Dreaming of planning a beautiful island destination vacation but not sure where to go or where to start? With the earth covered in almost 75% of water, there are thousands of beautiful island destinations to choose from, all it takes is deciding what you’re looking for and be prepared to have your mind blown by some of the most stunning post-card worthy islands this stunning world has to offer.
So, grab your flip-flops and shades, slather on some SPF and get ready to go island hopping as we explore 20 of the most beautiful postcard-worthy islands in the world.
Table of Contents
- 1. Bali, Indonesia
- 2. Bora Bora, Tahiti Islands
- 3. Big Island, Hawaii
- 4. Hvar, Croatia
- 5. The Seychelles
- 6. James Bond Island, Southern Thailand
- 7. Whitsundays, Australia
- 8. Capri, Italy
- 9. Santorini, Greece
- 10. Fiji
- 11. The Maldives
- 12. St. Lucia, Caribbean
- 13. Paxos, Greece
- 14. Guadeloupe, Caribbean
- 15. Saint Martin, Caribbean
- 16. Cook Islands
- 17. Moorea, French Polynesia
- 18. Jamaica, Caribbean
- 19. Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
- 20. Waiheke Island, New Zealand
- 20 of the most beautiful islands
1. Bali, Indonesia
The home of over ten thousand complexly carved and beautiful temples, be embraced by the “The Land of the Gods” as you get the opportunity to bathe in Pura Empul, visit the Uluwatu sea temple or walk the bank of lush rice fields. This beautiful island is decorated with aged monuments and looming volcanoes, ancient forests, and stunning white sandy beaches with exciting surf spots and feast on mouthwatering far-flung local cuisine.
Stay at stunning luxury accommodation in Kuta, Seminyak, and Jimbaran and feel the warm and famous hospitality of the locals while you experience a mixture of true ancient culture, exciting dances, and ceremonies as well as the thrilling Bali-after-dark nightlife by going clubbing and getting the full experience of the packed dance floors and signature drinks.
2. Bora Bora, Tahiti Islands
Also known as the Jewel of the South Seas, Bora Bora will blow your mind with the array of blue hues washing up on the sandy shoreline of the lagoon. Intricate and beautiful coral reefs that wrap around the bay as you gaze upon the Mount Otemanu volcano from your luxury over-water bungalow stretching out into the sea which is fitted with glass bottom floors to truly see and experience the beauty of the underwater aquatic lifecycle.
Bora Bora is truly a Tahitian getaway. The island offers everything from ocean activities to native island dancers and stunning exotic landscapes from mountain peaks to lush forestation. Learn more about the culture that has existed since 700AD for example eel worshipping. Huahine, known as the Garden Island traces a line around the island that includes both delicate moving waves that refuse to harm the stunning white shoreline of the sandy white beaches as well as the mountain ridge that is covered with lush vegetation.
3. Big Island, Hawaii
The only known place on earth to consist of 10 of the 14 Climate zones in such a small area and is also home to the biggest and most active Volcano – The Kīlauea volcano – in all of the Hawaiian Islands. Due to there being so much to do on this island it is almost impossible to fit everything into one trip, so plan accordingly on what you want to do.
This island received its name out of pure truth: it is the largest island in the United States with a surface area of approximately 10,433 square kilometers with over 200,000 people living on the island it’s no wonder it’s called the big one. Experience the Akaka Falls at Hapuna Beach Park and gaze at the vibrant tropics of the wetlands of the island forest. The Big Island is also the home to the highest lake in the USA Lake Waiau. With so much wildlife, forestation, waterfalls, and exciting activities offered it’s no wonder people flock to these islands and why they’re so popular. Definitely, one for the bucket list to end all bucket lists!
4. Hvar, Croatia
In 2008 the ruins of Stari Grad Plain became a UNESCO World Heritage site with the town of Hvar and its thirteenth-century walls surrounding the picturesque red-tiled roof architecture. Stari Grad has gained the reputation of being one of the world’s oldest towns in Croatia and it’s no wonder due to it being first colonized in 384BC by the Greeks being previously known as Pharos.
