February 24, 2024

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Best Island Vacations: Top 20 Amazing Islands to Visit for a Relaxing Gateway

Best Island Vacations: Top 20 Amazing Islands to Visit for a Relaxing Gateway

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A fantastic island getaway offers visitors dramatic views, pristine waters, delectable local cuisine, and a wealth of activities, all at a reasonable cost.

It is not unusual to come across spectacular islands in any region of the globe. We’re listing the 20 best island vacation spots around the globe.

20 Best Island Vacations in the World

Identifying the most thrilling islands to explore if you are unaware of where to look can be challenging. Everywhere you go on the globe, you can have an unforgettable experience in the Caribbean, East Asia, or the picturesque settlements and sheer cliffs of Europe.

This list comprises a variety of luxurious and budget-friendly islands located in different countries. The majority provide a combination of culture, untouched nature, and beach-side relaxation. So, regardless of your preference, you will find an island that meets your needs.

On your next best islands to visit, you’ll be taken to some of the most renowned and popular islands and some secret spots quickly gaining popularity. You’ll then learn about the top twenty islands you should visit.

1. The Best Island Vacations – San Juan, Puerto Rico

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San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital and most populated city, is on the island’s northern coastline. Currently, it is one of the best cheap islands to visit in the US, with asking prices that are quite affordable. Knowing where to stay in Puerto Rico can be challenging, considering the many excellent hotels there. See the best hotels in Puerto Rico here.

Pina Colada was created in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and its old town is alive with numerous restaurants and pubs.

Exploring Old San Juan on foot is an amazing way to experience the grandeur of nature’s creations. Two of the most notable sites to check out are Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo de San Cristóbal, both of which are perched atop cliffs.

At the conclusion of your journey, you should visit Chocobar Cortes and Hundred Umbrellas Street in Fortaleza. Furthermore, the island has several beautiful, untouched beaches. One of the most spectacular beaches in the world is Flamenco Beach in Puerto Rico.

Visitors to San Juan are often delighted by the spectacular display of bioluminescence that emerges after sunset, resembling thousands of twinkling stars. Furthermore, a journey to the El Yunque rainforest promises to be one of the most magnificent visual experiences of a lifetime.

Visiting San Juan is an attractive proposition for travelers on a budget due to how economical it is. Those looking to save money can find many affordable and hospitable hostels. Additionally, the cost of meals and transportation here is much lower than in other renowned island vacation spots.

In San Juan, old and new come together perfectly, making it a truly unique place.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

2. The Best Island Vacations – Bali

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It is understandable why Bali is one of the most exotic places to travel. The stunning sand beaches, picturesque fishing villages with gorgeous pagodas, and towering volcanoes hidden in the midst of lush forests make Bali a paradise.

Hospitable and welcoming, the people of Bali make the island an ideal spot for a honeymoon with a tight budget.

The inhabitants of Bali are famously known for their hospitality, compared to some other societies that might view outsiders with suspicion. Don’t be shocked if you get invited to dinner after meeting someone for the first time.

3. The Best Island Vacations – The Maldives

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The Maldives has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people taking photos of this nation in the Indian Ocean due to its stunning islands. It is certainly worth the investment to visit this nation and experience its beauty. The Maldives is also home to some of the best beaches in the world.

Getting to the Maldives may be challenging, but the blue waters and seemingly untouched beaches make it all worth it. Even though the islands receive many guests, the beaches remain as no one has ever been there.

The Maldives could be the ideal spot for a tranquil escape. Hotels and resorts offer accommodations directly on the shoreline, granting guests much-needed solitude. A private island vacation, among the best island vacations on the list, in the Maldives is simply extraordinary.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

4. The Best Island Vacations – Koh Samui, Thailand

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Despite being one of the less renowned destinations on our list of must-see islands, Koh Samui remains a popular choice for our readers. Thailand’s second-largest island is renowned for its stunning beaches with palm trees, coconut groves, and lush forests, making it an ideal island vacation spot.

Experience royal treatment at any luxurious resort and spa in Koh Samui, Thailand. These places provide superior service and are more reasonably priced than resorts in other best islands to visit, such as Hawaii or Bora Bora.

