15 Biggest Islands on Earth

Soma Dutta
·8 min read

In this article we take a look at the 15 Biggest Islands on Earth. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 Biggest Islands on Earth.

While everybody wants to head to one of the countries with most islands in the world for their dream island getaways and the ultimate island hopping experiences - it’s the islands with the gigantic sizes that leave us awestruck. And, if islands are the talk of interest for you, you have brought yourself at the right discussion!

Of all the bizarre COVID 19 news we have heard recently, islands have apparently been in heavy demand for high net worth individuals ever since the pandemic started. And not just as a post-pandemic travel destination but as a real estate investment. Even as the economy dips, the wealthy have been quick to gauge the lucrativeness of islands as a safe-haven from the pandemic – a perfect place to isolate while enjoying the tropical paradise life. Come to think of it, it does seem like the dream!

While many of us have wished for a possibility to holiday on an island through the pandemic, it isn’t such a farfetched dream for the ultra-rich. In fact, owning private islands may not be out of ordinary for the wealthy. While a lot of them might have planned to acquire their own islands, COVID 19 has just put a timeline to it. Many of the buyers see this as a contingency plan for any future mishaps and an island to themselves now seems much more consequential. There’s also a “Now or Never” sentiment that has caused the buyers to commit to owning islands in these times.

However, the wish to own an isolation destination is not the only reason many are looking to buy islands this season. It is also a means to invest in a foreign country to earn citizenship. While Caribbean has always been one of the most popular spots for owning private islands, demand has also surged in countries with good COVID handling mechanisms, like Australia and New Zealand.

If you too would like to take social distancing to another level, or have always dreamt of owning your own private island – it might not be as impossible as it sounds. One can buy an island for less than €100,000, depending upon the location, the development status and amenities available on the island. A small island in Nova Scotia, Canada is currently listed at a price of USD 68,104. Some, more pricier ones might come with extra perks like a private helipad or fully functional residence with recreational facilities.

Whether you are looking to escape to an island or not, islands are an interesting topic that entices a lot of us. While there are over 2000 islands on the oceans in the world, we are likely to know so little about them. The most famous islands of the world include Santorini in Greece, Bali and Java in Indonesia and Maui in Hawaii, among others. However, when it comes to the biggest islands, some of them have always confused enthusiasts and been on the topic of interests of experts alike. One such island that features on our list is Great Britain, which is not only the ninth largest island on the Earth but also the largest island in the whole of Europe. It is one of the few island civilizations which have been reached the status of a global empire.

On another hand there is Australia, which clearly seems like an island to us -- however, it might not be! Is Australia an island - is a question that leaves the best of us perplexed. To put it simply, the ”island continent” doesn’t qualify for a position on our list because it already checks off all the requirements of being a continent! According to geographical definitions, an island and continent are considered different. Therefore, even if Australia is larger than Greenland, it cannot be considered an island and Britannica explains it perfectly for us.

As opposed to the bigwigs, there are also the smallest islands of the Earth on the other end of the spectrum, which are equally interesting to know about. Some of the smallest ones include Smyley Island, Mornington Island and Grande Comore. But if you are wondering what is the smallest island in the world, the answer is Bishop Rock, a part of the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago in the Atlantic ocean in Cornwall, South West England. On the island which is 46m long and 16 meters wide, there is only a lighthouse. The rest of the list we might tackle on a future article! And then there are also the biggest river islands, like Majuli island, which is the largest river island in India and the world, as well!

Some of the most beautiful islands in the world, also might not feature in the largest. For example the beautiful islands in India. If you are thinking of taking a long sabbatical from city life and finding a way to relax when we finally get back to traveling, maybe an escape to the 10 Most Remote Inhabited Islands in the World would be of your interest.

Coming back to our current topic, we have used trusted sources like Britannica Encyclopedia and other informative sites like Brilliant Maps and World Atlas to compile our list. Let’s explore the biggest islands on Earth.

