Paradise Found: 10 Best Islands To Visit in 2024

Ibiza skyline on a beautiful summer day

There’s an unmistakable allure about an island getaway. Think about it: If someone asks us to close our eyes and picture paradise, most of us immediately transport ourselves to a desert island. Whether it’s a romantic escape or an exhilarating expedition, islands are the Eden of our imagination.

From tropical havens to wild islands shrouded in folklore and sun-kissed retreats to ancient enclaves studded with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the best islands offer an array of unforgettable adventures. Get inspired with our guide to the most alluring islands to visit.

Which of these 10 best islands to visit will be your next trip?

1. Tenerife

The greenest of all the Canary Islands, Tenerife has beautiful weather all year round, thanks in no small part to its location. Nestled in the Mediterranean, between the east coast of Spain and the west coast of Africa, its subtropical climate makes it a wonderful spring and summer destination. However, it’s still beautiful to visit in winter — Tenerife weather in February is glorious, around 73°F (23°C), perfect for those looking for a sunny winter getaway!

This little island packs diverse things to do, from sun-kissed beaches and majestic mountains to excellent museums and a vibrant nightlife scene. Highlights include the dramatic mountain peak and Teide, where you can take the cable car or go hiking to reach the summit. Curious explorers should check out the Cueva del Viento, Europe’s largest lava tube system. For thrills and spills, head to Siam Park, one of the world’s best water parks.

Advice: Renting a car in Tenerife is super cheap and makes it easy to explore the best places on the island.

2. Mauritius

Mauritius is a veritable paradise island that conjures up a sense of serenity like few other places on Earth. It’s a quintessential tropical island characterized by sugary sands and turquoise waters, swaying palms, and lush, mountainous landscapes. With average temperatures of about 77°F (25°C) during summer and 70°F (21°C) during winter, its sensational climate makes it an enticing destination at any time of year.

This oasis is replete with all kinds of mesmerizing features to explore. Head to Le Morne Brabant Mountain, a UNESCO Heritage Site full of hidden caves, wander around the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Gardens, one of the finest of its kind in the world, and explore the epic expanse of Black River Gorges National Park, where you’ll see many endemic plants and animals such as the Mauritian flying fox. Well, that’s when you’re not soaking up the sun on some of the finest beaches around.

Advice: Don’t miss Mauritian street food – it’s delicious! You’ll find food trucks serving Indian, African, Chinese, and Creole dishes all over the island.

3. Ibiza

Perhaps the most eclectic island in the world, Ibiza is one of Spain’s Balearic islands — part hedonistic idyll, part hippie hideaway, part traditional Mediterranean enclave. There’s something here for everyone: from historical wonders that include the best-preserved fortress in the Mediterranean to larger-than-life nightclubs, idyllic beaches, and charming little towns.

It’s among the world’s most vibrant destinations during the high season in the west and southeast. During the autumn and winter, with mild temperatures and plenty of sun, it makes for a delightful getaway. Ibiza’s kaleidoscope of cultures means that there’s always something to do, and the island has recently seen an array of emerging wellness retreats and luxury boutiques, perfect for those looking for a bit of R&R.

Advice: Don’t miss Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s old town district and a UNESCO site. It has charming streets, quirky bars, cozy cafes, and outstanding galleries.

4. Skye

While many look to sun-drenched tropical islands, the Isle of Skye retains a special place in the hearts of many intrepid travelers. That’s because its blend of rugged mountains, rolling hills, and dramatic seascapes gives it a certain allure unlike anywhere else on Earth.

Take a dip in the vivid aqua blue of the Fairy Pools, a stunning series of cascading waterfalls on the northern slopes of the Black Cullin range. Head to the top of the Fairy Glen, a unique landscape of grassy hills and enigmatic stone circles with cinematic views over the island and the sea. And don’t miss the exquisite local cuisine —  notably smoked salmon —  at any of the island’s many enchanting pubs and inns.

Advice: Download a map of the island before you venture out. Due to its remote location, connecting to the internet via data can be tricky.

5. The Galápagos Islands

A nature lover’s paradise! When it comes to fabulous fauna and flora, few islands can hold a candle to these. Okay, they’re technically a collection of nine islands, including Baltra, Santa Cruz, Isabela, and Fernandina — but they still make our list of the best islands in the world due to the sheer abundance of wildlife exclusive to them.

From giant tortoises on Isabela to marine iguanas on Fernandina, you’ll get up close to an array of stunning species here, many of which have evolved completely separately from the rest of the world. The island is a popular diving destination, and snorkeling is a must when visiting, either through an expert-led tour or by renting equipment and exploring the depths on your own.

Advice: When snorkeling, seek out the native sea lions. They’re playful, curious creatures known as “puppies of the sea”!

