What are the 20 best islands to visit for a vacation?

What are the 20 best islands to visit for a perfect vacation?

Determining the 20 “best” islands to visit for a vacation can vary greatly depending on individual preferences, interests, and travel styles. However, here’s a list of diverse and popular islands known for their beauty, culture, and attractions:

Santorini, Greece: Famous for its stunning sunsets, white-washed buildings, and crystal-clear waters.

Maui, Hawaii, USA: Renowned for its diverse landscapes, including beaches, lush rainforests, and volcanic terrain.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia: Known for its overwater bungalows, turquoise lagoons, and vibrant marine life.

Maldives: A tropical paradise with luxurious resorts, pristine beaches, and excellent diving spots.

Bali, Indonesia: Offers a mix of stunning beaches, lush rice terraces, vibrant culture, and spirituality.

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador: Famous for its unique wildlife and natural beauty, perfect for eco-tourism and adventure.

Fiji: Comprising over 300 islands, Fiji is known for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and rich cultural heritage.

Seychelles: Home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, with granite boulders and turquoise waters.

Phuket, Thailand: Offers a mix of lively nightlife, beautiful beaches, and cultural attractions.

Sicily, Italy: Known for its rich history, delicious cuisine, and stunning coastal landscapes.

The Azores, Portugal: A group of volcanic islands known for their dramatic landscapes, hot springs, and whale watching.

 Find Whitsunday Islands, Australia: Famous for the breathtaking Whitehaven Beach and Great Barrier Reef.

The Bahamas: Offers a mix of beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and excellent water activities.

Barbados: Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich colonial history.

Maui, Hawaii: Renowned for its diverse landscapes, including beaches, lush rainforests, and volcanic terrain.

Mauritius: A tropical paradise with stunning beaches, lush forests, and vibrant marine life.

The Cook Islands: Known for their pristine beaches, coral reefs, and laid-back atmosphere.

The Greek Islands: Offers a variety of experiences from bustling nightlife to secluded beaches and ancient ruins.

Palawan, Philippines: Known for its stunning karst landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine biodiversity.

“These islands offer a range of experiences,  from relaxation and luxury to adventure and exploration, making them popular choices for vacation destinations. Let’s dig deeper. Find links  to all the islands below.”

20 best islands to visit - Santorini, a town on a cliff, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Perched atop dramatic cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea, Santorini is a mesmerizing destination that captivates visitors with its iconic white-washed buildings, breathtaking sunsets, and charming cobblestone streets. Renowned for its romantic ambiance, this Cycladic island offers an array of luxury resorts, boutique wineries, and world-class dining experiences. Travelers flock to Santorini to explore its ancient ruins, including the historic town of Akrotiri, and indulge in leisurely boat tours around its volcanic caldera. Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway or a cultural adventure, Santorini promises an unforgettable Mediterranean escape.

Sailing Greece; Mykonos to Santorini

Maui, Hawaii, USA

20 best islands to visit - Maui, Hawaii.

With its diverse landscapes ranging from pristine beaches to cascading waterfalls and volcanic peaks, Maui is a tropical paradise that beckons adventurers and sun-seekers alike. Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui offers an abundance of outdoor activities, including snorkeling in Molokini Crater, hiking through the lush bamboo forests of Hana, and driving along the scenic Road to Hana. Travelers are drawn to Maui’s laid-back atmosphere, vibrant Hawaiian culture, and luxurious resorts set against the backdrop of swaying palm trees and turquoise waters. Whether you’re surfing on the North Shore or stargazing atop Haleakalā Summit, Maui promises a diverse and unforgettable island experience.

Blue Hawaii, blue ocean, blue sky, blue moon

20 best islands to visit - Bora Bora

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Nestled within a turquoise lagoon surrounded by coral reefs, Bora Bora is the epitome of tropical luxury and romance. Famous for its iconic overwater bungalows and crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful marine life, this South Pacific paradise offers a dream-like escape for honeymooners and luxury travelers. Visitors to Bora Bora can embark on snorkeling adventures in the lagoon, indulge in Polynesian-inspired spa treatments, and savor exquisite cuisine infused with local flavors. Whether you’re lounging on powdery white sands or exploring the island’s lush interior on a 4×4 safari tour, Bora Bora promises an enchanting and indulgent retreat.

