6 Summer Islands in Europe for the Cultural Traveller

Love to discover new places, but also just wanna read a book in the sun and relax for summer? Combine long sandy beaches with exploring new cultural sights on these 6 European summer islands.

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Young me on Comino, Malta

Half of the recommendations are located in Northern Europe, and this is because these destinations are just best or can only be experienced in summertime. If you go further south for the summer, it will most likely be very hot, but islands are normally a bit windy, and therefore much better than the mainland.



The whole idea of leaving town for relaxing and rebooting near fresh air and water is in many ways a German invention. So what better place to do just that than in Germany. And what better place than where some of the oldest beach hotels are located: on the north-western island of Rügen. Men like Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein and Otto von Bismarck all came here for the fresh air.

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As you can see the weather was not that great and then a beach island is really not the same. But luckily there’s some historical interesting sights nearby. You must absolutely rent one of those beach-chair-boxes. They can recline and protects you from the wind.

Most people stay in or near Binz, which has an amazing old beach hotel. If you book well (well) ahead, you can rent one of the old white wooden houses. Another German island I would like to try it is Sylt.


I haven’t been there, but loyal travel partner in crome – my sister – has been. And she recommends it as one of the best summer islands in Europe. According to her it’s one of the most expensive Greek islands, but it’s worth it, since it also extraordinary beautiful and geared for the picky traveller. But of course if it’s high season, there will be a huge amount of other travellers, so make sure to avoid peak time. Unless, there’s corona. 


She recommends doing a wine tasting on one of the vineyards, visiting the city of Oia (but not staying here) and jumping in the ocean at Kamari Beach and Red Beach. Rent a car and in a week, you can discover most of this island paradise.


Bornholm is nothing like the rest of Denmark. It’s more like Sweden: rocky, plenty of elbow space and they speak weirdly. The island is also called “the Sunshine Island” and “the Island of Cliffs”. This is due to the fact, that it’s the place with the most hours of sunshine and the only place with cliffs in Denmark.


The island has a large number of round churches and a museum for the painter Oluf Høst. See if this is the island is for you in Ice cream & herring on the Sunshine Island of Bornholm, Denmark!


Malta is on top of everybody’s lists this year. This is probably because the capital Valetta is European Capital of Culture. So you probably already have that on your summer to dos. But here’s another one for you:Just like Gotland has the smaller friend Fårö, so Malta has Gozo & Comino.


Besides the really cool name, it has the most turquoise water I have seen anywhere in the world. The island is quite small, but if you like me need some cultural injection, there’s a few sites. Most importantly a cave called Calypso’s cave, where Odysseus was held captured by Calpypso (perfect travel book for Gozo). Other sights include churches, temples, fortresses and old salt pans, but of course the nature is major attraction and diving is popular.

Listed above are juts some of the reason why even Odysseus stayed here for 7 years! The bluest island in Europe: Gozo, Malta


Croatia is topping the lists and with good reason. The coast is beautiful and the food is great. But there are also plenty of islands to explore. Again, this is my sister’s recommendations, since I’ve only been to the mainland.


To get to the island grab a ferry from Split and make sure to book in advance if it’s high season. One day is fine, more days is more. Climb up to see the convent Fortica in the mornings, head for the small pebble beaches or find a pool in a nice hotel like Amfora Hvar Grand Resort, and spend the afternoon getting lost in the small streets away from the crowds.


Actually, you have to visit two islands for this one… First the Swedish island of Gotland, where the main town of Visby is also recommended by me in Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Europe! From here you take the ferry the smaller island of Fårö, which is a secret summer island.

gotland old house

You will meet sheep, long stretches of sand and water and definitely meet some Ingmar Bergman fans (like me & my husband). You can have most of the island to yourself, relax and eat delicious locally grown food. Bring the family or your lover and watch the sunset from the unique stone formations on the island.

Find out why this island is the best summer destination in The secret summer island of sheep & Bergman: Fårö, Sweden!

What’s your favourite summer island?

My son and I on Fårö, Sweden