Isn’t it about time for a tropical getaway? If your idea of an island vacation includes more solitude and local eats than Insta-famous landmarks, this list will make you want to book a flight! Are you ready to see not-so-often-traveled island destinations of the world?
Fernando De Noronha, Brazil
Fernando de Noronha is a string of over a dozen volcanic islands off the coast of Brazil. Sea turtles and dolphins are native to the island chain’s crystalline waters. You can go scuba diving, hike on the volcanic mountains, or ride a dune buggy over the scenic terrain as the locals do. These islands have a serious rainy season, so plan your trip from January to August to avoid rain on your parade. Plenty of well-reviewed hotels with breathtaking balconies offers a balanced blend of modern conveniences and local architecture.
The Azores, Portugal
The Azores are a Portugese archipelago. The weather is best in the summer months, but some travelers recommend visiting during the rainy season for a cheaper vacation. Nature is the highlight of this destination. Lagoa do Fogo (Portugues for Lake of Fire) is a crater lake that looks like a utopian sci-fi movie. Mount Pico is a dormant volcano you can hike to get a bird’s eye view of the verdant wonders of the islands. These islands boast plenty of unique bed and breakfast and vacation rental style accommodations and more traditional hotels.
Travel pros know that spring and early fall are the best times for bearable temperatures and inexpensive flights to Kauai. This lesser-known Hawaiian island has ziplining, boating, plane, and even Hollywood tours. (A surprising number of movies were filmed on the island— think Jurassic Park.) For people who love the tropics but hate the crowds, Kauai also offers a variety of quiet, isolated beaches. The Hiltons and Hyatts on the island offer plenty of island-themed hotels with enough amenities to tempt you to stay inside, but we encourage you to have at least one adventure.
Lofoten Island, Norway
According to travel bloggers, locals really roll out the red carpet for tourists in the summer, but the winter wonders of Scandinavia (think the Northern Lights) are on full display in the winter. Locals love to hike the mountains of the Lofoten Islands. In the summer, you can roam the rocky beaches and surf. Many locals make a living by fishing, and you can get an authentic experience by booking a stay in a Rorbu, a traditional fishing cabin, just like a fisherman.
Egadi Islands, Italy
The early summer months are the best time to visit the Egadi Islands. You can live the local life by staying in one of many traditional Sicilian-village-style bed and breakfasts. Most tourists make time to stay on each of the islands in the archipelago for a day or two, and you’ll be sure to enjoy the characteristic blue-green waters as you travel. People on these islands still follow the centuries-old traditions of making a living through tuna fishing and farming. You can definitely find some lesser-known Italian cuisine in restaurants here.
Nevis of St. Kitts and Nevis
May and June are the cheapest months to visit Nevis, one of two islands that together make up the island country of the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis. This not-so-often-traveled Caribbean island has plenty of non-chain resorts offering up luxury and local charm. There are reasonably priced hiking and boating tours that will take you around to some lesser known island spots, where you’ll get to take in the silver beaches, coral reefs that surround the island, and scenic nature spots. It can’t be said enough that this place is beautiful. Come here to enjoy some of Earth’s most stunning sights unmarred by beach umbrellas.
Currently the island is requiring that all visitors be vaccinated. Be sure to take a look at the local Covid guidelines before planning your trip.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing that Croatia has islands, but you can’t be forgiven for passing up a trip to Brač. With white pebbled beaches, striking limestone, and a rich history that stretches back to the Neolithic age, this island in the Adriatic Sea offers a different take on beach life. It’s the largest of the Dalmatian Islands, and it even has its own airport, which makes getting on and off the island easy. But it’s also just a quick ferry ride away from Split, giving travelers lots of transportation options.
Brač’s main attractions include its beaches, You can hike mountains, visit monasteries, and go windsurfing. A visit to Brac would not be complete without walking the length of the Golden Horn, where a picturesque strip of sand meets the sea. Brač is home to several unique local hotels that fold the area’s rich history into your stay.
To beat the heat (and the other tourists,) March to May is the best time to visit Mallorca. This large island boasts beaches, mountains, and sprawling countryside all in one location. Many travelers recommend spending separate sections of your trip exploring different parts of the scenic Mediterranean island. The North Coast is the island’s best-kept secret that hordes of tourists haven’t found yet. Here, you have hotels and even hostels with that authentic local look. If you venture up north we recommend checking out the underground caves at Campanet.
Phuket can add a little heat to your next winter vacation because November to April is the ideal time to visit the hidden gem of Thailand. The stunning aquamarine water of the Andaman Sea contrasts with the towering limestone cliffs and sugar-white sands. This tropical paradise is known for its low prices, lavish accommodations and amazing cuisine.
The island of Phuket has Phuket Town and several beaches, each with its own unique features. Although there are some resorts, they look a lot more like the traditional housing in Phuket. Nai Harn Beach is one of the more secluded options favored by locals, and isn’t quite as populated with the amount of resorts and nightlife common on other parts of the island.
Glittering seas, colorful black and red sandy beaches and a fiery history make Santorini a favorite island location for travelers around the world. Some people think that this is where the mythical Atlantis once stood. Others just love the white-washed architecture, relaxed atmosphere and breathtaking views. In addition to hitting the beautiful beaches, top activities here include taking the hiking to Ancient Thera or Akrotiri, island hopping throughout the archipelago and enjoying the fresh cuisine.