There is something about an island, especially a small island. Mention an island and we think of a gem-like area of land surrounded by gently lapping, aqua-marine sea. We imagine beaches, sunshine, cool breezes and beautiful scenery.
Perhaps not every island is as dreamy as this but islands do conjure up ideas of holidays and far-flung destinations.
One of the most popular ways for walkers and cyclists to see the small islands of countries such as Scotland, Croatia and Greece, is on an “island-hopping” holiday. A day, two or three spent on each island before heading across the water to sample the delights of a neighbouring isle is hugely attractive to many travellers.
Five top island hopping trips
Island hopping by bike to John o’ Groats, Scotland
Enjoy a cycling holiday starting in the southern Hebridean islands and then on to the mainland to visit the northern Highlands and the far northern settlement of John O’Groats.
Island hopping and walking in Greece
These islands boast that dream-like idyll of sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, scented olive groves and bright white-painted villages.
To see the islands at their best, why not go by foot on a walking holiday? On Naxos you’ll wander through ancient olive groves, stroll along cobbled paths, hike past a Venetian fortress and climb Mount Zas.
On crescent shaped Santorini a wide network of walking trails offers the opportunity to explore towns, a rugged landscape and to stroll through the steps of history.
Island Hopping by bike in Holland
The Dutch Wadden Sea Islands are the five gems in the north of the Netherlands. Each island of Schiermonnikoog, Ameland, Terschelling, Vlieland and Texel differs from the other and with easy transport links between the five it’s possible to sample a few isles in just one trip.
Once there you’ll see why the Wadden Islands are designated a UNESCO world heritage site.
This cycling trip starts on the northern mainland at Leeuwarden. It’s home to the De Oldehove tower, which leans even more than the leaning tower of Pisa!
The first island hop is the almost traffic-free isle of Vlieland. Cycle paths are uniquely paved with crushed sea shells and head through beautiful pine woods, past sand flats and alongside windswept dunes.
Next is the island of Terschelling with 70km of cycle tracks – and many culinary delights.
Island Hopping in Croatia
Croatia’s Dalmatian Islands offers a wonderful destination for island hopping by bike. Starting and finishing on the mainland, from Dubrovnik to Split, the cycle tour visits the three fabulous islands of Korčula, Hvar and Brac.
Croatia is a place to soak up the views, spectacular coastline, fascinating history, food and wine.
More cycling on the Scottish islands
Another treat for cyclists is the west coast Scottish islands of Arran, Islay and Jura. Each have their own famous attractions, including the fabulous scenery of Arran, the many whiskies of Islay and the mountains – called paps – of Jura.