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Largest Islands in the World

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The thing about the islands on our planet is that only the small ones get so much attention. Almost everyone knows about Seychelles, the Maldives, Bora Bora, Bali, and so on, in terms of vacation and travels, but very few are interested in large islands such as Java, New Guinea, and Greenland. Plus most of us when thinks of the largest

In this article, we have compiled the list of the largest islands in the world, some of which are travelers’ dream destinations.  In the list, I have excluded continental landmasses like Australia or Artcitca. Australia is almost three times the size of Greenland.

largest islands in the world

25 Largest Islands in the World 

1. Greenland (2,130,800 km2) 

With an area of 2,130,800 kilometers square, Greenland is the largest island on the planet. It is under Denmark’s jurisdiction in Europe though it is also likely to be in North America in terms of geographic location. The island is perched between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean with nearly all of its land covered by glaciers and ice caps. 

Despite being the largest island in the world, Greenland has a population of only 57,600, which is equal the population of – on of the smallest country in the world.

Greenland

The reason why the island is not considered a continent on its own is that it resides on the North American tectonic plate and is thus not geologically separated by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In order to a continent, an island should be located on its own tectonic plate with its own flora and fauna and unique culture plus have enough population.
Whoever visits Greenland explores the world largest National Park – Northeast Greenland National Park.

2. New Guinea (785, 753 km2) 

New Guinea is located in the Western Pacific Ocean. With a total area of 785, 753 square kilometers, it is the second-largest island in the world. The island stretches 1500 miles long and 400 miles wide, and therefore, it is administered by two states – the Eastern part to Papua New Guinea and the Western part to Indonesia.
The island of New Guinea is predominantly covered by high mountains with Puncak Jaya peak being the highest point on the island. 

According to historians, the island has been inhabited for at least 40,000 years!

3. Borneo (748,168 sq km)

Borneo Island is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. It is situated in the west mid-Pacific Ocean and is known for being the only island in the world that is under the jurisdictions of three countries, namely Indonesia, Brunei, and Malaysia.

Mount Kinabalu highest peak in Borneo and Southeast Asia

However, the major part of the island is located in Indonesia. In total, Borneo is 288,869 sq mi, thus it is the third-largest island on the planet. 
Borneo is home to the oldest rainforest in the world, which is believed to be more than 130 million years old. The forest itself is home to over 1,500 species of plants, 420 species of birds, and 221 species of mammals. 
We visited Malaysian part of Borneo and had lots of fun in cats city Kuching.

4. Madagascar (587, 041 sq km) 

Having separated from Africa some 160 million years ago, and from the Seychelles and India more than 70 million years ago, Madagascar finally settled on the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. 

Baobabs in Madagascar

With a total area of 587,041 square kilometers, it is the fourth-largest island on the planet. It is home to numerous unique animal and plant species, thus earning it the title, ‘Eighth Continent” or “Alternate World” 
The island is home to the cat-like lemurs, which are found only in the country, while the Toliara coral reef is the third largest coral ecosystem in the world. 

5. Baffin Island (507, 451 sq km) 

Baffin Island is located in Nunavut territory and it is the largest island in Canada with 507, 451 kilometers square. Because of its location near the arctic, the island usually receives extremely cold weather throughout the year with an average of -8 degrees Celsius annually. 

Baffin Bay

Its location also means the island is home to numerous freshwater lakes and fjords. You can also see the beautiful displays of the famous Northern Lights from the island since most of its parts lie in the North of the Arctic Circle. 

This island was named after a British explorer named William Baffin. 

6. Sumatra (443, 065 sq km) 

Located in Indonesia, Sumatra is one of the biggest islands in the world, with an area of 443, 065 square kilometers.
It is known for being the Westernmost Island of the Indonesian archipelago. Due to its location at the subduction zone of Eurasian and Indo-Australian tectonic plates, the island is usually prone to destructive tsunamis and earthquakes. 

Nevertheless, Sumatra Island is home to some of the most incredible rain forest and amazing wildlife – sumatran orangutans being one of them. 
In fact, large parts of the island are covered by rainforests, though it lost more than 50 percent of its forest in just 35 years due to oil drilling and transmigration.

7. Honshu (225, 800 sq km)

With 225,800 square kilometers, Honshu Island is the largest island in Japan. It is located in the midst of the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean and features many historical sites. The island is made up more than 60 percent of the total size of Japan, thus it is usually considered the Japanese Mainland. 

