To get away from it all this summer and recharge your batteries in a unique location you don't need to leave Europe! And on islands like Menorca and Elba, you won't even need to fight for a spot at the beach. Here are just 20 of the Europe's lesser-known islands to give you some inspiration for your next beach holiday.
Located in the Azores, Flores is one of the nine islands that make up the Portuguese archipelago. The green rock in the atlantic is covered in waterfalls and peaceful lakes that make for excellent vistas while hiking. Although the Azores enjoy relative popularity among tourists, Flores is even less visited. Take a boat tour of the island's impressive coastline to see all of its nooks, crannies and secrets.
Rügen Island, Germany
Rügen is a favourite destinations among German holiday makers. It's Germany's largest island by land area and it's perfect for those who want to escape the heat. The Baltic Coast isn't known for its warm climate, but it can get quite pleasant in the summer: never too hot, but not too cold.
Jasmund National Park and the chalk cliffs are not to be missed. Spa and water sports enthusiasts will also have plenty to do!
Nicknamed the island of flowers, Bréhat is located 10 minutes by boat from the Porte d'Arcouest in Brittany. The flora and the landscapes are exceptional. Take the time to walk or bike around the island community that's car-free and admire the wild creeks and typical houses. The island is also home to 270 pairs of puffins that nest in the rocks from May or April until July.
Elba Island, Italy
Curiously spared by tourists, the island of Elba is nevertheless a real gem of the Tuscan archipelago. Whether you fancy sublime beaches, rolling forests or majestic cliffs, you'll find beauty everywhere you turn.
It's also the island where Napoleon notoriously spent his time in exile and you can pay a visit to the Napoleonic Residences to see how he lived.
Lewis and Harris, Scotland
You may have heard of this Scottish island with Viking origins in the Outer Hebrides, but did you know it was voted the 5th most beautiful islands on the planet by TripAdvisor in 2014? They can be reached by ferry or propeller aircraft from the Highlands region. You can stroll alongside sheep or seals, walk on brightly coloured beaches or get lost along the Golden Road and its mesmerizing landscapes of lakes and wild coves.