Tremiti Islands: The tiny hidden European islands with barely any tourists | World | News

Europe is the most popular tourist destination for Britons come rain or shine, summer or winter. We absolutely love heading across the Channel and exploring what the continent has to offer.

There are no prizes for guessing what country tops the list, with Spain being the most favoured getaway. France and Italy follow as the places where Britons hope to find that je nais se quois, with many heading to Italy’s gorgeous coastal towns and cities, as well as the numerous popular islands.

Yet there is one particular set of islands few have heard of and even fewer travel to, a beautiful stretch of land known as the Tremiti Islands, tucked away inside Italy’s portion of the Adriatic Coast.

San Domino and San Nicola are the largest of the two islands, and Capraia, Cretaccio, and Pianosa are the three smallest. While the islands aren’t as popular as holiday hits Capri and Sicily, they are gaining popularity among foreigners.

Photographs show crystal clear waters snaking their way around sporadically occurring hulks of rock, some of which have beautifully crafted churches atop them.

The islands have been inhabited since at least the late Iron Age, around the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, with the Romans and later Medieval Italians using them also.

In the 13th century, the Abbey of Santa Maria a Mare ruled the archipelago and gained its autonomy from the father of the monastery.

After a period of calm the islands experienced much turbulence, being ransacked by opposing powers and changing hands several times — and were even taken by a group during the Napoleonic age who resisted the British.

Today, you’ll not find any warring outfits or groups vying for power, but rather a host of outdoor activities and scores of history.

You can go kayaking around San Domino and absorb the breathtaking surrounding beauty, or even get a spot of culture at the monastery and fortress on San Nicola. And, there are also, of course, several beaches to set up shop and relax for the day.

The islands are home to a number of grottos — natural and artificial caves used by humans — one of which, Grotta del Bue Marino, is home to monk seals.

Though they sit a considerable distance off Italy’s western coast, the Tremiti Islands are extremely easy to get to. Ferry services run from several ports on the mainland, including Peschici, Vieste, and Rodi Garganico.

The journeys from the mainland are not long at all, with tourists told to expect a ferry ride of 55 to 70 minutes depending on the size of the ship, and tickets starting from as little as £20.

San Domino is the largest and most popular of all the islands, but it’s still big enough to get away and feel as though you’ve left the crowds behind.

San Nicola is described as the historical centre of the islands, where the remnants of the islands’ medieval history remain in the form of walls and other relics, as well as the Abbey of Santa Maria a Mare.

The three other settlements are far smaller and lean themselves to things like snorkelling and scuba diving because they are so quiet, especially Capraia, though be warned, Pianosa cannot be reached because it is a site of protected marine nature.

There’s no denying that the islands are more difficult to get to for Britons than for locals or those already on the mainland.

The closest airport is Bari Airport where you can fly with Ryanair, though you’ll need to drive two and a half hours from Bari to Rodi Garganico for a ferry service.

Though a tiring journey, you’ll not be disappointed with this hidden gem of the Adriatic, so we think it’s well worth it.

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