In the mood for blue skies and sunshine? We’ve got you covered! Islands are some of the coziest places in the world to be, and whether you’re looking for a mini getaway, a whirlwind of adventure, or a fun family vacation, the best islands in the world will give you everything you want. See below our list of the most beautiful islands in the world to get your travel plans started.
1. Bali, Indonesia
Beaches, mountains, and volcanic landscapes are just the beginning. Whether you’re a surfer, partier, yogi, outdoor enthusiast, or just coming to relax, Bali has something you’ll fall in love with. With an estimated 10,000 temples, you’ll see the rich culture and amazing views on display wherever you go. Famed for its creativity and yogi culture, you may even recognize the town of Ubud from the famous travel movie Eat, Pray, Love. Always ranked among the best islands to visit, Bali is such a beautiful and diverse mix of fun and relaxation that you won’t want to leave.
2. Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands, Croatia
The sunniest place in all of Croatia invites you for a posh stay where you’ll enjoy everything from classy restaurants and upscale resorts to hiking and water sports. Whether you choose to party it up on the beach, explore the their lavender fields and vineyards, or take in the history from the 13th-century walls and Hvar Fortress, it’s an ideal place to experience authentic Dalmatian culture. Perfect for an extended vacation or for a short stop on your Croatian road trip, the glitz of Hvar is hard to beat.
3. Ischia, Italy
Ischia is a small volcanic island in Italy, known for its hot springs and mineral-rich thermal waters. People from all over the world come here to relax and take in the unbelievable views of forests, gardens, vineyards, and quaint towns.
4. Kauai, Hawaii
Covered mostly by tropical rainforest, Kauai is Hawaii’s least developed island. Because of this, you’ll be able to marvel at all types of natural landscapes from mountains to waterfalls. With more than 60 beaches throughout the island, it’s one of the best islands to visit in the world for beach and water sports lovers.
5. Maui, Hawaii
Another way to spell perfection is M-a-u-i. With everything from great hikes and fun ziplining to premium golf courses and the chance to swim under waterfalls, it’s rare that you’ll want to spend any time inside unless you’re enjoying a delicious Hawaiian meal. While all that will make for an amazing vacation, Maui’s pièce de résistance is Haleakalā. This volcano rises to more than 10,000 feet and offers surreal views of the sunrise and sunset that you absolutely cannot pass up.
6. Santorini, Greece
Thanks to a volcanic eruption that formed its landscape, the cliffside, whitewashed buildings are renowned throughout the world. Impressive art galleries and Santorini’s famous microbrewery are frequented during the day, while the glowing sunsets are must-see events before enjoying the nightlife. For the perfect romantic evening, there’s no better way to spend a night in Santorini than by indulging in the delicious cuisine and fine wine while overlooking the lagoon.
7 .Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Part of the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the leading places in the world for viewing wildlife. Unlike many other island destinations, each of this archipelago’s 21 islands has its own unique personality and you’ll see everything from white beaches to volcanic rocks. While admiring the wildlife is pretty much a requirement here, you can also dive, snorkel, hike, and more.
8. Boracay Island, Philippines
You probably won’t get much sleep when you visit Boracay Island. During the day you’ll find yourself in a paraw, on a jet ski, kitesurfing, or diving to explore the marine life, then at night, live music and fire twirlers set the tone for you to dance the night away. When you find a spare moment, there are even massage stations at some of the beaches that offer a handful of options guaranteed to loosen you up.
9. Corfu, Greece
The unique blend of cultures adds a distinct charm to Corfu. With British, French, and Venetian influences, it’ll be hard to take your eyes off of the remarkable architecture, fortresses, churches, and temples. You’ll quickly see that some of the landscape is dominated by Corfu’s rugged mountains, and they’re perfect for hikes and walks. Obviously you can’t visit an island without going to the beach, so if you only make it to one beach during your time in Corfu, be sure that it’s Canal D’Amour so you can experience the mineral-rich mud for yourself.
10. Palawan, Philippines
Island hopping, exploring jungles, and eating mouth-watering food are only a few things to do on this super underrated archipelago. Always be sure that your camera is charged because the views of the sea and the animals that call it home are nothing short of astounding. Because the main island of Palawan hasn’t been overrun by tourists yet, you can still find your own private piece of paradise when you visit Palawan.
Let the reggae and dancehall music set the tone for your stay as you fill your itinerary will everything from caving and swimming with dolphins to checking out the museums and finding the best jerk chicken on the island. Unfortunately, way too many people stay cooped up in their resorts and don’t get to experience the authentic Jamaican hot spots. With countless things to do in Jamaica, there are few places that can truly compare.