6. Sardinia

Sardinia is the epitome of old-school Italian charm, a magnificent medley of blissful beaches, ancient wonders, and sensational cuisine. The sun-kissed island has a typically Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild winters, making it a great destination all year round. Beautiful beaches, historic monuments, dazzling coves, and some of the best food in the world are just some of the reasons this island should be at the top of your travel list.

The old citadel of Alghero is pure honey-toned romance, with cobblestone streets, the island’s best beaches, and sultry sunsets. Then there are astonishing natural wonders like Capo Testa, where rocky coastal trails cascade down to enigmatic coves, and Gola di Gorropu, where dramatic canyons overlook crystal-clear rock pools.

Advice: Sardinia is deceptively big. It’s the second-largest island in the Mediterranean, so renting a car is advised.

7. Antigua

A popular Caribbean island destination, Antigua is a beach bum’s dream. The island has a stunning 365 beaches — a beach for every day, as the locals say. However, it’s not all about golden sands, swaying palms, and cerulean seas. Further inland, you’ll discover lush jungles and fertile valleys, where epic hikes, canopy trails, and adrenaline-fuelled zipline adventures await.

Perhaps it’s along the seascapes that Antigua truly enchants, with bluffs and bays, clifftops, and coves that truly take the breath away. Soak up the sun on secluded beaches, dive into the depths, swim with stingrays, and drink rum punch with locals. Whatever you choose to do in Antigua, one thing’s for sure: you’ll be in utter heaven.

Advice: Avoid traveling to Antigua between August and October. There’s a high risk of hurricanes during this period.

8. Sri Lanka

Known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is among the finest islands on the planet for all-round adventures and the diversity of its landscapes. Dense jungles with half-forgotten temples and monasteries, vast waterways that shimmer in the dusky glow of the sun setting over jagged mountains, and incredible wildlife encounters are just some of the wonders that await on this enigmatic island.

Sri Lanka is home to a staggering eight UNESCO Sites, including the Sacred City of Kandy, a famous pilgrimage site, and Sigiriya, a network of ruins built atop a monumental rock plateau. Towering some 650 feet (200 meters) over the surrounding jungle, the rock was formed from the magma of an extinct volcano, with the citadel built around the year 480 AD. The blend of scenic beauty and ancient human invention is mesmerizing.

Advice: Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, is vibrant, but don’t expect to hit the bars on a full moon day. These are religious holidays known as Poya in Sri Lanka, on which the sale of alcohol is prohibited.

9. Santorini

One of the world’s most romantic destinations, Santorini is the picture postcard definition of a Greek island paradise. Skirting the perimeter of a caldera, a vast cauldron-like hollow formed following a volcanic eruption in the 16th century, it’s famous for its rugged landscape, sapphire waters, and immaculately whitewashed houses built into the cliffs. Santorini’s twin towns, Fira and Oia, overlook golden beaches and secluded coves out towards the endless blue of the Aegean Sea.

For all its vintage glamour, Santorini is an island that rewards those who look beyond its exquisite façade. You could spend weeks exploring the coastline, from kayaking expeditions to long lazy days on the island’s sublime beaches.

Further inland, away from the drama of its coastline, you’ll find charming villages and vineyards, ruins, and crumbling churches. Getting lost in Fira and Oia’s mazy streets is a joy, stopping for authentic Greek delicacies and sampling the incredible wine. If serenity is what you’re looking for, this is the place.

Advice: The ancient city of Akrotiri is a must for history buffs.

10. Jersey

Jersey is an excellent travel destination for intrepid travelers with an adventurous spirit. Located in the English Channel, it’s a unique blend of quintessential Britishness and continental flair, an island escape with its own charm. You’ll find diverse wildlife, including Atlantic puffins, red squirrels, and green lizards on land, with wild dolphins regularly spotted frolicking in the sea and a landscape that includes rolling green hills, spectacular coves, and winding coastal trails.

Regularly named the sunniest place in the British Isles, Jersey’s unspoiled beaches are known for their abundant watersports activities, from kayaking and windsurfing to snorkeling and coasteering.

Advice: Those with a curious mind shouldn’t miss exploring Jersey’s mysterious cave system, formed over 1.5 million years ago.

The 10 Best Islands to Add to Your Bucket List

No matter which of these top ten islands you choose, you really can’t go wrong!

Want to find out more about our number 1 pick? Check out our insider advice on things to do in Tenerife to get the best out of your trip to this idyllic Mediterranean island.

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Since founding Greedy Gourmet in 2007, Michelle Minnaar has established herself as a distinguished food and travel blogger, recognized for her insightful culinary narratives and photography. Her work, celebrated in MSN and other major publications, showcases a dedication to bringing global flavors and travel tales to a wide audience.

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