Not all islands are the same. Depending on location, some are tropical, some are forested, and some are volcanic. Most islands feature different climates, environments, and vistas, and each has its distinct flora and fauna. But the one thing they almost always share is extraordinary beauty. So, here is our pick for the Top 10 Most Beautiful Islands for travelers.
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The exotic destination of Bali, Indonesia offers an unforgettable vacation with gorgeous panoramas. The landscape is an enchanting tropical mix of lush vegetation, towering volcanoes, and rolling hills, dotted with magnificent ancient stone temples.
The resorts are beautiful and inspired and cater to their guests’ every need and desire. When it comes to sightseeing and adventure, travelers can visit the rice fields or the many spiritual temples, hike Mount Batur, or visit the Sacred Monkey Forest. They can also explore the charming seaside town of Sanur, relax on the beautiful beaches of Kuta or Seminyak, and enjoy a side trip to the neighboring volcanic island of Lombok. This is a destination that is family-friendly but is also incredibly romantic for couples.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Bora Bora is a small South Pacific Island that is part of French Polynesia and sits northwest of Tahiti. Standing 727 meters, the dormant volcano of Mount Otemanu rises near the island’s center, and the shores are fringed with powdery sand and studded with coconut trees.
Bora Bora is famous for its luxurious resorts and crystal-clear lagoons that feature countless shades of blue and green. It’s not so surprising that the majority of activities here involve the water with opportunities for paddleboarding and parasailing, cruising and sailing, diving and snorkeling expeditions, whale watching tours, and other marine life encounters. For things to do on land, visitors can hike or visit historic sites, take a Jeep or ATV tour of the island, attend art galleries, and shop in the island’s specialty stores.
Located in Italy’s Bay of Naples (sometimes known as the Gulf of Naples), and 20 kilometers off the Amalfi Coast, lies the gorgeous island of Capri. It is known for its colorful cliffside villas, upscale hotels, designer fashions, and delectable cuisine. It is also admired for its striking rocky landscape of sandstone and limestone, stellar views of the turquoise Tyrrhenian Sea, and a coastline studded with yachts and various boats. No visit is complete without a trip to the famed Blue Grotto, a dark cavern where the sunlight passes through an underwater cave and causes the water to glow in a vibrant shade of electric blue.
Visitors can take the chair lift to the summit of Monte Solaro for magnificent panoramas of the island and surrounding sea. Travelers can also rent scooters to see the island’s many highlights including historic churches and forts, and the ancient remains of Villa Jovis, built by emperor Tiberius. Sunbathe on the beaches, indulge in the local seafood, or shop till you drop — whatever you choose, you will never forget your visit to the exquisite island of Capri.
Hawaii is a delightful destination no matter which island you choose to visit. But for those seeking a little less city and a lot more tranquillity, Kauai is the place to be. Nicknamed The Garden Isle, it is the fourth largest island in the Hawaiian chain with a picture-postcard landscape. Memorable views exist in every direction with a turquoise coastline, tropical rainforests, lush valleys, mountains, and waterfalls tumbling from lava cliffs — among it all, fragrant color splashes of tropical flowers. With all of this, paradise is the only word that comes to mind.
But the lure of Kauai does not stop with the landscape because there’s plenty to see and do on the island. Visitors can relax at the beach or pool with a tropical drink or embrace their adventurous side with a hike in Waimea Canyon or on the trails of the State Parks, go horseback riding, tour a plantation, or zipline through the rainforest. Or, dive into the waters to explore the coral reefs with tropical fish and turtles.
Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
Ko Phi Phi is located among the Phi Phi Archipelago in the Krabi Province of Thailand. It is the second-largest island in the chain, with a total area of only 6.6 square kilometers (1,600 acres). The island is made up of steep limestone hills encircling Loh Samah and Maya Bay, which houses bioluminescent plankton. The waters surrounding the Phi Phi Islands are filled with exotic marine life, including docile leopard sharks, so activities such as diving and snorkeling are popular.
