Discover Spain For Members

Spain's other 167 islands you've never heard of

Esme Fox
Esme Fox - [email protected]
Spain's other 167 islands you've never heard of
The Atlantic Islands off the coast of Galicia. Photo: PxHere

Spain has a whopping 179 islands, even though most people are only aware of the Canaries and the Balearics, which comprise just 12 of these. Here's what you need to know about the 167 other 'unknown' Spanish islands.


There are actually 168 other islands that many are not even aware of. Many of these islands are tiny and most are uninhabited.

Keep in mind though, it can get a little confusing as many of the islands are called the same or similar names, even though they belong to different regions of the country. For example, there is an Isla de Las Palomas off the coast of Valencia and another off the coast of Andalusia.  

Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands are of course made up of the four main islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, while the Canary Islands include Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, La Palma, Fuerteventura, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa.

But you have in fact been lied to, there are not only four Balearic Islands, there are 14 different islands and islets that make up this Mediterranean island group.

Some of these are very small and most are uninhabited, while some are protected and part of national parks. These include Cabrera, Isla Dragonera, Isla de Espalmador, Isla de Es Vedrá, Isla de Colom, Isla de Tagomago, Isla del Aire, Isla del Rey, Isla Sargantana, Isla de Tosqueta, Illot des Porros, Islote de Binicodrell,  Islote de Mel and S’Illot.



Canary Islands

The same goes for the Canary Islands. While there are eight main islands in this archipelago off the coast of North Africa, there are many others. They are Alegranza, Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roques de Anaga, Roque de Garachico, Roque del Este, Roques de Salmor, Roque de Santo Domingo, Islote de Fermina, Islote de Cruces and Roque del Oeste. None of these are inhabited, and as the names suggest, some that are in fact little more than big rocks.


Galician islands

They rarely make it into the news but there are actually 46 islands belonging to Galicia, lying just off the coast of the region in the Atlantic Ocean. Many of these are part of The Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park. These are: Illa de Arousa, Islas Cíes, Ons, Isla de Sálvora, Isla de La Toja, Islas Sisargas, Isla de Cortegada, Isla de Onza, Isla de Tambo, Isla Coelleira, Isla de Tourís Novo, Islas de San Pedro, Islas Sagres, Isla de Vionta, Isla de Toralla, Isla de Toralla, Isla da Marma, Isla de La Toja Pequeña, Islas Estelas, Isla Ansarón, Isla Guidoiro Areoso, Isla de A Creba, Lobeiras, Centoleiras, Isla de Os Forcados, Isla de Santa Comba, Beiro, Farallóns, Guidoiro Pedregoso, Isla de Noro, Islas Briñas, Isla de La Rúa, Malveiras, Isla de Pombeiro, Isla de Santa Cruz, Isla del Penedo da Ínsua, Isla Herbosa, Isla de San Vicente, San Antón (Pontevedra), Isla de San Simón, Isla de Area, San Clemente, San Antón (La Coruña), Pancha and Gavoteira.

The Cíes Islands off the coast of Galicia in northwest Spain offer some of the beast beaches in the country and cold seawater temperatures. Photo: Viferico/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)


Cantabrian Islands

Cantabria also has a very high number of islands – 30 in total. Like the others, the majority of these are uninhabited. These include Isla de Santa Marina, Isla de Pedrosa, Isla de Montehano, Isla de la Virgen del Mar, Isla del Castro, Isla de San Pedruco, Isla Conejera, Urros de Liencres, Isla de la Oliva, Isla de Mouro, Isla Sarnosa, Isla del Castril, Isla de la Torre, Peñón de Moja el Rabo, Isla de los Ratones, Isla de la Horadada, Islote de Ansión, Isla Segunda, Isla Casilda, Isla Solita, Islote de Neptuno Niño, Oriñón, Castro, Cuarezo, Llera, Águila, Suaces, Garfanta, Isla de la Hierba and La Campanuca.



Asturian islands

Asturias, located between Cantabria and Galicia, also has several islands located offshore, but not as many as its neighbours. These are: Isla de La Deva y Playón de Bayas, Pantorgas, Islas de Póo, Isla Herbosa, Isla del Castrón de Santiuste, Isla del Forcón, Isla de Borizo, La Islona, Isla de Tapia, Isla de Veiga, Isla del Carmen and Isla Ballota.


Basque Country islands

Spain’s Basque Country also has several islands, located in the Bay of Biscay. There are eight in total including, Isla de Ízaro, Garraitz, Santa Clara, Isla de Aquech, Isla de Txatxarramendi, Isla Villano, Isla de Zuaza and Isla de los Faisanes. Isla de los Faisanes or Pheasant Island in fact doesn’t belong to Spain all year around. It is an uninhabited island located in the middle of the Bidasoa River and changes hands between the Spanish and the French every six months.

READ ALSO: The tiny island that is Spanish for half the year, and French the other half

Map showing the French town of Hendaye, the Spanish town of Irun and between them, right on the Franco-Spanish border, 'pheasant island'. Map: Google maps


Catalan islands

As the Balearics have several islands, it’s not surprising that there are several more located in the Mediterranean off the coast of Catalonia. The region’s Costa Brava coast is littered with rugged rocks and tiny islets. These include Isla de Buda, Isla de Gracia, Islas Medas, Port Lligat, Isla de S’Arenella, Encalladora, Islas Formigues, Isla del Castellar and Isla Massa d’Or.



Valencian islands

Just south of Catalonia and west of the Balearics, it stands within reason that a few of the islands found in the Mediterranean also belong to Valencia. Valencia has five islands off its coastline. These are: Isla de Tabarca, Islas Columbretes, Portichol, Isla de Benidorm and Descubridor.

Isla de Tabarca off the coast of Alicante is is the only inhabited island in the Valencia region. Photo: Claudia Bañón / Wikimedia Commons


Murcian islands

Even though the region of Murcia is smaller than that of Valencia, it in fact has several more Mediterranean islands than its larger neighbour. These include Isla Perdiguera, Isla Grosa, Isla del Ciervo, Isla de Mazarrón, Isla del Fraile, Isla del Sujeto, Isla Rondella, Isla Plana, Isla Mayor, Isla de Las Palomas and Isla de Escombreras. Eleven in total.


Andalusian islands

Covering the whole of the south coast and one of the biggest regions in Spain, it comes as no surprise that Andalusia is also home to many of Spain’s islands. These are: Isla del Trocadero, Isla Canela, Islote de Sancti Petri, Isla de San Andrés, Isla de Alborán, Piedra Salmedina, Isla Piedra del Hombre, Isla de La Gaviota, Isla de Saltés, Isla Mayor, Isla de Las Palomas, Isla de Terreros, Isla de León, Isla Negra and Isla de San Sebastián.

Isla de Las Palomas off the coast of Tarifa in Andalusia. Photo: Olivier Bruchez / Wikimedia Commons


Islands in landlocked regions

Surprisingly there are even a few landlocked regions that have islands. These are Isla de Valdecañas in Extremadura, which is located in the reservoir of the same name between Spain and Portugal; and Isla la Centinela and Isla del Burguillo in Castilla y León. Both of these are located in the Burgillo Reservoir and the latter even has a hotel on it. 


Plazas de Soberanía

Spain also has a few overseas territories. The term Plazas de Soberanía describes a series of Spanish overseas minor territories scattered along the Mediterranean coast – closer in fact to Morocco than they are to Spain. These islands are Islas Chafarinas, Islas Alhucemas and Isla de Perejil. One of them also belongs to the North African enclave of Ceuta – Isla de Santa Catalina.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also