Aside from natural islands, our planet also is home to a lot of man-made islands, otherwise known as artificial islands. Man-made floating islands are islands that were created by people rather than by nature. They are usually made by taking some existing land and creating it into an island.
There are so many beautiful man-made islands that it can be hard to decide which ones to visit! While some islands on our list are not open to the public, they are all unique in their own ways and were built for specific purposes. Each island is different from the other. Some are built to be lived on while others are the homes to navy bases or big corporations. Even though nature has given us very remarkable islands, humans have also been creative and have come up with our own incredible “hand-made” islands!
Exactly how many man-made islands are there? There is no exact number, but here is our list of top islands you probably didn’t know were man-made!
1. Palm Jumeriah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Palm Jumeriah is a man-made island that was created using what was once known as the land of Nakheel. It is part of a chain of Dubai islands known as the Palm Islands. The population of this island is just over 10,000 but has a high tourist rate. The island contains a large variety of hotels and resorts that you can stay at when you visit Dubai.
The most amazing part however about this artificial island is its shape. The name of this island came from the fact that it is shaped as a palm tree when viewed from above and this fact alone makes Palm Jumeriah one of the most amazing man-made islands in the world.
2. Notre Dame Island, Canada
Note Dame Island, located in Canada, can be found in the Saint Lawrence River of Montreal and Quebec. This artificial island is the home of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, which is a big motor race. It was built in 1965 and is also home to a variety of casinos, canoes, ice skaters, and an attraction for tourists who visit Canada.
This island also functions as a separation between Saint Lawrence seaway and the Lachine Rapids. Because of its gorgeous location, Notre Dame Island is one of the best man-made islands in Canada and is worth visiting when you’re in North America. And if you’re into car racing, you would want to attend the spectacular Grand Prix at least once.
3. The Pearl-Qatar, Qatar
The Pearl-Qatar is a unique artificial island because of its shape which resembles a string of pearls. It was built on a previous pearl diving spot.
The Pearl is the very first piece of land in Qatar that was available for ownership by foreign nationals or non-Qatar citizens. This island is home to around 12,000 residents and is known for its varying districts, each one with unique and different things to see and experience.
4. Hulhumalé, Maldives
The Maldives and its capital city of Male, is a collection of islands known as “atolls”, and is one of the most popular vacation spots of all times. Hulhumale is a popular artificial island located south of North Male Atoll. Hulhumale was constructed in order to house the growing population of this region as well as meet the industrial and tourist development of the country.
Hulhumale is known for its beautiful resorts, hotels, and views. It is also known for its beautiful stretches of sand and beaches available for play and relaxation. It is rated high for fun experiences and adventure so it is a place that you and the family can enjoy. And, best of all, it is only about 2 miles from Maldives International Airport in Male so you can be in your resort, or the beach within minutes of arriving in Maldives.
5. Island Wilhelmstein, Germany
Wilhelmstein, an often-overlooked man-made island of Germany, was created in the 18th century by Count William of Schaumbrug-Lippe. He wanted a fortified area, so he built this island that is now a popular tourist destination. It is a mere 12,500 square feet but is known for its incredible history and beautiful landscaping.
As can be seen from aerial views, this island is surrounded by moor and was considered impossible to penetrate. In current times, Island Wilhelmstein is a top attraction for tourists who come here to stay a few nights in one of the two guests houses open to the public. The island is only open from April to October, and if you don’t want to spend the night here, you can simply visit for a day and grab some coffee and pastries in the island restaurant.
6. Floating Islands of Peru, Lake Titicaca
The Artificial Islands of Peru, otherwise known as the Floating Islands, are about 70 man-made islands made of totora reeds. These islands also known as Uro Islands, are homes to many indigenous Uros people who live, hunt, and fish in the land and nearby waters.
These islands are a historical and cultural goldmine since you can talk to the people who have inhabited these islands for years and learn about how culture and civilization has evolved in this part of the world. To keep these amazing islands floating, the locals have to keep adding new totora reeds to the top of the island to replace the ones rotting at the bottom of the island – so basically, it’s an island that is recreated and replenished every day. Simply cool!
