From Mull to Madeira, Europe's islands have attracted admiring travellers since time immemorial. If you've yet to decide where to travel on your next island escape, here's our whirlwind guide to the twenty of the best:
Aphrodite's heartland is home to ten famous Byzantine churches, as well as numerous ancient vineyards where you can sample local vintages.
With year-round sunshine beaming down on its historic capital, Valletta, Malta draws culture connoisseurs and sun-seekers alike to its shores.
Hot springs, geysers and volcanos characterise the dramatic landscape of this island nation, known for its spellbinding folk tales and sagas.
Romanesque and Baroque churches are liberally scattered across this French isle, where residents enjoy the fruits of a thriving agricultural heritage.
Once mined for its rich granite resources, Cavallo is now a tranquil hideaway for keen sailors and golfers, situated a mere 2.3km from Corsica.
Travellers can relish fine couture and cuisine on this enchanting island, but in amongst the boutiques and bars there lies an untarnished coastal landscape.
Sitting under the smoky shadow of Mount Etna, hearty cuisine and an energetic atmosphere guarantee a homely reception at the bridging point between Europe and Africa.
The mythical home of Dionysus has a vibrant tradition of music and dance and the whitest beaches in the region.
Once home to Grecian shipping magnates, the bustling port capital is still peppered with grand historic estates.
Mountain hideaways provide total serenity on this peaceful island, where vestiges of old Greek traditions still linger in remote villages.
The coast of Santorini is awash with hidden coves, and touring by schooner or yacht is one of the best ways to observe its majestic volcano.
Known as the setting for Captain Correlli's Mandolin, verdant Kafalonia is a haven of shady groves and tranquil beaches.
In the meandering passageways of Rethymno you'll find traces of the ancient Minoans, the first advanced civilisation in Europe, dating back four millenia.
Voted by Forbes as one of the most idyllic places to live in Europe, Patmos has a deeply spiritual side as the place where the Book of Revelations was penned.
Ibiza's celebrated nightlife is matched only by its fine dining. At Marina Botafoch yachting port, there's a wealth of world-class seafood eateries to whet the appetite.
The smallest island in the Balearic archipelago, Formentera is known for its wild beauty. Glistening waters and vast beaches draw in nature-lovers, but it remains secluded enough for a romantic escape.
Pine-covered mountains and a windswept coast make this island a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors. Windsurfers, sailors and paddle-boarders gather among the waves each summer.
Bronze Age sites, cascading hills and sprawling wetlands lend a rustic majesty to this UNESCO biosphere reserve.
This former military base is charmingly quiet and reclusive, with pretty stone villages and vineyards that are easily traversed by bicycle.
While the weather here may be somewhat chillier than in the Mediterranean, Sylt's picturesque boutiques, cottages and saunas make this northern European island a worthy rival to the charms of its southern cousins.
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