55 Best Islands in the world: REVEALED by Top Travel Writers
Don’t you just love islands?
Exotic and mysterious spots surrounded by blue as far as the eye can see. Stunning landscapes that you just can’t find anywhere else. The perfect vacation spot far away from the “real world”! Most islands have miles and MILES of beaches. Some have mountains, waterfalls, forests, lakes or even snow.
Which island should you visit next?
To help you answer that question, we asked 55 of the world’s top travel bloggers about what their favorite island destination are.
Here are the 55 Best Islands in the world: REVEALED by Top Travel Writers –
1) El Nido (Philippines) – Sabrina Iovino of Just One Way Ticket
I completely fell in love with the archipelago of El Nido in the Philippines, so many islands, lagoons and beaches. The place is spectacular and surely one of the most beautiful places I’ve been.
2) Skellig Michael (Ireland) – Janet Newenham of Journalist On The Run
Skellig Michael is the most incredible island I have ever been to. The island is very remote, located 11km off the West coast of Ireland, and is one of the oldest settlements in Ireland, dating back to the 6th century when a Christian Monastery was built there. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to thousands of Atlantic Puffins which you can photograph up close.
3) Cozumel (Mexico) – Lance and Laura of Travel Addicts
Off the coast of Mexico is the island of Cozumel, probably the most beautiful Island we’ve ever visited. A large island with a storied Mayan past, the real beauty of Cozumel comes under the water – it is part of world’s second longest barrier reef system and is the place for world-class scuba diving and snorkeling. The island features the best drift diving anywhere in the world!
4) Zanzibar (Tanzania) – Alana and Matt of Great Big Globe
Zanzibar, also known as Spice Island, is located off the coast of Tanzania. It’s home to the whitest sand and bluest water we have ever seen. There are plenty of opportunities for scuba diving, snorkeling and dolphin watching. Plus, Zanzibar is one of the few places in the world where saffron is produced!
5) Mallorca (Spain) – Sam Wood of Infinite Adventure
While Europe might not immediately spring to mind when thinking of beautiful islands around the world, there are certainly some gems to be found here. One of them is most definitely Mallorca, part of the Balearic island group in the Mediterranean. Despite being a very popular, and in lots of ways typically touristy island to visit, there are absolutely some more secluded parts of the island to discover. In particular, the stretch of coast along the northwest of the island is home to some of the most beautifully rugged landscape on Mallorca, where sheer cliffs covered in pine trees drop dramatically into the deep blue water surrounding it.
6) Easter Island (Chile) – Eva Abal of Una idea, un viaje
Being the most isolated island of the planet, this island is all about mystery. It is famous for its enormous 887 surviving statues called Moai. There’s a mystery about the Moai because no one knows how they got here. Additionally, the natives of Easter Island are called Rapa Nui people, who have their own language, rules and beliefs that will absolutely amaze you.
Easter Island has only 18 Km from side to side but it will magically try to keep you there and discover its secrets, such as beautiful craters of former volcanos, paradisiac beaches, lovely viewpoints.
7) Maui in Hawaii (USA) – Nat and Tim of A Cook Not Mad
Maui is one of the prettiest of the Hawaiian Islands with sections that remain as they were decades ago. The people are warm and welcoming and although it is technically part of the US, it’s like being in a different country.
8) Gozo (Malta) – Suzanne Wolko of Phila Travel Girl
Gozo surprised me with the most amazing views. My mom had no idea where I was only saying “I googled it and you are near Sicily? Are you still in Italy?” I didn’t like the island when we first arrived but quickly fell for its charms and didn’t want to leave.
9) Vanuatu (Republic of Vanuatu Island Country) – Paula and Gordon of ContentedTraveller
Vanuatu is your archetypal paradisiacal tropical island that is not too overrun by tourists. We found the friendliest people here, and lots of different thing to see and to do. The sheer beauty of the islands of Vanuatu hits it out of the ballpark.
