Top 25 Most Beautiful Islands In The World

by World's Top Insider

Today we explore the world’s most renowned and remote islands in search of their rich histories, breathtaking landscapes, and intriguing lore.

Join us as we explore the Channel Islands’ dolphins, Socotra Island’s canopy trees, Macquarie Island’s penguin habitat, and the vibrant hues of Hokkaido.

The Island Book is Lonely Planet’s latest collection of the world’s most magnificent islands, and we’ve selected 15 of our favourites for you to check out.

You may find your next great experience on one of these 15 islands, whether you want to kick back and enjoy the beach, learn about the local culture, or marvel at the natural beauty of the island’s undeveloped landscape.


25. Stewart Island/Rakiura New Zealand

  Stewart Island/Rakiura New Zealand

Rakiura (‘Glowing Skies’) in Mori refers to the dazzling aurora australis (Southern Lights) phenomenon that is regularly seen during the colder and longer evenings of a Southern Hemisphere winter and makes Stewart Island a southern anchor for New Zealand.

Rakiura’s tiny population of 400 people is partly responsible for the island’s unspoiled night sky; in 2019, the International Dark Sky Association designated the island as a Dark Sky Sanctuary.

Both Stewart Island/Rakiura and adjoining Ulva Island teem with native New Zealand birds; many species are spotted by outdoor explorers. The island’s compact and resourceful population centres around the Half Moon Bay hamlet of Oban.

24.  Macquarie Island, Australia


Macquarie is one of the most isolated islands in the world, located about midway between Tasmania and Antarctica.

The four million penguins, including over 850,000 breeding pairs of royals, and the hundred thousand seals (mostly elephant seals) are the primary draws (which only raise young here and on the nearby Bishops and Clerks islands).

After the discovery of uninhabited Macquarie in the early 19th century, the wildlife was pretty much wiped out by the beginning of the 20th century, so the fact that these massive colonies have survived is remarkable.

Sealing (for skins) and penguin-hunting (for oil) historically wreaked havoc upon seal and bird populations. In addition to disrupting the natural balance of Macquarie via hunting, whalers and sealers also introduced a wide variety of non-native animals, including horses, donkeys, dogs, cats, mice, rats, rabbits, goats, pigs, pigs, cattle, ducks, chickens, and sheep.

While rodents like rats, mice, and rabbits remain a persistent issue, populations of marine mammals like penguins and seals have increased because of regulatory safeguards enacted beginning in the 1980s.

23.  Kangaroo Island, Australia

Kangaroo Island, Australia

Kangaroo Island (or KI, as locals call it) remains a world-class wildlife and wilderness destination despite being devastated by fire in the Black Summer bushfires of 2019–20.

The island off the coast of South Australia is a haven for some of Australia’s most famous and lovable native land and marine creatures. It’s hard not to fall in love with KI, what with its modest but well-regarded wine-growing reputation and its pleasantly tranquil pace of life (where kids ride bikes to school and farmers advertise for brides on noticeboards).

22.  Hokkaido, Japan

Hokkaido is the northernmost and second-largest of Japan’s main islands, yet it only has around five per cent of the country’s population while taking up one-fifth of Japan’s total geographical area.

Hokkaido is Japan’s wilderness, with large mountains and even larger ski areas. The Pacific Ocean can be found to the east and south of the region, while the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk may be found to the west and north, respectively.

Daisetsuzan, literally “Great Snowy Mountains,” is the largest national park in all of Japan and is located smack dab in the geographic middle of the country.

The indigenous Ainu people of Hokkaido refer to Daisetsuzan as kamuy mintar, which translates as “the playground of the deity.” The Ainu had lived in Hokkaido for hundreds of years before the first wave of Japanese immigrants arrived in the nineteenth century. Japan formally seized the island in 1879.

21. Jeju island, South Korean

Halla-san, South Korea’s highest peak at 1950m (6398ft), and the only shield volcano in Asia watch over Jeju-do, the country’s biggest island. Numerous magnificent lava formations testify to the island’s volcanic past.

Jeju-humid’s subtropical temperature at lower elevations is a major draw for tourists, who flock there by the millions each year. The island is sometimes referred to as “Honeymoon Island” because of this.

Until the 10th century, when it became a protectorate of the Korean kingdom of Silla, Jeju-do was an autonomous kingdom known as Tamna (Island Country). As South Korea’s only self-governing province, it maintains a degree of independence today.