Bora Bora

20 best islands to visit - Maldives

Maldives

The Maldives, a breathtaking archipelago nestled in the heart of the Indian Ocean, embodies a paradise sought after by travelers worldwide. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, pristine white sandy beaches, and vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, any of it’s different islands could very well be part of the 20 best islands to visit. The Maldives offers an unparalleled tropical escape. Each luxurious overwater bungalow or beachfront villa presents an intimate oasis, inviting visitors to unwind amidst stunning natural beauty. From exhilarating water sports such as snorkeling, diving, and surfing to serene sunset cruises and rejuvenating spa experiences, the Maldives caters to every traveler’s desires. Whether exploring the vibrant underwater world, indulging in delectable seafood cuisine, or simply basking in the serenity of its secluded islands, the Maldives promises an unforgettable journey filled with adventure, relaxation, and unparalleled beauty.

Diving in the Maldives

20 best islands to visit - Bali

Pura Ulun Danu temple on a lake Beratan on Bali Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia, beckons adventurers with its enchanting blend of lush landscapes, vibrant culture, and spiritual allure. Renowned for its emerald rice terraces cascading down misty hillsides, volcanic peaks shrouded in mystique, and pristine beaches kissed by the warm Indian Ocean waves, Bali captivates travelers with its natural beauty. From the cultural heart of Ubud, where ancient temples and traditional arts thrive, to the bustling beach towns of Seminyak and Canggu, pulsating with energy and nightlife, there’s a good reason why it’s on our “20 best islands to visit” list. Surfers flock to its legendary breaks, yogis seek enlightenment in its tranquil retreats, and food enthusiasts indulge in a tantalizing array of local and international cuisine. Whether exploring sacred temples, trekking through verdant jungles, or immersing oneself in Balinese rituals and ceremonies, Bali casts a spell that lingers long after the journey ends, making it a captivating destination for those seeking adventure, relaxation, and spiritual rejuvenation alike.

Indonesian Islands from Bali to Sumatra

20 best islands to visit - Galapagos

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galápagos Islands, an ecological marvel off the coast of Ecuador, stand as a living testament to the wonders of evolution and biodiversity. Renowned for inspiring Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking theory of natural selection, this archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The islands boast an extraordinary array of unique and fearless species, from iconic giant tortoises and marine iguanas to playful sea lions and colorful bird species like the blue-footed booby. Snorkeling and diving opportunities abound in the crystal-clear waters, allowing visitors to witness the vibrant marine life, including tropical fish, sharks, and rays. The rugged landscapes, characterized by volcanic craters and otherworldly rock formations, add to the surreal charm of the Galápagos. With strict conservation measures in place, the islands offer a rare chance to witness nature’s wonders in their purest form, making it a captivating destination for those seeking an unparalleled wildlife adventure.

The Galapagos islands is home of the rarest species

Fiji Islands huts

Fiji

Fiji, a tropical paradise in the South Pacific, enchants travelers with its postcard-perfect scenery, warm hospitality, and rich cultural heritage. Comprising over 300 islands, Fiji offers a diverse range of experiences, from luxurious private resorts to remote villages where traditional Fijian life thrives. With its azure waters, palm-fringed beaches, and vibrant coral reefs, Fiji is a haven for snorkelers, divers, and beach lovers alike. Visitors can explore lush rainforests, hike to hidden waterfalls, and partake in cultural ceremonies such as the traditional kava ceremony, immersing themselves in the local way of life. Fijians are renowned for their genuine warmth and friendliness, and visitors often find themselves embraced by the spirit of “Bula” (Fijian for hello and welcome) throughout their stay. From indulging in fresh seafood feasts to cruising along pristine coastlines and experiencing thrilling water sports, Fiji offers an unforgettable blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural immersion, making it a coveted destination for travelers seeking a slice of paradise.

Fiji adventures

Seychelles, Praslin, photo tommaso-nervegna

Seychelles

Seychelles, a jewel of the Indian Ocean, captivates travelers with its unrivaled natural beauty, pristine beaches, and lush tropical landscapes. Comprising 115 idyllic islands scattered across azure waters, Seychelles boasts some of the world’s most breathtaking beaches, where powdery white sands meet crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful marine life. From the granite boulders of La Digue’s Anse Source d’Argent to the secluded coves of Praslin’s Anse Lazio, each beach offers a slice of paradise. Beyond its stunning coastline, Seychelles is a sanctuary for rare flora and fauna, with lush rainforests sheltering endemic species such as the Seychelles black parrot and giant Aldabra tortoise. Visitors can explore nature reserves, embark on scenic hikes, and discover hidden waterfalls amidst the verdant landscapes. Seychellois culture is a vibrant fusion of African, Asian, and European influences, reflected in its Creole cuisine, colorful festivals, and traditional music and dance. Whether snorkeling in pristine coral reefs, sailing around remote islands, or simply unwinding in luxurious resorts overlooking the ocean, Seychelles promises an enchanting escape steeped in natural wonders and timeless allure.