Exploring the cultural attractions of Koh Samui can be a great way to spend your time on the island. A 12-meter-tall golden Big Buddha statue, renowned for its grandeur, is the centerpiece of Wat Phra Yai Temple, a Buddhist temple on a small island linked to Koh Samui by a bridge. This temple is considered one of the most impressive in Thailand.

If you’re looking for a more local island vacation, check out the best tropical places in the US.

5. The Best Island Vacations – The Azores

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A lot of the pictures that come up when you search for “The Azores” on Google appear as if they have been taken from a postcard, making the Azores one of the best islands to visit due to their stellar and seemingly untouched civilization nature.

A cluster of nine isles, the Azores are situated along Portugal’s shoreline and offer travelers the opportunity to relish in the culture of the South of Europe and be captivated by some of the most gorgeous views on the continent.

The Azores are known for their lush, flowering meadows during the spring and summer months and their abundance of trees for most of the year.

A paradise for holiday-makers, these islands boast white sandy shores, an abundance of tranquil lakes, and azure waters alongside traditional Portuguese villages which have remained untouched for centuries. Visiting this area is like traveling back in time to a place where modernity has yet to have a major impact.

>>Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

6. The Best Island Vacations – Hawaii

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The Hawaiian archipelago has so many stunning islands that it would be impossible to select just one.

Your island vacation to the Hawaiian Islands will be distinct and unparalleled no matter how many you visit or how long you stay in each one.

Traveling between islands on a getaway is uncomplicated, with regular boats and planes available. Some locations can be visited in a single day, whereas others may take longer to fully enjoy.

7. The Best Island Vacations – Aruba

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For decades, Aruba, a Dutch colony situated along the coast of Venezuela, has been a popular travel destination due to its stunning nature and convenience to metropolitan areas.

The Caribbean is an idyllic paradise due to its alluring beaches and agreeable, temperate climate throughout nine months of the year. The economy of Aruba is largely dependent on tourism, making the island a hospitable destination for visitors and thrill seekers.

Scuba divers pilgrimage to Aruba and its neighboring Caribbean isles to explore the enigmatic submerged ships. The picturesque cities of Aruba owe their charm to the distinctive combination of Dutch and Caribbean influences.

The city of Oranjestad is steeped in history and boasts lovely architecture. Visitors can spend their time lounging on the shoreline, diving, and snorkeling in the pristine waters, or traversing the island’s impressive cliffs.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

8. Galapagos Islands

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Charles Darwin was fascinated by the native animals of the Galapagos islands and used them to study and explain evolution over 200 years ago. These islands have maintained their ability to inspire a sense of amazement throughout the centuries.

The islands of the Galapagos are known for their remarkable fauna. Visitors may spot massive tortoises, iguanas, sea lions, and other extraordinary sea creatures along the coastline.

Trekkers can experience an exciting climb up to the second-largest crater on the planet, located on the islands, by scaling sheer cliffs.

Explorers and wildlife enthusiasts are the main visitors to the Ecuadorian islands, however, there are many tranquil sites for those searching for peace. Sunbathing all day on the beach is commonplace since there is ample space to spread out.

Volunteering with the animals found on the Galapagos is a gratifying experience, as it provides a chance to survey the local turtle populations and help renew their environment.

9. The Best Island Vacations – Dalmatian Islands, Croatia

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Recently, Croatia has been gaining attention as the best island to visit. Moreover, Dubrovnik, located in the southern region, is an especially sought-after place.

Traveling farther north is recommended to experience the best of what the Dalmatian coast has to offer. Although a trip to Dubrovnik is a pleasure, the journey to the nicest island getaways is also worth considering.

Hvar, the Adriatic island that enjoys the most hours of sunshine, is among the best islands to visit. It is easy to embark on day trips to nearby isles such as Bra, Korula, and Vis. The stunning views of the rocky shoreline against the crystal blue waters are an unforgettable experience.

The inhabitants of these islands are some of the most hospitable people in the world, and there are plenty of quaint towns to explore and delightful seafood dishes to try. No matter what you’re into, you’ll be sure to find something of value here.