20.  Island of Malapascua, Philippine

This little tropical island off the coast of northern Cebu is renowned for its excellent diving. And if you’re not into snorkelling or scuba diving, Malapascua still makes for a great beach getaway, with more than a dozen stunning beaches and bays to explore.

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Beautiful Bounty Beach winds around the island’s southeast corner, and it’s surrounded by hotels and clubs that come alive just before dusk. Typhoon Yolanda, which hit the island in 2013, destroyed every roof and left shanty towns behind the seaside hotels.

Later, in December 2021, Typhoon Odette ravaged southern Cebu, and the town of Malapasuca narrowly avoided destruction. Travelling to Malapascua from Cebu City requires taking a van or bus to the northern hamlet of Maya, and then taking a boat for 45 minutes. This helps the area recover from the storm.

19.  Socotra, Yemen

Politically a part of Yemen, physically a part of Africa, the island of Socotra lies between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

More than 700 species (including one-third of Socotra’s plant species) are endemic to the island and can be found nowhere else on Earth, making Socotra a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008.

Socotra has been cut off from the rest of the world for millions of years, making it one of the most biologically varied places on Earth because of its unique ecosystems.


For good reason, Kaua Arias is referred to as “Garden Insel.” Much of the interior of Rainforest cloaks. Waterfalls fall on the cliffs of lava and the poisonous aroma of the tropical blooms is heavy hanging over the seductive air.

However, the beauty of the island lies not just in the luxurious flower and abundant rain, but also in its spectacular coastline.

Lava carved this astonishing island, stirred by gorgeous beaches and velvety ribs from the ocean floor. Tortoises and tropical fish swim down the cobalt blue seas along the coral reefs, enjoying divers and scuba diving people all around the world.

The Kaua Touri exuded a low atmosphere and tends to move at a more relaxed rate, compared to its popular sister islands, Maui and Oahu.

Don’t miss the amazing Nā Pali Coast, the Waimea Canyon of 10 miles and the cloudy views of the cliffs over Hanalei Bay.

Traveling for nature’s beauty and an unforgettable, high view to Capri, Italy. Or visit the former sets of Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond films at the same time in Thailand.



Fiji ticks all fancy island boxes, one of Australia’s coastal vanishes. There are plenty of white sandy beaches, transparent waters, and crowded corals. With warm, friendly smiles, the people of Fiji welcome visitors.

Diving and snorkeling, fishing and surfing in certain areas are all fantastic, however, it can be equally rewarding to spread under the Palm and to slip into the silky warm seas.

It’s easy to find the perfect choice with over 300 islands, from high-class ideas and family-focused resorts to the awesome Yasawa and Mamanuca group. Fijians like small children, so this is a fabulous place to relax for families.



The Dalmatian Islands are a delightful blend of relaxed beauty and wealthy history in the Adriatic Sea off the shore of Croatia.

These beautiful islands are encircled by the sparkling waters by beautiful cities and boutique hotels and restaurants. Brač and Zlatni Rat beach (Golden horn) are the top of the list.

With its Gothic churches, the car-free Old Town and the picturesque fishing port, Hvar is also beautiful.

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The lovely Paklenian Islands, best known for their crystal transparent water and reclusive beaches, can be reached from here.

Korea with its red-roofed white-washed constructions, Mljet with its two coastal saltwater lakes and comparatively uncrowded Vis are also must-see Dalmatian islands.



The Cook Islands are for you if you ever thought of being a riot in the South Pacific.

The 15 islands of the archipelago are renowned for their attractive aquamarine lagoons, palm groves, and volcanoes, stranded between French Polynesia and Samoa but with powerful links to New Zeland.

At best, people in the South Pacific are among the most friendly. With its many hotels, beautiful mountains and abundant beaches, Rarotonga is the primary tourist center.

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The beauty of Aitutaki, without the cost tag, is Bora Boras. Hibiscus farms snuggle on the hillsides, and there’re 21 motorhomes or tiny islets along the celestial lagoon, some of which are within kayak reach.

Come and live your Robinson Crusoe fantasy in an over-the-water bungalow or holes in a rustic beach shack on a remote island.



Specious Santorini ranks top marks for dramatic beauty, surrounded by a sea-filled caldera. White houses in blue crash down the cliff of the hills.

