17 Most Beautiful Islands of the World

The islands conjure up dreams of paradise: an escape from the rat race and a perfect patch of sand where you can relax under rustling palms and gaze at a calm blue sea.

But not all islands are created alike.The beauty of some is more defined by the sea around them, which can captivate connoisseurs with their crystalline clarity and thriving coral kingdoms.

Other islands have spectacular forests and velvet peaks, and some leave travelers spellbound with their cultural gems.Whether it's sublime beaches, stunning topography, or exotic cultures you crave, these islands are far from the noise of the weekday but close to creature comforts.

Find your own Shangri-La in this list of the world's most beautiful islands, from the Seychelles to Santorini and the Caribbean to Capri.

1. Maldives

The Maldives is home to some of the most beautiful islands in the world, but it is the sea, which really makes these islands shine.Dazzling aquamarine water with a crystal clarity on these dazzling white shores that barely peek out over the Indian Ocean.

Consisting of 26 natural atolls, the Maldives archipelago is the lowest-level country on the planet, rising no more than three meters above the sea at its highest point, a measurement that shrinks every year.

Under the mesmerizing waters, coral reefs flourish, enticing divers and snorkelers from all over the world.Surfers also come here to ride the brakes without overcrowding.

Back on land, the luxury resorts provide the perfect launching point for adventures focused on the sea, the archipelago's greatest asset, but at the same time, its greatest threat, as the planet's climate changes.

2. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Shaped like a giant sombrero, this lush volcanic island is up there in countless South Pacific fantasies.The focal point and best property of this tropical beauty is its stunning lagoon in Technicolor Turquoise.Fish, turtles, sharks and rays swim in the clear waters and small islets or motus dot in the lagoon.

The island is, of course, distinctly French, with mouthwatering cuisine to be found.Diving and snorkeling are excellent in the surrounding reefs, and hiking trails pass through the palm forests.

If you can afford it, hide out in a luxurious overwater bungalow here and enjoy your good fortune as you fall asleep on the gentle slopes of the ocean.

3. Palawan, Philippines

Palawan is the Philippine's answer to heaven.The island province stretches from the southwest to Borneo, with lush limestone peaks so clear of a jewel-like sea that you can almost see the expressions of fish from above the surface.

Gleaming white-sand beaches surrounded by rustling palms surround many of these jungle-clad islands, while underwater, coral reefs house an impressive variety of tropical fish, offering some of the best diving in the world. Is.

Other attractions include the islands' unique wildlife, emerald lakes, and quaint fishing villages.Coron is home to plush resorts, and El Nido is dripping with natural beauty and one of the most charming islands in the chain.From here, you can island hop around the spectacular Bakuite archipelago.

One of Palawan's top attractions is the World Heritage-listed Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, an impressive limestone cave system with a long underground river.

4. Seychelles

Antique and picture-perfect, Seychelles is well worth a visit.East of Kenya, this relatively unspoiled archipelago of 115 coral and granite islands is packed with attractions, from UNESCO-listed forests and rich coral reefs to palm-lined, powdery beaches surrounded by towering boulders.

About half of the total land area of ​​these equatorial islands is protected, and many of the islands lie within fish-rich marine sanctuaries with excellent diving and snorkeling.

The Seychelles also has some of the richest fishing grounds on the planet, making it a top destination for anglers.Add some spicy Creole cuisine to the mix, as well as the plush resorts of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, and it's easy to grasp the charm of the Seychelles.

5. Santorini, Greece

Enclosing an ocean-filled caldera, spectacular Santorini receives top marks for its dramatic beauty.Bleached white villas straddle the volcanic rocks.The blue-domed churches rise up to the sparkling sea, and bright sprays of bougainvillea add to the eye-popping palette of colors.

Perched atop black lava rocks, the settlements of Fira and Oia are the island's most picturesque – and prized, destinations – and Oia is one of the most photographed places in the world.

Other highlights of Santorini include the Akrotiri Archaeological Site, ancient Thira, the black sand beach of Perissa, and of course, the sublime sunsets.Boating in this stunning caldera surrounded by high sea cliffs makes for an unforgettable first impression.

6. Cook Islands

If you've ever dreamed of an escape in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands are for you.Stranded between French Polynesia and Samoa but with strong ties to New Zealand, the archipelago's 15 islands are among the most beautiful islands in the South Pacific.

