Days lounging in the Italian sun and morning dips in sparkling blue waters with an afternoon gelato to beat the heat are everything your European summer needs to consist of. And I’m bringing you all that and more with my list of the best islands in Italy.

And trust me, I know you’ve been trying to decide which one to go to ever since you saw Jessica on Yacht last summer having the time of her life while you were working your ass off, but it’s about to all payoff.

And maybe you’re like me and thinking, how does one decide between sipping limoncello in Capri or floating away on the waters in Sardinia?

Well, I think it’s only fair that we give each island a fair chance, and that’s why I’m here with the best of each Italian island (and no, these aren’t TikTok brand deals), so you can trust that they’re only slightly biased and will give you all the information you need for planning your Italian getaway.

A person walking down a street in Rome, Italy
Just following the line!
Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you. Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more.

Do You Want to Travel FOREVER??

Pop your email in below to get a FREE copy of ‘How to Travel the World on $10 a Day!’.

    Best Islands in Italy

    I’m not sure if I’ll ever tire of exploring Italy, and these islands just continue to add to the charm of the country. So, let’s dive into these nine Islands in Italy.

    1. Capri

    Capri has been one of the most famous islands in Italy for decades. I mean, Jackie Kennedy was in Capri more than she was in the White House. Haha, just kidding… kind of.

    But seriously, who can blame her? The island is absolutely gorgeous, with tons of yachts lining the harbors and crystal-clear waters to swim in all day.

    harbor view of Marina Grande, Capri, Italy with buildings and boats at the coastline and mountains in the background
    I don’t think it gets more “Italian” than Capri.
    • Why visit: If you’re looking to experience La Dolce Vita (the sweet life), then Capri is exactly what you need.
    • When to visit: April-June in July or August—good luck with the tourists. Holy smokes!
    • How to get there: Take a ferry from Naples or Sorrento.

    For the longest time, I thought you needed to be swimming in money to enjoy Capri. I’m here to tell you that I was totally wrong.

    The island really offers a sweet life to everyone, and you can find comfortable accommodations for all preferences and budgets. My fav hotel is Hotel Weber Ambassador because of its stunning location and abundance of facilities such as pool, spa, and gym.

    All throughout the island, you’ll find untouched coves and beaches. Or if you feel like splurging, you can hang out at the harbor with all the yachts—flirt just enough, and you might get on one. 😉

    And I can’t talk about Capri without mentioning its famous citrus groves. The lemon granita is one of the most refreshing treats I’ve ever had. Frosty lemon on a hot day? Yes, please!

    2. Sardinia

    I’ve never had more FOMO than when I was seeing everyone’s TikTok this summer in Sardinia. And I know you had to be right there with me, so now it’s our turn!

    Sardinia is among the best places in Italy. Seriously, everywhere you look is like out of a magazine. Set right in the middle of the Mediterranean, the turquoise waters are a dream for beach lovers and are all set against a colorful backdrop of pastel-colored houses. Ah, I could look at it for hours.

    harbor view in Sardinia Island, Italy with a castle and buildings in the background
    Closer to a postcard!
    • Why visit: Stunning beaches, an amazing lifestyle, and some of the oldest people in the world. (No seriously, Sardinia is one of the blue zones)
    • When to visit: May-June or September-October (The absolute best time to visit Italy, in case you’re wondering!)
    • How to get there: Fly from many major European cities to Cagliari Airport

    After watching a Netflix documentary on the Blue Zones, I knew I had to see the island that was filled with Centenarians. And let me tell you, Sardinia did not disappoint. The lifestyle here is so laid-back and stress-free. It’s no wonder people live for so long! Staying in Sardinia taught me some things, that’s for sure.

    Dive into the local life in Sardinia by visiting one of the villages up in the hills, and trust me when I say the villages are STEEP. Lisbon has nothing on these streets. But if the older generation of Sards can do it, so can you!

    3. Elba

    For the longest time, the only thing I knew about Elba was that it was where Napolean was exiled, and even that didn’t mean much to me. But after exploring the Island off the coast of Tuscany, I can now see how wrong I was about Elba.

    Beach in Elba, Italy surrounded by mountains with a boat floating in the water
    How’s this for a view?
    • Why visit: The perfect escape from the tourist crowds on the mainland, with lots of hiking and biking trails and gorgeous blue waters for snorkeling.
    • When to visit: May-October
    • How to get there: Take a ferry from Piombino

    Now, it’s not quite a hidden gem, but it’s definitely less touristy than some of the other Italian islands, which if you’ve ever been to Italy in the summer months—whew! This is more welcome than a glass of free water. (Is my American showing yet? Ha!)