10) Saona Island (Dominican Republic) – Federica Xotti of travelliAMO
Saona Island, a tropical island which is located a short distance from the mainland on the south-east tip of the Dominican Republic. It is a nature reserve, protected by the government, and it’s a part of the East National Park. The Island was baptized “Saona” by Christopher Columbus, who discovered it in May 1494, in Honor of the Italian city “Savona”. It is the stereotypical desert island, with white sand, blue water and thousands of tall palms. It is a popular destination for tourists from all over the Dominican Republic, who arrive in fleets of catamarans and small motorboats on organized excursions every day.
11) Boa Vista (Cape Verde) – Claire hales of Lily Travella
The Island is famous for the natural beauty and because it has been used on many occasions by film-makers and advertisers setting for their film or product, such as the Bounty chocolate bars. Very close to this Island is easy to find very big starfishes and there are also lots of varieties of fishes and birds.
12) Socotra (Yemen) – Nicole Smoot of Adventures of Lil Nicki
Socotra is an otherworldly island located in the Arabian Sea squished between a rock and a hard place: Yemen and Somalia (technically Socotra is a territory of Yemen). Socotra is home to many endemic species including the strange dragon blood trees and the desert rose as well as many pristine and to me (who I consider a beach snob aficionado) the most beautiful beaches in the entire world.
13) Koh Lanta (Thailand) – Tarah and Tip Vongbouthdy of Fit two travel
Koh Lanta is a tiny piece of heaven with very little disruption. White, sandy beaches, rolling hills, snorkeling, and gorgeous multi-colored sunsets, what more could you want? There’s something so beautiful about walking along the beach while watching the sun set over the Andaman Sea, with a cocktail in hand. If you’re looking for a beautiful, quiet island to relax while in Thailand, Koh Lanta is the place for you.
14) Big Island in Hawaii (USA) – Jess Smith of Cascadian Rythm
With both beaches and volcanoes, Hawai’i is fantastically diverse. Surprisingly untouristy, you might find yourself alone with a turtle on one of Hawai’i’s green sand or black sand beaches. My favorite experience was trekking up Mauna Kea for once-in-a-lifetime views of Mauna Loa and Maui at nearly 14,000 elevation.
15) Batanes Islands (Philippines) – Aileen Adalid of iAmAileen
Called as the ‘Home of the Winds’, this northern group of islands in the Philippines is an unknown hidden paradise that can instantly capture your heart. With is dramatic coastline, white sandy beaches, lush forests, and picturesque hills, there’s something for everyone here in Batanes!
16) Nusa Lembongan (Indonesia) – Erin Morris of Dream Seek Wander
Nusa Lembongan is a hidden gem off the east coast of Bali. A small, peaceful, picturesque island paradise infrequently visited by the masses. The friendly locals, cheap prices and beauty will leave you relaxed within the day and wishing you could stay forever.
17) Ischia (Italy) – Simone Lye of The Aussie Flashpacker
Ischia with its stunning beaches, beautiful blue waters, natural hot springs, dramatic cliffs, world class hiking, luxury hotels, colorful villages and a slow paced, relaxed lifestyle is Mediterranean heaven! It was at the end of our two week holiday in Italy that we spent several nights on Ischia Island. Lesser known then the famous Capri, we didn’t really know what to expect, but from the second we caught a glimpse of the charming, stunning island of Ischia – we knew we’d chosen the perfect destination to spend our last few days relaxing in the late summer sunshine. We stayed in stunning Mezzatore Resort & Spa, which is housed in a 16th century fortress and is by far one of my favorite hotels in the world.
18) Corvo Island, Azores (Portugal) – Sandra of Tripper
This volcanic island, 2800 miles off the coast of Portugal, is the home of approximately 400 people. Small, secluded, but not as isolated anymore as it was 20 years ago (thanks to the Internet). It’s the island I used to travel to every Summer as a kid and definitely the place responsible for my fondest memories. Corvo is UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 2007, it’s the smallest island in the country and has the charm of inaccessibility (although flights are a lot more frequent these days).
