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Whether you’re trying to plan for your yearly summer holiday or yearning to escape the winter blues by swapping hemispheres, there is an island awaiting your arrival. Immerse yourself in a bit of paradise surrounded by sun-kissed beaches and crystal-clear waters.
But how do you begin planning a trip of such tranquillity? We have compiled some of the travel specialists’ best knowledge and created a list of the best island vacations — from the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, the Caribbean, and French Polynesia. Given our list’s cultural diversity, you’re guaranteed to find something to meet your needs.
If you want a bit of everything from your island hopping experience, Crete has some of the best ancient history, pink sand beaches, charming harbor towns, and natural beauty. Due to its geographical position, Greece’s largest and southernmost island guarantees extra sun even after the summer season has ended. Additionally, Greece is a perfect island-hopping destination. It’s the best and most economical way to explore all these stunning islands have to offer. The beautiful thing about Crete is that it’s managed to maintain its own identity with unique cuisine, dialect, and traditions.
Often overlooked as a Vietnamese beach destination, Con Dao is one of Vietnam’s best-kept secrets. Found on the southern coast, Con Dao is one of the smaller islands with little to no commercial development, but with this scarcity comes quiet beaches with limited resorts, making things extra special. The beaches are long and soft, the perfect location for light water sports, and you’re always just a short kayak away from snorkeling opportunities in the nearby reefs.
You’re greeted with a cute seaside atmosphere in downtown areas with lots of little restaurants to explore filled with historical connections you’ll fall in love with. There are many things to do with nearby islands, offering opportunities to stay at the ranger station and watch the local turtles lay their eggs. To get a glimpse of this fantastic spectacle, the best time to visit is in August. Stay through the morning to see these little turtles hatch and make their first steps into the deep blue sea.
St. Lucia has long been known for its lush Caribbean vibes, but for something a little more undiscovered, Dominica offers the same connection with nature. This is not for those looking for endless walks on white sandy beaches — as this is a volcanic island, the beaches have a much darker hue. The trade-off you’ll get from an island like this is no chance of boredom that sometimes comes with white sandy beaches. Why not take your trip to the next level by flying via private jet charter?
For hiking enthusiasts, there are countless trails suited for all fitness levels. Find easy casual walks to the more strenuous, all offering stunning views and often with a waterfall encounter. Dominica is also an excellent destination for snorkeling and scuba diving, the perfect place to finish your certification. Champagne Reef is one of the island’s most unique features and is named after the bubbling waters that rise from the underwater thermal springs.
Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada, is home to the charming tiny city of Victoria. The city is synonymous with its flower gardens and British influence. Most people don’t realize that Victoria is at the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island, which is nearly 300 miles long. However, there’s so much more to Vancouver Island than just Victoria. Tofino is one of the island’s best spots for outdoor adventures, delicious cuisine, and resting your head each night.
Nature is your best friend here if you’re looking for things to do. You can go whale-watching — look for elusive humpbacks, grey whales, and orcas. An abundance of brown bears, black bears, and grizzlies also frequent the area across the rivers and forests.
Its enormous diversity makes Hawaii one of the best destinations for travelers looking to experience a wide range of adventures in one location. Hapuna Bay’s white sands are perfect for relaxing, and Punalu’u Beach’s jet-black hue is a sight to behold. Get a taste of the volcanic heat of Kilauea Volcano, or trek to the top of snow-capped Mauna Kea. Visit the well-known coffee plantations outside Kona or hike through the lush Hilo coast valleys. There is an activity on the Big Island to suit your taste no matter your interests.
Among Hawaii’s best attractions are snorkeling or diving at night with manta rays, swimming in waterfalls, and stargazing on Mauna Kea. Another must-see destination is Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park, home to volcanic formations, lava tubes, and steam vents.
Air travel is the best way to reach all the islands on our list — they all have runways perfect for commercial and private travelers. The lesser-known spots are the ideal way to experience each island more organically, with nature sightings and fewer built-up tourist traps. These islands are the perfect vacation for 2024 and beyond — book yours now!