Many temperate species experienced demographic and range contractions in response to climatic changes during Pleistocene glaciations. In this study, we investigate the evolutionary history of the Tyrrhenian tree frog Hyla sarda, a species inhabiting the Corsica–Sardinia island system (Western Mediterranean basin). We used sequence analysis of two mitochondrial (overall 1229 bp) and three nuclear (overall 1692 bp) gene fragments to assess the phylogeography and demographic history of this species, and species distribution modelling (SDM) to predict its range variation over time. Phylogeographic, historical demographic and SDM analyses consistently indicate that H. sarda does not conform to the scenario generally expected for temperate species but rather underwent demographic and range expansion mostly during the last glacial phase. Palaeogeographic data and SDM analyses suggest that such expansion was driven by the glaciation-induced increase in lowland areas during marine regression. This unusual scenario suggests that at least some temperate species may not have suffered the adverse effects of glacial climate on their population size and range extent, owing to the mitigating effects of other glaciations-induced palaeoenvironmental changes. We discuss previous clues for the occurrence of such a scenario in other species and some possible challenges with its identification. Early phylogeographic literature suggested that responses to the Pleistocene glacial–interglacial cycles were expected to vary among species and regions. Our results point out that such variation may have been greater than previously thought.