European summers have never looked more enticing than from these incredible islands in Spain. With some of the bluest waters, yummiest foods, and all the Spanish flair you could ever want, these islands need to be on your Spanish bucket list.

Whether you’re trying to party your ass off in Ibiza or looking to up your tan and have a relaxing vacay in Majorca, I’ve got everything you need. And I don’t care what social media says. The Canary Islands are not just for retirees, and I’m going to prove it to you.

Out of the many Spanish islands, I’ve gathered the top 8 best islands in Spain. And while they really do speak for themselves, this list will be the exact push you need to book the £30 Ryanair flight, even after boldly saying you were never flying with them again. (Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.)

Seville cathedral surrounded by trees with the sun behind it.
Let’s head to Spain!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

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    Best Islands in Spain

    Every island is going to be someone’s favorite Spanish island that you HAVE to go to, but these really are the best of the best. And after sifting through what they all offer, I trust you’ll find the perfect island for your backpacking trip in Spain.

    1. La Palma Island

    Madonna said it best, La Isla Bonita, the beautiful island of La Palma is the most extraordinary island to visit in Spain. This active volcano (yes, you heard that right!) forms a diverse landscape that defies the Canary Islands’ package holiday reputation.

    two shirtless man standing under a shaded terrace by the blue sea and sky.
    What a pandemic that was in La Palma.
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde
    • Why visit: Nature lover’s paradise with stunning views and unique landscapes.
    • When to visit: February-April for prime hiking weather.
    • How to get there: Fly directly from mainland Spain or take the ferry from Tenerife or Gran Canaria.

    The wild landscape has one of the biggest craters in the world. And it even boasts the world’s first starlight reserve. 

    Head up to the observatory by Roque de los Muchachos for some amazing night sky scenes and to feel like you’re in a sci-fi movie. I highly recommend taking a stargazing tour if you don’t have a car.

    The island definitely caters more to adventurous travelers. You’ll find loads of hiking trails, rock pools, and waterfalls to explore.

    2. Formentera Island

    To get rid of your summer tan lines, Formentera Island is calling your name. The charming little island off of Ibiza is well known for its nude beaches. But there’s more to it than just sunbathing in your birthday suit.

    An aerial view of Migjorn coastline in Formentera Island, Spain
    Look at that clean line!
    • Why visit: Gorgeous sandy beaches with a charming, authentic vibe.
    • When to visit: May-October
    • How to get there: Take the Ferry over from Ibiza or Mallorca

    The island is pretty small and is less visited than the other islands in the Balearic Islands. But, I’m just going to assume that’s because they don’t know what they’re missing out on.

    Base yourself in Formentera and soak up the epic Spanish vibes with a coastal twist. My personal fav hotel here is Insotel Hotel Formentera Playa – I just loved that walking to Migjorn Beach took literally ONE minute!

    Discover different coves and gorgeous waters, or if you’ve got that sch’money, board a catamaran for the day (take me with you!) and discover all the secret spots we regular joes can’t get to. The best part about Formentera is that it’s less touristy than its neighboring islands, so you’ll get to experience the authenticity of the island.

    3. Tenerife

    Tenerife Island is the most popular Spanish island in the Canaries. Built around natural wonders, it’s a dream destination for most Europeans, apparently. 

    Some come to hike or do adventure sports. Others come to get absolutely wasted and sunburnt before they have to return to work. There are different places to stay in Tenerife depending on what you want to do here. 

    Los Roques de Garcia with El Teide volcano behind on a sunny afternoon.
    Take your camera.
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde
    • Why visit: Beach, beach, baby. And cool, unique landscapes!
    • When to visit: All year round
    • How to get there: You can easily get to Tenerife by plane from major airports in Europe and Africa. Or take a ferry from mainland Spain and the other Canary Islands.

    Tenerife is home to Spain’s highest peak, El Teide. It’s one of the few popular attractions in Tenerife I will recommend. If you love hiking, you need to delve into the wilderness here. 

