Top 10 Largest Islands in Europe

By | January 29, 2023

The European continent is home to many islands, whose surface area ranges from just a few hectares to more than 200,000 square kilometres. Numerous European islands grew into paradisiacal holiday destinations with an extensive tourist infrastructure. Consider, for example, the Greek and Spanish islands in the Mediterranean Sea. On the other hand, some islands, especially those in the far north, are very sparsely populated and only sporadically visited by tourists. A large number of European islands contain unique natural areas and are home to rare animal and plant species. The list below provides an overview of the 10 largest islands in Europe, ranked by surface area. Check mysteryaround for list of top 10 largest islands in Spain.


Cyprus is located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Although the island is officially an independent republic, the northern part of Cyprus was occupied by Turkey in 1974. Thus was born the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which separated politically and economically from the Republic of Cyprus.

The island has an area of ​​9251 square kilometers. Cyprus is fairly densely populated: in 2017, more than 1.2 million people lived there. This makes Cyprus the third most populous island in the Mediterranean.

In the north lies the Kyrenia Mountains, of which the highest peak (the Kyparissovouno) reaches a height of 1024 meters. In the west and center of the island is the Troodos Mountains, of which Mount Olympus reaches a height of 1952 meters. The plain of Mesoaria extends north of the Troodos Mountains. This plain consists of fertile soil and most of the inhabitants of Cyprus settled in this region. The capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, is also located in the Mesoaria.

9. North East Land

The North-East Land (Nordaustlandet in Norwegian) belongs to the archipelago of Spitsbergen, which politically belongs to Norway. The island is located northeast of the main island of Spitsbergen.

Northeast Land covers 14,443 square kilometers, largely covered by ice sheets. The two largest ice caps are Vestfonna (in the west of the island, with an area of ​​2,500 square kilometers) and Austfonna (in the east, 8,500 square kilometers). The Austfonna is also the largest ice cap on European territory.

Apart from the ice caps, the landscape of North-Eastland consists of tundra. There are no people living on Noord-Oostland. The island is a protected natural area, with a large population of reindeer and walrus. It is part of the large Norwegian nature reserve Nordaust-Svalbard.

8. Sardinia

The Italian island of Sardinia is located in the Mediterranean Sea, north of Tunisia and south of the French island of Corsica. Sardinia has an area of ​​over 24,000 square kilometers, making it the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The capital of Sardinia is Cagliari. More than 1.6 million inhabitants live in Sardinia. The island is especially famous for its many beautiful beaches, but there are also plenty of places to visit in Sardinia .

The island has a subtropical climate, with warm summers and mild winters. The highest mountain peak in Sardinia, Punta Marmora, reaches a height of 1834 meters. With its coastline of more than 1800 kilometers, Sardinia is a favorite holiday destination for many Europeans. In addition, agriculture and fishing are also important sources of income for the population.

7. Sicily

The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea is Sicily, which is an autonomous Italian region. The area of ​​Sicily is 25,711 square kilometers. This puts Sicily in seventh place among Europe’s largest islands. The island is separated from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina. The capital of Sicily is Palermo. More than five million people live on the island.

The main natural attraction is the volcano Etna (3323 meters) in eastern Sicily. After Stromboli, Etna is the most active volcano in Europe.

6. Yuzhny Island

The virtually unknown Yuzhny Island is part of the Russian archipelago of Novaya Zemlya. Yuzhny Island is the southern island of Novaya Zemlya and is 33,275 square kilometers in size. To the west of it lies the Barents Sea, to the east the Kara Sea. Yuzhny Island is separated from northern Severny Island by the Matochkin Shar strait, a strait only two to three kilometers wide.

The original population of Yuzhny Island consisted of the Nenets, an indigenous people from the north of Russia. However, the Nenets had to move to the Russian mainland in the course of the 1950s because of the nuclear tests that Russia carried out on Yuzhny Island.

5. Spitsbergen

Spitsbergen is the only permanently inhabited island of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. The archipelago is located more than 800 kilometers north of Norway’s northernmost point. Spitsbergen is 37,673 square kilometers in size. Its capital is Longyearbyen. This place has more than 2,000 inhabitants. There are also a number of smaller settlements on Spitsbergen. Many houses are temporarily inhabited by scientists.

Most of the island is covered by an ice cap. Spitsbergen is the habitat of polar bears, seabirds, reindeer and various marine mammals. The name ‘Spitsbergen’ comes from the Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz , who discovered the archipelago at the end of the sixteenth century.

4. Severny Island

Severny Island

Severny Island is the northern island of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, which belongs to the Russian territory. With an area of ​​48,904 square kilometers, Severny Island is the fourth largest island in Europe. The island is mostly covered by ice caps and glaciers.

Like Yuzhny Island to the south, the former Soviet Union also conducted nuclear tests here, including the Tsar Bomba test in 1961. Tsar Bomba was a 50-megaton nuclear bomb detonated at an altitude of 3,000 meters above the island. was brought. This was the most powerful explosion of a man-made bomb in history. There is no permanent habitation on the island.

3. Ireland

Ireland is located west of Great Britain and is the third largest island in Europe. The island of Ireland is politically divided into the independent Republic of Ireland (capital: Dublin) and Northern Ireland (capital: Belfast). Northern Ireland belongs to the United Kingdom.

The total area of ​​the island of Ireland is 84,421 square kilometers. In 2008, the entire island had more than 6.3 million inhabitants. In the central part of Ireland is a low plain, which is intersected by the River Shannon. Mountain areas surround this central lowland, of which Carrauntoohil (1,038 metres) in southwestern Ireland is the highest mountain.

2. Iceland


Iceland is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, about halfway between the European mainland and the American continent. With an area of ​​103,000 square kilometers, Iceland is the second largest European island.

In 2018, the island had 350,710 inhabitants, which immediately makes Iceland the most sparsely populated European country. The capital of Iceland is Reykjavik, where about two-thirds of the Icelandic population live.

The island was created by volcanic activity. Iceland has several active volcanoes and numerous geysers. An eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 caused serious disruption to air traffic. The largest part of the island consists of low and medium mountains, a large part of which is covered with glaciers. The highest mountain is the Hvannadalshnúkur (2110 meters).

1. Great Britain

Great Britain

Great Britain ranks first on our top 10 list of largest European islands. The island of Great Britain (not to be confused with the United Kingdom) reaches an area of ​​209,331 square kilometers and is located in the Atlantic Ocean northwest of the European mainland. About 61 million people live on the island.

Politically, the island belongs to the United Kingdom, which includes Northern Ireland in addition to Great Britain. Great Britain is politically divided into England, Scotland and Wales. The largest city in Great Britain is London, the capital of the United Kingdom.

Great Britain is only the ninth island in the list of largest islands in the world. The largest island on our planet is Greenland, which is politically part of Denmark. However, Greenland geographically does not belong to Europe, but to the American continent.