5 Beautiful Islands You Should Visit
1) Santorini, Greece
Santorini, classically Thera, and officially Thira, is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast of Greece’s mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago, which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands. The municipality of Santorini includes the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit.
Take a half-day private tour of Santorini’s most iconic landmarks. See the red & black beaches, Akrotiri lighthouse, and Oia. Explore the picturesque Megalochori village and admire stunning views from the island’s highest point.
- Embrace the best of Oia village with the iconic blue domed churches and the stunning views
- Admire breathtaking views from the island’s highest point at the mountain of Profitis Ilias
- Visit the traditional village of Megalochori and its unique architecture
- Explore Perivolos Black Beach with the crystal clear waters
- Take amazing pictures at the Red Beach and the lighthouse
After hotel pick-up, head to the Prophet Ilias monastery on the island’s highest point to admire a striking view over the entire island. At the traditional village of Megalochori, get involved with the local culture. This settlement is made of hundreds of small white painted houses, tiny alleys, tower bells, and beautiful blue-domed churches.
Head south and relax at Perivolos Black Beach. Swim in crystal clear waters and optionally enjoy lunch at a seaside restaurant. Visit the Red Beach, and take amazing pictures of the volcanic landscape and steep cliffs.
At the very southwest point of the island, visit the lighthouse for unique sunset viewpoints. Built by a French company in 1882, it is considered one of the most beautiful of the Cycladic Islands. Stop at Oia village, one of the most photographed places in Greece, for spectacular views and blue-domed churches.
2) Maui, Hawaii
Maui is an island in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian archipelago. Sprawling Haleakala National Park encompasses the island’s highest peak, volcanic Haleakala, as well as the pools and waterfalls of Ohe’o Gulch, accessed via scenic, winding Hana Highway. The island’s 30 miles of beaches include golden-crescent Kapalua, sheltered from strong currents by lava-rock promontories.
Maui, known also as “The Valley Isle,” is the second largest Hawaiian island. The island beloved for its world-famous beaches, the sacred Iao Valley, views of migrating humpback whales (during winter months), farm-to-table cuisine and the magnificent sunrise and sunset from Haleakala. It’s not surprising Maui has been voted “Best Island in the U.S.” by Condé Nast Traveler readers for more than 20 years.
Native Hawaiian tradition gives the origin of the island’s name in the legend of Hawaiʻiloa, the navigator credited with discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. According to it, Hawaiʻiloa named the island after his son, who in turn was named for the demigod Māui. The earlier name of Maui was ʻIhikapalaumaewa. The Island of Maui is also called the “Valley Isle” for the large isthmus separating its northwestern and southeastern volcanic masses.
The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands and is the 17th largest island in the United States. Maui is part of the State of Hawaii and is the largest of Maui County’s four islands, which include Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, and unpopulated Kahoʻolawe.
The big tourist spots in Maui include the Hāna Highway, Haleakalā National Park, Iao Valley, and Lahaina.
The Hāna Highway runs along the east coast of Maui, curving around mountains and passing by black sand beaches and waterfalls. Haleakalā National Park is home to Haleakalā, a dormant volcano. Snorkeling can be done at almost any beach along the Maui coast. Surfing and windsurfing are also popular on Maui.
The main tourist areas are West Maui (Kāʻanapali, Lahaina, Nāpili-Honokōwai, Kahana, Napili, Kapalua) and South Maui (Kīhei, Wailea-Mākena). The main port of call for cruise ships is located in Kahului. There are also smaller ports located at Lahaina Harbor (located in Lahaina) and Maʻalaea Harbor (located between Lahaina and Kihei). Lahaina is one of the main attractions on the island with an entire street of shops and restaurants which leads to a wharf where many set out for a sunset cruise or whale watching journey. Known locally as Lahainatown, it has a long and diverse history from its Hawaiian population beginnings to the arrival of travelers and settlers and its use as a significant whaling port.
Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities on Maui, with over 30 beaches and bays to snorkel at around the island. Maui’s trade winds tend to come in from the northeast, making the most popular places to snorkel on the south and west shores of Maui. Having many mountains on Maui helps with the trade winds not being able to reach the beaches located on the south and west of the island, making the ocean water very clear.
Maui is a well known destination for windsurfing. Kanaha Beach Park is a very well-known windsurfing spot and may have stand-up paddle boarders or surfers if there are waves and no wind. Windsurfing has evolved on Maui since the early 1980s when it was recognized as an ideal location to test equipment and publicize the sport.
One of the most popular sports in Hawaii. Ho’okipa Beach Park is one of Maui’s most famous surfing and windsurfing spots. Other famous or frequently surfed areas include Slaughterhouse Beach, Honolua Bay, Pe’ahi (Jaws), and Fleming Beach. The north side of Maui absorbs the most swell during the winter season and the south and west in the summer time. Due to island blocking, summer south swells tend to be weak and rare.
Kiteboarding and kitesurfing
One of the newest sports on Maui is Kiteboarding/Surfing. Kanaha Beach Park is where beginner, intermediate and advanced Kiters gather. It is known as Kite Beach. Kiters share the water with Windsurfers who have dominated the area since the early 1980s. Since 2008 there has been an explosion in the number of Kiters mostly due to advances in equipment and safety.
Bali is an Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. The island is home to religious sites such as cliffside Uluwatu Temple. To the south, the beachside city of Kuta has lively bars, while Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua are popular resort towns. The island is also known for its yoga and meditation retreats.