    The crystal clear waters here will inspire you to learn how to snorkel, and the island has over 150 beaches for endless days of lounging and swimming. You can also get some exercise by hiking up to the top of Mount Capanne for stunning views.

    Sweet, sweet FREEDOM…

    Here at The Broke Backpacker, we love freedom! And there’s no freedom as sweet (and CHEAP) as camping around the world.

    We’ve been camping on our adventures for over 10 years, so take it from us: the MSR HUBBA HUBBA is the best damn tent for adventuring…

    View on REI Read Our Review

    4. Sicily

    Ah, Sicily. Where to even begin? As the biggest Island in the Mediterranean, it can be overwhelming trying to decide how to spend your time here. But I’ve got the goods. In Sicily, you’ll find a little bit of everything. Beaches? Check. Mountains? Check. Ancient ruins and architecture? Check and check.

    But, before you jump into your favorite activities, you need to know where to stay in Sicily so you can be in its coolest neighborhoods! The best hotel in Sicily is Hotel Palazzo Brunaccini in Palermo. I like it because I love Palermo and it’s close to local attractions like the Palermo Cathedral, Quattro Canti, and Piazza Pretoria.

    an aerial view of Sicily Italy with mountains in the background
    • Why visit: History buffs will froth over Sicily, it’s perfect for those who can only handle so much beach time.
    • When to visit: April-June or September-October
    • How to get there: Fly into one of the major cities, like Palermo or Catania

    If you’re a big-time beach hopper, visit the Aeolian Islands just off the coast of Sicily for some of the most picturesque beaches in Italy. But where I think the real magic of Sicily lies is within the land.

    Hike to Mt. Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe, where you will have some crazy views—if you go at the right time of year, you can even see lava, like wtf?! Visit the famous Valley of Temples in Agrigento to see some of the best-preserved Greek temples outside of Greece itself. And it wouldn’t be a trip to Sicily without some of their delicious cuisine. Try some caponata, Sicilian cannoli, and all the seafood your heart desires.

    5. Burano

    I had never intended to visit Burano until I realized my four-day trip to Venice was a bit of an overkill. So, off to Burano, I went on a quick boat ride from Venice’s main island. And boy, am I glad I did.

    This colorful fisherman’s village is a photographer’s dream come true. Each house and shop has its unique color and charm, making it the perfect Instagram spot. If you saw me asking five random people to take my photo—no, you didn’t. 😉

    boats lining in a canal surrounded by colorful buildings in Burano Island
    What would it be like to call one of these houses home?
    • Why visit: Traditional fishing village with a twist—vibrant, whimsical colors everywhere. And Aperol Spritz for 2 euros!! HELLO!
    • When to visit: May-June or September-November
    • How to get there: Take the water taxi from Venice’s main island.

    Burano is a true hidden gem in Italy and makes up for the perfect day trip from Venice. You can walk through the different streets, stop in the plaza for an Aperol spritz, and spend the afternoon basking in the sun by the canal.

    6. Ischia

    Every year, more and more people find out about Ischia, and before you know it, it will be the next Amalfi Coast without all the stairs.

    But for now, Ischia remains under the radar for Italian travelers. Located off the coast of Naples, this volcanic island is full of everything you could ask for in an Island getaway—stunning beaches, lush gardens, a charming old town, delish food, and cozy places to stay.

    small island in the middle of the sea with a castle on top and surrounded by boats in Italy
    • Why visit: Warm up in the thermal spas while avoiding the tourist crowds.
    • When to visit: May-October
    • How to get there: Take the ferry from Naples

    One of my favorite things about this Island in Italy is the traditional Italian feel it has. It hasn’t been overrun with tourists yet, and it still has the authentic charm of a small Italian town.

    You can spend your days lounging on the golden sands or discovering the ancient castle in the old town, but you absolutely can not leave Ischia without soaking in one of the hot springs. It’s like a warm hug after a day of travel.

    Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
    Active Roots Security Belt

    Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

    It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

    Hide Yo’ Money!

