Italy is made up of more than just the boot-shaped mainland that many people are familiar with. There are many beautiful islands around the country that lend themselves to Italy’s rich cultural and natural beauty. In fact, many travelers from across the globe flock to these islands to experience the many wonders that they have to offer.

Here are some of the most popular island destinations around Italy that are a must for any traveler.

Procida

The tiny island of Procida has become a very popular travel destination for people looking for an island getaway from the mainland. Located in the Bay of Naples, its quiet yet lovely ambiance sets a calming tone for those who want a relaxing seaside getaway.

While it may be overshadowed by larger island destinations, Procida still has a rich cultural and historical background. The Church of San Michele has an expansive dome with artwork depicting Saint Michael fighting against the Turkish armies. The island has also become the setting for a couple of films, including The Talented Mr. Ripley and Il Postino.

The main port towns of Marina Grande and Chiaiolella offer various accommodations and seafood restaurants, and are easily accessible to sandy beaches that are perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Other notable spots worth visiting include the Marina di Corriella, a lively fishing harbor filled with bars and restaurants, and the Terra Murata, an old medieval town that overlooks the highest point of the island.

Elba

Found on the western coast of Italy, Elba is part of the Tuscan Archipelago. Historically known as the place where Napoleon spent in exile, the island has a very expansive coverage with over 150 beaches where people can lie on the sand and enjoy the sea breeze. Visitors looking for activities away from the shore won’t be disappointed either – there are inland hike trails leading to Mount Capanne, where people can marvel at the various gemstone and quartz formations found on its slopes.

Sardinia

As one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, Sardinia is known as one of the most popular island destinations in the world. From its unique cultural charm to its appetizing island delicacies, Sardinia offers visitors everything that they could ever look for in an island paradise.

It has everything from pristine beaches – including the famous Costa Smeralda – to classic medieval towns. This multi-cultural island boasts a rich blend of both Italian and African identities that only enhances its distinct charm.

Visitors can also enjoy in various activities away from the beaches. Travelers can explore the archaeological ruins of Tharros, as well as visit the Gola de Gorropu, the largest canyon in Europe. Other notable sights include Costa Verde and the Dunes of Piscinas.

Capri

Another lovely island in the Bay of Naples, Capri is known for its rich history and mythology. The island were said to be the home of the mythological Sirens, whose songs lured hapless sailors to their doom. Capri was also the known for its imperial residence, Villa Jovis, where Roman emperor Tiberius spent his last days.

Perhaps one of the most visited spots on the island has to be the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto). It is known the world over as one of the most beautiful sea caves; its walls feature a unique turquoise color that is truly a sight to behold.

Visitors searching for a more vibrant experience can stay in the chic town Capri itself. It sports many high-end fashion boutiques and restaurants, as well as an active nightlife. The center of town, known as La Piazzeta, is always filled with activity and where travelers can meet all sorts of people.

Sicily

When talking about island destinations in Italy, you definitely can’t forget the largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily. It includes several islands and archipelagos, and lies two miles from the Strait of Messina. Its expansive area includes mountains, beaches, national parks and old villages.

One of Sicily’s most notable geological features is Mount Etna – Europe’s tallest active volcano. Various cities located here also offer a wide range of cultural and recreational flair. These include Palermo, Catalina and Syracuse, each having its own distinct cultural identity.