20 most beautiful islands in the world. From French Polynesia to the Caribbean, here are the best islands in the world to visit.
Mo’orea, French Polynesia
Dreaming of volcanic mountains, white powder sandy beaches and bright turquoise waters? Mo’orea is a romantic, remote island in the South Pacific and one of the lesser known holiday spots in French Polynesia. Just thirty mins from Tahiti by high-speed Catamaran, Mo’orea is also slightly easier to reach then its famous brother, Bora Bora.
Experience authentic Tahitian culture, swim with local reef sharks and string-rays in clear lagoon waters, go whale watching and hike tropical rainforests by foot. You can also rent an open-top car or a bicycle and circle Moorea’s 60-kilometer coastline where you will pass by white churches and sleepy fishing villages – maybe stop along the way to buy some tropical fruit, freshly caught tuna or a hand-picked coconut.
Mo’orea is true tropical island living, and also offers the impressive, once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon-style hotels with those stunning Overwater Bungalows. Spoil yourself, stay at one of these luxury hotels and experience plunging into the sea straight from your private sun deck or watching the sunset across uninterrupted sea views. Recommended hotels include Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora, although, you’ll find more choice of luxury resorts in Bora Bora.
In Jamaica you will fall in love with the warm Caribbean weather, long reef-lined beaches, rich rainforests, majestic waterfalls, and, of course, the laid back locals and reggae!
Jamaica must be one of the most beautiful Carribean islands to visit. One of our favourite spots is Negril town for its white sand beaches, shallow bays and calm, turquoise sea. Here you will find incredible bars and restaurants, and in the evening, psychedelic sunsets and late night reggae concerts. Reach Falls in Portland is a romantic day trip where you can see the beautiful waterfall featured in Cocktails starring Tom Cruise.
Pop to Floyd’s Pelican Bar by boat, and grab a beer at this bar in the middle of the sea! Pelican Bar is built from sticks and palm branches, but the name comes from the pelicans that enjoy perching on its roof. It’s simply one of the world’s coolest bars and you must visit – if you’re lucky you can even see wild dolphins on the way.
Sri Lanka has long appealed to the adventurous, with mountains to climb, thick forests to explore and ancient shipwrecks to discover in its warm Indian Ocean waters. There are beautiful beaches aplenty, but with so much to see and do, finding the time to lie back and relax might prove to be a challenge. Whether on land or out at sea, exploration always beckons and the curious cannot resist.
The island is a true melting pot, comprising countless cultures and languages, but life here is easy. Visit pre-historic settlements and sites rich in cultural heritage, trek through forests, paddy fields and quiet villages -on foot, by horse or even on an elephant -or climb the paths that wind up the hills and mountains, the choice is yours. The interior demands to be explored, but you’ll always be drawn back to the beach, where the inviting sands, scuba sites and world-class surfing await.
Fiji is a Melanesian country in the South Pacific Ocean and is divided into nine groups of islands. You can visit Fiji’s all year, the temperatures staying even and around 27°C. Ocean activities like swimming, snorkelling and diving can be enjoyed in all seasons. Scuba divers enjoy increased visibility around coral reefs during the Fijian ‘winter’ months of May – October.
The largest and most important island of the country is called Viti Levu. It is the most economically developed and has a rich cultural heritage to discover. Viti Levu’s best attractions are on the water, our favourite ones are the dolphin-spotting, the kite-surfer paradise of “Nananu-i-Ra”, and the coral reefs of the “Bligh Passage”.
Located less than an hour boat from Naples, Capri is an inevitable step, an idyllic island, where sharp cliff rise majestically above a crystalline blue sea.
The most famous sight on Capri island is incontestably “The Blue Grotto”, a magical cavern where the sea glows electric blue. History enthusiasts will enjoy the “Villa Jovis”, ruins of the Imperial Roman villas, where the emperor Tiberius lived.
Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
The Ko Phi Phi archipelago is located in the Andaman Sea, a marginal sea of the Indian Ocean. Located off the west coast of southern Thailand, it offers an interesting range of vegetation and animal species. The two main islands of the group are Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh.
Ko Phi Phi is the ideal destination for nature lovers, Koh Phi Phis Flora impresses with a mixture of jungle and rocky landscapes. The island guides can take you to an amazing jungle trek where you’ll see many animals, like monkeys, snakes and wild birds.
Saint Lucia is just a direct eight-hour direct flight from the UK, and the ideal destination for adventurers. The island have volcanic origins and if you like hiking, you will love “The Pitons”, two mountainous volcanic plugs classed as a World Heritage Site.
