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Top 10 islands in the world

Popular travel review site TripAdvisor has come out with the results of its annual Travellers’ Choice® awards. Among them are the awards for the best islands in the world. Wonder which ones made the top 10, according to the opionions of TripAdvisor readers? Then read on… 1. Ambergris Caye, Belize Cayes For the second year in a row, Ambergris Caye takes top honours. The beautiful Belize island offers the perfect blend of modern development and laid-back tranquillity. A mangrove swamp is the eye of this white beach island, the largest in Belize, and golf carts are the main form of transportation along the sandy roads. Reef divers drool over the Belize Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole, a 400-feet deep circle of limestone that teems with angelfish, elkhorn coral, cleaner shrimp and stalactites. Ambergris Caye 2. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Scuba diving, horseback riding, sunbathing… take your pick. “Provo” offers plenty for the happy couple to do, including picture-perfect coastlines to walk along, hand in hand. The island itself is relatively tranquil; try Malcolm Beach to get even further away from crowds. 3. Bora Bora, Society Islands The relatively small island of Bora Bora is an activity giant, offering visitors the chance to experience a 4×4 safari, sunbathe and swim at white sandy beaches, dive in a natural underwater park among fish and corals, experience thrilling shark feedings, or circle the turquoise lagoon by boat. And Bora Bora is a superlative romantic spot. Fall captive to this lush gem of a Polynesian island by sharing an intimate midnight dinner on the beach; visiting the Lagoonarium, the Diving Centre, the Coral Gardens or the Leopard Rays Trench; or taking it all in from the lofty heights of 2,300-foot Mount Otemanu. Bora Bora 4. Marco Island, Florida Marco Island is the perfect destination for those who crave a peaceful retreat but don’t have time to travel too far off the grid. The jewel of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island’s soft white beaches overlook the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Scavenge for seashells or hit the links for a sunny session of golf. Explore the Everglades in a swamp buggy or enjoy a rejuvenating nature hike at the Rookery Bay Reserve. 5. Lewis and Harris, Outer Hebrides A visit to Lewis and Harris is like stepping into the pages of a Scottish fairy tale. In Lewis—the northern part of the island – the legendary Callanish Standing Stones poke up from the ground like a strange and massive rock city. The Blackhouse, the Shawbost Norse Mill and Kiln, and the Carloway Broch all offer a peek at what island life used to look like. In southern Harris, the east side beaches boast some of the oldest known rocks in the world, dating back millions of years. Cruise over to the volcanic islands of St. Kilda to explore the ruins of a medieval village. 6. Naxos, Cyclades A spot of white in the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, the island of Naxos is a unique blend of ancient ruins and beach culture. The largest of the Cycladic Islands, Naxos is the childhood home of none other than Zeus, king of the gods. Upon arrival in Naxos, hike over a causeway to Palatia, where the Portara, a stone gateway to an ancient temple that no longer exists, stands alone, the symbol of the island. At sunset, the views of the island, and the sea beyond, are breathtaking. Naxos 7. Aitutaki, Southern Cook Islands This small island encased in a triangular barrier reef boasts incredible lagoons. Relax with a intimate picnic on the alabaster beach of one of Aitutaki’s minor islands, uninhabited and lined with swaying palm trees. Despite its heartbreaking beauty, Aitutaki isn’t (yet) flooded with tourists, due to its relatively difficult-to-reach location. For off-the-beaten-sandbar holiday-making, Aitutaki is a prime destination, especially for those seeking unbridled romantic ambiance. 8. Nosy Be, Antsiranana Province “Nosy Be?” Is that a typo for “Noisy Bee?” Nope. It means “big island” and it is just that; a large island off the northwest coast of Madagascar. Here you’ll find volcanic lakes, lazy lemurs, rum distilleries, Ylang Ylang plantations and intricate coral reefs that are practically begging to be explored. Flora and fauna lovers will be in seventh heaven at the beautiful Lokobe Nature Special Reserve. Audiophiles should visit in May, to experience the four-day Donia Music Festival. 9. Easter Island, Chile Located in the South Pacific more than 2,000 miles off the Chilean coast, Easter Island’s not the easiest place to reach. (If you’re interested, the easiest access is by air from Santiago or Tahiti.) But isolation has helped preserve the 1,500-year-old mysterious congregation of volcanic rock sculptures (maoi) that’s the island’s biggest claim to fame. After exploring the unique landscape, relax on an uncrowded beach and ponder one of the most mysterious places on Earth. Easter Island 10. Ko Tao, Surat Thani Province Drifting serenely in the Gulf of Thailand, the palm-fringed island of Ko Tao takes its name from the abundant sea turtles that reside on its shores. White sand beaches sheltered by steep hills – some only accessible with four-wheel drive vehicles – and 300 days of sun per year invite long afternoons of lounging. Do you agree with this selection or are there other islands that you think are more deserving of making the top 10?

