20 Irresistible Bucket-List Islands

Life is short folks, so make your tropical dream a reality, with rolling waves, sprawling beaches and untouched pockets of wilderness, try to visit any of the wondrous and supremely gorgeous islands mentioned in this list! Not only do these retreats flaunt a transcendent beauty, but they also have the ability to induce travelers into a state of bliss. Not to mention, these islands boast a little something special that will keep you enchanted!

1. Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Deep tangerine sunsets, soft white sands and clear turquoise lagoons set the scene for romance on one of the world’s most beautiful islands. Unwind in a self-driving tour as you soak in the striking views of Mount Otemanu, or mingle with a school of tropical fish while fluttering around Tupitipiti Point or Coral Gardens.

Then, make your way to the Lagoonarium, so you can swim the turtles and watch shark feedings. After a day full of thrills and fun, head down to one of the fine French restaurants on the island, and reward yourself with a mouthwatering meal. Cap it all off on a high note with a tropical cocktail or your favorite drink under the twinkling stars.

2. Bali, Indonesia  

With its skyline of pointed pagodas and scenic mountains, it’s easy to see why visitors refer Bali as a slice of paradise on earth. On this world-famous Indonesian haven, you may play with Sumatran elephants, tour ancient temples, or simply lounge on any of the island’s numerous resplendent beaches. What’s more, the island has a lively international backpacking roster, verdant landscapes, decadent cuisine and luxurious spa treatments.

3. Maui, Hawaii, USA

As far as relaxing Hawaiian retreats go, Maui definitely takes the cake. You are going to find adventurous activities, dramatic scenery and opulent resorts all in one place. For me, one of the top things to do in Maui is to hike the Waimoku Falls Trail, and be wowed by the churning waterfalls and ethereal bamboo forest in Haleakala National Park.

You may also stretch out on the island’s golden, warm sands or hit the surf for a memorable snorkeling or windsurfing session. Driving the picturesque road along Maui’s northeastern shore to Hana will be one of your life’s most spectacular journeys.

4. Santorini, Greece

Santorini is a living postcard, and a Greek paradise that totally feels like a fantasy. Here, you’ll get to treat your eyes to a plethora of jaw-droppingly striking sights, including sapphire waters, pastel-colored houses carved into cliffs, and eye-catching white buildings topped with sky-blue half-spheres. Furthermore, you’ll find peace on the island by roaming its black sand beaches as well as the streets of a provincial village, such as Imerovigli.

5. Boracay, Philippines

This tiny tropical island in the Western part of the Philippines is the epitome of a tropical hub in Southeast Asia, with transporting sunsets, shallow azure waters, and gentle coastlines. Add in an energetic nightlife circuit, and you’ve got one of the best and most sought-after spots in the whole country.

6. Cebu, Philippines

From untouched sandbars and historic sites to ritzy seaside resorts and modern-day amusement options, the island of Cebu can amuse you in so many ways. Known as one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines, Cebu will please your palate with its flourishing culinary scene, highlighted by world-class restaurants and street food stalls. Aptly nicknamed as gateway to a thousand journeys, Cebu also serves as a base to tons of other beautiful destinations and islands in the Philippines, including Bohol, Negros and Leyte.

7. Cayman Islands

Whether you are looking for some serenity or a new adventure, these three lovely islands on Jamaica’s northwest have everything you need for a soothing getaway. You can kick back at Seven Mile Beach, make some new buddies at Stingray City, or scuba dive in its vibrant reefs.

8. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Charles Darwin’s wonderland hasn’t lost a bit of its magic, and you absolutely won’t be disappointed with what you’re going to see and find here. Bizarre birds and massive turtles wander just a few away. With no plush resorts and hotels, this by no means is your typical island getaway, but a visit to Galápagos is one you will never forget.

9. Crete, Greece

Crete, with its excellent beach weather, charming oceanfront villages and authentic Greek restaurants, is a favorite among travelers from all over the world. For an extra dose of history in Crete, visit the museums and archaeological sites that bring the ancient past of the island to life.

10. Phuket, Thailand

The largest island in Thailand is an international magnet for those who are overly fond of beaches as well as serious diving junkies, who submerge themselves enthusiastically into the Andaman Sea. Salmon sunsets and blue lagoons make for a mesmerizing dream-like feel, and by far a vacation here can feel a little surreal. Watersports are Phuket’s most popular activities, though after you had enough sun, there is still plenty to explore at the Buddhist temples, gardens and aquariums on the island.