The best Caribbean beaches are in St Lucia, the most famous ones are “Sugar Beach” and “Marigot Bay”. “Grande Anse” is the place to go if you want to see sea turtles crawl out of the water and lay their eggs on the sand. Worth mentioning that Sugar Beach luxury resort is one of its kind, perfect for family holidays and romantic escapes.
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Whitsunday islands is an archipelgo of 74 tropical islands of white sandy beaches located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Sea life amators won’t miss the opportunity to snorkel or scuba dive in the marvellous Great Barrier Reef, which is an emotional and unforgettable experience.
It is difficult to chose where to stay on the archipelgo as there are so many islands. Our favourite resort in located on “the Hamilton island”, the largest and most popular Whitsunday island. “Qualia” is a resort of 60 secluded pavilions hidden away on the northern tip of the island. Condé Nast Traveler labelled Qualia as the best resort on earth in 2012. It is an adults-only retreat with an award-winning spa, two superb guest-only restaurants, a library, two bars and an excellent catalogue of water activities.
Kaua’i is part of the Hawaiian archipelgo and is also named “the garden island”. It is indeed a island made of sharp mountains, green valleys ans cascading waterfalls. Our tips, explore the beautiful cliffs of the Napali coast, on the North side of the island and the Coconut coast on the East side.
On the South shore, you’ll find sites with cultural, historical, and geological significance alongside beautiful beaches. The island of Kauaʻi has been featured in more than seventy Hollywood movies and television shows, notably Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and Jurassic World.
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Waiheke is just a 35 minutes ferry ride from Auckland. Enjoy this heaven of beautiful vineyards and olive groves, join a wine testing and relax over a delicious vineyard lunch. Waiheke is an immersive adventure, where you can either wander along the cliffs, explore the beaches or fly smoothly in the forest with a zip-line.
If you want to stay on the island overnight, we advise you to stay at the “Delamore lodge”, where you will enjoy relaxing spa treatments, sophisticated food and wine and an irresistible swimming pool overlooking the bay.
Dalmatian Islands, Croatia
Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast runs along the western edge of the country and is a unique destination made of picturesque islands and seaside towns. It doesn’t matter which of the seventy islands you’ll pick, you’ll come back with amazing memories. Our favourite island is incontestably Cres, known for its population of griffons, where you can wonder in oaky forests, admire the majestic cliffs standing along the sea and rest on quiet beaches.
The largest city and hub of the coastline is Split, haven of UNESCO listed sights and museums. Tourists sometimes neglect passing by the Croatian capital deprived of beaches, georgious Zagreb, an architectural and historical treasure that we recommend to see.
Bali is the favourite destination for surfers and divers but there is much more to discover than its beaches and marine biodiversity. Exotic temples and palaces set against stunning landscapes make the island an experience of its kind.
Pick wisely where to stay on the island as each city offers a different experience. “Seminyak” is Bali’s beach resort area, most of the island best dining options are around and night birds will enjoy its nightlife. On the other end, “Ubud” is very quiet and the ideal place for nature lovers, prefering green valleys to the beach and enjoying art, culture and history. But if you’re a party animal, “Kuta” is known as the ideal destination with its numerous bars and clubs opens till the early hours.
The fifteen Cook islands are a little warm tropical paradise in the heart of the Pacific. The main island “Rarotonga” is very modern though has a robust culture, firmly anchored by traditional Polynesian values and history. You’ll taste here very good coffee, artisan food and won’t be able to choose between the different outdoors activities, from lagoon cruises and cultural visits to fishing and hiking.
A must do, visit the sublime lagoon of “Aitutaki”, one of the Pacific’s jewels surrounded by tiny deserted islands and swim in the underground cave pools of “Mitiaro” and “Ma’uke”.
Welcome to one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece. Santorini offers a unique landscape of beaches in exotic colours of black, red, and white, a product of their volcanic sand. Imagine swimming in the warm mythic Aegean sea, with volcano and stunning sunsets as a backdrop.
The island architecture is very distinctive, churches are built into caves and the whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and paved paths are astonishingly beautiful.
Treat yourself to delicious local cuisine and local beers in Palawan. One of the thing we loved the most is the “Puerto Princesa Underground River” in Sabang. It was declared one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2012 and make a good day’s worth of adventure along with “Sabang Beach”.
If you’re not a fan of crowds, “Port Barton” is a very quiet village where you’ll find pretty beaches. You can aslo snorkel to see sea turtles and kayak to nearby islets you’ll have all to yourself. Palawan is an important stop for migratory birds and shelter fifteen bird species found nowhere else.”Coron bay” is a very interesting destination for divers, you can find here over half a dozen sunken WWII ships. Experienced divers can enter the ships and discover a dark, lost world of abandoned engine rooms, scattered personal effects and bomb holes opening to the deep.