Bali is a province of Indonesia and the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. East of Java and west of Lombok, the province includes the island of Bali and a few smaller neighbouring islands, notably Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan. The provincial capital, Denpasar, is the most populous city in the Lesser Sunda Islands and the second-largest, after Makassar, in Eastern Indonesia. The upland town of Ubud is considered Bali’s cultural centre. The province is Indonesia’s main tourist destination, with a significant rise in tourism since the 1980s. Tourism-related business makes up 80% of its economy.
Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species especially fish and turtles. In this area alone, over 500 reef-building coral species can be found. For comparison, this is about seven times as many as in the entire Caribbean. Bali is the home of the Subak irrigation system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also home to a unified confederation of kingdoms composed of 10 traditional royal Balinese houses, each house ruling a specific geographic area. The confederation is the successor of the Bali Kingdom. The royal houses are not recognised by the government of Indonesia; however, they originated before Dutch colonisation.
The best time to visit Bali is between April and October, the island’s dry season. Bali experiences only two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. Throughout the year, the daytime temps hover between the mid-80s and low 90s, with only the humidity and precipitation patterns changing.
Maldives officially the Republic of Maldives, is a small archipelagic state in South Asia situated in the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 700 kilometres (430 mi) from the Asian continent’s mainland. The chain of 26 atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to Addu Atoll in the south (across the Equator). Comprising a territory spanning roughly 298 square kilometres (115 sq mi), Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed sovereign states as well as the smallest Asian country by land area and, with around 557,426 inhabitants, the 2nd least populous country in Asia. Malé is the capital and the most populated city, traditionally called the “King’s Island” where the ancient royal dynasties ruled for its central location.
The Maldivian Archipelago is located on the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean; this also forms a terrestrial ecoregion, together with the Chagos Archipelago and Lakshadweep. With an average ground-level elevation of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, and a highest natural point of only 5.1 metres (17 ft), it is the world’s lowest-lying country.
Best Times to Visit Maldives
The best time to visit the Maldives is from November to April. The island nation is warm and sunny year-round, but consists of a dry season and a wet, rainy season. There are pros and cons to visiting in each season. Travelers will experience the best weather in the Maldives between November and April, thanks to little precipitation and warm temperatures. Unfortunately, this is also the busiest time of year and, as such, the room rates at resorts are expensive. However, since each resort inhabits its own island, you won’t have to contend with throngs of crowds like you might during the high season in another destination.
May to October is considered the rainy season, with the islands seeing between 5 and 10 inches of precipitation monthly and often strong winds. Visitors will likely find better deals for this time of year (though, the term “deal” is relative, since the Maldives is a pricey location year-round). This time of year is popular with surfers, though, because the area sees bigger waves and better swells for surfing during these months.
This long low season has a lot going for it: Fairly reasonable prices, fewer people at the resorts and optimal surf and scuba conditions are just some of the perks. You’ll encounter some brief periods of heavy rainfall, but storms usually move through the archipelago quickly. And you can expect the Maldives’ standard 80-degree temperatures during the day and night.
- Independence Day (July)
For sunbathers, the Maldives is glorious between December and April. As usual, visitors enjoy the warm, tropical 80s, and rainfall is infrequent during these months. However, the sea life among the reefs is also less plentiful. Plus, room rates are at their peak.
- Victory Day (November)
- Republic Day (November)
- National Day (January)
5) Musha Cay, Bahamas
Musha Cay is surrounded by three smaller islands that maintain its guests’ privacy. There can only be one group of guests, numbering up to twenty-four, at any one time.
The Bahamas known officially as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a country within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies in the Atlantic. It takes up 97% of the Lucayan Archipelago’s land area and is home to 88% of the archipelago’s population. The archipelagic state consists of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, and is located north of Cuba and northwest of the island of Hispaniola (split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and the Turks and Caicos Islands, southeast of the US state of Florida, and east of the Florida Keys. The capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence. The Royal Bahamas Defense Force describes The Bahamas’ territory as encompassing 470,000 km2 (180,000 sq mi) of ocean space.
The Bahama Islands were inhabited by the Lucayans, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taíno, for many centuries. Columbus was the first European to see the islands, making his first landfall in the ‘New World’ in 1492. Later, the Spanish shipped the native Lucayans to and enslaved them on Hispaniola, after which the Bahama islands were mostly deserted from 1513 until 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera.
The Bahamas became a British crown colony in 1718, when the British clamped down on piracy. After the American Revolutionary War, the Crown resettled thousands of American Loyalists to The Bahamas; they took enslaved people with them and established plantations on land grants. African enslaved people and their descendants constituted the majority of the population from this period on. The slave trade was abolished by the British in 1807; slavery in The Bahamas was abolished in 1834. Subsequently, The Bahamas became a haven for freed African slaves. Africans liberated from illegal slave ships were resettled on the islands by the Royal Navy, while some North American slaves and Seminoles escaped to The Bahamas from Florida. Bahamians were even known to recognize the freedom of enslaved people carried by the ships of other nations which reached The Bahamas. Today Afro-Bahamians make up 90% of the population of 332,634.
The country gained governmental independence in 1973 led by Sir Lynden O. Pindling, with Elizabeth II as its queen. In terms of gross domestic product per capita, The Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas (following the United States and Canada), with an economy based on tourism and offshore finance.