12. Sicily, Italy
Cultural jewels decorate the island, but specifically the city of Palermo is renowned for its history, architecture, and art that’s on display around every corner. Highlighted by Europe’s tallest active volcano, Mount Etna, the vistas are pretty close to perfect as you’ll see everything from meadows and mountains to the sea and volcanoes. Not only is Sicily ideal for water activities and hiking, but it’s also a fan-favorite for birdwatching. While Italy is famous for its food, the good news for the foodies is that each different part of Sicily has its own specialty. The Mediterranean’s largest island is more than ready to be your picture-perfect island vacation spot.
13. The Maldives
There’s no wrong way to enjoy the Maldives. Its almost 1,200 islands making 26 atolls continue to offer unrivaled experiences to its visitors. From lavish resorts with their own private islands to locally-owned guest houses, whether you want to live in the lap of luxury or backpack on a budget, the Maldives is at your service. With flawless beaches and crystal-clear water, the marine life, snorkeling, and diving are some of the best in the world.
14. Koh Samui, Thailand
One of Thailand’s greatest gems, Koh Samui is world-famous for its beaches and dining. But those aren’t the only reasons you should visit this amazing island. After some time at the beach, consider heading to the rainforest and exploring some of the lush hiking trails. You can follow up your hike by relaxing in one of the many spas guaranteed to provide peace and serenity. Fun and relaxation combine to make Koh Samui a premier vacation spot.
15. The Seychelles
While you’ll come for the beaches, don’t be surprised when the culture, nature, and nightlife make you want to extend your stay. The capital of Victoria is the cultural hub where you’ll find markets and art galleries along with a natural history museum, a Hindu temple, and Victoria Clocktower, a national monument. Unique fauna and flora are scattered throughout the archipelago and you can even see rare coco de mer palms. Made up of 115 islands, the Seychelles offer so much more than meets the eye.
16. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
When it comes to island vacation spots, the action-packed Bora Bora is regularly thought of as the best island for a honeymoon in the world because of the VIP treatment you can get from your resort. Bora Bora is a quiet place where you can spend your time relaxing, soaking up the sun, and enjoying romantic meals, or you can take advantage of all the activities they have to offer. From parasailing and boat tours on the lagoon to shark feedings and safaris, this small island packs a big punch.
While it’s popular for surfing, sailing, snorkeling, and more, the historic sites are really the draw of Malta. Having more than 10 rulers in its time, from Phoenicians to the Knights of St. John, expect to see many architectural monuments and some of the world’s oldest structures. The fortresses and megalithic temples are among some of the most interesting sites you’ll see here. Yes, you’ll absolutely love the beaches and the scenery, but its rich history is what makes Malta one of the best island vacations ever.
18. Sardinia, Italy
Family fun, relaxing, ruins, and fine wines are all at their best in Sardinia. While the water activities are a blast, make sure to also check out some of the 7,000 tombs and Bronze Age settlements and towers located on the island. Some other quirks that make Sardinia worth visiting are its unique wildlife, like the blue-eyed albino donkey, and the near-alpine forests. Often overlooked, Sardinia is an island that’s not to be missed.
19. The Bahamas
The Bahamas’ more than 700 islands and 2,400 cays make for one of the most popular island destinations for Americans. Each inhabited island has its own unique character and a variety of land and water activities. While Paradise Island and Grand Bahama are the most popular, don’t hesitate to explore the lesser-known islands where you can find everything from historic towns to forests.
20. Langkawi, Malaysia
If you’re looking for a chilled out place that hasn’t been totally overrun by tourists, then the UNESCO Global Geopark of Langkawi is a great option. Perfect for shopaholics, duty-free and bargain shopping are very popular among visitors. If you’re looking to stay above water, be sure to check out the night markets, go jungle trekking, and indulge in the amazing cuisine. When you’re ready to get wet, you absolutely have to explore the underwater wonderland of Pulau Payar Marine Park.
21. Corsica, France
From hilltop villages to mountains and more, the landscape variety you’ll experience in Corsica is hard to beat. Outdoor enthusiasts are truly at home here because not only are there beaches and water activities, but Corsica is home to one of the world’s best hikes, the GR 20. Even though it’s a French island, you’ll love the Italian charm and culture it has to offer.
