Top 10 Best Islands to Visit in The World in 2021
We can all agree that 2020 wasn’t the year we had thought it would be. Many holidays and island getaways put on hold while we took an extended breath and deep sigh. Instead we dreamed of faraway places and island getaways, and reminisced of what it was like to interact in a foreign land.
One thing is for sure, we’ll be travelling more thoughtfully and with appreciation for when the borders open and we can jump on that boat and hop to the next isle, step onto those white sands or pebbled beaches, take in that pink sunset or orange sunrise and breathe in that salty breeze.
Gosh I’ve missed travel. While travel may change for the ‘new world’, what we all look for in a vacation will remain the same… relaxation, fun, culture, magic moments; but also a whole lot of appreciation for communities that did it tough through the pandemic and rely on tourism to survive, we’ll be thinking harder as to how we can contribute and where our money is best spent.
As you look for the perfect escape to reconnect with nature and unwind, here are some of the best islands in the world to add to your dreamy list of where to go next:
1. The Greek Islands
Live your best island life on these infamous islands. A sun worshipper’s paradise dotted with pristine beaches along the Mediterranean seas, charming fishing villages, quaint markets and dramatic coastlines. When every angle is as picture perfect as a postcard draped in blue and white architecture to match the equally azure waters – people literally clap (and even cry tears of joy) when the sun goes down in Santorini because it’s THAT beautiful, it’s a honeymooner and lovers delight.
Enjoy the warmth of the people as you explore the islands from Mykonos with its incredible nightlife and foodie delights to Crete, the largest Greek island rich with historical sites, hikes and small cities; to the smaller islands of Naxos and Paros, the most family friendly.
Wherever you explore, go deep beyond the ouzo and the olives and ancient statues… There is something for everyone whether you’re a youthful Contiki island hopper, or a well-travelled nomad with Insight Vacations.
Aloha! Let the locals welcome you with a lei from the main island of Hawaii to Maui, Oahu and Kaui – these islands are all famous for their surf, sand and panoramic views with palm tree lined coasts, but all four islands are diverse with a unique offering and experience on each.
- Kauai known as The Garden Isle is graced with dramatic, natural beauty, the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’ filled with waterfalls, canyons, trails and Poipu Beach – voted one of America’s best beaches.
- Maui the Valley Isle, is home to what some believe are the best beaches in the world and is renowned for its whale watching in winter. Stroll through the historic town of Lahaina and drive the Road to Hana for spectacular scenery.
- Oahu is a big city island life with fine accommodation and dining. Honolulu is the 11th largest city in the US and has the best selection of both cultural and historical sites. When in Oahu, Diamond Head should be top of your list. This stunning volcanic cone is the most popular Hawaii State Park, offering beautiful views of The Pacific Ocean and Honolulu at the edge of a 300,000 year old crater.
- Big Island of Hawaii, with so many waterfalls to chase, Hawaiian treats to snack on and volcanoes to explore, you can easily spend a week barely scratching the surface her hiking and driving. Take in the natural beauty on a scenic drive through the Chain of Craters road or Mauna Loa road and see the real Hawaii.
Discover the cultures, traditions and stunning remote islands on Trafalgar’s Hawaii’s Four Island Adventure.
3. The Bahamas
If there’s one place that synonymous with ‘tropical islands’, it’s surely the Bahamas! Located to the east of Florida and north of Cuba with over 700 isles, beautiful views, white sand and crystal clear water, there’s enough tropical island to suit any kind of traveler.
Line up the coconuts and take in the blue skies, but avoid hurricane season from June through to November. Consider checking out the sparkling sands of Exuma and the friendly swimming pigs or escape on Cat Island, with only 1,500 residents over nearly 400km, you won’t find any large resorts here – just pure zen.
4. Thailand, South East Asia
With so much variety, history and beauty to be found in Thailand, it’s a struggle to leave this paradise of pristine beaches, dotted with chic beach shacks as far as the eye can see.
The ultimate place to beach hop (1430 islands to be exact) – here is a snapshot of some of the most popular islands and what to expect:
- Koh Samui is for families and first-timers, honeymooners and wellness warriors looking to escape to a mountainous rainforest or lie by one of its palm-fringed beaches. It’s filled with luxury resorts and world-class spas.
- Koh Tao has the best scuba diving and renowned for its tropical coral reefs and where green turtles gather to breed.
- Koh Pha Ngan is for the hedonists and hippies.. take ownership of a hammock and rock between palm trees, sipping on a coconut and watching the sun go down… or go wild at one of its infamous Full Moon Parties which draws in revelers from all over the world for the monthly festivities.
