The Allure of Private Island Getaways in Europe 

In an era where privacy, exclusivity, and bespoke experiences reign supreme, private island holidays are increasing in popularity as a preferred holiday option – with discerning travellers swapping glitz and glamour for solace and seclusion.

From couples and families seeking a place where they can unwind, recharge, and reconnect with nature (and with each other!) to group get-togethers celebrating a milestone occasion – with the vast space and varied accommodation options on an island – whatever the reason (but who needs one!) these discreet havens offer a retreat from the stresses of modern life.

And it’s not only the far-off lands of the southern hemisphere where a secluded holiday ensues, Europe offers some fine locations just waiting to be explored. Whether it’s the sun-drenched beaches of White Island, the magic of the Mediterranean, or the untamed wilderness of Scotland, Europe offers a wealth of options for holidaymakers looking to indulge in the ultimate island getaway.

Tagomago Island, Ibiza

Dubbed as Europe’s most exclusive private island and only 900 metres from the adult playground of Ibiza, Tagamago offers a retreat from the White Isle in a matter of minutes proving that you really can have it all.

For those looking for escapism, tranquillity and privacy this is the island for you. With only one residence on the island taking the form of a stunning five-bed villa complete with sprawling terraces, sea views, open plan entertaining spaces and a meticulously designed exterior ensuring guests can bask in the sun from dawn till dusk, you will be hard pushed to leave the contemporary architecture of your abode but with the wealth of activities available, you absolutely should.

Read our guide to the best hotels in Ibiza

The 148-acre island is crisscrossed with pathways and surrounded by azure blue waters swimming with life. The wind-kissed rock formation is of great environmental protection meaning she lies virtually untouched and houses an abundance of rare flora and fauna.  Snorkelling, diving and paddle boarding offer sightings of rare fish, dramatic rock formations and even dolphins. For those that prefer someone else to take control, a yacht charter around the island and the neighbouring Balearics is essential. With the surrounding waters teaming with Bonitos and Breams, fishing is rewarding even for the most amateur of anglers and of course, a day at sea should be rewarded by taking the catch of the day back to the sumptuous villa kitchen where a private chef can be ready and waiting to rustle up something exceptional.

The level of private luxury on offer coupled with untouched nature being a mere stone’s throw from the glittering nightlife of Ibiza truly makes this destination one of a kind.

Manshausen, Norway

Norway – a word that conjures up images of inky blue skies painted with flashes of green and purples, minimal interiors that encourage their dwellers to mindfully enjoy their surroundings and glass like fjords offering peace and tranquillity. It is a country that will ignite your most primal of senses and taking the “harmony of people and nature” one step further is the private island of Manshausen.  Known as one of Norway’s best adventure playgrounds and famed for its striking back drops of mountains melting into the sea, this thirteen-acre island may be small but it is indeed mighty.

Read our guide to the best hotels in Norway

Accommodation is comprised of seven unique modular sea cabins designed by Snorre Stinessen and proud winners of multiple architectural awards. Clad in larch, constructed of all natural materials and featuring floor to ceiling glass that extends from land to sea effortlessly blending the worlds of indoors and outdoors, ensuring not a moment of the day will go by where you can’t absorb the astonishing scenery. For the island to be truly experienced it is time to get out in the elements. Hiking, paddle boarding, skiing, sailing and climbing are all on offer. Activities vary depending on the time of year but whether you have to don your swimmers or your winter coat, the white sand beaches nestled underneath the awe-inspiring mountains must be visited.

When it is time to retreat for some R&R, the islands relaxation house beckons. Designed for reading, contemplation, and rejuvenation, this is where explorers head to dissect their discoveries be it around the dining table or in the hot tub.

Getting to the island involves a flight from Heathrow to Bodo via Oslo, a ferry to the island of Nordskot and then a boat crossing. A true adventure to a private paradise.

Eilean Shona, Scotland

On the west coast of Scotland, in the middle of a loch, lies an island. An island like no other – car free, wilderness heavy and the inspiration for one of the most escapism filled stories ever written, Eilean Shona is the real-life Neverland.