Seychelles, what to see, what to do, and where to stay

Phuket

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand, epitomizes the allure of Southeast Asia with its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and bustling nightlife. Renowned for its lively Patong Beach, where azure waters meet golden sands, Phuket offers a plethora of water activities, from snorkeling and diving to island-hopping adventures. Visitors can explore ornate temples, savor tantalizing street food, and immerse themselves in the colorful markets of Old Phuket Town, where Thai heritage meets modern charm. With its luxurious resorts, rejuvenating spas, and exhilarating nightlife, Phuket caters to every traveler’s desires, promising an unforgettable blend of relaxation and excitement.

Phuket, Thailand: A Paradise in Southeast Asia

SIcily, Italy, Old beach in Cefalu with fishing boats

Sicily, Italy, Old beach in Cefalu with fishing boats

Sicily, Italy

Sicily, Italy, the largest island in the Mediterranean, beckons with its rich history, diverse landscapes, and mouthwatering cuisine. From the ancient ruins of Agrigento to the majestic Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest active volcano, Sicily is a treasure trove of archaeological wonders and natural beauty. Its charming coastal towns, such as Taormina and Cefalù, boast breathtaking views of the sea and showcase Sicilian hospitality at its finest. Sicily is among the our favorites in this 20 best islands to visit list. Visitors can indulge in delectable seafood dishes, sample world-renowned wines, and wander through picturesque villages steeped in tradition and charm, making Sicily a captivating destination where history, culture, and gastronomy converge.

Sicily

the azores

Azores, Portugal

The Azores, Portugal, a remote archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, entices adventurers with its untamed landscapes, azure lakes, and geothermal wonders. From the emerald crater lakes of São Miguel to the dramatic cliffs of Faial, the Azores offer a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, all great characteristics for the 20 best islands to visit. Visitors can hike along scenic trails, explore volcanic caves, and embark on whale-watching excursions in search of majestic marine life. The islands’ charming villages, where time seems to stand still, welcome travelers with warm hospitality and authentic Azorean cuisine, making the Azores a hidden gem brimming with natural beauty and adventure.

The Azores is 9 lush islands in the Atlantic

Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsunday Islands, Australia, epitomize paradise with their powdery white sands, crystalline waters, and vibrant marine life. Nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, this tropical oasis offers an array of activities, from snorkeling and diving to sailing and kayaking amidst breathtaking island scenery. Visitors can explore secluded coves, hike through lush rainforests, and unwind on pristine beaches where the only footprints are their own. With luxurious resorts and eco-friendly accommodations, the Whitsundays provide an idyllic escape for travelers seeking relaxation, adventure, and the natural wonders of the Coral Sea.

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu, the vibrant capital of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, invites travelers to discover a tapestry of cultural diversity, natural wonders, and outdoor adventures. Nestled between the South China Sea and the towering peaks of Mount Kinabalu, the city offers a gateway to explore the rich biodiversity of the region. Visitors can wander through bustling markets, sampling fresh seafood and vibrant local produce, or delve into the city’s history at the Sabah State Museum. Nature enthusiasts can embark on thrilling expeditions to Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, trekking through lush rainforests and ascending to the summit of Southeast Asia’s highest peak. Nearby islands like Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park beckon with pristine beaches, coral reefs, and opportunities for snorkeling and diving amidst breathtaking marine life. With its warm hospitality, delectable cuisine, and boundless opportunities for adventure, Kota Kinabalu offers a dynamic blend of culture, nature, and exploration that captivates travelers from around the globe.

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Bahamas

Hotels worldwide, Atlantis in Bahamas. Landmark, ocean

The Bahamas, an archipelago of over 700 islands sprinkled across the Caribbean Sea, dazzles visitors with its powder-soft beaches, turquoise waters, and vibrant culture. From the bustling streets of Nassau to the serene shores of Exuma, each island offers a unique blend of tropical charm and laid-back luxury. Visitors can swim with pigs at Pig Beach, dive into the world’s third-largest barrier reef, and explore historic towns steeped in pirate lore. With its warm hospitality, colorful festivals, and mouthwatering cuisine, The Bahamas invites travelers to unwind in paradise and discover the true meaning of island life.