It boasts its lavender fields and vast vineyards, that offer hours of sightseeing entertainment and photo opportunities. Travel to the Adriatic and make a day out of exploring the sea caves, snorkel with exotic fish, and take strolls on their secret sandy beaches. There are several luxury resorts that exude glamour and sophistication by adding a wonderful blend of old and new age mediums to appease a traveler of any caliber. It is the perfect place for travelers to relax and recharge not only with their lavish services but also with the therapeutic scenery.
5. The Seychelles
Located in East Africa, Seychelles can be described as an archipelago of over 110 islands that is home to rain forests, several beaches, coral reefs, and even have nature reserves with many rare and exotic wildlife that includes the giant Aldabra tortoise.
Besides being one of the most visited islands of celebrities (The North Island wink wink) with gigantic boulders decorating the beach, it’s also known as geologists playground where the mid-island formations are made of granite with the archipelago being the oldest on the earth. Visit the Seychelles National Park and experience what true untouched nature can feel like. With so many activities offered it is a perfect blend of a tourist hub and natural conservation destination that will offer something to do for any traveler looking to see something breathtaking.
6. James Bond Island, Southern Thailand
The island is located off Southern Thailand near Phang Nga, which notoriously known for the limestone spikes ascending from the water which is described to look like large column-like rock formations that are slimmer at the bottom and wider at the top. Experience the location of not one but two James Bond movies.
Tour on longtail boats and explore the infamous floating village, sea caves, and lagoons with amazing views of the various shapes and formations that are truly a sight to behold. However take note, there are no longer physical visits allowed anymore in an effort by protection activates of Ao Phang Nga National Park in an effort to slow down the erosion of the limestone rocks due to worries that they might weaken and fall over one day. While you’re there, stay at luxury resorts in Phuket, Khao Lak, or Krabi and enjoy the intense cultural shock that is Thailand.
7. Whitsundays, Australia
See the world’s largest coral reef system, The Great Barrier Reef, located on the Queensland coast, and bear witness to the thousands of exotic fish species, rays, dolphins and so much more when visiting one of Whitsunday’s 74 islands! A large portion of these islands are uninhabited, but four islands do offer accommodations through a Queensland resort experience that will fit with any traveler.
See the beauty from above when going on helicopter tours or go by boat and let your mind be blown by the absolute beauty of the silica sands located at the Whitehaven Beach Hill Inlet that is considered one of the best islands in the world to visit. With hiking trails through dense rainforests experience what nature looks like when not inhabited by humans. Whitsundays offers something for everyone: relaxation at spa resorts, water activities for adrenaline junkies, on the beach and in water activities as well as helicopter rides to see the beautiful island from above.
8. Capri, Italy
How does one even begin to describe in words the absolute Marvel of the Capri Blue Grotto? A long time ago, it was described within Greek Mythology as The Isle of the Sirens. Limestone cliffs decorate the island while electric – spell-casting – blue waves wash over hidden beaches and are considered one of the most famous locations in Italy due to the breathtaking scenery as well as the mythological stories that captivated travelers and locals alike.
Visitors can go to Capri through the port of Marina Grande that will lead them to an extensive uphill climb but not to fear! If you don’t feel like doing that much cardio on your vacation you can make the trip with a car, bus, or taxi. For the most breathtaking view of the island take a hike up to Emperor Tiberius’ Villa Jovis. This beach has in all ways earned its reputation as one of the most beautiful places in the world – even the Romans said so!
9. Santorini, Greece
This is the island where screensavers were born. The iconic white and blue structures are so recognizable that even people who have never traveled before would know where this island is. Allegedly the home and origin of Atlantis, the crystal-clear beaches surround the hillside town that overlooks the Aegean Sea bringing sigh awe to the heart of even the most seasoned traveler.
There is no way to describe this beautiful location, you’re welcome to try but it might just seem impossible to do when standing there and taking everything in. Go for volcano walks and swim in the warm springs, fly by helicopter, experience the sunset in Oia, and let this amazing destination wash away all of the woes caused by modern inconveniences.
