Island holidays are when those picture-perfect, postcard photos from glossy brochures come to life.

Islands can be as bustling and happening or sleepy and relaxing as you want them to be. But they all have something in common - it feels like you're living 'Hakuna Matata' in the flesh. The only issue you might have is tracking sand into your accommodation (and let's face it, it's not that bad - you won't even have to vacuum it yourself).

Europe makes island-hopping easy and, as everything is close, it also doesn't take it out on your bank account. From Greece's many offerings - from Skiathos to Santorini - to Spain's Ibiza and Menorca, you could be living the island life within a four-hour flight journey.

Pick the destination depending on how long you have for your cheap island holidays. Places like Gran Canaria and Lanzarote will keep you in budget and let you maximise your time on the beach if you're short of a few holiday days. Destinations such as Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines are best enjoyed when you've got a couple of weeks (or more!) to play with.

Do take into account that even if you're paying slightly more for flights, if you head to places in Asia, you can actually spend less overall due to the currency exchange. And, if you go further afield, you have the added benefit of different weather patterns - it could be winter in the UK, but an incredible summer season in Thailand. Winter sun always perks up the end of the year!

Cheap Island Holidays

Some of the cheapest (and nearest) island holiday packages can be found in the Canary Islands. Tenerife and Lanzarote have beaches for days, and plenty of cheap package holidays to go with all that sunshine. If you need an injection of summer into your winter, Gran Canaria boasts sunnier, warmer weather throughout the colder months.

Majorca is a good party destination that also happens to boast beautiful shores. Even if you're not a fan of crowds, its sleepier sister of Menorca is a good call.

For those who want to mix city exploring with island hopping, Malta's right up your street. With more than 300 sunny days a year, snorkellers, divers and swimmers revel in those clear ocean blues, whether they're in Comino or Gozo. Couple that with the city's historic sights of temples and Roman catacombs and you've got an adventure not far from home.

And let's not forget those isles that take you across a few more oceans. Thai islands such as Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Samui and Koh Yao Noi, and the famed island of Bali may get you to sit on a longer flight but once you get there you can live like a king (of the island).

European Islands

Europeans are spoiled for choice when it comes to cheap island holidays. Honeymooners and couples looking for a relaxing (and also unmistakably stunning) break head to Santorini. White-washed buildings stand in stark contrast to those ocean blues and this Greek island is renowned world over for its sunsets. Greece, in general, is synonymous with island paradises - you'd be more than happy across this country, from Mykonos and Kefalonia to Corfu.

Party enthusiasts head to Ibiza, where the steady beat of club music echoes into the early hours. They don't have to go far for a bit of peace, though - stunning Ibiza beaches are scattered across the island, which is also conveniently located near Formentera, an isle that has been coined the Caribbean of Europe (if you needed any more reason to visit, it's also a favourite with Leonardo DiCaprio).

Those with steady sea legs opt for Croatia, hopping from one island to the next abroad expansive yachts. From Hvar and Brac to the striking walled city of Dubrovnik, you're always on the go - and every island is better than the last.

Don't go forgetting about Sardinia, either - the Italians all flock to the likes of Costa Smeralda in the summer for sugar-white shores and clear blue waters.

Tropical Islands

While all holiday islands tend to be beautiful, there are some that are known all over the world for their almost supernatural loveliness.

There are the honeymoon destinations - Mauritius, the Maldives and the Seychelles. These are the places where you can spend all day on the sand and never get bored, with occasional dives into oceans that are somehow even clearer than a pool. The islands of the Caribbean are also a go-to for lovers in post-wedding bliss.

Hawaii is for adventurers - the hikers, the climbers, the bikers, the surfers. It has charcoal-black active volcanoes, rolling, surging waves and breathtaking hikes that will keep you on your toes, whether you're in Maui, Oahu, Kauai or the Big Island.

Thrill-seekers will also love Fraser Island in Australia. The largest sand island in the world, you can four-wheel-drive your way through its dunes, spot resident dingos and go for a dip in an Aloe Vera lake.

For those who want to be able to swap between stunning beaches and exploring an enigmatic country, the Philippines is the destination you've been looking for. While there are so many beaches you couldn't possibly see them all (bearing in mind there are more than 7,000 different islands), there's also a rich heritage and culture to explore. From the Chocolate Mountains to swimming with whale sharks, this country keeps you wanting more.