Honshu Mt Fuji

Honshu is also where you will find some of the most important Japanese cities such as the capital Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, and the famous Hiroshima. The island is also home to the largest mountain in the country, Mount Fuji as well as most of the largest lake including Lake Biwa. 

8. Victoria Island (217 291 sq km) 

Victoria is the second largest island in Canada after Baffin. It is 320 miles long and 387 miles wide and has a total area of 217, 291 square kilometers, making it the eighth largest island on the planet.
The island of Victoria was discovered in 1838 by explorer Thomas Simpson and was named after the British Queen Victoria.  Despite its size, Victoria Island is home to less than 3000 people. The northwest edge of the island consists of the Tunnunik impact crater, which is believed to have been formed some 130 million years ago by a falling meteorite. 

9. Great Britain (209, 331 sq km) 

Great Britain is the largest island in Europe at 209,331 square kilometers. The island is located in the northwest corner of continental Europe and is also known as the United Kingdom, which comprises autonomous regions of England, Scotland and Wales.

Entire Great Britain is home to 1,000 islands and islets and is also the most populous region on the continent. 

It is believed that the island has been inhabited for 50,000 years. 

London, full of iconic Landmarks is the largest and most populous city in Great Britain as well as the capital of England.

10. Ellesmere Island (190,239 sq km) 

At 196,236 square kilometers, Ellesmere Island is the third largest island in Canada and the tenth-largest island. The island is home to large majestic peaks and ice fields. 

Situated in the Nunavut province, Ellesmere Island is known for being the most mountainous region in Canada. Mount Barbeau is the largest peak on the island at 2,616 meters high.  The sedimentary rocks located on the northern side of the island are believed to be at least 10,000 years old. 

11. Sulawesi (180,681 sq km) 

Located in Indonesia, the hilly and volcanic island of Sulawesi is home to more than four distinctive peninsulas. Lying between the continents of Asia and Australia, this island is surrounded by many seas including the Banda Sea, Celebes Sea, Flores Sea, and the Java Sea. With that in mind, Sulawesi Island is a top diving destination in the region.

Sulawesi is indigenous mostly to the tribes of Makassarese and Bugis as well as native to numerous spices and corn.

12. South Island (145, 836 sq km) 

The South Island is the larger of the two major islands in New Zealand. It is home to the Southern Alps and the highest mountain, Aoraki at 3,724 meters high. There are also 18 peeks more than 3,000 meters high on the island.  

Despite being the biggest, it is less populous than the other island, North Island. 

It is also most often referred to as ‘the Mainland” or Te Waipounamu. The South Island is the 9th highest and 12th largest island in the world. 

Stretching more than 500 miles, this island is home to the Abel Tasman National Park. 

13. Java Island (138, 794 sq km) 

Java is home to the Indonesian capital city Jakarta and more than 145 million people, making it the most populous island despite the fact that it is the 13th largest island on the planet. 

In the past civilization, Java Island was home to powerful Hindu-Buddhist empires as well as the Islamic sultanates and the center of the colonial Dutch East Indies. It was also the core of the Indonesian struggle for independence between the 1930s and 1940s. 

The island is Indonesia’s economic, political, and cultural hub. 

It is bordered by the Java Sea on the north and the Indian Ocean on the south. Jakarta is located on the northwestern coast of the island. 

14. North Island (111,583 sq km) 

The North Island is the second-largest island in New Zealand after the South Island. It is separated from the larger island by the Cook Strait and with an area of 111, 583 square kilometers, it is the 14th largest island in the world. 

It is home to almost 4 million people, which is 77 percent of the total population of New Zealand. 

More than ten major urban areas in the country, half of which are cities, are located in North Island, including Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Gisborne, Hamilton, and Tauranga just mention a few. 

Auckland is the largest settlement in the North Island and also the whole of New Zealand with the population of more than 1.4 million. 

15. Luzon (109,965 sq km) 

Luzon is the largest and more economically important island in the Philippines. It is home to the country’s capital and most populous metropolis, Manila, as well as Quezon City. 

The island is surrounded by the Sibuyan Sea on the south, the Philippines Sea on the east, and the South China Sea on the west. To its north, the island is separated from Taiwan by the Luzon Strait.