7. Willingdon Island, India
The Willingdon Island of India is the largest man-made island in its region and it forms a part of the city known as Kochi. This island is known for its Port of Kochi as well as its naval base. It is largely a military island though there are beautiful and unique things to see while traveling there.
This island was formed mostly from the Lake of Kochi as well as filling in a previously existing natural island. Willingdon Island houses some hotels, warehouses, a few business buildings, and other important buildings thus making it an important place especially for the Indian government.
8. Balboa Island, California, USA
Located near Newport Beach in California, this harborside island is accessible to anyone through a bridge or a ferry ride. The community is surrounded by a boardwalk that tourists can walk on to get to the city. Balboa island comprises three artificial islands including the largest, Balboa Island, the smaller island known as Little Balboa, and the smallest island, Collins isle.
This small island community is home to many bakeries, restaurants, and local businesses. It is also home to a fire station and a post office, making it a wonderful place to visit or live. People move around the island with ferries and cars and are connected to other parts of the islands as well as the rest of California via bridges.
9. Rokko Island, Japan
Located in the southeast area of Kobe, Japan, this island has a residential area with many apartment buildings as well as an industrial region. The area with residential homes and the industrial areas are separated with the homes located mostly in the center of the island. The island was built from land sliced off the top of mountains and dumped into the sea to create new land.
Roklo island was a solution for creating more livable land in Japan. One of the biggest features of this island is the presence of two international schools which attract a lot of foreign residents and businesses. These schools bring a lot of diversity and uniqueness to the island. And, for residents, the view of calm waters is not bad!
10. Amwaj Islands, Bahrain
The Amwaj Artificial Islands are man-made islands that are located about 7 miles from the capital city of Manama in Bahrain Island. They were formed from the shallow seas near the coast of Murraq islands of Bahrain. The project was started as a way to create more waterfront properties that foreigners could buy and own. The idea developed into a fully functioning city that is self-sustained.
Today, Amwaj Islands has a university, hospital, gas station, restaurants, and other amenities. The islands have different sections including residential areas, hotels, commercial areas, and beaches. The original project which was started in 2002 and cost $1.5 billion dollars. If you’re ever in Bahrain, you should visit and spend a night in a hotel in this amazing location.
11. The World Islands, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The World Islands, otherwise known as The World, is a small patch of islands in the Persian Gulf. These islands have not yet been fully completed but the idea was to create an archipelago of smaller islands that when clustered together, look like the map of the world. Even though construction was started in 2003, the project is yet to be completed due to financial setbacks. The only island currently functioning is Lebanon Island.
Lebanon Island is most mostly used for business events and parties. The other islands are under construction at this time are the islands of Sweden and Germany. When and if the project is completed, it will look like the map of the world from an aerial view. The World Islands are just 2.5 miles off of the coast of Dubai so if you’re in United Arab Emirates and want to see something different, head towards these unusual islands.
12. Tokyo’s Disneyland, Tokyo
Everyone loves Disneyland, and Tokyo’s Disneyland takes it to a whole new level by having a Disney resort on the man-made island of Urayasu, Chiba which is near Tokyo. Here, you can soak in all things Disney – rides, parades, eat good food, and more. Tokyo’s Disneyland is the first Disneyland built outside the USA, but it’s also one of the best Disneylands in the world.
And if you’re visiting this island, you won’t have to worry much about where to stay as the island has five nearby hotels, and is close to four airports! So, if you’re in for a different kind of Disney, then Tokyo Disneyland should be on your list.
13. Île aux Cygnes, France
France, the country of love and romance has an artificial island located on the Seine River of Paris, right in the heart of France. It was created in 1827 in order to form a protective barrier for a bridge, pont de Grenelle. It is uninhabited but can be visited during the daytime. Due to it’s strategic location on the Seine River, this little island of just about 2,789 feet long and only 36 feet wide is a popular tourist attraction.
People take boat rides just to pass by the island. There is a walkway called the Path of Swans that run the length of the island so people that want to spend some time on the island can enjoy a nice leisure walk. Three bridges cross the island, making it accessible to tourist and residents. This island is considered the third largest island in Paris!