    But if hiking isn’t your thing, Tenerife is one of the best Islands in Spain for surfing and windsurfing. And for those looking for pure zen, the island’s beaches are made for it. 

    Most importantly, it’s an all-year-round destination, so when you’re freezing your ass off in February, you can escape to Tenerife’s mild climate and soak up some much-needed vitamin D.

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    4. Gran Canaria Island

    For a little bit of everything, Gran Canaria is your perfect Spanish Island. Full of natural beauty, culture, some fantastic golf, and great food. You can spend your day hiking through the mountains, basking in the sun on the beach, or exploring charming towns.

    But, before you jump into your favorite activities, you’ll need to know where to stay in Gran Canaria. I recommend Santa Catalina as it boasts an incredible outdoor swimming pool along with three top-of-the-range restaurants cooking up a storm of gourmet cuisine

    Palm trees reach into a sunny blue sky
    Always looking up!
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short
    • Why visit: Perfect for nature enthusiasts who want all-year-round sunshine.
    • When to visit: March-May or September-October
    • How to get there: Fly into the Gran Canaria International Airport from major cities in Europe, Africa, and some from America. Or take a Ferry from the south of Spain.

    Now, many people will tell you that only old people go to the Canaries, and I would tell them to shut it. Gran Canaria is one of my absolute favorite places in Spain. And with it actually being closer to Morocco than Spain, the weather is pretty marvelous all year round. So tell that to your beach vacations that have been ruined by a random rainy day.

    The island is home to some of Spain’s most diverse landscapes, from the stunning sand dunes of Maspalomas to the lush green mountains of the interior. And let’s not forget about the food! Gran Canaria offers a fusion cuisine due to its location between Europe and Africa, making it a foodie’s paradise.

    5. Majorca or Mallorca

    Mallorca is the largest Spanish Island, as well as one of the most popular. The Mediterranean climate makes it the perfect destination if you’re looking for some warmer weather outside of the summer months.

    From April to October, you’re looking at average temperatures of 20°C. I avoid the winter like the plague, and Mallorca is my favorite escape when the colder weather comes around.

    I recommend staying in Palma de Mallorca, the capital city of the island, and enjoying an endless shoreline, beautiful beaches, and legendary nightlife.

    A group of people playing yoga by the beach in Palma, Mallorca
    Since we’re in Mallorca.
    • Why visit: Perfect opportunity for an active holiday for families, solo travelers, and couples. The Island has everything.
    • When to visit: April/May or Sept/Oct to avoid the busy summer months.
    • How to get there: Fly into Palma de Mallorca airport (PMI) from many European cities, or you can catch a Ferry from the different Balearic Islands and the mainland

    The island really is perfect for everyone. It’s so close to mainland Spain, so you could have a romantic holiday with bae or get away from the city for the weekend on a solo trip. Families will absolutely go nuts for the resorts. Send your kids off to the kids’ club and order your next sangria!

    And let me tell you, there are heaps of things to do around the island. If you’re craving some gorgeous blue waters and white-sand beaches, Mallorca will deliver. If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a car and explore different beaches around the island. My personal favorite is Calo des Moro Beach, with its turquoise waters and stunning cliffs—it’s heaven on earth.

    6. Ibiza

    Okay, move over, Mike Posner. It’s our turn to take a pill in Ibiza… Just kidding—unless you’re into that… Either way, Ibiza is known for its wild party scene. I mean, have you seen the airport on a Monday? Flying hungover has never looked so tragic. But that doesn’t mean the partying Thursday-Sunday wasn’t worth it!

    An aerial view of Ibiza's shoreline in Spain, with rock formations and boats adrift on the water.
    The Mediterranean has a different taste!
    • Why visit: Ibiza has some of the best clubs in the world, perfect for those looking for a wild party holiday with friends.
    • When to visit: June-September for sunny days and long long nights.
    • How to get there: Fly in from any major airport in Spain or take a ferry from Valencia or Denia.