- Phuket is for living large, complete with 6-star resorts, fancy clubs and celebrity chef run restaurants amongst rainforest and mountains.
- Koh Phi Phi, made famous by The Beach starring Leo Di Caprio, the collection of six islands are perfect for the solo travelers and lovers alike. Featuring tropical beaches, stunning rock formations with colorful marine life.
Mix this up with the rich history and fascinating culture on Costsaver’s Iconic Thailand itinerary, from skyscrapers to street markets, plus ALL the Pad Thai and Nasi Goreng dishes waiting to be consumed.
5. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The thought of snorkeling with sea lions and turtles, kayaking whilst dolphins jump over you, and then hanging out with giant tortoises who are unfazed by human presence, just leaves me in all sorts. The best way to do it is on the Galapagos Legend Cruise, available on Trafalgar’s South America Revealed.
Cruise on a purpose built luxury expedition vessel. Offering the very best in boutique adventure cruises, travel for an intimate and personal glimpse into the stunning wildlife and habitats of the Islands, expect an educational and mesmerizing trip.
6. Scottish Isles
Not typically the place to expect white sandy beaches, yet here they are on the Scottish Isles and with crystal clear turquoise water to boot. A truly breathtaking option for island hopping, The Scottish Isles has a lot to offer for all kinds of travelers from whisky drinking, to mountain climbing and scenic drives up the coast.
With over 790 Scottish islands, only around 90 of them are inhabited, most of which are part of the Hebrides and the Northern Isles.
You can find some of the most excellently preserved Neolithic sites in Europe on the Orkney Isles, earning it the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Insight Vacations takes you from the great capital of Edinbugh to the Orkney Islands of Skye, travelling through 8000 years of history.
7. Madagascar, East Africa
Madagascar is a breathtaking paradise with majestic landscapes and jungles filled with colorful birds and animals, stunning rainforests, white sand beaches with sweet coastal villages and delicious local food. While it is expensive to reach, it’s very affordable once you get there.
Best way to explore Madagascar is with an all-inclusive vacation – your guide will be an amazing resource to tell you about the natural beauty of Madagascar, perfect for the wildlife lover and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
8. Ibiza, Spain
Fly in over the beach parties or arrive via ferry – either way, as soon as you land, the energy of this island is electrifying that it will be hard to leave.
As much as it’s renowned for its infamous day parties, DJs, beach clubs and lively nightlife – this is the island which has earned a reputation as a mecca of good times among celebrities and travelers alike after all – there is also a romantic and calm side to the island with quieter sandy coves and pine-clad hills, gorgeous villages filled with character and yoga retreats.
Old Ibiza Town is where the locals and Mediterranean tourists choose to reside, San Antonia is for the wild and young at heart. A must is to see the daylight hours out with sunset at the original Café del Mar. And consider a day trip to the idyllic isla of Formentera. Contiki packs this all in its Ibiza and Beyond trip.
With over 7,600 tropical islands to choose from, to island hop and live comfortably off coconuts and pancit (noodles), staying in a beach shack, is my idea of heaven. Renowned for its white sands, turquoise waters and some of the world’s most diverse marine life.
Consider: El Nido, along with its views, is the gateway to ‘wild adventure’; Palawan Island ‘best in the world’ three years running by Travel + Leisure – rustic, romantic paradise, towering mountains, limestone caves and an underground river; Siargao, a remote and dreamy island, voted the ‘best island in the world’ by Conde Nast Traveler readers; and Boracay reclaims “Top Asian Island”, according to Conde Nast. Enough said #islandlife.
10. Martha’s Vineyard, America
To slow down the pace, Martha’s Vineyard is a small Massachusetts Island. Dotted with many gorgeous little towns worth the exploration, you can visit Edgartown to admire some posh old homes, Aquinnah for its pristine beaches and Chappaquiddick for its enthralling history.
A favorite of both the Kennedys and the Obamas for family vacations, Martha’s Vineyard is a stunning little place to unwind and enjoy some picturesque scenery.
Enjoy a memorable encounter with a pilgrimage past, sophisticated summer retreats and fresh seafood flavors on Trafalgar’s Boston, Cape Cod, and Martha’s Vineyard trip.
And that’s our roundup of the Top 10 best islands in the world to visit in 2021. There are so many exciting sites, cultural experiences, walks, wildlife, beaches and bars yet to be discovered… and so many more memories waiting to be created… and then later shared on social media #blessed #neverleaving.
Deciding where to go now? Check this link for the most up-to-date travel restrictions.