Who doesn’t love a taste of island life? Where you can kick off your shoes, leave workbehind, and cocktails are provided at the snap of a finger.
But island escapes aren’t just about lazybeach days.
They can also be full of adventure, watersports, wildlife-watching, and age-old cultures you can trace back over thousands of years.
So, whether you’re looking for that typicaltropical beach escape or a trip to an exotic ecosystem untouched by tourism, there’san island out there calling your name.
Here’s a look at the most beautiful islandsin the world: Number 17.
Martinique is nothing if not culturally interesting.
A French island in the Caribbean’s LesserAntilles, there is a fusion of French and West Indian cultures that you can experience.
The island’s scenery has plenty to inspireyou, with gorgeous beaches, botanical gardens, volcanic peaks, and historical architecture.
Discover the capital, Fort-de-France; itsmuseums tell the tale of the island’s pre-Columbian and colonial past.
Visiting Saint-Pierre is a must, too.
This modern city was built among the ruinsof the island’s former capital after it was destroyed when Mount Pelée erupted inthe 1900s.
Hvar The Croatian island of Hvar can be found onthe edge of the Adriatic.
While it is certainly celebrated for its summerbeach parties and glitzy nightlife scene, Hvar has so much more to offer than ravesand hangovers.
Take your time unpicking the history of theisland with a visit to the port town of Stari Grad – the oldest in Croatia – and theVenetian-style fortress perched on a hilltop above Hvar Town.
Or explore the island’s stunning naturalscenery, from secluded beaches and inland lilac lavender fields to undulating vineyardsfamous for their fine Croatian wines.
Kauai Lovingly dubbed the Garden Isle, the Hawaiianisland of Kauai is an enchanting place full of cascading waterfalls, tropical jungles, remote beaches, and rugged coastlines.
A trip to Kauai is not your average fly andflop holiday.
Here, there are adventures around every corner, and your experience is what you make it.
Make memories zip-lining through the jungle, trekking to waterfalls, kayaking along winding rivers, and dolphin and whale watching.
When it comes to natural wonders, you’llhave your fill: hike through the dramatic Waimea Canyon and explore the Insta-famousNapali Coast – more than 60 movies and TV shows have been filmed here.
Faroe Islands You’ll need at least a week to explore allthe captivating attractions the 18 volcanic Faroe Islands have to offer.
Just a short flight from mainland Europe, the island country has been associated with the Kingdom of Denmark, but it is actuallyself-governed.
What makes the archipelago so special is thatit’s incredibly underrated and untouristy.
Did you know that you can see the NorthernLights here from November to February? Apart from its spectacular scenery of majesticvalleys, remote villages, and jaw-dropping waterfalls, it’s also a popular spot fornature enthusiasts seeking a glimpse of thousands of coastal birds, including clifftop puffincolonies.
Whitsundays Made up of a collection of 74 sun-soaked islands, the Whitsundays nestled between the coast of Australia and the Great Barrier Reef issomething truly special.
The ultimate destination for divers and wildlifeenthusiasts, the archipelago is largely uninhabited.
A plethora of wildlife species call them home– from dolphins, sea turtles, and saltwater crocodiles to kangaroos, whales, and wallabies.
As with most islands of this caliber, themajority of the activities are water-based and include sailing, snorkeling, and scubadiving.
That being said, hiking, exploring the sightsof the tourist hub of Hamilton Island, and sunbathing on pearly beaches like WhitehavenBeach are just as popular.
Easter Island Tucked away in the southeastern Pacific, thePolynesian Easter Island is both remote and historically significant.
The enormous Moai statues are undeniably thetop attraction here, lending an air of history and mystery to this far-away island.
Over 800 human statues with over-sized headsdot the island.
They were created by the Rapa Nui many centuriesago, and each is believed to have taken at least a year to hand-craft.
But there’s more to Easter Island than theMoai statues.
There are some excellent beaches, remote cavesand hiking and cycling routes too! Diving into the island culture with a traditionalRapa Nui dancing show is truly memorable.
St Lucia A tropical retreat in the Eastern Caribbean, the once-colonial island of Saint Lucia is about as scenic as it gets.
Characterized by the iconic Pitons, lush rainforests, clifftop waterfalls, banana and pineapple plantations, and some of the most beautifulvolcanic beaches, it is unapologetically photogenic.
While many fly in to take advantage of theisland’s top-notch beach resorts and explore the quaint fishing villages, the melting-potcapital of Castries is also a popular cruise port.
From sulfur springs and secluded bays to bustlingmarkets and Caribbean dance parties, Saint Lucia has a bit of everything.
Mallorca One of the most popular of Spain’s BalearicIslands, Mallorca is a celebrated beach escape that gets 300 days of sunshine every year.
With quiet coves, limestone mountains, citrusorchards, and sleepy stone villages overlooking the Mediterranean, it’s perfect for relaxing.
But there’s a lot more to Mallorca thanmeets the eye.
The island is also home to several Roman andMoorish ruins, as well as a pumping nightlife scene in the capital of Palma.
For those interested in history and architecture, don’t miss the royal palace with its glorious Moorish design and the Palma Cathedral withits enchanting Gothic façade.
Galapagos The Galápagos Islands are a collection ofvolcanic islands and smaller islets in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador.
