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With its lush greenery, stunning beaches, and laid-back atmosphere, Hawaii is one of the world’s top tropical destinations. If you’re looking for a similarly idyllic European escape full of incredible natural beauty without crossing an ocean, read on to discover what locations have earned the nickname “The Hawaii of Europe.”

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Canary Islands, especially Tenerife, are often referred to as “The Hawaii of Europe” due to their volcanic landscapes, picturesque beaches, exotic wildlife, and spring-like weather year-round.

In this approximately 3000 word guide, we’ll highlight the top contenders for the title of “Europe’s Hawaii,” breaking down what makes each destination uniquely gorgeous while still channeling those aloha vibes.

We’ll dig into the stunning natural scenery, beach options, weather patterns, and overall Hawaiian feel of:

– The Canary Islands

– Madeira Islands

– Cyprus

– Crete

The Canary Islands – Spain’s Hawaiian Archipelago

Volcanic Scenery and Dramatic Landscapes

The Canary Islands have incredibly beautiful volcanic terrain with craters, dunes, cliffs and rock formations resulting in dramatic landscapes. The diversity of landscapes is incredible with evergreen forests, palm oases, towering mountains and even wide sandy beaches.

Scenery differs between islands with places like Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote showcasing miles of volcanic wasteland while La Gomera is covered in thick laurel forests.

Idyllic Beaches and Secluded Coves

The beautiful beaches of these Spanish islands draw many visitors seeking tranquil crystal clear waters in amazing colors often surrounding picturesque fishing villages. Some of the iconic beaches include Playa de las Canteras, Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas dunes in Gran Canaria, Papagayo beaches in Lanzarote and Corralejo dunes and beaches in Fuerteventura.

There are many hidden coves found along rugged shorelines with stunning backdrops that offer peaceful escapes from the busier beaches.

Spring-Like Weather Year-Round

Thanks to the consistent warm tropical climate, the average daily high temperature in the Canary Islands stays between 21-29°C (70-84°F) year-round according to Holiday Weather. Even in the winter months daily highs generally reach about 21°C (70°F) which makes for pleasant weather all year for enjoying the beaches or exploring the islands.

The northern islands are generally a little cooler while the southern islands and lowlands are hotter and drier.

Laid-Back Island Charm and Exotic Wildlife

These romantic islands still retain an authentic island charm while now being a major European tourist destination. The laid-back lifestyle, culture, architecture, festivals and food create a magic environment that awes visitors.

The diverse habitat of the volcanic islands supports a wild array of exotic plant and animal life like the endangered Canary Islands Dragon Tree, Barbary ground squirrels, Osprey sea eagles and loggerhead sea turtles according to Biosphere Foundation.

Whale and dolphin sightings thrill many coastal visitors.

Madeira Islands – The Floating Garden of the Atlantic

Lush Green Mountains and Flower Gardens

With its volcanic peaks plunging dramatically into the blue Atlantic, the lush green mountains of Madeira look like they belong in the tropics. But this Portuguese island group actually lies closer to Africa than Europe, blessed with a subtropical climate that enables flowers and exotic plants to thrive.

Madeira is often called “the floating garden in the Atlantic” thanks to its dense forests and colorful flora, especially the purple bougainvillea that drapes stone walls alongside winding roads.

Pebbled Shores and Secluded Swimming Spots

While the northern coast of Madeira has rocky cliffs, the south boasts pebbled shores and little coves for swimming in the invigorating Atlantic – quite similar to Hawaii! Places like Ponta do Sol, Ribeira Brava and Calheta provide delightful beaches of imported golden sand.

And hikers who make the trek down to Seixal will find a nearly deserted pebble beach framed by dramatic dark cliffs streaked with waterfalls.

Pleasant Mediterranean Temperatures

Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Madeira enjoys relatively mild temperatures all year long similar to Mediterranean climates. Frost and snow are unheard of, despite some high elevation mountain peaks. The average annual temperature hovers around 70°F.

Even in January, temperatures typically range from 61°F to 71°F during the daytime – ideal weather for touring the islands, especially during spring and fall.

Levadas Offer Epic Island Hiking

With over 1500 miles of hiking trails and levadas – ancient water channels that wind across hillsides – Madeira appeals to active travelers who want to explore its natural treasures. The levada trails provide the most scenic treks across the islands.

Some of the most popular hikes include Levada do Caldeirão Verde wending through primeval forest with mini waterfalls, and Levada da 25 Fontes passing rocky ravines and vistas.