Hvar is renowned for its nightlife and is comparable to Ibiza’s, making it the perfect destination for a fun-filled island vacation. An ancient Dominican monastery from the 15th century rests on Bra, and the Blue Cave, one of Europe’s most beautiful sights, can be found on Vis.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

10. The Best Island Vacations – Lamu Island, Kenya

Vacationing in Kenya does not have to be expensive, as its islands offer great, budget-friendly getaway possibilities. The country is particularly renowned for its safari opportunities.

Situated off the Kenyan coast, not far from Mombasa, lies Lamu Island – a renowned beach resort with a wide selection of accommodations to suit the needs and wallets of tourists.

UNESCO has designated the old town as a World Heritage site because it is the most ancient and well-maintained Swahili village in East Africa. A visit to the island solely to see Old Town is worthwhile, as it holds a plethora of Swahili and Islamic history and culture.

It is possible to obtain budget-friendly accommodations and meals on the island, making it an ideal spot for those vacationing on a tighter budget. Plenty of economical dining options are available in the town, and you can locate 3- and 4-star lodgings for less than $40 a night.

On your next trip to Kenya, you should plan to experience both a safari and some time spent by the shore.

11. The Best Island Vacations – Ko Tao, Thailand

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The island of Ko Tao, nestled in the Gulf of Thailand, earned its moniker from the abundance of sea turtles.

The white sand beaches in the area can be enjoyed for almost the entire year, with 300 days of sunshine. The hills that shield these beaches are steep enough to require a four-wheel-drive vehicle to access them. Visitors to these best islands to visit can engage in a host of physical activities.

12. The Best Island Vacations – Rosario Islands, Colombia

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The Rosario Islands, situated on the Caribbean shoreline of Colombia, are often disregarded among the best islands to visit in the neighborhood.

This archipelago, comprised of 27 islands, features a variety of lodging options, such as hotels, hostels, and eco-lodges. These spots offer stunning views of white sand beaches and dazzling blue waters. Getting to this destination from Cartagena, Colombia is a breeze; visitors can reach it quickly and conveniently by ferry or speedboat.

Touring Jamaica by cruise offers a real insight into the Caribbean and should not be passed up. Visitors from Cartagena can take advantage of the array of superb island resorts, making these beach clubs the most lively in the archipelago. Exploring the isles by speedboat at a reasonable rate, diving, snorkeling, or kayaking through a mangrove are all doable.

Visitors to Rosario Island often seek out its laid-back atmosphere, but if you’re in the mood for something more energetic and thrilling, Isla Bar might be the better option for your island escape.

Cartagena’s Playa Blanca is generally accepted as the top beach due to its proximity – a mere 45 minutes away by shuttle or taxi – and its abundance of food, drink, and nightlife offerings compared to the city.

The international airport receives direct flights from many countries throughout the Americas. Planning an island vacation has never been easier or more affordable, with inexpensive flights and hotel rates.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

13. The Best Island Vacations – Bora Bora

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If you and your special someone are looking for a tropical getaway, Bora Bora is an excellent option. It is well-known as a honeymoon destination, evidenced by the many hotels and spas that cater to romantic trips.

Despite its relatively small size, measuring no more than six miles in length, this island in the South Pacific is famed for its stunning landscape of white sand beaches and towering cliffs. Such beauty has often led to it being proclaimed the most photogenic island in the region.

Tourism is the main source of revenue in Bora Bora, so the locals are exceptionally hospitable.

Bora Bora provides an ideal island vacation spot for those who love outdoor adventures. With its pristine waters and diverse marine life, visitors can enjoy various activities such as hiking, snorkeling, and diving. To top it off, the majestic Mount Otemanu offers some of the most breathtaking views on the planet.

14. The Best Island Vacations – Andaman Islands, India

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Nestled in the Bay of Bengal between India and Myanmar, the Andaman Islands offer tourists a glimpse of some of the world’s last untouched environments.

To protect local species, beaches, and forests, only a minute percentage of the 36 islands in the archipelago are available for tourists to visit. If you’re looking for an adventure and a chance to witness nature in its most pristine form, the Andaman Islands are the place to be.

With some of the world’s most incredible scuba diving spots and picturesque beaches with soft white sand and palm trees, it’s the perfect destination for daredevils.