14. Peberholm, Öresund Strait
Peberholm is a little island that can be found in the Öresund strait of Denmark and it is a part of the Öresund bridge that connects Sweden and Denmark. The main function of the island is to serve as an area of crossover between the bridge and tunnel from Sweden to Denmark and vice versa. While this island is not open to the public, it is a very important construction for Denmark and Sweden and is an attempt to make sure the tunnel and bridge are fully functional for transportation.
The bridge was first created to connect both countries. Then a tunnel was created to prevent a need for a higher and more dangerous bridge which would have been necessary for large ships to cross since larger ships cannot cross under short bridges. But, a higher bridge would also have interfered with the functioning of the nearby international airport at Copenhagen. So, with Peberholm island as a connection place between the tunnel and bridge, both infrastructures are still fully functional without disrupting the airport. Apart from being a connection between the two countries, the island also serves the practical purpose of being a location for train signalling and traffic control.
15. The Venetian Islands, Florida, USA
Everyone loves sunny Florida, and the Venetian Islands are of no exception. These islands are a collection of seven man-made islands near Miami and Miami Beach in Florida. The chain of islands include six independent liveable islands – Rivo Alto Island, San Marino Island, Belle Isle, San Marco Island, Biscayne Island, and Di Lido Island. A seventh island, Flagler Monument Island, is uninhabited and mostly used for picnics and other fun parties.
The islands are all on the Biscayne Bay and are considered part of the cities of Miami and Miami beach. These islands are also connected to Miami Beach and Miami by a bridge. Biscayne Island has a population of about 400 people. San Marino has a population of about 290 people. Di Lido island and Rivo Alto island has about 230 people living on it. Belle Isle has a population of about 1750 people.
16. Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Abu Dhabi man-made island, Yas Island was a billion-dollar project constructed to be turned into a world-renowned shopping and entertainment center. It is huge at about 25 km sq. and is home to a lot of things like the Yas Marina Circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as well as one of the best outdoor waterparks in the world, a place you should visit if you were to be in this part of the world with you kids.
Other things that you can do at Yas Island include visiting Yas Beach, Yas Marina, and Ferrari World, a big indoor adventure park. We can certainly stay that Abu Dhabi didn’t want to be overshadowed by its sister city, Dubai and creating Yas Island means that both cities have artificial island to boost of!
17. Flevopolder, Flevoland, Netherlands
Flevopolder is an artificial island that is reclaimed land otherwise known as a polder. This island was formed by draining water off the eastern and southern parts of the land. This island, unlike other polders in the world, is completely surrounded by lakes and thus, Flevopolder it is considered an island.
Fleveopolder is recognized as the world’s largest artificial island and gets its name from Lake Flevo, a lake in the Netherlands that existed in the Roman period as well as early Middle ages. Today, Flevopolder and its surrounding areas, form the newest created province in Netherlands.
18. Port Island, Japan
Port Island is located in Chuo-Ki, Kobe, Japan, and was built between 1966 and 1981. It is home to a container port as well as an airport, Kobe airport. About 15000 people live on the island in mostly apartment buildings. A ferry port on the island connects to another international airport. Port island is the home to hotels, convention centers, an IKEA store, and a wide variety of parks. Rokko island which is #9 on our list of artificial islands, is just east of Port Island.
Port Island is also home to the Kobe Science Museum, a coffee museum, and Kobe Animal Kingdom, an indoor facility where visitors can get close to certain animals. Port Island is accessible by the Port Liner, an automated (driverless) train transit system that runs from Kobe airport to Sannomiya Station and around the island. Apart from the rail, other ways of getting in-and-out of Port Island include using the ferry, flying, buses, or cars. You should add Port Island to your list of man-made island to visit when in Japan.
Not only are there natural island all across the globe, there are also man-made or artificial islands that are formed either for the ecosystem, habitation, or enjoyment. From Canada to the Netherlands, there are hundreds of artificial islands across the globe, each one unique. From naval bases to relaxing beaches, these artificial islands are full of surprises and worth visiting.