22. The Cook Islands
This remote island nation still holds true to its Polynesian values while simultaneously progressing into a contemporary tourist destination. Water sports are obviously popular, but they’re highlighted by the opportunity to swim in underground cave pools. If you’re looking to learn more about the culture and befriend some locals, check out the Atiu Tumunu Experience. Here you can enjoy traditional activities and even sample home-brewed bush beer created from oranges. From a thriving foodie culture to hiking coral cliffs, the Cook Islands are ready when you are.
Fiji is all about relaxation. Home to more than 300 islands, you’ll have your pick of remote or tourist beaches where you can chill out and feel the sand between your toes. Skydiving, whitewater rafting, and helicopter rides are only some of the adventures you can get into, but with more than 1,500 species of marine life, you should definitely take a dive or go snorkeling here. Fiji is also renowned for spas and wellness centers as they have countless options from local treatments to four-handed massages. You’re sure to feel like a new person by the time you leave Fiji.
24. St. Lucia
No matter why you’re coming, you’ll find what you’re looking for in St. Lucia, and that’s why some people would say it’s the best island to visit. Known for resorts and spas that pamper their guests, you won’t have any trouble finding a treatment perfect for you. If you want to save some money and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the same time, head to Sulphur Springs, the world’s only drive-in volcano. After you check out the hot springs there you can give yourself a mud bath before washing off in the waterfall. Rainforest hikes, ziplining, sailing, and diving are just the start of the list of fun activities St. Lucia has to offer. It’s hard to say no to the only country named after a woman :)
You’ll eat like royalty while taking in the greatness of Cyprus. From stuffed vine leaves and pork cooked in red wine to halloumi and loukoumades (fried dough balls), the flavors of Cyprus are to die for. Between meals, experience the ancient gems of Cyprus that range from tombs to mosaics and everything in between. The number of water sports and outdoor activities are endless…you can even go winter skiing. With a history dating back 10,000 years, there’s always more to learn and more fun to have in Cyprus.
26. Crete, Greece
Greece’s largest island is pretty close to flawless. Ancient gems, stunning beaches, and gorgeous landscapes are on display throughout Crete. If you’re a fan of Greek mythology, make sure to check out Mount Ida, the highest mountain in Crete that houses the cave where Zeus was reportedly born. While Crete is super popular among tourists, you’ll be surprised and delighted at the traditions, customs, and culture you get to experience there.
27. Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel is so much more than a popular cruise port and spring break destination. You can dive some of the planet’s best reefs here and even see some Mayan ruins if you want to venture down the coastal road. Deep sea fishing, mini submarine tours, and glass-bottom boat excursions are among some of the other activities that get you acquainted with the beauty of Cozumel. While it’s one of the best places to visit in Mexico, you won’t know its greatness unless you get out of the hotel zone.
28. St. Barts
One of the more chic and expensive islands in the world, St. Barts is worth its weight in gold. Everywhere you turn there will be amazing views and the chill vibe guarantees you’ll get your well-deserved relaxing vacation. While it only has 14 white-sand beaches, each one is free to the public and none are typically too crowded. When you’re not at the beach, lavish boutiques are scattered throughout the island and you’ll find many restaurants that prepare unique, fresh dishes daily. With everything it has to offer, St. Barts can only be described as exquisite.
29. Whitsunday Islands, Australia
The beaches, hiking, and rainforests make the Whitsunday Islands the best island vacation for a solo journey, couple’s trip, or family-fun vacation. If the Great Barrier Reef is on your bucket list, which it should be since it’s one of the most colorful places in the world, the Whitsunday Islands are the perfect place to go so you can sail, dive, snorkel, or fly around it. When you’re ready to get out of the water, golf, archaeological sites, and bushwalking are also popular among visitors. You’re definitely doing yourself a huge favor when you visit the Whitsunday Islands.
30. Capri, Italy
Don’t be surprised if you have some celebrity sightings here as Capri has been dazzlings its visitors longer than most of us have been alive. Ruins, grottos, and coves give the island a unique vibe that you’ll be excited to embrace. Its laid-back atmosphere means you can do as much or as little as you’d like. From designer boutiques and tasty seafood and Italian restaurants to chartered yachts and group tours, there’s a reason Capri is one of the best island vacations in the world.
Whether you want an exhilarating nature adventure or perfectly beachy Instagram pictures and office bragging rights, you’ve come to the right place. Visit any of the most beautiful islands in the world to have a perfect getaway. Your stories and pictures from the best islands in the world will make you the envy of all your friends and your amazing memories will last a lifetime. Happy travels!