Mauritius is the perfect holiday destination for any tourist. The island offers a variety of water sports, beautiful white beaches, long mountain treks, wildlife, sightseeing and luxurious resorts.
This is an island filled with history. There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit: “Aapravasi Ghat” in the colonial capital of Port Louis and “Le Morne”, a mountain used as a shelter by runaway slaves in the 18th century.
There are also amazing national parks to see, like the “Black River Gorges” and the “Casela Wildlife Park” where you can walk with lion cubs.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Bora Bora is a remote island in the South Pacific, northwest of Tahiti, popular with tourists for its luxurious resorts with overwater bungalows. One of the best hotels to stay at is the five star Four Seasons hotel.
Surrounded by beaches of white sand and turquoise water protected by a coral reef, it is a really nice place to snorkel and dive.
The most impressive sight of the island is in the center of Mount Otemanu where there is a sleeping volcano culminating at 727m.
Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, has 115 idyllic islands characterized by long white beaches with huge rocks of pink granite. Anse Lazio is one of the most special beaches to see and widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world.
The Aldabra Islands is the world’s second largest atoll, surrounded by coral reef and home to 152,000 giant tortoises.
The green Vallée de Mai National Park is the only place where all six of the palm species endemic to Seychelles, including the Coco de mer, are found together. The Coco de mer produces a fruit that is one of the largest and is valued by a number of Asian cultures for its believed aphrodisiac, medicinal and mystic properties.
Maui is a volcanic island in Hawaii with 30 miles of beach and crystal clear waters. If you love snorkelling, you must see the rainbow of coral and tropical fishes.
There is so much to do on the island too. Don’t miss the popular Haleakalā National Park with waterfalls, bamboo forest, Hawaiian geese, dormant volcano and lava flows. Stay the day in the park and witness its spectacular sunsets over the mountains. Wander in Lahaina’s historic sites and take a road trip to Hana. From Maui island you can sail to the romantic Lanai which is also known for Shipwreck Beach with an offshore wreck of a WWII tanker.
The island consists of a few microclimates and weather varies drastically depending on which side of the island you stay on. The West side is generally the warmest though the tropical weather can even vary day-to-day with extremes such as sunshine and thunderstorms so pack accordingly.
The Maldives are a beautiful string of atolls in the Indian Ocean consisting of over 1,000 coral islands known for their white sand beaches and warm, turquoise blue waters. The tropical islands are sunny and hot all-year round though the most popular time to visit is between November and April as this is the period of lowest rainfall.
Visit the coral reefs in Maldives for one of the world’s most exceptional destinations for scuba diving and snorkelling where you can see turtles and brightly coloured tropical fish. For the more adventurous types, swim with giant whale sharks and see manta rays at night.
When planning your trip you will be spoilt for choice for luxury hotels, most of which are set on tiny, private islands, and accessed by sea plane or speed boat from the main island.
For the most luxurious hotels in Maldives, see our article: Mind-blowing New Hotels in The Maldives
Madagascar is the fourth largest island on our planet and a dream destination for outdoors enthusiasts where you can see rare animals, rainforest, baobab and extraordinary white sand beaches.
The avenue of the baobabs is a must see experience if traveling to Madagascar. You must also visit one of Madagascar natural park to observe its wildlife, from chameleons to snakes and lemurs. From July to October, pass by “Nosy Be” to spot one of the rarest animal species on the planet, the Omura whale.
This small island also called the “isle of beauty” displays astonishing natural landscapes. Stunning cliffs drop sharply down to implausibly clear turquoise waters which elsewhere are fringed with sandy beaches. Plan at least a week in Corsica to discover its secrets!
The Galápagos are an archipelago of 21 volcanic islands located in the Pacific Ocean and considered one of the world’s famous destinations for wildlife viewing. Shark Point, Santa Cruz or Daphne Island are a ‘melting pot’ of marine species. No other site in the world will offer the experience of diving with such a diversity of sea animals, from sea lions to sharks and turtles, so familiar with human that they accompany divers.
Make sure you plan at least two weeks in the Galapagos, as this is the kind of trip you do once in a lifetime!
Natural wonders await in the Azores, a land of vast volcanic craters, pristine white-sand beaches, hot thermal waters and more. Located in the breathtaking mid-Atlantic, this Portuguese archipelago is a sight to behold with its dramatic landscapes, and with so much to see, you’ll need a return visit or two in order to take it all in.
