By Magdalena Seymour, Marketing Specialist with Adams & Butler
When you think about the most beautiful places on earth, images of pristine white sand beaches on remote tropical islands often come to mind. And while there are plenty of spectacular beaches on this list of the world’s most beautiful islands to keep in mind for your holiday in 2020, there are other, more unexpected draws as well.
Islands conjure dreams of paradise; an escape from the rat race, a perfect patch of sand where you can relax under rustling palms and gaze at a serene blue sea. But not all islands are created the same. The beauty of some is defined more by the sea that surrounds them, which can captivate connoisseurs with its crystalline clarity and thriving coral kingdoms. Other islands feature luxuriant jungles and velvety peaks. And some enchant travelers with their cultural jewels. Our picks for 2020 prove there are many different definitions of beauty as there are islands.
- Corsica, France Leave it the French to inhabit an island of such intriguing complexity. White sand beaches and jagged mountains; seaside grottoes and dramatic gorges; medieval harbour towns and pristine nature reserves. Corsica has it all.
- The Azores, Portugal Crater lakes, bubbling mineral baths and dinosaur-sized ferns are just a few of unique characteristics that make the Azores, an enchanting nine-island archipelago less than 1000 miles west of Portugal, an otherworldly destination. These Portuguese paradises are perfect for hiking, whale watching and eating fresh seafood. Choose the largest island of São Miguel for its lakes and charming downtown, the smaller Flores Island for its waterfalls and wildlife or the picturesque Pico Island for its towering volcano. Regardless of which unique island you pick, you’ll find a relatively untouched setting that exudes authenticity and promotes sustainability.
- Dominica This 290-square-mile teardrop is an outdoorsy traveler’s oasis, claiming 365 rivers, 300 miles of hiking trails, a dozen waterfalls, and the world’s second-largest hot spring. Dominica, also called the Caribbean’s “Nature Island,” has a lush emerald beauty
- Miyako Island, Japan The largest of Japan’s Okinawa Islands, Miyako defies the common images of this austere nation. Expect clear turquoise waters, powdery beaches, coral reefs, and picture-perfect sunsets.
- Isle of Skye, Scotland The largest of the Inner Hebrides, it’s home to some of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes. Whether you are visiting for a few days whilst on a tour of Scotland or staying for a longer spell, the island has countless ways to enchant you, with its mountain ranges, miles of dramatic coastline and captivating history. If there’s one thing about Skye that’ll leave a lasting impression on you, it’s got to be the scenery. Just driving around, you can see many of Skye’s most majestic geological features, such as the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing and the Cuillin. But be sure to take your sturdiest of boots and explore these unique sights on foot for the real rewards and bring your sense of adventure!
- Paros, Greece Paros is a place forgotten by over tourism. The rugged Greek Island located in the middle of the Cyclades, can only be described as the cooler cousin of more populated islands like Mykonos and Santorini. The island is home to those white-washed and blue-roofed buildings Greece is famous for, too, but with far less travelers elbowing you for the perfect Instagram. It’s worth navigating the labyrinthine streets in the town of Naoussa to spot some picturesque alleys and taste the Mediterranean delicacies.
- St.Lucia St. Lucia exudes a dark and brooding beauty. Unlike other Caribbean islands, its best assets are not necessarily its beaches, though with their golden sands and graceful palms, they are popular with those who visit. Rather, the island itself is drenched in topographic drama. The towering Pitons, twin volcanic peaks, preside over the luxuriant landscapes, rising more than 700 meters from the sea, and provide a breathtaking backdrop to the stunning scenery. Bristling forests of coconut palms, waterfalls, quaint fishing villages, coral reefs, nature trails, and healing hot springs are just some of the sights to explore here. The island’s French influences also add to its exotic appeal. Your Island Escape to St. Lucia will offer beauty beyond comprehension.
- Palawan Island, Philippines Palawan is the Philippine’s answer to paradise. This island province stretches southwest to Borneo with lush limestone peaks rising from a jewel-like sea so clear, that you can almost see the expressions on the fish from above the surface. Slivers of gleaming white sand fringed with rustling palms rim many of these jungle-clad islands, while under the water, coral reefs flourish with an impressive diversity of tropical fish, offering some of the best diving in the world. Other attractions include the islands’ unique wildlife, emerald lakes, and quaint fishing villages. Coron is home to plush resorts, and El Nido drips with natural beauty and is one of the most alluring islands in the chain. One of Palawan’s top attractions is the World Heritage-listed Puerto Princesa River National Park, an impressive limestone cave system with a long underground river.
- Cocks Comb Island, Myanmar There are no beaches on this island in the Andaman Sea off Myanmar, but its color-changing, heart-shaped lagoon makes up for that. Swim through a tunnel to access the peaceful lagoon and enjoy the sublime snorkelling.
- The Maldives The Maldives archipelago is the planet’s lowest lying nation, rising no more than three meters above the sea at its highest point. A measurement that shrinks every year. Beneath the mesmerizing waters, coral reefs flourish, luring divers and snorkelers from around the world. Surfers also flock here to ride the uncrowded breaks. Back on land, luxury resorts provide the perfect launching points for adventures focused upon the sea.
- The Seychelles An ancient archipelago of 115 islands, the Seychelles is as close to time travel as you can get. Amongst the prehistoric palm forests, UNESCO-listed jungles, thriving coral reefs and palm-lined, powdery beaches flanked by giant boulders. Almost half the total land area of these equatorial isles is protected, and many of the islands lie within fish-rich marine sanctuaries with excellent diving and snorkeling. The Seychelles also feature some of the planet’s richest fishing grounds, making this a top destination for anglers. Add some spicy Créole cuisine into the mix as well as the plush resorts of Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue, and it’s easy to understand the Seychelles’ allure.