Skip to main content
logo
1-800-590-1161Help & contactEarn free travel
logo1-800-590-1161
BlogDestinations6 stunning islands you need to visit in Spain and Portugal
boats docked in the crystal blue water off the coast of Menorca in Spain
Destinations

6 stunning islands you need to visit in Spain and Portugal

Dec 05, 2022 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

Dreaming of trips to Spain and Portugal? You may already have your sights set on the iconic cities of Lisbon and Barcelona and the relaxing beach towns of the Algarve and Costa del Sol. But have you considered visiting Spain and Portugal’s diverse collection of Mediterranean and Atlantic islands? Their intoxicating mix of mainland Spanish and Portuguese cultures, combined with their own unique experiences and histories attract travelers from around the world.

We’re counting down six of our favorite Spanish and Portuguese islands that you can visit on our guided tours or on a customized private tour. Because who doesn’t love an island getaway?

3 islands in Portugal and Spain to visit on tour


beautiful blue beach with green trees in mallorca spain

Mallorca

Islands in Spain don’t get more seductive than Mallorca. The largest of the Balearic islands, Mallorca is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Europe. On our brand-new Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour, there will be plenty of time for you to get acquainted with these gorgeous beaches. Enjoy a walking tour of Palma (the island’s capital city), a boat ride on an underground lake, and visits to lush mountain villages, some of which are cloaked with fragrant citrus trees.

Due to its strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Mallorca has been settled by nearly every one of the region’s major civilizations—from the Phoenicians and Romans, to the Moors, and finally, the Spaniards. You’ll want to keep your eyes peeled during your stay in Palma, where you’ll find architectural details that reflect this rich history and its multiple cultural influences.

When to go: Summer is when Spanish islands truly come alive—especially in Mallorca. Europeans flock to its beaches for the thrilling atmosphere. But if you’d prefer a quieter visit on one of our Spain tours, spring and fall come with fantastic weather in the 60 and 70 degree range and an added bonus: fewer crowds.

Visit Mallorca on tour

view from cliff of beach in menorca spain

Menorca

If you’d like a more laidback island experience, add Menorca and its white-sand beaches to your bucket list. This easygoing island is just northeast of Mallorca and is where the Talayotic Culture lived in the second millennium BCE. They left countless mysterious stone structures—from tombs to slab-like ceremonial monuments. Explore the largest Talayotic site on Menorca, Trepucó, on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour. Plus, you’ll get to attend a local farmer’s market, visit a master shoemaker, and a check out cheese farm.

When to go: From spring to fall, Menorca’s sunny and warm Mediterranean weather is in full force. Of course, like many islands of Spain, July and August will be the hottest and busiest months. June and September, on the other hand, are full of colorful festivals and less tourists.

Discover our tour of Menorca

hydrangeas lining cliff pathway in sao miguel portgual

São Miguel

Located about 900 miles off the coast of mainland Portugal, this lush volcanic island delights travelers with its jaw-dropping natural beauty. Portuguese explorers first landed on these shores in the 15th century, but new research suggests that perhaps the Vikings were already in São Miguel hundreds of years before.

On our new Grand Tour of Portugal: From Porto to Lisbon tour, you can opt to extend your trip and head to São Miguel for three nights. You’ll go sightseeing along an ancient caldera, drive through highways lined with hydrangeas, pop into clever greenhouses used to harvest pineapples, soak in thermal pools, visit mysterious fog-shrouded lakes, and eat lots of fresh fish. No wonder some people call São Miguel the Hawaii of the Atlantic. It’s truly one of the most beautiful islands to visit on Portugal tours.

When to go: Like many Portugese Islands, weather in São Miguel is temperate year-round. However, late spring and early autumn are the best times to go as many businesses close during the rainy winter season.

See our tour to São Miguel

Explore our Spain and Portugal tours


3 Islands in Spain and Portugal to add to a customized tour


coastal view of tenerife spain including ocean mountains homes

Tenerife

The largest and most populous of Spain’s Canary islands, Tenerife is the perfect mix of city-slicker adventures and outdoorsy pursuits. This island in Spain is home to the UNESCO-protected Parque Nacional del Teide, where you’ll find the country’s tallest mountain. To get a lay of the land (and amazing views), hike or take a cable car up to the summit.

There are also incredible restaurants, bars, galleries, and shops to plan entire days around in the capital city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. And if that’s not enough, you still have acres of vineyards to visit and sip wine in. For less energy-sapping pursuits, sandy beaches and picture-perfect natural sea pools await.

When to go: If it’s warm temperatures you’re after, plan your visit to this Spanish islands like Tenerife for summer. Come in February to witness three weeks of carnival celebrations—some of the best you’ll experience on any Spain trips.

Plan your private tour of Tenerife

coastline in madiera portugal

Madeira

If there’s a Portuguese island where you can have it all, it’s Madeira. It’s a lush, subtropical heaven you’ll find about 575 miles west of Morocco. This volcanic island in Portugal is verdant, fertile, and rugged with craggy cliffs and black-pebble beaches. Driving through its winding roads, you’ll find banana plantations as well as bright, colorful gardens. You can snorkel with dolphins, hike along its levadas (irrigation channels), and play some golf.

For idyllic sandy beaches, you can hop on a boat and head to Porto Santo, another one of Portugal’s islands just 30 miles across the Atlantic. If you’re after something both thrilling and unique, you can ride down one of its hills while sitting on a wicker-basket toboggan with two guides running alongside—you know, just in case.

Food-wise, Madeira is a revelation. Many dishes you’ll find on the island are often not prepared on mainland Portugal. Start your day with a popular breakfast sandwich stuffed with a filet of espada (the black scabbardfish) and slathered with passionfruit jam. And don’t forget to sample Madeira wines, one of Portugal’s famous fortified vinhos.

When to go: Warm, moderate temperatures in Madeira year-long make it a fabulous vacation destination regardless of the season. But from April to October, the waters are full of dolphins and whales.

Customize a trip to Madeira

mountain in pico island portugal

Pico

Portuguese islands are geographically diverse—and the most dramatic-looking might be Pico. It is the second-largest in the Azorean archipelago with wildly different coastal views. The eastern half of the island is green with vegetation. The other side? Black with volcanic rocks. And somewhere in the middle is the cloud-scratching peak of Pico mountain, the tallest peak in Portugal. Summiting it is one of the most popular activities on this rugged Portuguese island.

With only 15,000 residents, Pico definitely requires a nature-first, slow-travel kind of approach. You can walk through the biggest lava cave in Portugal, go whale watching, take in the most stunning views from Lagoa do Capitão (on a clear day, you can spot the neighboring island of São Jorge), and relax in natural rock pools. In between activities on customized Portugal tours, you can go wine tasting, too. Pico is home to some of the most fascinating Portuguese winemakers, who celebrate the island’s unique volcanic and oceanside terroir.

When to go: Like other islands of Portugal, the best time to visit Pico is when the weather is warmest between May and September. The off-season can be challenging because many of the smaller hotels and restaurants are typically closed.

Discover Pico on tour

Ready to see some of the most stunning islands in the world? Browse our Spain and Portugal tours now!


About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

Explore more Spain & Portugal tours

Grand Tour of Portugal & Spain: Porto to Barcelona
15 days | 18 days with Basque Country extension

4.6 out of 5 stars

129
From 
$4,029*
 $3,579*
View tour
View tour