15. The Best Island Vacations – The Isle of Skye, Scotland

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The title “Isle of Skye” is derived from the Old Norse language and was originally called a “cloud island.” This Scottish location certainly lives up to its name due to its striking beauty and harsh terrain.

Traveling to this destination is highly recommended, even though the other sites on our list are in various tropical or Mediterranean regions.

The Isle of Skye is still one of Europe’s most picturesque places, even when shrouded in mist. The tranquil atmosphere, often created by the fog, is perfect for appreciating the sound of waves lapping against the shore and observing the rain falling across the rolling moorland.

Once the mist vanishes, the isle reveals its lush green hills sprinkled with sheep, historic castles, and sensational hiking trails. Upon your stay in this locale, don’t miss out on the various pubs, museums, and available distilleries.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

16. The Best Island Vacations – Tasmania, Australia

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If you are searching for an exciting island getaway, Tasmania is an ideal choice. Found in the Indian Ocean, off the shore of Australia, it is an adventurer’s delight with vigorous trails that offer stunning sights. Although smaller than the other five states of Australia, it is quite large.

In comparison, the Freycinet Peninsula is similar in size to Ireland. This destination is renowned for its stunning beaches, bays, mountainous terrain, and lush woodlands.

The inhabitants are welcoming and make the already enjoyable experience of sunny weather, historic architecture, tasty food, exquisite wine, and relaxed vibes on the island even more pleasant.

17. The Best Island Vacations – Palawan, Philippines

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The Palawan archipelago in the Philippines is an incredibly secluded and unique island vacation spot in Southeast Asia. Many people are unaware of this spot’s beauty, making it even more special. It is a place that could be described as a little slice of heaven – its beauty is indescribable.

Gazing out at the azure lake from the precipice of the rocky cliff will give you the sensation that you are at the end of the world.

On several of the islands, charming fishing villages that have been standing for many years can be seen. These particular sites have even been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

At Coron Island, scuba diving at the Japanese wreckage is considered one of the world’s best places. If you want something different, take a boat tour of the Puerto Princesa Underground River or go on a safari through the Calauit Game Preserve to observe some of the area’s unique wildlife.

18. The Best Island Vacations – Te Waipounamu/South Island, New Zealand

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Heading to a tropical island? New Zealand’s South Island, better known to the Maori people as Te Waipounamu, is the perfect place for an adventurous island vacation.

The South Island is renowned for its picturesque shorelines, abundant hikes, and zip-lining opportunities through the luxuriant rainforest.

New Zealand has two islands, with the larger one providing many attractions and activities. The island’s lakes, a beautiful ice-blue shade, are fed by glaciers, and the natural hot springs give a pleasant feeling of relaxation. Queenstown is an ideal home base to explore the nearby scenery and participate in local wine tours.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

19. The Best Island Vacations – The Seychelles

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More and more people are choosing to visit Seychelles, although other nearby island nations like the Maldives tend to have more tourists.

This African nation in the Indian Ocean is populated with islands that offer some of the most beautiful sights on the planet, making it one of the best islands to visit if you are a fan of nature.

The journey will start in Mahé, the most popular island among tourists in Seychelles. This is the perfect spot to escape technology and be one with nature. Luxury hotels and the photogenic capital of the country are located here.

The tranquil isles of Praslin and La Digue can be reached via a short boat ride. Touring the less populated islands by bicycle is akin to journeying to a faraway world.

20. The Best Island Vacations – Mallorca, Spain

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Many Europeans tend to pick Mallorca for their travels as it is an ideal island for group trips. Situated off the coast of Spain, this small island can be navigated by car and has plenty of sights to visit.

The beauty of Mallorca’s shoreline and seas attract many visitors, while the small towns in the north of the island, with their narrow paths and B&B, offer a different kind of charm. Finally, Palma de Mallorca is well-known for its vibrant nightlife.

This tropical haven is home to both glamorous resorts and tranquil rural villages. With a vast range of activities, it is the perfect location for reuniting family and friends who appreciate different activities.