Explore the beautiful lake-filled calderas, stroll amongst the vineyards or take a trip to see the spectacular geysers, the choice is yours. With nine islands in the archipelago demanding to be explored, you’ll find that filling your days here is never a problem. Time seems to slow down in the Azores and, when you need to relax, you’ll find there are no shortage of secret spots to kick back and drift away. Follow the grass-covered trails to the perfect sands before lying back to soak up the warm Atlantic sunshine.
Prince Edward Island
Outdoor adventures await on Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province proving a big draw for those keen to escape modern life and all its stresses. Known for its brilliant red sand beaches, this is the perfect getaway, located off New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, with spectacular scenery at every turn and activities galore to suit all tastes.
Speaking of tastes, the food here is legendary, with the local seafood topping most menus and lobster and mussels amongst the fresh ingredients in abundant supply. Need to work off a large meal? Take to the trails or head out on the water, with canoeing and kayaking always an option for those seeking an experience to savour. Cycling and skiing, hunting and fishing, it’s all about the great outdoors here. With so much to do, it’s no surprise that visitors return to Prince Edward Island again and again.
Best known for its mythical moai, Easter Island draws visitors keen to see the supersized statues that have stood on its shores ever since the 13th century. There are more than 900 here, imposing human figures with over-sized heads, and whilst it is these that bring most tourists to this remote spot, there’s far more to see and do here than one might at first suspect.
Visit vast volcanic craters, take a trip to a preserved stone village or spend some time on the stunning sand beaches that encircle Easter Island, the choice is yours. For those seeking an adventure offshore, world-class diving sites beckon, whilst the seafood is fresh and delicious and the atmosphere on the island always peaceful. This perfect slice of Polynesia is one of the most remote inhabited islands on Earth.
You’ll find certain home comforts in this miniscule British Commonwealth nation, with games of cricket and afternoon tea always on the agenda. The similarities end there, though, with Barbados an exotic outpost, boasting perfect weather, beautiful beaches and the chance to lie back and do absolutely nothing.
This is a cruise ship port, but head a little off the beaten track and solitude can still be found on the pristine sands, with palm trees rustling in the warm breeze and the tropical Caribbean waters lapping at the shore. Year-round sun means that there is no bad time to visit Barbados and, with temperatures consistent from one month to the next, you’ll always find that the climate is perfect and pleasant. Like to take a break from the beach? Check out the botanical gardens and colonial buildings, before returning to the sands to watch the spectacular sunset in style.
Lofoten Island, Norway
Strung across the dramatic Norwegian Sea, high above the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten Islands look spectacular. With deep fjords and magnificent mountains, this is a wilderness unequalled in its beauty, where giant sea eagles soar and all is at peace.
Milder in climate than their position suggests, visitors are drawn to the islands to experience the Northern Lights and Midnight Sun at close quarters, and for those keen to get back to nature and escape the beaten track, there can be nowhere better. Savour the calm and the quiet, the great outdoors all around and always something special to see and do. For a real treat, we recommend kayaking between islands before finding a nice quiet restaurant and enjoying the fresh ingredients that are a speciality. Fish is always on the menu — and nowhere does it taste finer than here.
Isle Of Skye, Scotland
Rugged and remarkable, Skye is a spectacular sight, connected to Scotland’s northwest coast by bridge, yet remote, wild and unfathomably beautiful. With its craggy coastline and its mountainous interior, the island beckons walkers and climbers keen to tackle the Cuillin Range and Trotternosh Ridge, whilst those seeking adventures a little less extreme head here to spot the island’s abundant wildlife, with majestic sea eagles, whales and dolphins amongst the species that call Skye home.
Visit medieval castles and quaint fishing villages before heading to Portree, the quiet capital, for a relaxing pint in a harbourside pub. Some 50 miles long, Skye is the largest of the Inner Hebrides and with so much to see and do, it’s the ideal place for those keen to get away from it all. Picturesque and perfect, this is Scotland at its breathtaking best and we can’t recommend a visit enough.
Saint John Island, Caribbean
Life moves at a slower pace on Saint John Island, the smallest of the three US Virgin Islands and a place where wildlife abounds and all is at peace. The National Park dominates here, covering more than half of the miniscule island -it is just nine miles from one end to the other -and with countless bird species to spot, and dolphins and turtles amongst the fascinating creatures found in the warm Caribbean waters, it’s no surprise that this is a destination that draws nature lovers again and again.
This is a place to rest and relax, far from the beaten track and a much calmer destination than other Caribbean islands. Head to the North Shore to sample the beautiful sands, with Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Maho Beach and Honeymoon Beach all recommended. Peace and quiet are abundant, making this an island where relaxation is always on the agenda.
