Somehow, islands have become many people’s idea of paradise. Maybe it has something to do with how shut-off from the rest of the world they are, or maybe it’s the slow pace of life. This year, step outside of your comfort zone and explore these “seven best islands”, which are a little under the radar.
1. Pico, Portugal
Pico is a small island in the Azores islands that belongs to Portugal. Only a four and a half hour flight from the East Coast of the United States, Pico is like stepping back in time to Portugal 50 years ago. The stunning architecture of the small villages, vast wine vineyards – it’s like a little slice of heaven that many have never heard of.
2. St. Helena, United Kingdom
St. Helena is owned by the United Kingdom but is off the coast of South Africa. It has been one of the most remote islands in the world until this year, when their new airport opened. Once upon a time, you could only reach the island by a postal mail ship from South Africa that took up to four days to get to the island. It’s a nature lover’s paradise and a destination where you can kick back and truly relax in peace and quiet.
3. Guadeloupe, France
This lush island in the Caribbean has been known to the French forever, but not to many Americans. With beautiful rainforests, cacao and coffee plantations, as well as stunning beaches, it’s perfect for anyone looking for a little rest, relaxation and charm.
4. Taha’a, French Polynesia
The “vanilla island” in the South Pacific is small, quiet and known for pearls and vanilla. It is much less frequented than nearby Bora Bora. Spend your days snorkeling through the crystal clear waters or searching for dolphins in your kayak.
5. Jeju, Korea
Jeju is a sub-tropical island just south of South Korea. It is known for its beautiful forests, waterfalls and farm hotels. Here you can reconnect with nature and yourself, all while taking-in the local culture.
Although Iceland is no secret, its Northern stretches of land are less explored and prime for visitors. Glaciers, mountains and fjords make it an amazing place for natural scenery, fresh seafood and fresh air.
This small island chain in the Mediterranean, south of Sicily and off the coast of Tunisia, has been conquered and influenced by everyone from the Turkish to the British to the Italians. The modern-day result of this is an interesting culture with a host of customs and traditions that exist nowhere else. History lovers will be in heaven, as crystal clear waters lap against the rocky shores. Malta is also known as one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world.