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. A small island in the middle of Indian Ocean : Rangali Island, Maldives, hosting one of the best resort worldwide, the Conrad Rangali. Review available on The Luxe Insider

  2. There a great country named Cuba which is the largest island in the Caribbean. With over 11 million inhabitants Cuba is a multiethnic country, its people, culture, and customs derive from diverse origins. You can find luxury there too.

  3. I am surprised that Maldives is not in the list. Malaysia has got some really good islands too, islands like Pulau Redang, Pulau Tioman, Pulau Kapalai are all worth for a visit.

    Simon Lee

  4. A great guide to the top islands, I particularly like the volcanic sculptures on Easter Island. I remember going to Ireland’s Aran Islands aged 7 or so, and the fun of cycling around one where there were no cars at that time.

  5. I agree with Simon Lee about Maldives not being on the list, and also Sri Lanka is also a beautiful island and a wonderful holiday destination with beautiful beaches, ancient sites and a variety of climate.

  6. Stunning choices, I think I would happily visit all. But loving to beat the system, maybe the islands that don’t get voted for are the better ones to visit – for example like Jamaica? Yet to be so densely covered in hotels and still offering exclusivity and something a little different?

    Bora Bora has always struck me as somewhere to find out about – that is where the over water bungalow started out, would be lovely to see the place that wrote the form book!

  7. I recall reading all your great posts about Jamaica, Anna… sounds like you had a great time there.

    As for Bora Bora, I looked at that for our honeymoon 10+ years ago, but the ordeal of getting there kind of put me off on that occasion. It’s such a long way from the UK. From memory then, you had to fly to LA first and then a long flight after that…

    My favourite island is where we went for the latter part of our honeymoon. Look up ‘Mnemba Island’ off the north-east coast of Zanzibar… heavenly! :)

  8. These do all sound lovely but I would like to add a shout out to the islands of the Meditteranean, such as Sardinia, which has some stunning mountain scenery as well as beautiful beaches, a fascintaing culture and superb food.
    Mind you, Ambergris Caye, does sound pretty special and that photograph of Bora, Bora is one of the most inviting images I have seen in a long time!

  9. In general, I prefer vacations where I can go and explore ancient sites or other attractions. However, once it a while it would be nice to just go and relax and get away. These are some nice options for a holiday like that.

  10. Great post. I´m surprised that Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, is not in the list. Cayo Santa María is a beatiful place to visit in the island.

  11. Surprised that Mauritius or the Seychelles aren’t on there. But you did only have a choice of ten.

  12. No Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives or St Lucia.. Hmm – not convinced by the safety of Belize. Pirate central!

  13. I’ve had Bora Bora on the wish-list for a really long time!
    I agree with Kathryn too, Sardinia is a beautiful and very welcoming island, I’ve spent a lot of time there and would always recommend it.
    Great post, definitely something to daydream about while I save up :)

  14. Dominica is a unique Caribbean island which is very pristine and know as the Nature Island of the Caribbean. From the top ten plus some of the readers comments, I don’t know how dangerous locations, high crime and drug related matters would not kick off some island names immediately. A top island must be safe and peaceful to live in and Dominica is that and more…boiling lake, natural hot spas, waterfalls, tons of fruits all over the place, beautiful people, gardens, flowers, craft….

  15. I love to see the lists of the many destinations and enjoy reading about everyone’s own personal favorites.

    I have not personally visited any of the islands on this list but have visited several islands in the Caribbean, Mediteranean and South Pacific.

    I’m glad to see Anna loves Jamaica, I for one will never go back. I’d rather spend my time traveling to Kauai and hitting the beaches for sunrise and sunsets and then hiking the mountains in the mid day.

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