As a beach and ocean-lover, I tend to gravitate towards island destinations during my travels. With recent trips to Hawaii and the Caribbean, I’ve fallen in love!
But not all islands have to be tropical and sun-kissed to be amazing, and every island has their own highlights and natural beauty. I’ve put together some of my favorite island destinations from around the globe.
Here are the best island destinations around the world!
• The Hawaiian Islands •
The island of O’ahu is a vibrant mix of natural and cultural wonders with the modern arts, entertainment and amenities. You can check out pro surfers charge the big waves of the legendary North Shore, or soak up the sun and take a surfing lesson on Waikiki Beach.
Kauai is the low-key, laid-back neighbor to nearby O’ahu, and a major draw for outdoorsy types. Hike through Waimea Canyon, soak up the sun at Po’ipu Beach, or explore the Na Pali Coast!
• Hvar, Croatia •
Hvar is a Dalmatian jewel, complete with ornamental Gothic palaces and old world streets. Derived from the Greek world for lighthouse (pharos), Hvar is famous for its sunny climate, attractive old town, white wines and lavender fields.
Spend the day wandering through the hilltop streets of Hvar Town, then take a siesta in a cafe by the water!
Hvar is also a stop on The Yacht Week Croatia!
• Florianopolis, Brazil •
Looking for somewhere unique to spend your holiday? Head south to Florianopolis, a 33-mile island just an hour’s flight from São Paulo. Main attractions are the saltwater lagoon of Conceição, and the popular resort area of Praia dos Ingleses.
It elegantly combines cosmopolitan urban sprawl and succulent seafood with 16th century fortresses and pristine beaches.
• Boracay, Philippines •
Despite being a tiny little island barely more than 500 meters wide, Boracay draws its fair share of beachgoers and surfers.
Picturesque White Beach steals the show, with four kilometers of—you guessed it—immaculate white sand. Hotels, restaurants and bars are regularly filled with visitors from East Asia and all over the world. Think fire dancers, jet skis, and champagne on yachts.
• Seychelles •
Seychelles beaches are famed for their beautiful sand, dramatic boulders and warm, turquoise waters. Catch a boat to Curious Island for the giant tortoises or stroll among tropical flora at the National Botanical Gardens on Mahé.
• Iceland •
Step away from the tropics to enjoy this northerly delight. Iceland’s tourism is booming right now, and it’s no wonder, with its otherworldly landscapes and small-town charm.
You can base yourself in Reykjavik and wander through its lovable streets, or rent a car to circumnavigate the whole country in a matter of days.
• Swedish Archipelago •
The seventeen islands that make up Stockholm and its surroundings are absolutely gorgeous. Explore the progressive cosmopolis of the capital, or head north to the villages of Ytterby, Vaxholm and Nynäshamn.
Boating is extremely popular, especially in the summer, with the annual Ornö sailing race!
Read Next: Crayfishing in the Swedish Archipelago
• Corsica •
The Mediterranean island of Corsica blends French heritage with an Italian flavor, influencing food, wine and music.
Though a region of France, the Corsica take on culture and character is markedly unique, a distinction you’ll feel the moment you step off the plane or boat. Its cultural variances and natural beauties captivate even the most experienced of travelers.
Read Next: Colorful in Corsica
• Maldives •
Now is the time to head to the Maldives, which, at no more than six feet above sea level, is the world’s lowest nation. There are very real concerns that the islands may be swallowed up by rising sea levels in the next few decades. So why go?
Though a bit of a stretch for many American travelers, the Maldives are certainly worth it. The islands are famous for their five-star resorts, azure waters, coral reefs, and underwater nightclubs.
Not many places will you receive such star-studded treatment—this is where Arab princes go to relax. Often the only way to get around is by seaplane!
• British Virgin Islands •
Like its US counterparts, the British Virgin Islands are mostly glorious sun and sand, but unlike them, it tends to draw a quirkier and bohemian crowd. The four main islands—Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke—make perfect backdrops for fishing, surfing, sailing and scuba diving.
The Yacht Week British Virgin Islands was my second ever trip on The Yacht Week and stands as my all-time favorite sailing trip. The BVIs route is tropical, so expect beautiful sand beaches, clear blue water and lots of palm trees. Imagine warm nights, lobster dinners and tropical cocktails- on my!