Deserted, inhabited, tropical, wild, arid, green or icebound, islands have always ben our fantasy destinations. A chance to be cut off from the world and recharge our batteries in a setting where the sky always meets the sea.
Isle of Pines
The Isle of Pines is a paradise location thirty minutes by plane from Noumea in New Caledonia. Like a huge lake, the calm waters of Oro Bay are turquoise blue. The Columnar Pines gave this island its name. The pristine sandy beaches emerge from the forest and seem to spill into the waters. The marine biodiversity is amazing, with plenty of large species to see such as large rays, great white sharks, humpback whales...
Bora Bora in French Polynasia is located in the Society Islands archipelago. At the edge of the lagoon, arguably one of the most beautiful in the world, looms a volcano. The contrast between the dark mountain and the intense blue of the water is mesmerising. Underwater, you can swim with rays and small harmless sharks.
The smallest of the Balearic Islands (82 km2) has a long coastline punctuated by beaches bordering turquoise waters reminiscent of warm seas. Ses Illetes is a stretch of sand that advances into the water offering a spectacular view of the surrounding islets. Limited development means that Formentera is a special place to relax in the countryside.
The lesser known neighbour of Mauritius, Rodrigues holds a special place in the hearts of the inhabitants of the Mascarenes Archipelago (also including Reunion island). It’s referred to as a rare unspoiled land with a beautiful lagoon in which local fisherwomen catch ourites (octopus) every day which they then dry in the wind. Its magnificent landscapes and unspoiled local life make it an unparalleled destination.
The British archipelago of the Shetland Isles is made up of around a hundred islands, only around 15 of which are actually inhabited. The most visited Mainland, Unst and Yell offer magnificent nature reserves for bird lovers. Head to the island of Bressay to meet the Shetland ponies, one of the smallest equine breeds in the world. Heather moorland, cliffs sculpted by the winds, pristine beaches and crystal clear waters are characteristic landscapes of these far north islands.
Lesser known than Belle Ile, Houat is a destination for those in the know. A single village of small fishermen houses and immense beaches, deserted even in summer, where you can swim in clear water that is a match for any more tropical seas. The coastal path from the port allows you to explore the island’s fauna and flora like a hidden treasure off the Quiberon Bay.
This Danish island is said to have the most beautiful landscapes in the entire country: a huge beach to the south in Dueodde, from which the fine sand was used for hourglasses, a wild and steep coastline in the east and large forests in the centre. Bornholm also has pretty architecture with small, colourful fisherman's houses and amazing round, whitewashed churches. Over time, the røgeri (former smoking workshops) have turned into delicious fish restaurants offering breathtaking sea views.
©ARCO / Kiedrowski, R /age fotostock
Santorini is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean. Of volcanic origin, it is famous for its white-washed houses carved at the top of steep cliffs. Its unique light has inspired many artists. It is also a great place to enjoy magnificent sunsets. Fans of this spectacle ritually head to Oia, Skaros, Imerogli or the Akrotiri lighthouse. This village hosts a 3,500-year-old town preserved from the ashes of a volcanic explosion and nicknamed the Pompeii of the Aegean Sea.
Fernando de Noronha
The Fernando de Noronha archipelago brings together twenty-one Unesco World Heritage classified islets. Bordered by crystal clear waters, this archipelago is an ideal spot for diving lovers. You can swim with dolphins, turtles, manta rays, barracudas ... Observe tropical sea birds and enjoy the twenty or so immense beaches including Praia do Sancho, considered one of the most beautiful in the world.
©G. Azumendi/Getty Images
This island in the Indonesian archipelago is famous for its centrally located rice fields around Ubud, as well as its beaches, its forest covered volcanic reliefs and its coral reefs which will satisfy both diving lovers and those who just want to laze and do nothing. The islanders are mostly Hindu, in contrast to the rest of Indonesia which is Muslim, and are extremely good natured. Add to all this, delicious cuisine and Bali has all the combined assets to be an island of beauty and pleasure