Grand Cayman, Caribbean
Breathtaking beaches beckon visitors to Grand Cayman, but there’s far more to life here than the pristine sands and the warm Caribbean waters. Hit the shops in George Town, the capital, where all the best designer brands can be found, before checking out the cultural and historic highlights that dot the island. Need to kick back after all that sightseeing? You’ll be spoilt for choice, although the crescent-shaped Seven Mile Beach, on the island’s west side, is the most obvious destination for those seeking paradise.
Grand Cayman is popular on the cruise ship circuit, but avoiding the crowds isn’t difficult to do here. Head out on the water, where vibrant coral reefs await and the island’s famous stingrays swim alongside captivated divers in the North Sound. Great food, great weather and great tourist attractions for all, what’s not to like about gorgeous Grand Cayman?
It might be best known for its thriving club scene and summer parties, but there’s more to Mykonos than meets the eye. Glamourous and cosmopolitan in parts, true Greece still endures, with the fishing boats bobbing in the island’s harbours, perfect sands beckoning beach bums and the ancient windmills that dot the hilltops here proving attractive to all.
Enjoying the perfect spot in warm Aegean waters, this is a sun-kissed paradise, its whitewashed villages shining bright and its climate ideal for those keen to top up their tans. Young people might flock here for the nightclubs, but head off the beaten track a little and peace and quiet can be found. Look out for Little Venice, the fishing houses that line the waterfront, their balconies hanging over the sea below and a sight to savour. Be it the music or the museums, there are attractions to suit all tastes here and, with the sun always beating down, life doesn’t get much better.
The Mediterranean’s second largest island, after Sicily, Sardinia is an absolute delight. Boasting 1200 miles of spectacular coastline, beautiful beaches abound here, but with its mountainous interior to explore, there’s rather more to life than lying back on the perfect sands. Hiking trails criss-cross the island, whilst mysterious ancient ruins demand to be explored. For those keen to escape the hectic Italian mainland, this is the perfect place and there’s always something to do.
Take a scenic drive, visit picture-perfect villages or find a place to soak up the Sardinian sunshine, life is peaceful here and there are options and activities to suit all tastes. Castelsardo demands a visit, whilst Cagliari, the capital, beckons with its medieval walled quarter and castle. Feeling peckish? The food here is a delight, with fresh local ingredients put to good use in dishes that are to die for. Trust us on this, you’ll never want to leave.
Turks & Caicos, Carribean
Uncrowded beaches and clear blue waters beckon visitors to Turks and Caicos, a sun-kissed Atlantic archipelago, where relaxation is always on the agenda. Comprising 40 low-lying coral islands to the south east of the Bahamas, this is true paradise, with palm trees fringing the perfect sands and the warm waters always calling.
You can do a lot or a little here, be it lying back with a book on Grace Bay Beach or exploring Providenciales, aka Provo, with all its luxurious resorts, boutique shops and high-end restaurants. For those seeking an adventure, scuba diving is always an option and, with a 14-mile barrier reef to explore, there’s a great deal to see offshore. Tranquil, beautiful and appealing to all, it’s no surprise that Turks and Caicos is such a popular place for those keen to experience island life at its absolute best. Take our advice and take a trip, you won’t regret it.
With its famous pink-sand beaches, Bermuda beckons visitors keen to experience island life at its finest. But the island’s appeal goes far beyond its palm-fringed sands. Outdoor adventures await in the North Atlantic Ocean, with world-class diving and sailing always on the agenda here. Explore shipwrecks, caves and subterranean lakes, or take to the water on an exhilarating jet ski ride, the choice is yours. No matter your mood, you’ll find aquatic activities to suit.
For those who prefer something a little quieter, the island boasts a fascinating colonial history, whilst those who cannot resist the pink sands should head for Elbow Beach or Horseshoe Bay. Look out for humpback whales and other natural wonders and, when the day’s end approaches and the sun starts to go down, be sure to toast Bermuda with the rum-based drinks for which the island is so renowned.
Without an airport, Paxos is no tourist trap, making it the perfect island retreat for those seeking peace and quiet beneath the beating Ionian sun. For those who do take the boat ride here, life is unhurried, with little to do and all the time in the world in which to do it. Take a stroll amongst the endless olive groves, explore the dramatic caves and cliffs that dot the coastline. Or lie back on the beach with a good book and a cold drink, the choice is yours.
Small and unspoilt, this is Greek island life at its finest, with relaxation always on the agenda in a timeless and picturesque location. Just six miles from end to end, you’ll be able to explore the entire island, but do be warned: so perfect is Paxos that, when the time comes to leave, you’ll find it almost impossible to tear yourself away.