11. The Maldives

Romantic and ethereal, the Maldives are home to some of the most ravishing islands in the world. But, make no mistake about it – it is the sea that really makes these islands so irresistible. Billed as one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic destinations, these small islands in the Indian Ocean exude a sense of peace, making it a perfect spot for travelers who are yearning for a getaway from their hustle bustle city grind.

A visit to these islands means you may spend your days lounging and relaxing on the sun-bleached sands or snorkeling over its kaleidoscopic coral reefs. Likewise, you can watch the sun, as it sets over the waves from your opulent resort.

12. Palawan, Philippines

No list of the best islands in the world is complete without the inclusion of Palawan. Voted as “the world’s best island” in 2016 by international magazine Travel and Leisure, Palawan is a wondrous place where its visitors are greeted with towering mountains rising out of majestic waters, and a haven where reefs and shipwrecks make for prime snorkeling and scuba diving.

As far as I’m concerned, it is a beach lover’s dream destination and a hub for adventure-seeking tourists too. And, did I mention that it is home to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature?

13. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Fernando de Noronha is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a spectacular archipelago, with a very delicate ecosystem. Although visitors are restricted, the lucky few are treated with majestic beaches and warm relaxing waters, filled with sea turtles and dolphins, making it one of top islands and diving destinations on the face of the earth.

On land, take a hike along the ecological trails of the Esmerelda Coast, Jardim Elizabeth or Sancho Bay, which will culminate in a moderately challenging climb up lofty set of stairs that carved into the cliff’s split.

14. Jamaica

Fondly labeled as “the land of wood and water”, the forests of Jamaica boast prime options for bird watching and hiking. Those are into history will find their bliss at Trelawny’s heritage sites, while dancehall and reggae fans will love Kingston’s authentic music clubs. Montego is the best place on the island for shopping and snorkeling, while the spas in Ocho Rios can melt all the stresses away.

15. Fiji

From white-sand beaches and translucent turquoise waters to flourishing coral reefs, Fiji has all the hallmarks of a fantasy island. To make things better, the people in Fiji are so warm and hospitable, welcoming visitors with their friendly and genuine smiles. Fishing, snorkeling, diving and in some areas, surfing are all great, but lounging under a palm tree and slipping into warm and silky seas can be just as rewarding.

And with over 300 islands within the archipelago, it’s fairly easy to find the ideal match for accomodations, from family-friendly resorts and ritzy celebrity hideaways to the sublime Mamanuca and Yasawa group. Since Fijians love to accommodate kids, Fiji can be a fabulous destination for families who are yearning for a relaxing break.

16. Seychelles 

It may not have Bora Bora’s luxurious reputation, but Seychelles does have a striking natural splendor that will surely awestruck even the most seasoned travelers in the world. Located on the eastern coast of Africa, this chain of islands will take your breath away with its calm waters, massive boulders and fawn-colored sands. As an added plus, the island is home to a cluster of friendly giant tortoises.

17. Majorca, Balearic Islands

Majorca, although it’s known as a spring beak destination, can be a great place to spend a vacation with the whole family. Trust me, there’s plenty for the younger crowd in this part of the Balearic Islands, including Marineland’s sea lion and dolphin shows, children’s beach and a train that travels between Soller and Palma.

18. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos islands

Providenciales – the most populated of all the Turks and Caicos islands – is one of the beach destinations on earth. The snorkeling and diving are as convenient as they are stunning, thanks to its miles of coral reefs that can be accessed easily from the shore. Grace Bay’s captivating beachscapes and upscale resorts make it an easy and popular choice for waterfront retreats. The crags and cliffs of Chalk Sound make an excellent backdrop, as you kayak through its turquoise bright waters.

19. Kauai, Hawaii, United States

Kauai is, without a doubt, the oldest and most rugged of all the islands in the Hawaiian archipelago. Adventurists and thrill-seekers will love hiking Waimea Canyon and traversing the Kalalau Trail, while the Na Pali Coast lures photography buffs with its magnificent ocean vistas.

20. Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos is the wild and energetic sibling of Santorini. Unlike its amorous and sophisticated sister, Mykonos pulses with a zesty party beat for nearly 24 hours a day. But, there is also a peaceful side to this Greek island. For a more relaxed experience in one of Greece’s most beloved islands, watch the sun set from the high perch of The Windmills over the Mediterranean.

Inspired to hit any of these heavenly islands? Just don't forget to plan your trip with Trekeffect, to make your travel planning experience as easy as Sunday morning.

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