Remember the Tom Hanks Classic movie Cast Away? The Island chain of Mamanuca is where that movie was made. Blue Lagoon in 1980? That too! This island is every filmmaker’s dream come true with its rivers, reefs, and mountain range. There are over 300 islands in Fiji to discover and explore the vast wildlife of both land and sea. Discover underwater shipwrecks while diving through water so clear you’ll think it’s being photoshopped right in front of your eyes.
Gaze at the never-ending water-covered horizon in your over-water hut and watch some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Head off to the islands of Taveuni and take part in their many activities such as birdwatching, forest trail hiking and see their famous attraction named “The Island Garden”. The surrounding Ruby fields and churches are what the native people of Fiji pride themselves on and will welcome tourists with open arms. Fiji truly is a blue paradise.
11. The Maldives
Located in the Southern region of Asia, The Maldives is known for being the home of more than 1,192 islands and 75 over-water bungalow resorts to enjoy. The island paints a picture of the Indian Ocean like no other. It is spread out over 820km and 130km in width and is described to be shaped as atolls meaning they form an enclosed circular shape that could be closed off in certain areas.
They’ve incorporated window floors into their over-water bungalow rooms so that even when you’re chilling in your home away from home floating villa you get to be enchanted by the amazing marine life. To get there tourists must make use of seaplanes or boat rides after landing at the Velana International Airport but it is well worth the journey when gazing upon crystal clear water with near-perfect views of the coral reefs that surround the island.
12. St. Lucia, Caribbean
St Lucia is a sovereign island country with so much history between the British and French colonies fighting for control throughout hundreds of years but after a long battle for power, it finally became independent in 1979. It is also known as “The Helen of the West Indies” after Helen of Troy, a character represented in Greek Mythology.
Visit the island’s most famous resort the Jade Mountain, where you’re able to experience mineral-rich mud baths, explore the hauntingly scarily ruins of the sugar estates, hike through the lush jungle or just chill with a signature drink and watch a stunning sunset on their beautiful white beaches. Experience “The best view in the Caribbean” according to Oliver Smith of the Telegraph Uk at The Pitons, a pair of irregular volcanic peaks that will blow your mind or go to Sugar Beach that is a 739-meter sheer rock wall with a white sandy beach and a thick forest at its back. With so much to do and see, this is certainly one to explore in all its glory.
13. Paxos, Greece
Explore this signature small Ionian island – that is only reachable by boat – and embark on a sightseeing journey that will turn Greece pictured in your mind into something real. Experience how the villagers of this small quiet island live their everyday lives and even hear tales of mythology about how the Island came to be thanks to the Greek god Poseidon and his trident, view and enjoy the stone villas, smell the cypress trees in the air and feel Paxos.
Witness the 40 sea caves, sheer cliffs, and rock formations in all their natural glory on the western coast, or take an excursion trip to one of the neighboring islands such as Antipaxos that is so stunning it can give the Caribbean a run for its money.
14. Guadeloupe, Caribbean
With five main islands, 200+ beaches visit the Pearl of the French-speaking Caribbean. Known for its variety of shades of beaches including black, pink, red, and white sandy shores. Marvel at the volcanoes as they tower over the Basse-Terre’s tropical forest or visit the UNESCO biosphere since 1993, the Grand-Cul-de-Sac Marin bay.
Further, you have a vast option to go island hopping to discover gems such as the Marie-Galante’s rum estate, the 900-foot plateau in La Desirade and so much more. This is an attractive spot for French travelers as it’s not well known making it less of a tourist hot spot and budget-friendly, sometimes the lesser-known places are the ones who surprise you the most.
15. Saint Martin, Caribbean
This island is part of the leeward islands of the Caribbean sea, what is interesting is the island is split into two different countries. The Dutch side (Saint Martin) is on the Southern part of the island where the French (Sint Maarten) side is on the Northern side of the island. So when traveling between sides be ready to be fully confused and in awe at how one island can be so completely different in the people who live there (and how they operate), the architecture, the food, and culture.
Both offering amazing beach resorts and activities and even dare to bare it all on the French nude beach, Orient Beach. Another famous attraction of this island is that the airport is directly in front of the beach. Many tourist flocks there to stand at the gates and feel the jet engine winds blow them away – no joke, some people cannot handle the sheer power the jets produce and they fall over but even though it’s not promoted or encouraged it’s still one of the adventurist activities tourists enjoy.
