World’s Best Islands – Top 13
Dreaming of an island getaway? Get inspired with this list of 13 of our best islands. Thirteen travel enthusiasts had their say on what their best islands are! Here’s the list of the world’s best islands. Add them to your bucket list!
1. Cape Breton Island – Canada
Recommended by Alannah McEwan, from Itchy Feet Travel
Cape Breton is first on our list of best islands. The island is a great place to visit for road trip lovers, nature lovers, and beach lovers. The island boasts the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site – the largest historical reconstruction in North America. Take in the local culture and music, the island is home to more fiddlers per capita than any other destination in the world and to many beautiful cultures including Mi’kmaq, Celtic, and French/Acadian.
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking this part of the world – it’s sure to be an experience you won’t forget!
2. Phu Quoc Island – Vietnam
Recommended by Melissa from Thrifty Family Travels
Phu Quoc is one of our best islands on our list, it has a laid-back vibe. The island has spectacular beaches including Long Beach and Ong Lang Beach, both beautiful white sandy beaches with calm, warm water. Spend your days swimming, sunbathing, and even having a massage right on the beach.
Phu Quoc is set for big things with development happening all over the island, so experience the magic of this island sooner than later!
3. Rosario Islands – Colombia
Recommended by Anna Hammerschmidt from Come Join my Journey
The Rosario Islands are a seemingly untouched group of islands off the coast of Cartagena Colombia in the Caribbean Sea. With warm and crystal clear water, this place feels like paradise. Discover these islands by hopping on a yacht or taking a ferry out to one of the beaches.
Without spending a ton, you can spend your day snorkeling in the coral reef, lounging on the beach, and canoeing through the mangroves.
Locals walk through the water selling freshly cut coconuts. Beyond the beaches, you’ll find locals who sell goods in the sand to the small villages across the island. If that isn’t for you, you can spend your day at a private beach in one of the Rosario Islands’ resorts.
These unique islands in the Caribbean are an experience of a lifetime.
4. Sint Maarten Island – France & Netherlands
Recommended by Meghan Ramsey from The Traveling Teacher
Sint Maarten is a very unique island because it is half French and half Dutch. The experience there is quite luxurious, but be careful! It can easily get expensive.
The most famous beach is Maho Beach where planes fly right above you. If you’re looking for a thrill, you can stand along the fence and feel the pressure from the jets. However, the force can make you fall into the water, resulting in minor injury, so this is not recommended!
This island is also unique because of its beaches, where the water is very blue and clear. Many beaches are bathing suit optional beaches, which is different from many other Caribbean islands.
Visit this island and go snorkeling, zip lining, jet skiing, and more! Sint Maarten has something for everyone.
5. Lewis and Harris – Scotland
Recommended by Brigitte van de Pas from The Life And Times Of A Dutchie Abroad
With over 200 islands, Lewis and Harris is the largest in Scotland. Although the temperature on Lewis and Harris rarely rises above 20 degrees Celsius and the palm trees are suspiciously absent, laying on the beaches of Bosta, Luskentyre or Scarista and looking out at the unbelievably turquoise water, you’ll feel like you’re on a tropical island.
Lewis and Harris is home to some of the oldest man-made structures in the world. Erected during the Neolithic age, the standing stones of Callandish are surrounded by a number of smaller circles of standing stones and other ancient places of worship.
Out of all the Scottish islands, Lewis and Harris has by far the most beautiful beaches and the wildest landscape.
6. Maui Island – Hawaii
Recommended by Dany from Travelling Danny
Maui Island is 6th on our list of best islands. It has an easygoing feel that helps you to relax and recharge your batteries. Walk along the beach and watch the surfers catch the perfect wave. Visit the tips of little shops that sell shaved us not far from the beaches. Drink coconut milk directly from the coconut while relaxing on the white powder sand under the sun.
In addition to the sea and surfers, there’s a beautiful wild side to this island that you can explore on the road to Hana. The road consists of approximately 600 curves and 54 bridges through a luscious forest, where you will find waterfalls and hiking paths.
7. Aruba Island – Netherlands
Recommended by Magda from Follow the View
With its pristine beaches, crystal blue sea and consistent sunny weather, Aruba makes it to the top of our best islands list.
The most beautiful beach is the Eagle Beach – the perfect place to take breathtaking photos. Malmok Beach, however, is the best spot for snorkeling. On clear days, you can see the coast of Venezuela from Baby Beach!
Arikok National Park occupies nearly 20% of the island, containing lots of cacti and wild landscapes. You may even come across some wild donkeys! If you’re an animal lover, don’t forget to visit Butterfly Farm.