Perusing the northern highlands while tasting wines and then witnessing a show in a cave to the east would be an experience not to be missed. There are also delectable choices, such as seafood paella, on offer.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

Things To Consider When Choosing the Best Island Vacation

When planning your next tropical sojourn, one should not overlook various aspects such as the weather, pricing, accessibility, and lack of contagious diseases, which can affect your experience even in the very best islands to visit.

Weather

Several of the best tropical vacation spots are vulnerable to hurricanes and other destructive weather due to their weather. Despite having protective measures, some islands may still experience the damaging effects of major storms.

Be sure to dress suitably for the weather and plan your journey to avoid unfortunate surprises. Women’s pajama sets made of linen make for lovely presents. Avoid the local storm and monsoon seasons when planning your best islands to visit.

Prices

Due to an increasing number of people selecting island getaways, the costs have increased. However, there is a great disparity in the pricing of resorts and restaurants on some of the islands featured on our list—sometimes by as much as hundreds of dollars every night.

If you’re trying to save money on your next trip to the best islands to visit, consider staying somewhere other than the tourist hot spots.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

Ease of Communication With Locals

Vacationers should know that language issues could arise when traveling abroad. If staying in the more popular tourist areas of the islands, communication with local people should not be a problem since almost everyone can speak English.

In more remote locations, you may find people who only communicate in their native language. Though it may appear difficult, there are always approaches to communicating, which should be enough to help you get where you need to go.

If you aim to fast-track your way to making friends in a new place, you could try stepping out of your comfort zone and learning some of the local languages. Additionally, remember that certain illnesses that may not be seen in colder climates could be found in tropical areas.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

Infectious Diseases

Islanders who are unfamiliar with the environment they are visiting are more prone to catching illnesses while on their trip.

Educating oneself about the necessary vaccines and precautions when traveling to an island is essential.

Including natural health supplements in one’s routine, like the best probiotics for women and the best probiotics for men, might help strengthen the immune system and reduce one’s chances of getting sick.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

Best Island Vacations FAQs

Even if you have gone through this post, there may still be queries that have not been addressed.

How Do I Get To My Island Vacation?

The islands we’ve identified on our list have airports, with direct international flights from almost all major airports available for Mallorca and South Island. You will have to go through a few steps to get to the other islands from the mainland. Traveling by air allows one to visit breathtaking destinations across the globe.

Are There Any Special Visa Requirements for the Best Island Vacations?

Several of the most sought-after island destinations are parts of larger nations, yet some outstanding islands are fully independent. This means that travelers to these islands must adhere to the same visa requirements as those traveling to the mainland.

Confirm if a visa is necessary for your trip by looking at the website of the foreign embassy located in your home country. Additionally, if you’re traveling with your dog, make sure you check all rules and regulations before booking your trip to ensure your pup is allowed in.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

How Removed Are These Vacation Islands From Mainland Amenities?

The response to this inquiry is distinct depending on the island chosen. To answer it, you must first pick which island to visit. You can get to the mainland by ferry from Flamenco Island in Puerto Rico, Mallorca, or the Dalmation Islands.

The Andaman Islands are quite far away, so if you’re concerned about being too far from home, why not choose a spot closer to the nation hosting a similar culture?

Is There an Environmental Impact of Traveling to Islands?

Climate change results are felt worldwide, and islands are of special concern due to their height and small area. Thankfully, many of the islands we’ve chosen offer green-friendly options for accommodations and activities.

Are the Best Island Vacations Good for Families?

Families searching for the best islands to visit and relax in and have a good time need not look any further than the many remarkable islands around the world.

Since these islands are considerably smaller than regular tourist spots, there is no need to worry about navigating through busy streets. Though small in size, these destinations offer a variety of sights and activities to keep everyone entertained.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

The Best Island Vacations: Final Verdict

Our comprehensive list includes many of the most celebrated island getaways. Regardless of the type of traveler, a perfect destination is likely to be found here, ranging from someone looking for quiet and solitude on a beach in East Asia to an individual pursuing unusual creatures in the South American wilderness.

The results of our research uncovered that San Juan, Puerto Rico, is one of the best island vacations. The area offers gorgeous beaches, pristine waters, captivating sights, and an active restaurant and nightlife.

Out of the options provided, pick the one island that you find most interesting and plan a visit there.

>> Book your next island vacation with Booking.com

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