Irish island described as ‘desolate beauty’ listed among top ten most underrated in Europe

Irish island described as ‘desolate beauty’ listed among top ten most underrated in Europe

A REMOTE Irish island has been listed among the top ten most underrated islands in Europe.

The island of Inis Mór, off the coast of County Galway, has placed seventh in the list compiled by travel experts Big 7 Travel.

Noted for the “thousands of years” of history found there, Inis Mór is the largest and most popular island of the three Aran Islands.

Home to a population of around 800 people, who predominantly speak Irish as their first language, the islands boasts plenty for visitors to see and many historical monuments, including some which date back to early Christian times.

Dun Aonghasa, an Iron Age fort perched precariously atop a 100-meter-high cliff face, is a particular highlight, which receives honourable mention in the Big 7 Travel listing.

“Escape to desolate beauty with a trip to Inis Mór,” the travel firm says.

“A few days on this rocky isle will lead you to believe you’re much further from the mainland than a 40-minute boat journey,” they explain.

“It is, after all, on the edges of Europe: the last bit of land before America.

“The atmospheric island tells the story of thousands of years of Irish history, with longstanding grey stone pubs scattered across the patchwork fields,” they add.

“Dún Aonghasa is an archaeological marvel: the structures atop the 100-metre cliff are from the Bronze Age.

“Folklore and mystery surround the prehistoric fort, and the same goes for the Wormhole: an inexplicable rectangle hole above the foamy Atlantic Ocean.”

Inis Mór is the largest of the Aran Islands in Co. Galway

Published annually Big 7 Travel’s 20 Most Underrated Islands in Europe list provides guidance for travellers who are keen to find locations for their holidays which escape the mass tourism market.

“Islands are always a top pick,” Big 7 Travel explains.

“They offer a true escape to our everyday lives, as well as the opportunity to connect with nature.

“However, Europe’s popular islands are booming with tourism during the summer months,” they add.

“Mass tourism can dilute an island’s local charm, as well as drive up the prices.

“There are still some pretty isles that are not so hot on the tourist trail, though – for now. “Think empty beaches, traditional villages, and wild, rugged landscapes.”

Top of the list for 2024 is Anáfi in Greece, which the travel firm describes as a “vision of flat-roof white houses clustered onto the cliffside, domed churches sitting atop hills, and untouched beaches”.

The Cycladic island is closely followed by Île d’Yeu in France, Lastovo in Croatia, Senja in Norway, Marettimo in Italy’s Egadi Islands and in sixth place, just ahead of Inis Mór, is Kythira in Greece.

For Big 7 Travel’s full list of Most Underrated Islands in Europe click here.