    7. Giglio Island

    Right off the coast of Tuscany is one of Italy’s most beautiful islands. While loads of people go to the bigger island of Elba next door, you can be sipping some wine on the quiet shores of Giglio—or at least that’s where I’ll be.

    The island is absolute magic, with a small harbor town full of colorful houses, and behind it lies a beautiful green mountainside. It really doesn’t get more picture-perfect.

    Colorful houses at the coastline of Giglio Island Italy with boats afloat and mountains in the background
    Here, the only sound is the gentle whisper of the water.
    • Why visit: Untouched coastlines and crystal clear waters, and if you’re a wino like myself, prepare for evenings of sipping all the best reds.
    • When to visit: May-October
    • How to get there: Take the ferry from Porto Santo Stefano

    Along with its untouched coastline and Gatorade blue waters, Giglio Island is also known for its wine production. You can visit the vineyards and learn how they cultivate the grapes—here’s a hint: it’s by hand… and it makes it all the more special.

    Of course, you can’t go to the vineyard without trying the wine, and I always make sure to bring back a bottle or two to enjoy while watching the sunset. I repeat this island is absolute magic!

    8. Ponza

    For some of the best boating days, I highly recommend heading to Ponza. It’s set right between Rome and Naples, so it’s an easy stop on any Italian itinerary. And I mean, you can’t really beat sipping Limoncello while taking in the beautiful blue-green waters surrounding this island.

    A town with white buildings on a rocky island, surrounded by the Mediterranean in Ponza Italy
    Ponza is one of the most beautiful islands in Italy.
    • Why visit: Ponza is a boat lover’s paradise, full of coves and grottos to explore.
    • When to visit: May-October
    • How to get there: Ferry from Anzio or Formia

    For some reason, the island tends to be skipped by Italian tourists, but it’s one of the hottest spots for Roman travelers. So when I was exploring Rome, I knew I had to see what the locals were hyping about, and it turns out they know their stuff.

    The island is full of history and has a ton of beaches and caves to explore, but because most of the beaches are rocky—honestly, one of my least favorite things about the island—I highly recommend hopping on a boat and exploring the island’s coves and grottos.

    The water is crazy blue, and it’s so clear you can see all the fish swimming around. It’s perfect for some snorkeling or just catching a tan on the boat.

    9. Lampedusa

    Rent a scooter and go whipping around the coast of Lampedusa. It’s the southernmost island in Italy and is actually closer to Africa than it is to Italy. The island is rugged and brings something different to this list of Italian Islands.

    It’s perfect for anyone who likes to explore off the beaten path, and it’s great for budget travelers. I’m not going to lie; the vibe here is pretty rustic, but it’s totally worth it for the stunning views you’ll get.

    Boats floating in turquoise waters surrounded by cliffs in Lampadusa, Italy
    Crystal-clear waters, ragged cliffs, and a fresh breeze!
    • Why visit: Incredible beaches with rich marine life and loggerhead turtles
    • When to visit: May-October
    • How to get there: Flight from Palermo or Catania

    Lampedusa’s beaches are crystal clear and seem to be dropped right off the edge of its rugged cliffs. Seriously, the contrast of the bright blue water against the rocky coastline is picture-perfect.

    You can snorkel right off the shore, and during the summer months, you’ll find a large population of Loggerhead turtles swimming around. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see one of these magnificent creatures laying its eggs on the beach.

    Don’t Forget Insurance for the Islands!

    ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

    They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

    SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

    Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

    Final Thoughts on the Best Islands in Italy

    Italy is the perfect destination for any kind of vacation, whether you’re checking off bucket list items like living out your Lizzie McGuire dreams in Rome or tasting the best pizza of your life in Naples.

    And now, you can add Islands to your long list of must-sees on your trip through Italy. I mean, is it even a proper European summer without drinking at least one Aperol Spritz on a beach? I think not!

    Whether you want to live the glamorous life in Capri or explore the hidden gems of Lampedusa, Italy’s islands will make all of your mood board dreams come to life.

    And if you aren’t so great at the decision-making process, let me help out one last time. For the ultimate Island in Italy, I have to recommend Sardinia.

    I was seriously at a loss for words when I arrived. I’ve never seen water so blue or beaches so white. And the Sardinian culture is unlike any other, and you’ll immediately be wrapped up in the warmth and charm of the locals.

    A traditional Trattoria restaurant in Rome, Italy
    Aesthetically tasty!
    Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short
    Looking for more info on visiting Italy?