16. Cook Islands
Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of ukuleles being played by locals dressed in their local attire called the Pareus as you sip drinks on beautiful white beaches decorated with dancing palm trees as tall as houses. Cook Island is found in the South Pacific with 20,000 locals that can be walked from side to side in a day with a distance of 32km.
This island is where you come for romance and intimacy and is a recommended honeymoon destination. Hop to Rarotonga Island and enjoy a mountain safari, visit the turquoise lagoons or book a stay in a floating bungalow in Aitutaki and just enjoy the magic of the natural beauty of this island and everything it offers. Spend all day in the crystal water by snorkeling or diving and be entranced by the astonishingly vibrant aquatic wildlife or visit the local markets where you can find just about any memento you can think of.
17. Moorea, French Polynesia
The island formed as a volcano approximately 2.5 million years ago which had geologists flocking to investigate creating the Society of Archipelago. This created interest in the island and it became an instant hit with the tourism industry. Imagine relaxing on crystal clear beaches with an ice-cold coconut drink surrounded by enormous volcano mountains and the clearest of waters and breathe in the tranquillity of Moorea island which means “The Yellow Lizard“ In Tahitian.
Explore the stunning fishing villages and you munch on freshly caught tuna, tropical fruit and visit the beautiful white churches all within a 60km trip and experience true Tahitian culture as this island is only a 30min Catamaran ride away from Tahiti itself. There are many ferries that travel to and from the island to Pepeete across the lagoon and it passes through Mo’oreas coral pass making for a breath-taking view as you travel. According to The Frommer’s Travel Guide, the author Arthur Frommer said: “that he believed this was the world’s most beautiful island.”
18. Jamaica, Caribbean
Jamaica is one of the most well-known Caribbean islands around the world, with its diverse ethnic history and featuring cultures of African, Spanish, English, and Asian there is something for every traveler to relate to. It has a warm climate year-round making it the perfect vacation destination any time of the year. Even though it has a reputation to have some dangerous areas, the locals work their hardest to make sure tourists are safe and have an excellent experience.
Visit Montego Bay and experience British-colonial architecture in all its glory as you explore and enjoy the picturesque reef-lined beaches. Rainforests and lush green mountain ranges. Immerse yourself in the home of reggae music as you tour Kingston, the Capital of Jamaica, and also the home of the world-famous singer Bob Marley where you can also visit the Bob Marley Museum to learn all about life and accomplishments by the famous artist.
19. Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
Located on the edge of the Indian Ocean at the Andaman sea off the west coast of Southern Thailand this island is divided into two main groups: Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh. It was hit, in 2004, by a large tsunami that created extensive damage to the infrastructure of the island and devastated the world when 850 people tragically lost their lives. Today, a tsunami warning system has been installed and the reconstruction of the tourism industry has been completed making it a safe environment for tourists and locals alike.
It offers a wide variety of wildlife and vegetation that is truly glorious to behold and is perfect for the adventurist nature-loving traveler. Surrounded by both rocky and forest landscapes take a tour with a local islander to explore and see exotic birds, monkeys, and even snakes in their natural habitat! Koh Phi Phi Leh was also the site where the famous movie by actor Leonardo Di Caprio The Beach was filmed.
20. Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Located in the Hauraki Gulf which is the second-largest isle in the world, after The Great Barrier Reef. It has a population of over 9000 locals as well as thousands of residents from other countries who have purchased real-estate as holiday homes.
This island is known for its heavenly vineyards and olive groves this island is only a 30 min ferry away from Auckland. Explore the beaches, learn how to fly with their forest zip-line adventure trips or hike along the edges of the cliff, and at the end of the day indulge your taste buds with a mouth-watering dinner and wine tasting at some of their most famous vineyards. This island is ideal for travelers wanting to experience the adventure as well as appreciate its stunning views.
20 of the most beautiful islands
Picking just 20 of the most beautiful islands to add to your traveler’s bucket list is no easy task as there are so many to choose from so do your research, find a place that speaks to you and make the most out of these stunning landscapes because these treasures are worth every moment, every memory they’ll make and broaden your idea of how special and beautiful our planet truly is.