airports (Lampedusa and Pantelleria) and four international airports in Catania, Palermo, Trapani and Comiso. You can reach Sicily by plane from the majority of European cities or on long haul flights from further afield. From the UK, direct flights are easy to come by with all major UK airlines (British Airways, TUI, EasyJet, Ryanair). You can reach Sicily from the majority of major airports including:
  • By ferry – Sicily has a ferry service which is connected to Genoa, Naples, Sardinia and Malta. 
  • By train – You can reach the Italian island of Sicily by train as there are connections from Rome and Naples to Messina.
window view overlooking a calm italian island sea

Sardinia

Next on our list is the Italian island of Sardinia. Sardinia has been named as one of the most beautiful islands in the world and makes a perfect location for your next Italian holiday. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean, you will feel welcomed by locals and can try unique wines, delicious food and walk along stunning beaches. A popular location to see is the town of Porto Cervo. Rivaling Monaco and St Tropez, for its glamour and luxury, Porto Cervo is another playground for the rich and famous. Besure to have your cameras ready because you may spot a handful of celebrities spending time on their private yachts. It’s an area not to be missed! 

Sardinia is often characterised for having breathtaking locations in the form of hiking trails, mountains and forests. Once you visit you can experience all these wonderful areas for yourself.

How to get there:

  • By plane – You can reach Sardinia by flying into one of the three island airports (Cagliari Elmas Airport, Aeroporto di Olbia Costa Smeralda and Alghero Airport). 
  • By ferry – Sardinia can be accessed from ferry ports in Spain, France and Italy. The services are more frequent in peak season (mid-June to mid-September) but it is advised to book ahead to ensure you reserve your space and avoid disappointment.

Elba

The island of Elba made our list as it is the largest island in the Tuscan Archipelago. This popular island is famously known as the place of exile for Napoleon, and you can even visit his homes while on the island. If history is not really your thing, you can still appreciate this Italian island on our list by walking upon one of the 150 stretches of beaches. The most popular beach destination to visit while on the island includes the resort of Marina di Campo. This region can offer ultra-fine sand and dreamy blue waters, which will make you want to stay longer! If you are lucky enough, you may even be able to find treasure on the island of Elba when trekking through the slopes of Mount Capanne. It is known that people have come across quartz and crystal gemstones on the slopes as it is mineral-rich!  

How to get there:

  • By plane – You can reach the island of Elba by flying like a local with the trusted airline Elbafly. This company has flights daily from the airport Marina di Campo.
  • By ferry – Catch a ferry from Piombino Marittima to the island of Elba. During the summer months, the four sailing companies operate everyday but it’s best to book your tickets in advance.
a view overlooking an italian beach filled with umbrellas

Corsica

Corsica holds elements of both Italian and French heritage, but is owned by France. Located as the first landfall from the harbours in the south of France, you will find magnificent mountain ranges and pristine waters that can take your breath away. Due to the Islands Mediterranean climate, you can experience average temperatures of 27 degrees celsius all year round. Perfect for those who’s home climates can be cold and wet! Although not a traditional Italian island, we added it to our list as it can be a must see location to try!

How to get there:

  • By plane – You can fly into one of Corsica’s four airports (Bastia Poretta Airport, Calvi Airport Sainte-Catherine, Figari South Corsica Airport, Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport).
  • By boat – you can catch a day or night time ferry to one of the island’s seven ports which can take anywhere between 50 minutes and 12 hours, depending on your starting location. The quickest journey is from Sante Teresa di Gallura in Sardinia. You can also reach the shores of Corsica by ferry from Nice, Toulon, Livorno and Savona. With the ever growing demand to reach this island, there can be up to 30 ferry crossings per day between the mainland and Corsica! This ensures you can reach this destination with ease.

Experience Your Own Dolce Vita

Experience your own dolce vita when choosing one of the Italian islands from our list. Each one has something special to offer visitors which you may not find in other regions of the globe. From active volcano trips, to unique hiking trails, you certainly won’t be bored on your next European holiday. If you have been inspired by our Italian island list, be sure to let us know your experiences!

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