Koh Phi Phi features a lively nightlife on Tonsai Beach, which contains dozens of restaurants and bars. For families, travelers on a budget, and those seeking a luxury resort, the smaller beaches around the island are better suited. The best time to visit Koh Phi Phi is between the months of November and April when the weather is more temperate, and the rains are less frequent.
However, it should be noted that The Department of National Parks, and the Wildlife and Plant Conservation are examining ways to regulate the volume of tourists to this region because there are valid concerns that over-tourism is destroying the environment at marine tourism spots.
One look at the crystal aquamarine waters and abundance of palm trees swaying in the breeze, and it immediately becomes clear that this is paradise. Resorts here are predominantly the iconic over-the-water bungalows that highlight life on the water, with sundecks, plunge pools, waterslides, and glass floors so guests can admire the turquoise Indian Ocean below. But this island is more than just luxury accommodations.
It’s a place to see and do with marine-rich coral reefs for swimming with manta rays and sometimes whale sharks. It’s a fantastic place to surf with some of the best waves in the world, and several areas known for their spectacular breaks. Take a boat cruise, indulge in the decadent cuisine, or spend a day shopping and sightseeing in the capital city of Malé. The Maldives is home to some of the world’s most ravishing islands, but it’s the sea that truly makes these islands shine.
The Greek Island of Santorini is world-famous for its dramatic beauty, including the breathtaking sunsets and unique cliffside accommodations that overlook the beautiful Aegean Sea. It is also known for its picturesque streets and gourmet cuisine, which can be enjoyed in many outdoor restaurants and cafes featuring memorable vistas. Visitors can explore ancient archaeological sites or enjoy a cable car ride up the cliffside for breathtaking views of the alabaster city of Fira. They can also explore a volcano or sunbathe on the iconic sands of Red Beach or Black Beach.
The whitewashed villas of Santorini appear to cascade down the volcanic cliffside into the sea-filled caldera below, with blue-domed churches and fuchsia pink bougainvillea adding a splash of vibrant color. It’s no wonder Santorini ranks among the most photographed places in the world.
Seychelles is a 115-island archipelago in the Indian Ocean, located off the coast of East Africa.
Onshore, the island features the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park and contains multiple nature reserves, including UNESCO-designated jungles. Wildlife consists of a few rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises, and a wide variety of reptiles, bats, and birds, along with great tenrec (a hedgehog-like mammal). The island is trimmed with palm trees, sugary beaches, and is studded with giant boulders. Offshore, magnificent coral reefs can be found with an abundance of marine life, including Hawksbill turtles and clownfish. This makes the island the perfect place for snorkeling and diving.
St. Barts, Caribbean
Technically, this beautiful and upscale island is called Saint Barthélemy, so be prepared for a France meets the Caribbean vibe. The name is often abbreviated to St. Barth in French. However, it is more widely known as the English version — St. Barts. The island is located 250 kilometers (160 mi) east of Puerto Rico and 35 kilometers (22 mi) southeast of St Martin. The north and east sides are bordered by shallow waters and a visible coral reef that is rich with marine life, part of which is a marine reserve with scientific observation.
Barts is known for its gorgeous white-sand beaches, verdant greenery, high-end resorts and restaurants, and the yacht-filled harbor in the capital of Gustavia. Historical attractions include the Wall House Museum which highlights the island’s Swedish colonial era, and the 17th-century Fort Karl, which overlooks Shell Beach.
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
The 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays lie between the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland on the northeast coast of Australia. The islands are mainly thick rainforests surrounded by long stretches of white sandy beaches and plenty of captivatingly clear turquoise and blue water. Many of these islands are uninhabited; however, several tour operators in the region take visitors to snorkel the marine-rich region and explore the national parks by hiking various trails. One such tour is Ocean Rafting, which gives travelers a taste of all the above.
Visitors worldwide travel to the Whitsunday Islands to relax on the pure white sands of Whitehaven Beach, fly above Heart Reef in a seaplane, and vacation at first-rate resorts on the luxury islands. The protected waters around the island’s secluded beaches and hidden bays are also ideal for sailing, diving, and swimming.