Reader Recs: Island Getaways
Nothing screams vacation quite like a sandy beach, clear blue water, and a fruity drink. To inspire a bit of summer wanderlust (or to help with your winter escape plans), we recently asked our Facebook fans to tell us their favorite island getaways in the world. Their answers ranged from large archipelagos to tiny islands we had to look up on a map, but one thing is for sure—their picks will keep you daydreaming for days.
So grab a bottle of SPF, and join us on a tour of the world’s best island vacations:
Heather C. kicks us off in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea with a visit to the largest island in the Maltese archipelago—Malta. “You have it all there,” she says. “History, a huge mix of cultures, and breathtaking geological formations.” Plus, she adds, the people are friendly. Can’t beat that!
Next we head to Quebec’s Magdalen Islands (French, Îles de la Madeleine) for what Camilie B. describes as an off-the-grid destination that is even unknown to many Canadians. Between the great seafood and the Acadian culture, the Magdalen Islands steal Camilie’s heart every time she visits.
If you’re looking for “beautiful beaches, diverse landscape and great nightlife,” Melissa V. recommends Mallorca off the coast of Spain. The largest of the Balaeric Islands, Mallorca is popular among locals and tourists for its scenery (think white-sand beaches and azure waters).
Tommy W. went the unconventional route with his selection: “While it may not be the first thing to pop into your mind when you think of an island vacation, Greenland is an extraordinary place to visit.” The wildlife, natural terrain, and delicious local cuisine make the world’s largest island worthy of a visit.
Located in the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira Island offers visitors picturesque views and a welcoming atmosphere, says Gareth R. This Portuguese archipelago has year-round activities, including one of the largest fireworks shows in the world every New Year’s Eve. If that’s not enough of a reason to visit, the island also produces world-class wine.
Jax R. cautions against overlooking the smallest of Honduras’s Bay Islands—Utila. Spectacular diving, an automobile-free environment, and incredible beach parties make this tiny island a great choice for your next vacation. While you’re there, be sure to check out Treetanic, a local bar situated among the trees.
St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands was added to our list by Nikki A. This Caribbean destination is “beautiful, relaxing, welcoming, and easily accessible,” she says. If you’re looking for a family-friendly tropical getaway, Mila R. recommends Guadeloupe. A “Caribbean dream with French flavor,” Guadeloupe gets high marks from Mila for its amazing beaches, wonderful nature, and fantastic sea life.
It will come as no surprise to many that Hawaii received love from our Facebook fans. Glenny P. suggests a trip to the Big Island for black-sand beaches, lush mountains, countless waterfalls, and the world’s most active volcano. A must is a drive to the Mauna Kea summit, “where you can stargaze all night long,” he says. Faye W. echoed Glenny’s remarks, adding a trip to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park to the itinerary. She also recommended touring one of the many coffee plantations and grabbing a bite to eat at Keoki’s Roadside Cafe.
A bit more unknown, Greece’s Agistri Island is a “hidden gem” with crystal clear-waters, says Toria D. Friendly locals and the ability to travel on foot, add to this islands charm. While you’re in the general area, Soso M. suggests traveling southeast to check out Santorini‘s ”beautiful architecture and amazing atmosphere.”
Described as the “jewel of the Pacific” and a “hidden paradise” by Ivana C., the Cook Islands rated as another beloved getaway. While Ivana thinks Aitutaki is the island most worthy of a visit due to its amazing food and interesting history, Scott L. prefers Rarotonga‘s tropical scenery and incredible sunsets.
Jeju Island in South Korea is another great option if it’s gorgeous landscapes you’re after—at least according to Heeduk S. Jeff S. also cites the island’s superb beaches and food as good reasons to visit.
In Indonesia, Tiwi P. points out Pari Island and Tidung Island as A-one destinations for their beautiful corals and exceptional SCUBA diving opportunities. Gili Meno Island also made the list thanks to Holly B. who enjoys the lack of vehicles on the island, as well as its world-class snorkeling scene.
To round out our list, Catherine H. suggests a trip to the Galápagos Islands, and we couldn’t agree more. Outstanding wildlife, hiking, and deep-water snorkeling make this volcanic archipelago one of the most coveted island getaways in the world.
What’s the best island you’ve ever been to and why? Tell us in the comments section for a chance to appear on Intelligent Travel.