Most parts of the island lie north of the capital Manila in a north-south direction while the south of the city comprises two peninsulas – Bicol and Batangas. 

Stretching more than 3,000 miles, the island’s coastline is indented by numerous gulfs and bays including Manila Bay and Lingayen Gulf. 

16. Newfoundland (108, 860 sq km) 

Newfoundland is the fourth largest island in Canada located on the east coast of continental North America. It is the most populous region of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The island is often frequented by visitors looking to catch the glimpse of the Northern Lights. Newfoundland and Labrador are divided by the Strait of Belle Isle. The island got its name after King Henry VII of England called it the New Found Land after it was discovered by John Cabot around the 1490s. 

With an area of 108,860 square kilometers, it is the world’s 16th largest island. The capital of the Newfound and Labrador province is St. John’s, which is perched on the southeastern coast of Cape Spear Island. St. John’s is very close to Greenland.

17. Cuba (105,806 sq km) 

Cuba is an archipelago of islands with a population of 11 million. With an area of 42,426 sq mi, the mainland island of Cuba is the world’s 17th largest island. It was once considered one of the richest countries in the world until the reign of Fidel Castro in the early 1960s to 1970s. 

Cuba – Biggest Island in Caribbean

18. Iceland (101, 826 sq km) 

Iceland‘s main island is the 18th largest in the world. It also makes up almost the entire country’s area as well as population. The island is known for its amazing landscapes extensive geothermal and volcanic activities. 

In contrast to the name, Iceland is pretty much forested compared to nearby Greenland. Iceland is the second-biggest island in Europe after the United Kingdom. 

The largest city on the island is Reykjavik, which is home to about 60 percent of the entire island’s population. 

Despite its size, the island is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. 

 19. Mindanao (97, 530 sq km) 

Also known as the Southern Philippines, Mindanao is the second-largest island in the Philippines after Luzon. Comprising Mindanao Island as well as a collection of small islands, the island is home to more than 20 million people. 

Due to its rich biodiversity on this island, which consists of glorious mountains, waterfalls, plains, lakes, and rivers, Mindanao is often referred to as the Philippines’ Land of Promise. 

The island is home to numerous active volcanoes and is an ideal destination for bird watching and hiking.

20. Ireland (84, 421 km2) 

The island of Ireland is the third-largest in Europe after Great Britain and Iceland. Comprising of around 80 different islands, it is separated from the United Kingdom by the North Channel, St. George’s Channel, and the Irish Sea. 

Ireland is divided politically into Northern Ireland (biggest city Belfast) and the Republic of Ireland (biggest city Dublin), with the latter taking up the largest of the 84, 421 square kilometers.  

21. Hokkaido (78, 719 sq km) 

Covering an area of 78, 719 square kilometers, Hokkaido is the second largest island in Japan. Formerly known as Ezo, the island is one of the most popular destinations during the Japanese summer.

Hokkaido is usually cooler during summer compared to mainland Japan and along with its size national parks and diverse wildlife; it is among the best gateways from the chaotic Honshu. 

22. Hispaniola (73, 929 sq km) 

Hispaniola Island is among the places one of the first European colonies of the New World landed in the 1400s. With an area of 73,929 square kilometers, it is the 22nd largest island in the world, and with more than 22 million people; it is one of the most populous islands in the Americas and the world. 

23. Sakhalin (72, 493 sq km) 

Also known as Sachalin Island, Sakhalin Island is the largest Russian island and is part of Sakhalin Oblast. It has a population of approximately half a million people and at 72, 493 square kilometers; it is roughly one fifth the size of Japan. 

It stretches some 600 miles long, resembling the shape of a standing lady. The island used to belong to Japan but its ownership control was conceded to Russia in the 1870s in exchange for the southern Kuril Islands. 

24.Banks Island (70, 028 sq km) 

Banks Island is located in the Northwest Territories in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. It is the fifth-largest island in Canada and the 24th largest in the world. 

The island is separated from mainland Canada by the Amundsen Gulf. It is a unique landmass ecologically since it doesn’t have even a single tree. 

25. Sri Lanka (65 268 sq km) 

Originally known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean in Southern Asia just off the Indian coast. 

Sri Lanka is peaceful and has some of the most stunning landscapes. It is known for its tea and rough Indian Ocean beaches. 

25 Biggest Islands in the World – Pin it !!!

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Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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