Well, think islands and you’ll come up with fascinating images of tropical beaches, rustling palms, lashing waves and beach bars in your mind’s eye. Serene blue seas are the perfect ruse for escaping the urban hustle and busy everyday life. These islands are feature lush jungles, sublime shores, flourishing corals, exotic native culture, luxuriant tropical resorts and yes absolute creature comforts. Here is a list of some of the world’s most beautiful islands that are guaranteed to blow your senses.
01. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
The South Pacific’s tiara crown, Bora Bora is known for its multi-hued waters, ravishingly beautiful lagoons, thriving marine life and mouthwatering food. From going on endless hiking trails through its emerald studded rainforests to diving/snorkeling in its reef-blessed waters, there’s a lot to do here. If you are feeling particularly rich, stay at an above the water bungalow, as the sound of the gentle waves put you to sleep.
Known as the Garden Isle, Kaua’i has pretty much everything you’d seek in tropical paradise and more. Rainforest encrusted interiors, tumbling white waterfalls, dramatic lava cliffs and the heady fragrance of blooms are omnipresent here. Its luxurious natural profile comprises phenomenally beautiful marine creatures and excellent diving conditions. Kaua’i isn’t as touristy as Maui or Oahu, which is why it tends to exudes a more relaxed, leisurely vibe. Visit Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon and the view from the dramatic Hanalei Bay cliffs.
Seychelles (nestled on Kenya’s east) features postcard perfect beauty across its 115 islands that comprise of UNESCO designated forests, flourishing corals, powdery sand beaches, dramatic boulders and more. Several Seychelles islands are nestled smack in the middle of some of the earth’s richest fishing regions and fish-loaded sanctuaries, making the destination popular with anglers and divers. Luxury seekers can make a beeline for the plush Male and Praslin resorts, while food lovers will enjoy tucking into local Creole cuisine.
04. The Cook Islands
Ever desired the castaway life in the middle of the South Pacific? Head to Cook Islands, located near French Polynesia, though considered a part of New Zealand. An archipelago of 15 islands, Cook Islands is known for its turquoise lagoons, palm flanked beaches, thrilling volcano peaks and amazingly friendly locals. Rarotonga is popular with visitors for its swish resorts and array of beaches, while Aitutaki is beautiful and affordable. From charming hill-side villages to small islets to beach shacks, there’s every opportunity to live your Crusoe dreams here.
White sand beaches – tick, beautiful cerulean waters – tick, vivid coral reefs – tick, adventure activities (diving, snorkeling) – tick, perfect weather – tick, there’s little that Fiji’s 300 plus islands lack. Yes, the rich and famous use this tropical paradise as their hideaway, and families love its amenities-packed resorts. Relax on a palm fringed beach, while you enjoy the balmy weather and slip on a tropical drink.
Home to the planet’s most spectacularly photogenic islands, Maldives is ravishingly beautiful. Sparkling turquoise waters shine on its white shores, while its 26 bear testimony of nature’s wonders. Maldives balmy waters are teeming with coral reefs, which makes it a beacon for divers. Of course, the land has its share of luxury resorts, delectable sea food restaurants and a plethora of adventures.
07. Palawan, Philippines
Palawan is a tropical heaven on earth! There’s no describing the beauty of its verdant limestone peaks, glittering clear waters (you can view the tropical fish and other marine creatures from above the water) and jungle encircled islands. While the white sand rubs shoulders with emerald lakes and old-worldly fishing communities, Palawan offers some of the best diving opportunities in the world. Coron teems with upscale resorts, while El Nido overflows with natural beautiful. Don’t leave without visiting UNESCO listed Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a unique limestone cave accompanied by an underground river.
08. Santorini, Greece
Surrounding a sea-swept caldera, Santorini scores on account of lush natural beauty, white-washed homes, and majestic volcanic cliffs. Domed structures rising above the island’s horizon create a dazzling real-life painting. While Fira is pricey, Oia is probably one of the world’s most photographed tourist destinations on planet earth. Other sports worth checking out include Ancient Thira, Akrotiri, the Perissa black sand beach and evocative sunsets. Sail on this gorgeous caldera, while the elevated cliffs encircle you with their magnificence.
09. Bali, Indonesia
A sensory feast, Bali is high on colors, culture and nature. From the exotic fragrance of incense to visuals of its emerald rice paddies to a plethora of cultural festivals and performances, Bali never ceases to surprise even the most seasoned traveler. Shopping, sightseeing, swimming, hiking, food – you name it, Bali’s got it! Visit the adjoining volcano Island Lombok, admire Ubud’s rice terraces or enjoy the touristy vibe of Kuta. Bali is particularly good for engaging your spiritual side with its multitude of temples. Oh! And did we mention the relaxing massage therapy?
10. Capri, Italy
Capri is ultra glamorous, and unapologetic about it! It is the playground of the world’s rich and famous, while also doubling up as a picturesque location for filming many a slick Hollywood productions. Nestled 20 kilometers from Amalfi Coast, Capri is known, for its beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea, blue grotto glowing cave, quaint town center and polished locals. Don’t miss the buzzing vibe of the piazza (town square), where the sight of designer store bags and smell of expensive perfume is hard to ignore. Enjoy spectacular vistas by taking the Monte Solaro chair lift or scale up to the highest Anacapri town.
11. Ko Phi Phi
Ko Phi Phi is a strikingly beautiful archipelago in Thailand’s Krabi Province, featuring verdant limestone peaks, balmy waters, palm-fringed shores and year-round sunshine. While the tourist hotspot is still grappling from the after effects of a devastating 2004 tsunami, Ko Phi Phi remains a dreamy tropical paradise. Yes, this is the place where Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach was filmed. Enjoy day trips to surrounding islands or participate in adventure pursuits such as snorkeling and diving. Rub shoulders with apes the popular Monkey Beach.
12. St. Barts
St. Barts is stunning, sublime and unpretentious all the same, which is why it attracts celebrities from across the planet. If you have a taste for all things refined, discerning and charming, this is your haven! Ultra glam golden beaches, a nice bronze tan, and rolling emerald hills – you really couldn’t ask for more. St. Barts is top on the list of people seeking privacy and seclusion. And boy does it come with a lofty price tag! Some luxe experiences to be enjoyed here – hiring a private villa and feasting on artisanal French meals.