19) Bigeum-do or Bigeum island (South Korea) – Chris Backe of One Weird Globe
Bigeum-do (Bigeum island) won’t win any awards for the best-known, but in 7 1/2 years of living abroad, it’s one of the most serene. Located about 54 kilometers off the southwestern coast of South Korea, A couple of long, unspoilt beaches are on this virtually uninhabited island, while Seongchisanseong Fortress and Seosansa (Seosan temple) are also here.
20) Flower Island (Philippines) – Stefan and Sebastien of Nomadic Boys
Flower Island is one of the 7,107 islands of the Philippines. It’s small with only a handful of people at any one time and an hour speedboat ride away from the nearest transport hub: Palawan island. We stayed here in June 2015 and it was our romantic, tropical and paradise like getaway for lots of beach fun, snorkelling, general chilling and some stunning sunsets.
21) Koh Lipe (Thailand) – Hannah and Adam of Getting Stamped
Koh Lipe is heaven on earth, it’s also known as “the Maldives of Thailand.” No other island in the world compares to Koh Lipe, it has amazing beaches and the best Thai food in Thailand served while your toes are in the sand. Koh Lipe is small island only accessible by boat with no cars on the island, you can walk everywhere.
22) Mont St. Michel, Normandy (France) – Rhoni Speed of Living Our Life
This island is as Benedictine Abbey dedicated to the archangel St. Michel. It also includes the village that grew around the abbey within its walls. It was built between the 11th and 16th centuries. It and the bay are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
23) Siqujor (Philippines) – Karla Ramos of Karla Around The World
It’s a quiet place that’s less known to people, turning this almost untouched beauty into a paradise. It’s the perfect place to go for a vacation when all you want to do is relax by a long stretch of white sand beach, you can add a twist of adventure by riding motorcycles, jumping off cliffs or impersonating Jane from Tarzan.
24) Koh Samui (Thailand) – Lyndsay Cabildo of Discount Travel Blogger
There are a lot of beautiful islands and beaches in Thailand but I particularly like Koh Samui because you can have the best of both worlds. I mean, island living and western civilization. Like, you can find any International cuisine in the island or just simply enjoy the street food anytime. You can enjoy your peaceful humble beachfront bamboo bungalow lifestyle or in a high end beach view condo with all the amenities.
25) Borneo (Shared by Malaysia, Indonesia & Brunei) – Anne Slater-Brooks of TravelTheGlobe4Less
Borneo has it all – amazing sunsets, a volcano, incredible dive reefs, rainforest (pictured) and of course wildlife. Staying in a log cabin in the rainforest with torrents of rain clattering onto the roof lulling me to sleep is a treasured memory!
26) Folegandros (Greece) – Melissa Giroux of A Broken Backpack
You need to know that Folegandros (in the Southern Cyclades) is not a touristic island. It’s a quiet place where you can enjoy the beach to yourself, the “Chora” (main picturesque town) and the views. I had the chance to enjoy a rich experience as a free camper on this island, sleeping under the stars, far away from the land.
27) Tierra del Fuego (Chile and Argentina, Patagonia) – Kimberly Davies from Walkaboot
Tierra del Fuego is the Island at the end of the world, or ‘El fin del mundo”. Shared between Chile and Argentina, this island is one part desert flat and one part harsh mountain. With glaciers, waterfalls, flora, fauna and everything in between, this diverse island is one of the most beautiful on the planet. The southernmost city in the world resides here, Ushuaia, a stunning town sitting on Darwin’s Beagle Channel and surrounded by mountains.
28) Whitsunday Island (Australia) – Sarah Alexandra George
Among turquoise waters lies the beautiful Whitsunday Island, the biggest of the group of islands in the Great Barrier Reef that Captain Cook himself once stumbled upon. Even today you will feel like an adventurer arriving at the deserted shores of pure white sand – the sand on Whitehaven Beach is so pure in fact (98% silica) that it’s protected! Only NASA is allowed to take it away – to make telescope lenses. Imagine that – the sand from this far flung paradise is used to gaze at stars.