15. Luzon

Area : 109,965 km²/ 42457.72 sq mi The largest island of Philippines and where the city of Manila is nestled. The Luzon strait separated the island from Taiwan. Home to many bays and gulfs, Luzon covers almost one-third of land area in Philippines. Pixabay/Public Domain

14. North Island

Area : 111,583 km²/ 43082.43 sq mi New Zealand’s North Island, is divided from South Island by the Cook Strait. The island is home to a terrain rising to central mountain range with volcanic Mount Ruapehu at it’s highest point and within the Tongariro National Park, which is a designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

13. Java

Area : 138,794 km²/ 53588.66 sq mi Surrounded by Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo and Bali, the beautiful Indonesian island is one of the most prominent islands of the country. The island has Jakarta, Indonesia’s Capital, and largest city.

Best Places to See in Southeast Asia Before You Die
Best Places to See in Southeast Asia Before You Die

12. South Island

Area : 145,836 km²/ 56307.59 sq mi The larger of Indonesia’s two islands, South Island is dotted with mountains. The island houses several World Heritage sites including a protected wilderness area Te Wahipounamu. Achim Baque/Shutterstock.com

11. Sulawesi

Area: 188,522 km² / 72,789 sq mi

The fourth biggest island in Indonesia, Sulawesi is quite unique and peculiar. The island is interestingly shaped with four peninsulas and three gulfs. The landscape is dotted with mountains, the highest peak of which is Mount Rantekombola and one might even come across quite a few active volcanoes.

Biggest Islands on Earth
Biggest Islands on Earth

Fabio Lamanna/Shutterstock.com

10. Ellesmere Island

Area: 196,236 km² / 75,767 sq mi

Ellesmere Island, the number 10 on our list of biggest islands on Earth, is the third largest island in Canada and the largest of the Queen Elizabeth Islands in the country. It is the most northerly island in the Arctic Archipelago. The island lies in Nunavut territory, and the Kennedy Channel and Kane basin separate it from Greenland. Along with being interestingly located, Ellesmere also has a fascinating history associated with it and is believed to have been visited by the Vikings in the 10th Century. Speaking of Canada, we should mention that this is the country which has the longest coastline (125,567 miles, to be precise).

Biggest Islands on Earth
Biggest Islands on Earth

Pixabay/Public Domain

9. Great Britain

Area: 209,331 km²/ 80,823 sq mi

Separated from the European mainland by the English Channel and the North Sea, Great Britain includes three nations namely England, Scotland and Wales. Great Britain and several other islands like the Isle of Wight, Isles of Scilly, we already mentioned, and others are marked with rich history, medieval architecture and prehistoric sites.

Biggest Islands on Earth
Biggest Islands on Earth

Pixabay/Public Domain

8. Victoria Island

Area: 217, 291 km²/ 83,896 sq mi

Canada’s second largest island also finds a place among the biggest islands on Earth. It's a 'little bit' greater in size than Great Britain. Victoria Island is special since it contains the largest island-in-a-lake-on-an-island-in-a-lake-on-an-island.

Biggest Islands on Earth
Biggest Islands on Earth

Pixabay/Public Domain

7. Honshu

Area: 227,898 km²/ 87,992 sq mi

Japan’s main and most populous island, Honshu, houses some of the country’s major cities and sites and is also home to the famous snow-capped volcano, Mount Fuji. The island is the second-most populous island in the world right after Java in Indonesia. Honshu separates the Sea of Japan from the Northern Pacific Ocean and forms most of Japan’s industry belt including cities like Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo, and Hiroshima.

Biggest Islands on Earth
Biggest Islands on Earth

kqlsm/Shutterstock.com

6. Sumatra

Area: 443,065 km²/ 171,068 sq mi

The largest island lying wholly in Indonesia is a fascinating elongated mass of land running along a diagonal axis. The island is surrounded by a lot of other important islands in the vicinity and is separated from the Malay Peninsula by the famous Strait of Malacca. Sumatra is also known for its wide range of fauna and the unique animal species found here.

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Disclosure: 15 Biggest Islands on Earth is originally published on Insider Monkey.