Cyprus – A Mediterranean Hawaii

Dramatic Sea Caves and Secluded Beaches

With over 600 miles of coastline, Cyprus has no shortage of spectacular beaches. Many are dotted with dramatic sea caves carved out by the crystal blue Mediterranean waters over centuries, creating secluded hideaways and picture-perfect backdrops.

Places like Nissi Beach, Konnos Bay, and Lara Bay offer soft white sands, turquoise waters so clear you can see to the sandy bottom, and lush landscapes.

Vineyards and Orchards

The interior of Cyprus is covered in vineyards and orchards that supply delicious local wines, fruits like juicy oranges and peaches, olives, and halloumi cheese. Places like Omodos village have maintained their old-world charm while becoming centers of Cypriot wine production.

Slopes and valleys filled with grape vines and olive groves stretch for miles. With 300+ days of sunshine per year fueling these bountiful farms and orchards, Cyprus has rightfully earned its “Hawaii of Europe” nickname.

Hot and Sunny Mediterranean Climate

Cyprus enjoys a blissfully warm and pleasant Mediterranean climate all year long, with very mild winters and long, hot summers. Average highs in the summer reach the low 90s Fahrenheit (around 33°C), while winters see average high temperatures around 63°F (17°C).

This sunny, temperate weather allows beach-goers to swim comfortably 10 months out of 12! With more recorded hours of sunlight per year than nearly anywhere else in Europe, it’s always beach weather on Cyprus.

Villages Full of Rustic Island Charm

From colorful fishing villages to historic hilltop settlements, rural Cyprus overflows with old-world charm. Cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, rustic tavernas serving up fresh-caught fish and village wines – it’s easy to imagine life here moving at a relaxed pace little changed over decades.

Places like Kalopanayiotis, Omodos, and Lefkara village transport visitors back in time with their tranquil village vibes, heartwarming hospitality, and cozy accommodations ranging from family-run pensions to boutique cave hotels.

Crete – Greece’s Tropical Island Paradise

Impressive Gorges and Mountains

With its rugged landscape dotted with soaring peaks, plunging gorges and hidden caves, Crete has some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in Greece. The island’s tallest mountains, the Lefka Ori (White Mountains), feature over 50 peaks above 2000 meters, including Crete’s highest point, the snow-capped Mount Psiloritis (2456m).

Hikers trek through the 16km long Samariá Gorge, with cliffs over 500 meters high, calling it one of Europe’s grandedest gorges.

Palm-Lined Beaches

With more than 1000km of diverse coastline, Crete boasts some of Greece’s best beaches. The pink sand Elafonissi Beach dotted with tiny islets looks like a Caribbean dream, while palm tree-lined Vai Beach stuns with a sandy shore bordering a vast palm forest.

The more secluded beaches along the southern coast like Preveli, Triopetra and Agiofarago delight beachcombers seeking peaceful scenery far from crowds.

Warm and Sunny Mediterranean Weather

Crete basks in a blissful Mediterranean climate with long, hot dry summers and short mild winters. During the peak summer months from June to August, average highs range 26°C-29°C along the coasts to slightly cooler in the mountains.

With an impressive 260 days of sunshine per year on average, travelers flock to Crete to soak up the sunny skies almost any time of year except winter. Cooler temperatures from December to February see average highs of 16°C on the coasts, with a mix of rain and sunshine.

Minoan History and Small Mountain Towns

As home of Europe’s first great civilization, the ancient Minoans, Crete reveals over 5000 years of history and myth waiting to be discovered. The sprawling Bronze Age Palace of Knossos gives a glimpse into Minoan life.

Away from the coast, delightful mountain villages like Rethymno, Chania and Agios Nikolaos charm visitors with winding alleys, classic architecture and vibrant town squares. With a rich fusion of Venetian, Turkish and Byzantine influences blended into traditional Greek island culture, these towns feel quintessentially Cretan.


While no place in Europe can fully replicate the one-of-a-kind tropical paradise found in Hawaii, destinations like the Canary Islands, Madeira, Cyprus, and Crete come remarkably close thanks to their volcanic scenery, stunning beaches, exotic plants and wildlife, sunny weather, and overall laid-back island charm.

With direct flights from various European hubs making these islands very accessible, you don’t need to cross an ocean to surround yourself with impressive natural beauty and soak up the chill aloha spirit.

So next time you’re looking to island hop without the lengthy travel time, set your sights on Europe’s own versions of Hawaii for an unforgettable tropical escape closer to home.

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