29) Bali (Indonesia) – Laura of Travelers Universe
The Island of Gods as Bali has been nicknamed is the most breathtaking, exotic and Zen place I’ve ever visited. Everything about it is fascinating. I’ll never forget the beats of nature as the incredibly loud insects woke me up every morning and the fragrant plumeria trees that wrapped me in their hypnotic scent wherever I went. Or the incredible temples, lush rice paddies and fascinating Ubud. Yes, if you ever make it to Bali, make sure you check out Ubud. Bring an extra luggage and get in shopping mood.
30) Turks and Caicos Islands (Island Country) – Alexa Albanese of She Tells Travel Tales
Turks and Caicos Islands are a beautiful spot for a relaxing getaway vacation and to just hang out on the beach. The chain of islands is super laid back, with absolutely gorgeous views over the Caribbean Sea and guaranteed perfect weather. There’s not much night life so it’s a perfect place to just bring a book and soak up the sun.
31) Gili Trawangan (Indonesia) – Jenny Lowthrop of She Gets Around
Gili Trawangan, one of three Gili islands just off Lombok in Indonesia. There is no motorized transport and the islands are filled with fun loving backpackers and locals chilling out while sipping coconuts and listening to the waves lapping by your feet. I spent a week here relaxing, snorkeling and making new friends.
32) Rottnest Island, Western Australia – Amanda Kendle of Not A Ballerina
Rottnest Island is less than an hour by ferry from Perth but it’s a complete break from the city. There are no cars on the island and you can circumnavigate it by bicycle in a couple of hours – or a whole day, if you stop for swims at some of the gorgeous beaches.
33) Matacawalevu Island (Fiji) – Nikki Godwin of Where Is Noodles
Matacawalevu Island is the epitome of paradise and the perfect place to unwind. A hilly, volcanic island, it has one of the longest white sand beaches in the Yasawas and is surrounded by a beautiful blue lagoon. I think it’s fair to say I had to endure a “terrible” case of a hammock-coma by the time I left.
34) The Perhentian Islands (Malaysia) – Bethaney Davies of Flashpacker Family
The Perhentians are two islands 10 miles of the East coast of Malaysia in the South China Sea. Perhentian Besar is more upscale and family-oriented while Perhentian Kecil is home to the local village and more backpacker friendly. Popular with divers and snorkellers, these islands have the most crystal clear water I’ve ever seen and lots of marine life right off the beach on coral reefs. Going at the right time of year is vital when visiting the Perhentian Islands. The weather is only good here from May until September. If you plan on visiting in these months, book ahead as accommodation sells out months in advance.
35) Jekyll Island, Georgia (USA) – Natalie Vereen-Davis of Cosmos Mariners: Destination Unknown
I love Jekyll Island because it combines a gorgeous beach and some incredible American history. The Jekyll Island Club Hotel was once the private hunting lodge of America’s elite around the turn of the 20th century; the Vanderbilts, Pulitzers, and Carnegies would vacation there during the winter months. You can stay in the restored lodge right on the riverfront side of the island, then bike along the miles of trail to see Driftwood Beach or sunbathe on the Atlantic side of the island.
36) Tinaga Island (Philippines) – Jayce of Chasing Jayce
An hour of boat ride away from the mainland, the Tinaga Island is a true sight for seasick eyes with its unspoiled beauty. Fast becoming a camping hotspot in the Philippines, this island paradise boasts of sparkling beach waters lapping gently over miles of powdery white sand.
37) Bora Bora (French Polynesia) – Mar Pages of Once in a Lifetime Journey
This is the Intercontinental Thalasso Resort & Spa in Bora Bora’s motu, the outer reef that protects the Bora Bora Lagoon. Not sure the beach has a name but it is stunning when captured from the air. See the open sea on the right of the motu and the clear shallow waters inside.