Cruise to the Bahamas

Barbados

20 best islands to visit - Barbados

Barbados, a Caribbean gem steeped in history and natural beauty, captivates visitors with its pristine beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant culture. From the bustling capital of Bridgetown to the rugged cliffs of Bathsheba, Barbados should be among your 20 best islands to visit. Visitors can explore historic plantation houses, snorkel in crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, and sample local delicacies such as flying fish and cou-cou. With its lively festivals, warm hospitality, and world-class resorts, Barbados invites travelers to embrace the island’s rich heritage and vibrant spirit, promising an unforgettable Caribbean getaway.

Barbados: A Caribbean Gem

Mauritius

playing golf on the mauritius island

Playing golf on Mauritius island

Mauritius, a tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean, entices travelers with its stunning beaches, turquoise lagoons, and lush mountain landscapes. From the vibrant markets of Port Louis to the serene shores of Île aux Cerfs, Mauritius offers a kaleidoscope of experiences for every visitor. Travelers can explore botanical gardens, snorkel in coral reefs teeming with marine life, and indulge in delicious fusion cuisine influenced by Creole, Indian, and French flavors. With its luxury resorts, championship golf courses, and warm hospitality, Mauritius promises an unforgettable escape where relaxation and adventure go hand in hand.

Travel to Mauritius for the journey of a lifetime

Bali Hai, Thailand (Koh Phi Phi)

Koh Phi Phi

Bali Hai, Thailand, synonymous with the captivating allure of Koh Phi Phi, promises travelers an unforgettable tropical escape steeped in natural beauty and vibrant energy. With its iconic limestone cliffs, pristine beaches, and azure waters teeming with marine life, Koh Phi Phi invites visitors to immerse themselves in paradise. From the legendary Maya Bay, immortalized in the film “The Beach,” to the bustling streets of Tonsai Village, the island offers a diverse array of experiences, from snorkeling and diving to vibrant nightlife and cultural exploration. Travelers can unwind on the famous Long Beach, trek through lush jungles to hidden viewpoints, and indulge in delicious Thai cuisine at beachfront restaurants. With its enchanting landscapes, lively atmosphere, and laid-back island vibes, Bali Hai captures the essence of tropical bliss, beckoning adventurers to discover its timeless allure and create memories that last a lifetime.

The Cook Islands, Polynesia

The colorful Aitutaki lagoon spotted by coral reef, in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean Location Aitutaki atoll, Cook Islands

The Cook Islands, a Polynesian paradise nestled in the heart of the South Pacific, captivates travelers with its pristine beaches, turquoise lagoons, and lush tropical landscapes. From the turquoise waters of Aitutaki Lagoon to the rugged peaks of Rarotonga, the Cook Islands offer a haven for relaxation and adventure. Visitors can snorkel among colorful coral reefs, trek through lush rainforests, and immerse themselves in traditional Polynesian culture at local markets and cultural performances. It often goes unrecognized in most lists for 20 best islands to visit but with its warm hospitality, laid-back atmosphere, and unspoiled natural beauty, the Cook Islands invite travelers to discover the true essence of South Pacific paradise.

Cook Islands

The Greek Islands

Most romantic Greek islands? Mykonos

The Greek Islands, a constellation of over 6,000 islands and islets scattered across the Aegean and Ionian Seas, beckon travelers with their iconic whitewashed buildings, crystalline waters, and ancient history. From the romantic sunsets of Santorini to the cosmopolitan charm of Mykonos, each island offers a unique blend of culture, cuisine, and natural beauty. Visitors can explore ancient ruins, lounge on sun-kissed beaches, and wander through picturesque villages steeped in tradition. With its warm Mediterranean climate, vibrant nightlife, and legendary hospitality, the Greek Islands promise an unforgettable escape where history, mythology, and natural wonders converge.

30 best Greek islands

Palawan, Philippines

Palawan Filippinernem fantastisk dykkerferie

Palawan, Philippines, a pristine paradise in the westernmost part of the Philippines, enchants travelers with its breathtaking landscapes, turquoise waters, and rich biodiversity. From the surreal beauty of the Underground River in Puerto Princesa to the stunning limestone cliffs of El Nido, Palawan offers unparalleled opportunities for exploration and adventure. Visitors can snorkel among vibrant coral reefs, kayak through hidden lagoons, and relax on secluded beaches fringed by palm trees. With its warm hospitality, vibrant culture, and mouthwatering cuisine, it is not only one of the 20 best islands to visit, but often recognized as top destination for most travel bucket lists. Palawan invites travelers to discover the wonders of the Philippines’ last frontier and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Palawan – The Last Ecological Frontier

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