If ever there were a place to offer temporary withdrawal from the fast-paced world we live in, it has to be that that inspired the story of a young boy who didn’t want to grow up. Stepping onto the shores of Eilean Shona transports visitors to a simpler time, a childhood full of adventure, a world filled with wonder. Days are laden with exploration– hiking, kayaking, wild swimming, picnicking in the wilds and wandering the woods and beaches. Evenings are spent around the campfire, cooking and drinking and sharing stories. Imaginations are reignited and energies replenished.

Read our guide to the best hotels in Scotland

When it is time to rest weary legs and full hearts, a choice of eight self-catering cottages or a nine-bedroom country manor call this island home. Cottages are quaint and homely, each steeped in history and personal touches, some being totally off grid to allow guests to fully reconnect with nature, each other and themselves.

Read our guide to the best hotels in Scotland

Due to the island having no roads or vehicles, the soundtrack of Eilean Shona is that of nature and nature only – the bark of a deer, the call of a sea eagle, the rustle of a pine martin. For those looking to disengage from modern life and be at one with the natural world, this is it.

The island is accessible by car which is then left in a secure area and guests are transported by rib to their Neverland. It’s advised to use the postcode provided rather than “second star on the right then straight on till morning” when programming Sat Nav’s. Oh and if it’s good enough for the Branson/Devereux clan then it should be a hit with any discerning adventurer!

Isola Santa Cristina, Italy

Once the private escape of the Swarovskis, this island that sits within the Venetian lagoon and the nine-bedroom residence that perches upon it is now available for private hire and rest assured, the former owners have impregnated it with the glamour you would expect from the first family of crystal. However, thanks to its 2016 reinvention, the heavy decadence of yesteryear has been replaced with chic, muted interiors and a sustainable and stylish offering.

The island is the only survivor of the original Ammiana archipelago and is in the process of becoming fully sustainable, an effort of which is palpable at every turn. The island is your very own garden of Eden – meander through the fruit orchards, branches bowing with plump figs and apricots begging to be plucked. Sip the islands very own vintage produced from yes, you guessed it, its own vineyard, take in the herbaceous scents of the many vegetable patches. All of the produce is of course utilised by the on-site chef ready for guests to enjoy.

Read our guide to the best hotels in Italy

Neighbouring islands of Burano (famed for its lace, picture-perfect painted doors and quaint restaurants) and Torcello (home to one of the best restaurants in the region, Locanda Cipriani) are visible from the poolside teak deck as are the towering Dolomite mountains to the northwest and thanks to the private boat and driver that come with island, next door neighbour islands are easily accessible as is Venice itself which is a mere twenty minute ride away when guests choose to leave their private oasis.

Isola Santa Cristina prides itself on offering respite and calm from the bustling urgency of Venice, a natural haven that draws on the tranquillity and sophistication of the Venetian lagoon and allows it to flow through it like a life source.

Isola Della Rose, Italy

The Island of Roses as it has been dubbed by the hotel that inhabits it, is one of the biggest islands (although still a mere forty acres) within the Venetian lagoon and uniquely totally man-made. Being the youngest of the Venetian islands at a tender 150 years old, the JW Marriot Resort and Spa has intentionally been designed in a contemporary, youthful style so to play into the relative youth of the space it occupies.

A family-friendly, lush retreat that offers an escape from the buzz of Venice itself but is within close enough proximity that day trips and evenings out are only a few minutes away and accessible by complimentary water taxi.

Once the hustle and bustle of the city is left behind, prepare to be welcomed by lush gardens and far-reaching olive groves. Allow a blanket of natural ambience swathe over you as you enter a world of complete relaxation. As one would expect with an Italian offering, food is of great importance here and with eight eateries available, guests are spoilt for choice. Not to mention olive oil and wine tastings as standard and cooking lessons for those looking to flex their pasta rolling skills.

After all that food you may wish to move your body at the fitness suite or rooftop pool though we wouldn’t hold it against you if you headed straight to the spa for a day of lounging against the backdrop of the Venice skyline.

The resort itself is comprised of two types of accommodations, rooms and suites swathed in natural light within the main hotel and ‘JW Retreats’ that are set in secluded locations around the gardens offering the ultimate private getaway.  Whichever you chose, you can be sure that a stay here will leave you restored and revitalised.

Sign up for our newsletter for inspiration, exclusive previews & luxury tips