38) Kosrae (Micronesia) – Ashley Tippins of Standby Sojourners
Kosrae is one of the four island states of the Federated States of Micronesia, an island chain stretching 2,700 km across the western Pacific Ocean just north of the equator. Kosrae is small and relatively unknown, making it a perfect off the beaten path excursion for the adventurous traveler. Besides world class diving, the island is home to ancient ruins, WWII relics and endemic species found nowhere else on earth. More importantly, the Kosraen people are some of the nicest on earth and go out of their way to make visitors feel like they are right at home on this tiny, exotic map dot.
39) Coron (Philippines) – Liz Villasenor of Lizzie Meets World
Coron Island is a stunning white-sand beach in northern Palawan, Philippines. With its crystal clear waters and rare wildlife, it is the perfect island for snorkeling, wreck diving, and trekking. It’s still not as popular as the other party beaches in the Philippines, which makes it perfect for slow travelers who just want to sunbathe lazily and sip fresh coconut juice.
40) Manono (Samoa) – Shandos Cleaver of Travelnuity
Manono is the third largest island in Samoa, yet it only takes about a hour to walk around following the main “highway” (there’s only a footpath, no roads, and electricity was only introduced in 1995). Laid-back and peaceful, the island is perfect for relaxing, swimming and snorkelling on the surrounding coral reef (arrange a boat trip with your accommodation).
41) Tenerife, in the Canary Islands (Spain) – Ana Kondenko of Caffeine Berry
It is home to an active Volcano called Teide. The island has beautiful black sanded beaches, amazing restaurants and quaint villages.
42) Kauai in Hawaii (USA) – Carole Terwilliger Meyers OF Travels with Carole
Known as the “garden island,” Kauai is poshly green and is indeed filled with fabulous gardens—many of which you can visit or tour. I also love the wild chickens and the completely casual ambiance. I’ve visited the island around five times, and can’t wait to go again.
43) Mykonos (Greece) – Phileas Fogg of Phileas Fogg adventures
Mykonos or the “Island of the Winds” is a Greek island in the Aegean sea with stunning crystal waters. My favorite beach is Psarou with its clear blue waters and the luxurious environment. A must-visit club is Semeli. Except from the amazing music and the cocktails, I witnessed the most breathtaking sunrise of my life.
44) Burano (Italy) – Hadas Aharon of The Fashion Matters
Island is well known for its lacemaking craft and colorful houses. The Island itself is very small and therefore a day-trip from Venice is advised. The charming island will leave you speechless as you will feel like you’re in a Disney fairytale. Besides the picturesque houses and boats, the main attraction of the island is the Lace Museum which is definitely worth a visit.
45) Lefkada (Greece) – Anna Giannarou of Aspects of Style
Lefkada easily gets the top spot of the most beautiful island I’ve ever seen mainly for its beaches. Porto Katsiki (pictured) is the most popular one, but I also like Egremni(literally meaning cliffs)! The beauty of the island doesn’t stop at the beaches though, as there is more to explore (hidden waterfalls anyone?) and to taste (the local cuisine is amazing)!
46) Nacula Island (Fiji) – Katrina Houston of The Two Week Traveler
Nacula Island, at the very end of the Yasawa Island chain in Fiji, is literally the definition of a tropical paradise: crystal clear turquoise water, white sugar sand beaches, warm island breeze, and the feeling that you have the whole beach to yourself. Since it’s so far from Nadi, the Fijian capital, very few people make it out to Nacula. The island is populated by only an eco-resort and a small native village.