    So here is the deal—Ibiza actually appeals to everyone, even if you’re not a party animal. The island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain, and you can find quiet towns to enjoy a Spanish holiday in the sun… HOWEVER, this is not why I recommend coming to Ibiza.

    With techno music bumping for 8 hours straight and pyrotechnics that put Disney to shame—Amnesia makes you feel like you’re dancing at the edge of the world. And don’t even get me started on Pacha, with its iconic cherry logo and VIP cabanas fit for a Kardashian.

    There really is much more to enjoy in Ibiza, though! You can visit the island’s best places, reach its secret corners through a bike ride, and learn about the flora and fauna while exploring the surrounding nature.

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    7. Minorca or Menorca

    Unexpectedly, Menorca turned out to be the beautiful and peaceful escape I didn’t know I needed in the Spanish Islands.

    The island is typically not at the top of travelers’ bucket lists (especially with Ibiza and Mallorca next door), but after spending a few days there, I realized how lovely the island can be.

    Es Mercadal, Menorca 2
    • Why visit: A tranquil getaway with beautiful beaches and loads of history.
    • When to visit: April/May or October/November (The absolute best time to visit Spain in case you’re wondering)
    • How to get there: Take a flight from almost any major airport in Europe or a ferry from mainland Spain and the other Balearic Islands.

    The Island flaunts miles of sandy beaches and some of the bluest waters without the overwhelming amount of tourists. I found myself having a “lazy” day more than once while I was here. Hopping from one crystal-clear beach to the next became a ritual.

    The sea life is flourishing, making it great for snorkeling and scuba diving. And when you’re not in the water, the island is full of historical and archeological sites to keep any history buff busy and the cutest little towns to get lost in.

    8. Lanzarote Island

    Up until recently, I had never heard of Lanzarote. Of course, I was familiar with the more popular Canary Islands, but this Spanish island flew under my radar until I was traveling around the Canaries. And boy, am I glad I stumbled upon this gem.

    Lanzarote Island Spain
    • Why visit: seriously cool landscapes and volcanic caves to explore.
    • When to visit: All year round
    • How to get there: Fly in from most major European cities or take a ferry from the other Canary Islands.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, Lanzarote is no hidden gem, it’s been a popular destination for years, but it still manages to maintain its charm and authenticity. The landscape is unlike any other island I’ve been to. Imagine black volcanic rock formations contrasted with white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. It’s like walking on the moon (or at least what I imagine walking on the moon would be like).

    I’ve heard some travelers say it’s boring, and okay, if you’re looking to catch a vibe, Lanzarote might not be the place, but if you want to discover incredible nature that feels otherworldly, then the Cueva de los Verdes and Timanfaya National Park are must-visits.

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    Final Thoughts on the Best Islands in Spain

    When I think of Spain, I think of warm weather, heaps of Sangria, and delicious tapas. But after my travels around Spain’s islands, I now also think of stunning landscapes, unique cultures, and unforgettable experiences. But how do you choose which Spanish Island to go to?

    Well, lucky for you, snagging a flight from Europe to any of these islands won’t break the bank. Whether you’re in Europe for a summer holiday or you’re one of the lucky ones who can hop on a budget airline, Spain’s islands don’t require an exorbitant amount of planning.

    But it’s still important to make the most out of your precious days off of work and all the moolah you’ve saved up. So, if you still aren’t sure which Island in Spain to choose, I’ll gladly give one last push to my personal favorite.

    Mallorca takes the cake. From its blue water beaches to its charming villages and delicious food, this island truly has it all. With amazing weather almost all year round, you can say hola and sip on your sangria any time of the year.

    Laura and Seba smiling at the camera in front of the gate to the Old Town in Valencia, Spain
    See ya!
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde
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