When it comes to landmass, some islands stand out for their sheer size and breathtaking landscapes. These massive islands offer a rich tapestry of unique ecosystems, cultures, and histories. Join us as we explore the top 10 largest islands in the world, each with its distinct charm and fascinating facts.
2,166,086 square kilometers
Greenland, the largest island on Earth, is located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Despite its name, Greenland is covered mostly by ice, with its massive ice sheet accounting for 80% of its land area. The island boasts stunning fjords, towering icebergs, and a rich indigenous Inuit culture. Greenland is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.
Greenland’s ice sheet is so massive that its weight depresses the central part of the island, creating a natural bowl-like shape.
Area: 785,753 square kilometers
The second-largest island, New Guinea, is situated in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, divided between two countries: Papua New Guinea to the east and Indonesia to the west. With its dense rainforests, diverse wildlife, and vibrant tribal cultures, New Guinea offers an enchanting experience for adventurers and anthropologists alike.
New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse place on Earth, with over 1,000 languages spoken across the island.
Area: 748,168 square kilometers
Kalimantan, also known as Borneo, is the world’s third-largest island, shared by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. Its lush rainforests are home to incredible biodiversity, including orangutans, proboscis monkeys, and the elusive Bornean pygmy elephant. Visitors can explore the vast wilderness, discover traditional Dayak villages, and cruise along the mighty rivers.
Borneo’s rainforests are estimated to be over 130 million years old, making them one of the oldest rainforests in the world.
Area: 587,713 square kilometers
Situated off the eastern coast of Africa, Madagascar is a biological treasure trove. With over 90% of its wildlife found nowhere else on the planet, this island showcases nature’s evolutionary ingenuity. Lemurs, baobab trees, and colorful chameleons are just a few of the endemic species that make Madagascar a dream destination for nature enthusiasts.
Madagascar’s baobab trees can live for thousands of years and are known as the “upside-down trees” due to their peculiar shape.
Area: 507,451 square kilometers
Baffin Island, located in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, is the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest in the world. Its rugged mountains, deep fjords, and expansive tundra offer a stark and breathtaking Arctic landscape. Baffin Island is home to diverse wildlife, including polar bears, Arctic foxes, and majestic bird species.
Baffin Island is home to the Auyuittuq National Park, known for its stunning glaciers, fjords, and the iconic Mount Thor, featuring the world’s tallest vertical drop of over 1,250 meters.
Area: 473,481 square kilometers
Indonesia’s largest island, Sumatra, is renowned for its dense tropical rainforests and endangered wildlife. Orangutans, tigers, and rhinoceroses roam its jungles, while picturesque volcanic peaks dot the landscape. Sumatra also boasts fascinating cultural heritage, with ancient temples and indigenous tribes preserving their traditions.
One interesting fact about Sumatra Island is that it is home to the largest volcanic lake in the world, known as Lake Toba. This enormous lake was formed around 75,000 years ago during a massive volcanic eruption that created a caldera, a large volcanic crater. Lake Toba stretches over 1,707 square kilometers and reaches depths of up to 505 meters, making it one of the deepest lakes in the world. The picturesque lake is not only a natural wonder but also holds cultural significance as it is surrounded by the Batak ethnic group, known for their unique traditions and architectural styles. Visitors to Sumatra can marvel at the beauty of Lake Toba and explore the surrounding villages, temples, and lush landscapes that make this island a truly remarkable destination.
Area: 242,500 square kilometers
The United Kingdom, comprising Great Britain and Northern Ireland, holds the seventh spot on our list. This island nation is famous for its rich history, iconic landmarks like Stonehenge and Buckingham Palace, and charming countryside. From vibrant cities like London and Edinburgh to rolling hills and picturesque coastlines, the UK offers a diverse range of experiences.
The United Kingdom is made up of more than 6,000 islands, with the main ones being Great Britain, Ireland, and the Isle of Man.
Area 225,800 square kilometers
Honshu, the largest island of Japan, is a captivating blend of ancient traditions and modern marvels. It is home to iconic cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, where technological advancements harmonize with centuries-old shrines, gardens, and castles. Honshu’s natural wonders include the majestic Mount Fuji and serene hot spring resorts.
Honshu is home to the famous bullet train, known as the Shinkansen, which connects major cities at speeds of up to 320 kilometers per hour.
Area: 217,291 square kilometers
Victoria Island, located in the Arctic Archipelago of Canada, is the ninth-largest island in the world. This remote and sparsely populated island offers a rugged and untouched wilderness. It is characterized by vast tundra landscapes, frozen lakes, and impressive coastal cliffs. Victoria Island is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including muskoxen, arctic foxes, and migratory bird species.
Victoria Island has a significant population of muskoxen, known for their thick coats and distinctive curved horns.
Area: 196,236 square kilometers
Ellesmere Island, also part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, wraps up our list as the tenth-largest island globally. Known for its extreme Arctic climate, this island is characterized by icy fjords, glaciers, and snow-capped peaks. Ellesmere Island is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, as it is home to Arctic wolves, polar bears, and unique bird species such as the gyrfalcon.
Ellesmere Island’s Quttinirpaaq National Park is the second-largest national park in Canada and offers unparalleled opportunities for Arctic exploration and wildlife observation.
These extraordinary islands not only showcase the diverse beauty of our planet, but also hold significant ecological, cultural, and historical importance. Exploring these magnificent landscapes and immersing oneself in their rich tapestry of wildlife and traditions is an experience like no other. The world’s largest islands are waiting to be discovered, offering a glimpse into the wonders of our natural world.