From tropical paradises filled with boating excursions, exotic animals, romantic ocean views, and seaside walks to remote villages surrounded by secluded beachfront property, nothing beats taking a vacation on a remote island. Looking for one or two to add to your bucket list? We’ve compiled a quick cheat sheet to 10 of best islands to visit and vacation at all over the world, from one end to the other – be sure to keep it handy the next time the mood for adventure and excitement strikes.
Orkney Islands, Scotland – An island chain situated off the coast of northeastern coast of Scotland, the Orkney Islands are somewhere that every traveler should have the chance to go and explore. With over 70 islands in this chain, only one-third of its destinations are inhabited. The storm-battered cliffs are intricate, detailed, and ever-changing. Home to beautiful plant and animal wildlife, the locale houses rare creatures that are special to the islands and their surrounding counterparts. It has a rich, Scottish culture that makes these islands true, historic gems. Visit the Viking cathedral and old-fashioned distillery and take in all of the Scottish traditions you can!
Mykonos, Greece – Known for its natural beauty and picturesque backdrops, Mykonos is an island that makes just about every traveler’s bucket list, and is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean Sea. Up to date with the latest trends, Mykonos offers a variety of trendy restaurants and shops for visitors to enjoy. A whitewashed island paradise, it welcomes celebrities, college spring breakers, and families alike. With artisan shops along the streets and local Greek restaurants to enjoy, this island has it all.
Oahu, Hawaii – Often referred to as the “Gathering Place,” Oahu, Hawaii lives up to its name. As the third largest Hawaiian island, it’s home to a fusion of Western and Eastern cultures. Its values are rooted in old Hawaiian traditions, but it offers a splash of cultures from all around the world, too. This busy destination welcomes thousands of visitors each month, but still adheres to its laid-back roots. Indulge in fresh fish and tropical fruits at the variety of world-class restaurants to be found on the island and enjoy the bliss of paradise.
Bali, Indonesia – An Indonesian venue known as the “Island of the Gods,” Bali is as unique as it is beautiful. A paradise for surfers and a haven for the adventurous, you’ll find no shortage of big waves, tropical foods, picturesque views, and more to take in here. The culture of Bali is proud and prominent in the city with local artists, chefs, and musicians to be found in ample supply. The beaches of Bali are some of the most beautiful in the world, so be sure to pack your swimsuit! With this beauty comes low prices, making this island the ideal getaway for travelers looking for a romantic and luxurious vacation or a laid back and inexpensive getaway.
Phuket, Thailand – This Island, located in the Andaman Sea off of Thailand, offers crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, and rain-forested terrain to explore. Offering 5-star hotels, exquisite dining options, and luxurious resorts, the area provides a fine backdrop for lavish vacations that can be enjoyed by all kinds of travelers. Explore the mountains and hike through the rainforests or relax at the nearest beach and take a dip in the warm water. Experience the Thai culture and indulge in the best Thai food that an island has to offer. If Phuket isn’t already on your bucket list, be sure to jot it down.
Tahiti, French Polynesia – The largest island in French Polynesia, Tahiti is a dream. Offering black sand beaches, mountainous volcanoes, and blue lagoons, it’s sure to take your breath away. Honeymooners, avid-travelers, and local natives populate the destination year-round, giving it charm and uniqueness. The quirky town of Papeete, the island’s capital, also proves an idyllic honeymoon spot, and a fine place at which to dine on some of the best French food in the world. Enjoy handmade crepes while you watch the sunset from your overwater bungalow and embrace the culture of this romantic island.
Maldives – The Republic of the Maldives is a sovereign archipelagic nation located in the Indian Ocean. It is known for its serene beaches, extensive reefs, and utter beauty. Here, you’ll find tropical fish and all kinds of exotic wildlife that is native to these distinct islands. The reef structure that surrounds the islands are full of sea creatures that can be seen when snorkeling or swimming in the crystal clear water and the Maldives offer all kinds of activities that range from diving and boating to canoeing and catamaran sailing. Enjoy a peaceful vacation here under the warm sun – you’ll be glad you made the trip!
Cebu, Philippines – A province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region, Cebu Island consists of a mainland and over 160 surrounding islands and islets. The island of Cebu features bright turquoise waters and white sand beaches, and offers all kinds of visitors many ways to pass a leisurely afternoon from snorkeling opportunities and dive sites to waterfall excursions. Everything is within easy reach on Cebu, from exotic untouched hiking trails in the mountains to peaceful seashores to stroll along, and Cebu is home to the incredibly rare tarsier, an animal that can only be seen at dusk and dawn. A great spot for adventure and relaxation, be sure you make the trip out at least once.
Mallorca, Spain – The island of Mallorca is situated off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean. It features exclusive beach resorts, lush mountains ranges and sky blue water year-round. Visitors can expect to recline in luxuriance and enjoy picturesque views from all sides of the island. During the off-season, you’ll also find affordable lodging at numerous hotels, even premium options. Weather conditions are still fairly nice and warm during less heavily trafficked months, so if you are looking for an exotic getaway at an affordable price, check out Mallorca – it could provide the perfect setting for the vacation of a lifetime.
Ibiza, Spain – Known for its party scene and summer madness, Ibiza is so much more than one big soiree. Also a part of the Balearic Islands, it’s home to fun, excitement, and everything in between. Major nightclubs and beach clubs cling to the shore of this island and create a one-of-a-kind trip. All-inclusive resorts offer guests everything that can imagine. The water is warm and the sand is white, ideal for those who love to kick back and relax all day. Its restaurants are also trendy and hip, just like the vibe of the whole island – you can enjoy it at a variety of speeds and intensity levels, letting you plan a vacation that fits.
Lauren Harano is a sun-kissed Californian living in New York City. The Editorial and Marketing Assistant for VINAZINE, she's also written for Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines. In her free time, she enjoys finding the best Mexican restaurants in the city and reading in Central Park. Most importantly, she believes that every day is a good day to have a good day.