This list is ranked by the average amount of Google searches for each island per month, and in the case of a tie, the number of Instagram hashtags with the island’s name was used instead. In total, 1,946 islands were checked for their popularity.

The most popular island in all of Europe is Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, located on the African plate just West of the southern tip of Morocco. With 165 thousand monthly searches, it’s home to the tallest peak in Spain, the monumental mount Teide, and has two airports to handle the passenger traffic. What makes it famous though are its expansive beaches where millions of British people can bask in the Sun they can’t find at home, easily explaining how this is the most popular island among UK tourists.

In second place is Lanzarote, another one of the Canaries, with 135 thousand searches per month on average. Lanzarote is much more arid than Tenerife, being geologically older than the islands further west, the most that really grows are grasses and shrubs. It features beautiful black-sand beaches, a nice warm climate that it shares with most islands on this list and is a great diving spot.

Third is Majorca, with 134,500 searches a month, the first island to not be a Canary. Instead, it’s the biggest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, located just off the coast of Barcelona. Its climate is reminiscent of the rest of southern Iberia, dominated by shrubs and small-to-medium trees, except for the forests that grow where rain falls most. It’s known for, you guessed it, its amazing beaches and diverse outdoors activities that make every second of your stay worth something.

In fourth comes the ideal Hellenic getaway of Santorini, at an average of 110k searches a month and seven million Instagram hashtags. Thousand of years of History define this place, which was home to the Minoan civilisation before the volcano on Nea Kameni erupted in one of the largest eruptions in recorded history, blowing an enormous caldera into the landscape and splitting the once singular island into many. Nowadays, the caldera walls are the viewpoints from which to look at the famous white houses and blue-roofed churches.

In fifth comes likely the rainiest island on this list, Madeira, with 110 thousand searches but only 5.7 million Instagram hashtags, losing the tie for 4th place. The 3rd island in Macaronesia on this list belongs to Portugal and is famous for its breathtaking laurel-leaf forests, which are relics of a time when Madeira’s climate covered most of the Mediterranean basin, along with the tourist-friendly Pico Ruivo, an airport runway built on stilts, a museum dedicated to a footballer, and its very own Christ the Redeemer.

For the sixth position, we return to the Canaries yet again with Fuerteventura (110k searches, 3m hashtags), the 2nd easternmost of the archipelago and 2nd largest. This island also has an arid climate, again due to its relative age. The area around the town of Costa Calma in particular looks like it’s from another planet.

In seventh is the party island of Ibiza (90,500 searches, 19.5m hashtags), the first location young people think of when deciding on a holiday destination. During the day you can appreciate the views of white cliffs and wooded mountains, while at night you can grab some drinks with friends and hit the clubs.

In eight is Gran Canaria (90,500 searches, 5m hashtags), 3rd largest of the Canaries. The Pico de las Nieves towers over the island, offering a panoramic view of the circular landmass. Looking North, you’ll see lush forests tucked away in valleys, while on the other side the rain shadow creates an arid environment more fitting for Fuerteventura.

Credits: Unsplash; Author: @alexandermils;

Ninth place is the Greek island of Corfu (90,500 searches, 2.3m hashtags). Beyond the historical significance as a Byzantine, Venetian and British outpost, the island also features three lagoons, many monasteries, the ridiculously picturesque Liapades Beach, and The Blue Eye Cave, a cliffside cave with intensely blue water accessible for snorkelling.

Finally for the top 10 most popular European islands for British people is the island of Rhodes (75,600 searches), in Greece. Rhodes has had an immense History, dating back to the Ancient Greeks, who built the Colossus of Rhodes, a wonder of the ancient world, at the harbour entrance. Nowadays, it’s been replaced by 2 statues of deer.

The top 20 was completed by the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, in Italy, followed by the Greek islands of Crete, Mykonos and Kefalonia, then Spanish Menorca, the French island of Corsica, then finally the Greek islands of Kos, Zakynthos and Skiathos.


Star in the 2015 music video for the hit single “Headlights” by German musician, DJ and record producer Robin Schulz featuring American singer-songwriter Ilsey. Also a journalist.

Jay Bodsworth