There is something very special about visiting an island, particularly the smaller ones. Often populated by people who actually know the names of their neighbours – and probably half the rest of the village as well – they have a community spirit much stronger than most of us enjoy. Such communities often rely on tourism for a large portion of their income so visitors can expect a warm welcome.
For those who like to explore on foot, islands offer endless walking opportunities and the coasts of Europe are blessed with numerous options. If you prefer cooler temperatures try walking in the Outer Hebrides, Orkney or the Channel Islands. Further south the dramatic landscapes of the Canary Islands offer steep gorges, high peaks and semi-tropical valleys whilst the Aegean Sea is studded with the Cycladic Islands – perfect for those who prefer easier terrain. Or how about walking amongst the sub-tropical vegetation on the cliffs and levadas of Madeira?
Larger islands such as Sicily, Corsica and Corfu offer some more challenging treks. Try walking along the GR20 – one of Europe’s toughest long-distance routes, the equally challenging Corfu Trail or walking to the summit of Mt Etna to peer into the depths of its main crater.