There are three large islands in the Western Mediterranean Sea - Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily. Other notable islands include Malta and the Spanish Balearic Islands. In the Eastern Mediterranean, notable islands include Crete, Cyprus (the Mediterranean's third-largest island), and many Greek Islands. These three islands are the largest in the Mediterranean, and each boasts its own unique history and culture.
This article will just discuss the three largest islands of the Western Mediterranean. Each of these islands is highly distinctive and is very different from one another. Given a chance, one should visit all three of them - one of the fun ways to do that is by taking ferries between them.
Corsica - The Distinctive French Island
Corsica is the fourth-largest island in the Mediterranean and one of the 18 regions of France. It is famous for being the birthplace of Napoleon. Today his ancestral home (called Maison Bonaparte) is a tourist attraction and museum.
It is one of the least populated major islands in the region will only around a third of a million people.
- Capital: Ajaccio
- Population: 350,000
- Napoleon Bonaparte: A Native Corsican
- Country: France
Corsica has a significant degree of autonomy within France and has a distinct regional identity. Corsica was a border region that could have become a part of Italy, but in the end, it was annexed into France in 1769. The island retains many Italian cultural elements with historical ties to the Italian region of Tuscany.
Corsica boasts stunning seaside scenery, snowcapped mountains, pristine forests, and picturesque villages. It has been labeled the "Island of Beauty" but is a place few tourists outside of France bother to see.
- Known: As The Island Of Beauty
Corsica is an outdoor paradise with plenty of hiking trails and idyllic beaches. It has 1,000 kilometers of shorelines boasting some of the best of the Mediterranean's beauty (they are also ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling).
Visiting Corsica is also about exploring its own distinctive culture. Hear its unique music, taste its distinctive cuisine (including strong spicy cheeses), and much more. Plan one's trip with Visit Corsica.
Sardinia - The Island Lost In Time
Sardinia is one of Italy's two large islands and is the second-largest Mediterranean island. Officially the island is bilingual with Italian and Sardinian.
Sardinia is a breathtaking island with mountains, plains, rocky coasts, forests, and long sandy beaches. Sardinia's white sand beaches are world-famous and are protected - no one is allowed to remove sand from its beaches. The sand on these beaches really is white-white while the sea is the bluest blue. Explore the coastlines and discover scalloped bays and emerald waters. Go from near alpine forests to snow-white beaches.
- Capital and Largest City: Cagliari
- Population: 1.6 Million
- Country: Italy
Many of its landscapes remain untouched, and the island still retains some vestiges of the ancient Nuragic civilization - a civilization that lasted up to the Roman period. The island remains scattered with around 7,000 nuraghi - a tower-fortress type of construction by the ancient Sardinians, with the oldest dating from almost 4,000 years ago.
- Nuraghi Towers: 7,000 Bronze Age Towers Dot The Island
Sardinia is an island of idiosyncrasies; Sardinia is, well, different. It is a place where some four million sheep rule the roads. Discover the distinct culture and languages of the island that so sets it apart from the rest of Italy. Plan one's trip to Sardinia on its official tourism website.
Sicily - The Largest And Most Popular Island In The Mediterranean
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and has been a popular destination since Roman times. Whereas Corsica and Sardinia are relatively isolated, Sicily has long sat at the crossroads of the Mediterranean. It is a rich mix of Arab, Norman, Roman, Greek, Spanish, and other influences - and those influences can be seen and felt in architecture and cuisine today.
- Capital: Palermo
- Population: 5 Million
- Largest: The Largest (and Most Populated) Island In The Mediterranean
- Country: Italy
Sicily is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region and is a magnet for cruise ships. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, while its Valley of Temples preserves the best ancient Greek ruins outside of Greece today.
- Mount Etna: 3,357 Meters or 11,014 Feet
In Sicily, one feels the weight of history. There is archeological evidence for humans there as far back as 12,000 BC, and whatever was happening in the Mediterranean over the years, Sicily was probably in the middle of it. Plan one's trip to Sicily on Visit Sicily.