The islands' top attractions include aquamarine lagoons, palm-fringed beaches, and volcanic peaks.The best part is that the locals are among the friendliest in the South Pacific.

Rarotonga is the main tourist center, with many resorts, lush green peaks and plentiful beaches.Aitutaki is one of the most beautiful islands in the South Pacific.Hibiscus-filled villages loom over the hills, and 21 motus, or small islets, dotted along its heavenly lagoon are within kayaking distance of many of the resorts.

Immerse yourself in an overwater bungalow here or hole up in a rustic beach shack on a remote outlying island and live out your Robinson Crusoe fantasies.

7. Bali, Indonesia

The intoxicating culture of Bali is a festival of the senses.Incense sticks from Hindu temples, rice trees glow in electric greens, and the food makes the taste buds swoon.Surfing, swimming, and sunbathing are popular activities on the island's beautiful beaches, and tourists will find many other things to do on this exotic island, from temple visits and sightseeing in the lush countryside to spa treatments. , shopping and hiking are included.

Soak up the spiritual side of Bali in Ubud, visit Seminyak and family-friendly Sanur, feel the pumping pulse of tourist Kuta, or explore the attractions on the neighboring volcanic island of Lombok.

Looking for some chic place to stay?Choose from beautiful beachfront resorts, and if you're bringing kids, you'll find plenty of good-value places to stay with the family.

One thing's for sure: Bali's enchanting spirit will sweep over you like a warm, tropical wave.

8. Dalmatian Islands, Croatia

In the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia, the Dalmatian Islands are a fascinating mix of relaxed charm and rich history.Unique villages and boutique hotels and restaurants line these gorgeous islands, which are surrounded by sparkling seas and some of the best beaches in Croatia.

At the top of the list is Brac with the famous beach strip of Zlatny Rat (Golden Horn).Hvar is also beautiful with its Gothic churches, car-free old town and picturesque fishing port.From here, you can head to the beautiful Pakleni Islands, which are known for their crystal-clear waters and secluded coves.

Other must-see Dalmatian islands include Korcula, with its red-roofed, white-washed buildings;Mljet with its two inland saltwater lakes;and relatively uncongested vis.

9. Fiji

One of Australia's well-known tropical getaways, Fiji ticks all the fantasy island boxes.White-sand beaches, translucent turquoise waters, and coral reefs abound here.And the people of Fiji welcome visitors with warm, friendly smiles.

Diving, snorkeling, fishing, and in some areas, surfing are all popular things to do in Fiji, but stretching under a palm tree and gliding in the silky warm sea can be equally rewarding.With over 300 islands, it's easy to find the best island for your vacation, from luxurious celebrity hideaways and family-friendly resorts to the sublime Yasawa and Mamanuka Group.

Fiji loves young children, so it is a great destination for families looking to relax.

10. Kaua'i

Kauai is called the "Garden Isle" for good reason: rainforests cover most of the interior, waterfalls cascade down from lava rocks, and the heady scent of tropical blooms hangs heavily over the sultry air.

But the beauty of the island is not only in its magnificent flora;Its spectacular coastline will take your breath away.Lava sculpts this stunning island, creating velvety ridges rising above sea level and steep cliffs surrounded by gorgeous beaches.

Beneath its cobalt-blue seas, turtles and tropical fish swim along the coral reefs, delighting divers and snorkelers from around the world.Compared to its popular sister islands, Maui and Oahu, Kauai exudes a low-key vibe and moves at a more leisurely pace.

Don't miss Kauai's top attractions: the breathtaking Na Pali Coast, the 10-mile-long Waimea Canyon, and cloud-capped views from the cliffs above Hanalei Bay.

11. St. Lucia

St. Lucia exudes a deep and irritating beauty.Unlike other Caribbean islands, its best asset isn't necessarily its beaches, although with their golden sands and beautiful palms, they are popular with travellers.Rather, the island itself is drenched in topographic drama.The towering Piton, twin volcanic peaks, preside over the spectacular landscape, rising more than 700 meters above the sea, and providing a breathtaking backdrop for the stunning views.

Thick coconut palm forests, waterfalls, unique fishing villages, coral reefs, nature trails, and hot springs are some of the must-see attractions in St. Lucia.Pretty Marigot Bay and Anse Chastanet Marine Park are the main attractions.The island's French influences also add to its exotic appeal.