Don’t hesitate and book a flight to this diverse tropical paradise!
8. Zanzibar Island – Tanzania
Recommended by Clíodhna from Your Next Big Trip
Of course, the main reason that most people go to Zanzibar is for the beaches. Along the coast are palm trees, relaxed beach bars, and beautiful dhow boats. Go snorkeling at Mnemba Atoll or stand-up paddling through a mangrove forest!
Sunsets in Zanzibar are just spectacular. Find a spot on the beach with locals and other tourists and watch local boys practice acrobatics by the water. It’s an amazing sight and, of course, everyone stops for the sunset.
Visit Zanzibar and you’ll be wishing to go back again and again.
9. Maldives Islands – Republic of Maldives
Recommended by Nicole LaBarge from Travelgal Nicole
There is so much to do and see in the Maldives and most of it is underwater! The Maldives is like an underwater playground. Take a boat trip and go snorkeling with whale sharks, manta rays, sea turtles and fish. The water is unlike anything I have seen before. With sandbars in the middle of the Indian Ocean where there’s absolutely nothing around, it is simply stunning!
Because The Maldives is a Muslim country, you must adhere to their customs. You cannot buy alcohol on the island, there are no pork products, and you cannot wear a bikini at the beach. These islands are a great place to experience the local food and lifestyle.
10. Koh Lan (Coral Island) – Thailand
Recommended by Bethan Greenhalgh from Wanderlust Bee
Koh Lan is the definition of Thai paradise. It’s just 40 minutes from the mainland and is the perfect affordable day trip. Explore the many beaches of the island, from popular ones to the hidden gems, they all have white sands and crystal clear waters. Enjoy fresh Thai food along the beautiful beaches every day!
Samae beach is the kind of beach you dream about visiting. Spend a day wandering along the beach, swimming, and drinking from coconuts under the sun. Had Ta Yai beach is lovely, blissful, and so deserted that you might even get the beach all to yourself! For snorkeling and scuba diving, take the ferry to the south end of Koh Lan and visit Naul Beach.
11. Gili Islands – Indonesia
Recommended by Marta from Where Life is Great
If you crave an exotic destination, head to Gili Islands, consisting of three little coral islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno) and comes in as #11 on our best islands list. Just off the coast of Bali, these islands are surrounded by turquoise water and white sand beaches.
The islands boast a range of diversity! If you’re looking for the parties, head to Gili Trawangan, the most famous among young people. To experience local culture, head to Gili Air with the biggest population of residents. If you just want to relax on the beach, head to Gili Meno, the smallest of all islands. There’s something for everyone!
The beauty, nature and the unique vibes are other reasons to love Gili. With swinging palm trees, abundant sea life, and wide beaches with very few people on them, it’s safe to say that Gili has very unique vibes in addition to it’s beauty and nature. There are no cars or other motorized vehicles on the Islands. You can travel on bicycle or in a horse carriage.
To top it all off, Gili Islands are located in South-East Asia, just 2 hours boat ride from Bali and are extremely affordable!
12. Siquijor Island – Philippines
Recommended by Dorothee Baur from Doro Henrietta
Siquijor is a small island in the Central Visayas of the Philippines known for its faith healers and for the myths surrounding the island.
In the past, it was called the “Island of fire”, because it appeared to give off an eerie glow. This has since then been attributed to the fireflies on the island, but many of the myths about the island remain.
Siquijor is simply beautiful and serene, making it an absolutely magical place. The island receives the perfect amount of visitors, enough to have some company but not so many that you couldn’t have a whole beach for yourself.
Explore all the different beaches and the captivating waterfall by cruising around on a scooter. Despite Siquijor being a small island, you will be kept entertained with the many places to explore!
13. Palawan Island – Philippines
Recommended by Hannah & Adam from Getting Stamped
From diving and snorkeling in the magical turquoise waters, to hiking massive limestone cliffs, there are tons of things to do in El Nido. Our favorite is island hopping! Some beaches are only accessible during low tide as you have to swim through caves to get to them. There are even a few islands nearby that you can beach camp at.
El Nido town has a great beach town vibe with plenty of restaurants and bars. Be sure to check out Altrove pizza, the line is worth the wait!
Visit El Nido – it won’t disappoint!
That concludes our list of the World’s best islands. Don’t forget to add these breathtaking islands to your bucket list. Everyone deserves a little relaxation and break from reality, so what are you waiting for? Paradise awaits! Visit one of these stunning destinations for your next vacation.
Alannah McEwan, Itchy Feet Travel | June 23, 2017