What makes this string of islands so specialis the spectacular ecosystem.
It provides a home for a diverse array ofanimals, plants, fish, and birds that you won’t find anywhere else on Earth.
Known for its extraordinary and unique geology, the Galapagos is home to still-active volcanoes and more iguanas than people.
Located close to the equator, yet cooled withchilly sea breezes, the Galapagos has a unique climate.
So unique, in fact, that it is home to theonly penguin colony in the Northern Hemisphere.
Ko Phi Phi Ko Phi Phi is possibly one of Thailand’smost famous archipelagos.
It is most notable for a stunning naturalbay that was filmed in the movie The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
But while many come here and have this renownedbay at the top of their to-do list, there are many more reasons to tempt you to PhiPhi beyond Maya Bay.
The six islands of Phi Phi are jaw-droppinglybeautiful, with pearl-white sand beaches and emerald waters.
Spend your days swimming and snorkeling amongextraordinary marine life or hire a longtail boat.
The surrounding islets like Monkey Beach areworth a visit, home to a plethora of cheeky tree-swinging monkeys.
Lofoten Lofoten is an island group that’s famousfor its dramatic natural attractions – from towering mountains to the deepest bays.
Those in the know come here hoping to witnessthe mysterious Northern Lights and to hike one of the most popular climbing peaks inNorway.
For those looking to get off the beaten track, this archipelago is a real treat, with opportunities for fishing, bird watching, cycling, and seakayaking in the summer, and skiing and tracking down the Aurora Borealis in the winter.
Visiting these islands is unforgettable asvillage life seems charmingly stuck in time.
Even the sun shines until midnight for partof the year.
Palawan Palawan is an island province in the westernmostpart of the Philippines.
This string of islands is a pure paradise, made up of enigmatic limestone caves and bays, and bright turquoise inland lakes and lagoons.
For those looking to explore offshore, Palawanis home to some unforgettable diving sites, such as the shipwrecks of Coron Bay that havetransformed over the years into natural coral reefs.
Every day in Palawan is magical – go swimmingin waterfalls, kayaking on secluded lagoons, and paddle boating to see luminous fireflieswhen the sun goes down.
The Seychelles The Seychelles are one of those elite islanddestinations.
Popular among the rich and famous, these 115granite islands in the Indian Ocean are idyllic, to say the least.
Encompassing a triumph of nature reserves, golden beaches, rainforests, and extraordinary coral reefs, it is a natural utopia.
Each island has something special to offer:Mahe for a culturally-rich experience, La Digue for getting back to nature, Praslinfor beach hopping, and Silhouette for sensational diving.
In the Seychelles, you’ll share the beacheswith giant 100-year-old Aldabra tortoise and see protected bird species such as the rareSeychelles black parrot.
Bali Possibly one of the most popular islands onEarth, Bali is a yogi and surfer’s playground, with regular retreats on the social calendar.
While Bali as a whole has become much morecommercialized in recent years, with everything from backpackers to top-rated villa hotels, there’s still plenty of culture to be found here too.
Bounded by forest-clad volcanoes, incrediblebeaches, and undulating rice paddies, you’ll find Balinese temples, authentic villages, and tourist towns in the Land of the Gods.
The Uluwatu Temple is the main highlight inBali.
Perched on the edge of a cliff, it is oneof the best places on the island to catch the sunset.
Santorini The volcanic island of Santorini is probablyone of the most recognized islands on Earth.
Characterized by its whitewashed and blue-domedCycladic towns hugging the caldera cliffs above the edge of the Aegean, this Greek islandis world-famous for its enviable sunsets.
Stroll through the alleyways of Oia town, wine and dine at gourmet tavernas, relax on the volcanic beaches, or sail off into thesunset on a glamorous catamaran cruise.
As it’s one of Greece’s most expensiveislands, you’ll undoubtedly rub shoulders with the rich and famous.
For its views and Mediterranean climate alone, Santorini is something special.
Bora Bora Beach bliss is the order of the day on thevolcanic island of Bora Bora.
While the enormous turquoise lagoon is themain attraction here, many flock to the island for its dazzlingly white beaches and ultra-luxuriousresorts that include romantic over-water bungalows.
If you’re up to exploring, though, there’smore to Bora Bora beyond the beach.
Hike the slopes of Mount Pahia for 360-degreebird’s eye views, snorkel the coral gardens at the isle’s northern tip, and swim withsea turtles as part of a local conservation initiative.
For those with a PADI license, scuba divingmay provide electrifyingly close-up encounters with manta rays and blacktip, and reef sharks.
The Maldives Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the idyllic Maldives archipelago is spellbindingly beautiful.
Close to the equator, the Maldives has a warmand tropical climate that’s perfect for lazy beach days all year round.
This low-lying island group is celebratedfor its high level of luxury and emphasis on the slow life.
Perfect for honeymooners, the Maldives’designer accommodation is out of this world – take your pick of underwater villas, over-watervillas, and everything in between.
There’s even an underwater restaurant forthose looking to dine surrounded by schools of tropical fish.
As relaxation is key in the Maldives, youcan spend your days sipping on cocktails and sunbathing, interspersed with a diving excursionto keep things interesting.