12. Capri, Italy

Glamorous Capri, about 20 kilometers from the Amalfi coast, lives up to all the hype as sea stacks and high cliffs rise from the teal-hued Tyrrhenian Sea framed by splashes of colorful flowers.

One of its most popular tourist attractions is the Blue Grotto, a glowing sea cave where locals take tourists aboard small boats and sing operas to demonstrate acoustics.

Once you reach the port of Marina Grande, catch the funicular up to the main town of Capri, which feels like the set of a movie.The piazza here abounds with immaculately dressed locals and tourists alike with shopping bags filled with designer clothing and the island's perfume.

While you're here, be sure to visit the highest city, Anacapri, and take the chair up to Monte Solaro for spectacular views of the island and sea.

13. Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

In Ko Phi Phi, a small archipelago in Thailand's Krabi province, lush limestone peaks rise from the tropical sea, and palm-lined sweet beaches lap warm waters.

Ko Phi Phi, which was hit by the tsunami in 2004, has now recovered.Its natural beauty still recalls the dream of a tropical island born in the famous Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach, which was filmed here on the small neighboring island of Ko Phi Phi Leh on Maya Beach.

Ko Phi Phi Don is the only inhabited island and offers day trips to the surrounding islands.Other popular activities include swimming, snorkeling, and great diving.Don't miss out on Monkey Beach, famous for its cheeky-named residents.

14. Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Sprinkled with a World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands are Australia's version of the classic tropical island fantasy.These 74 lush islands are the peaks of submerged hills rising above the deep blue coral sea.

Sailing is one of the popular things to do in the Whitsundays, and the diving is excellent along with the fish-rich coral reefs.It is an extremely delicate ecosystem protected by six national parks, and you can explore some of the islands on hiking trails.

Accommodations range from beach campsites, eco-retreats, and family resorts to luxury getaways like Heyman Island and Qualia on Hamilton Island.

Don't miss out on the radiant silica sands of Whitehaven Beach, one of Australia's best beaches, on the Whitsunday Island.

Airlie Beach is the main launching point for Whitsunday adventures.

15. Sardinia, Italy

Blissful white-sand beaches, rugged coastal peaks, mouth-watering cuisine, a unique mix of cultures and ancient archeological treasures: what's not to love about this spooky Italian island?

Most travelers have heard of the glamorous Costa Semeralda, or Emerald Coast, with its craggy coves and clear green seas, but this large and diverse Mediterranean island also boasts many other attractions.Sardinia is home to the largest canyon in Europe, the Gola su Goropu;prehistoric archaeological sites;the captivating Catalan-tinged town of Alghero;and the medieval streets of the capital, Cagliari.

Stay a while at one of the many pampering hotels and resorts, and while you're here, be sure to cruise along some scenic coastal drives and take in the spectacular views.

16. St. Bart's

Stunningly beautiful, yet understated, St. Barts captivates movie stars and moguls from around the world, and for good reason.This beautiful island offers a luscious taste of France in the tropics, with a relaxed charm that savvy travelers love.

One of St. Bart's top attractions is its glamorous blond beaches, which wind around its shoreline, backed by rolling green hills.Privacy and solitude are the island's other top selling points, but of course it all comes at a price.This charming island is one of the most expensive islands in the Caribbean, but if money is no object, you can immerse yourself in a private villa or boutique hotel, dining on delicious French cuisine to your heart's content. and live the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

17. Bahamas

With 700 islands and over 2,000 smaller ones, it's easy to find the Caribbean hideaway of your dreams in the Bahamas.The top attractions of these stunningly beautiful islands range from idyllic beaches and rich coral reefs to great shopping and dining.

Looking for duty free shops, mega-resorts and entertainment?Head for the capital of Nassau, a popular cruise ship port on New Providence Island, or book a stay at Grand Bahama.Is big game fishing your favorite thing to do?Bimini is the best option.Maybe you want to explore the underwater world: Long Island and Andros have great diving and world-class bonefishing.

And if you just want to head to the sublime white-sand beaches washed by eye-popping blue waters, head to the Out Islands like the Exumas, Abacos, and Eleuthera.Are pink-sand beaches more your thing?Harbor Island should be at the top of your list.

No matter where you decide to go, you'll find plenty of delightful places to stay, from luxury resorts to family resorts and even cheap all-inclusive resorts.

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