47) Crete (Greece) – Monica Sharma of Travel Sight
What I love most about Crete are its people. The inhabitants of this large, yet tiny island have an unquestionable passion and love for the island, its past, and their way of life. This multi dimensional island combines gorgeous scenery, kind people, and delicious food. Balos Lagoon and Elafonisi (pink sand beach) were two of my favorite beaches in Greece. I developed a mild obsession for dakos, a traditional Cretan dish of barley crisps topped with the ripest diced tomatoes, olive oil, white cheese, and capers. Dakos and a frappe makes for a fantastic snack while you’re watching a Cretan sunset.
48) Iceland (Island Country) – Maria Alexandra Laborde of Latina Abroad
I fell deeply in love with Iceland’s eerie geography. I never imagined I would encounter such landscapes. Everywhere I looked, I saw what I imagined to be snapshots from a different planet. What’s crazy is I was not even meant to visit! I just “got lucky” with a free 6-day stopover, included on the cheapest ticket I could find from Morocco to Puerto Rico.
49) Okinawa (Japan) – Piritta of Bizarre Globe Hopper
Okinawa has beautiful beaches and intriguing history. There are many Unesco World Heritage SItes, for example Nakijin-jo, a castle from the Ryukyuan era of feodal Japan. Okinawa has great barbeque and fish food and many of the residents speak English. Don’t miss the markets in Naha, and a taste of Habushu, a traditional sake which has a venomous Habushu snake in it.
50) Kefalonia (Greece) – Melissa Jones of Footsteps On The Globe
As the largest of the Ionian Islands off the coast of Greece, Kefalonia offers travellers the most beautiful array of beaches set against the bluest seas in Europe. Dramatic mountain landscapes and pine forests serve as a backdrop to fishing villages with traditional taverns and candy-coloured Venetian buildings. It is heaven on earth for true paradise seekers.
51) Schiermonnikoog Island (Netherlands) – Kate Hrynevych of Viajamos Juntos
The Monk’s Island is a very special one thanks to three special features. First, the cars are not allowed there, only bicycles and horses, which makes it an eco-friendly island. Second, the inhabitants are really happy to live there, and sicerely don´t understand why people immigrate; I spent an hour explaining a girl how come that a Ukrainian lives in Spain… And finally, you may practice Wadlopen, a kind of hiking… on mud-flats… discovering hundreds of creatures living in those tidal flats. Isn´t Schiermonnikoog Island worth being among your favorites?
52) Santorini (Greece) – Tryphena Wade of We Don’t Sit On Couches
The island is made from volcanic activity and includes a cluster of islands around it. There are beautiful beaches, amazing views, and wonderful activities!
53) Nevis (Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis) – Charli & Ben of Wanderlusters
Nevis is somewhat of an anomaly among the Caribbean’s chain of paradisaical islands. While much of the region plays host to over-crowded beaches and luxury marinas, Nevis has retained it’s roots and escaped tourism driven over-development. Here you’ll find island traditions such as net fishing and farming are still an integral part of daily life, and you’re more likely to get caught in a traffic jam of wild donkeys and goats that vehicles. The landscapes are verdant and volcanic and the beaches are deserted. It really is paradise!
54) Puerto Princesa (Philippines) – Sarah Zonio of Xam Julliarde
The sound of crashing waves making its way onshore, the smell of saltiness in the air and the cool wind breezing through every part of your body; that’s my definition of happiness, serenity and utter perfection. For me, that’s Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
55) Havelock Island (India) – Sonal and Sandro of Drifter Planet (Yes, that’s us)
Havelock island is a part of Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, which is one of the most remote parts of the planet. This Island has EVERYTHING it takes to be the ultimate backpacker’s destination Island. The best part? Well, it has some of the most beautiful beaches in Asia which are right out of a tropical paradise movie or a travel magazine cover. This island will charm you with its powder soft white sand, clear blue water, lush forest, exotic tropic birds and colorful marine life. Oh and it’s affordable for even the most tightfisted backpackers.
Do you like our collection of 55 Best Islands in the world as REVEALED by Top Travel Writers?
How many of these stunning islands have you visited already? Which one will you visit next? Let us know in the comments.
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A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.Sonal Kwatra Paladini