Blue dome churches rise to the sparkling ocean, and the colorful sunglasses adds shiny sprays of bougainvillea.

The villages of Firá and Oia, located on the heights of the red lava hills, are one of the most visited sites on the island and are the most expensive and most scenic.



Seychelles are pristine and pictorial and worth visiting.

This relatively untouched archipelago of 115 coral and granite islands is located to the east of Kenya with its UNESCO listed jungles; prosperous coral reefs and giant rocks surrounding palmed powdery beaches.

Almost half of the land area of these equatorial islands is being protected, and many of the islands lie in the rich fishing and snorkeling marine sanctuaries.

There are also some of the world’s richest fishing areas in Seychelles, which makes it a top fishing destination.

Add a little Créole spicy cooking to the mix along with the Mahé, Praslin and La Digue spicy resorts, which make the Seychelles ‘ look easy to understand.

11.Sao Tomé and Principe

Sao Tomé and Principe

Located in the western part of Africa, this little country of two islands has a fascinating history and a wealth of natural beauty. Sao Tomé & Principe (STP) is a beautiful and diverse ecotourism destination that is also safe for visitors of all ages.

This is particularly the case on pristine Principe, which is home to a paltry 7 Principe is spectacular and untamed, with its green canopy interrupted by spires of primordial rock.

It is home to some of the world’s best beaches, jungle exploration, snorkelling, fishing, and birdwatching. The island country of hinge is poised for economic growth as both a major chocolate grower and a potential oil exporter.

10.  Cabo, Verde

Cabo, Verde

This beautiful island group, rising from the Atlantic around 500 kilometres (311 miles) west of Senegal, is a compelling combination of mountains, beaches, and quiet coastal communities.

Incredible treks may be had on Santo Anto thanks to the island’s jagged peaks that conceal lush flower and sugar cane valleys. The island of So Vicente is known for its lively nightlife and cultural hub, Mindelo.

There are undeveloped, powdery white sand beaches and undulating, windswept dunes on the islands of Sal and Maio. Also, the remote islands of Fogo and Brava in the southwest have their charms, including strange volcanic scenery and dazzling coves surrounded by rising peaks.

9.  Vis island, Croatia

Vis island, Croatia

This former Yugoslav military outpost was cut off from the rest of the world from the 1950s until 1989, making it an ideal destination for anyone in search of a serene island experience surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty.

The island’s untouched woods, orange trees, pebble beaches, hidden nudist coves, and glittering sea caves conjure up images of a paradisiacal paradise from before the advent of tourists.

The Yugoslav National Army abandoned its rocket shelters, bunkers, armament chests, and submarine pens in some of Vis’ most picturesque natural places when it departed the island in 1992.

This mysterious island’s past is further attested to by the remnants of Greek and British naval cemeteries, Roman baths, and an English stronghold.

8.  Isle of Skye, Scotland

Isle of Skye, Scotland

With a terrain that veers from calm coves and inky lochs to craggy pinnacles, gushing waterfalls and pleated cliffs, the second-largest of Scotland’s islands in the Inner Hebrides is the country’s most stunning.

The dramatic mountains and undulating moors of Skye are easily accessible via a bridge from the mainland, but the island’s most isolated spots and breathtaking vistas can only be reached by trekking through the high moorland on foot, cycling the winding mountain roads, or paddling a kayak along the craggy coastline.

Explore the island’s bustling towns and their many museums, galleries, and artisan stores to help relieve some of the stress. Skye means “cloud island” in ancient Norse, so you may want to pack an umbrella. The scudding clouds and dark sky only add to the drama of an already dramatic climate.

7.  Ile De Re French island

Ile De Re French island

This fashionable Breton Island is dotted with whitewashed settlements in shades of aqua green and eggshell blue, and its voice of the wild harkens back generations.

This may be the social hub of Parisians on summer weekends, but in salt-of-the-earth Brittany, traditions run deep: sauniers harvest sel from ancient salt pans, farmers toil in family potato fields, and new-generation artisans make gin and vodka from locally grown fingerling potatoes and organic seaweed collected from the shore. In the charming maritime village of St. Martin de Ré, rent a bike and pedal around the harbour.!

6.  Chiloe Island, Chile

Chiloe Island, Chile

This peanut-shaped island in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Patagonia, Chile, is located 1,100 kilometres (683 miles) south of Santiago and attracts tourists with its moss-covered jungles, old churches, and unspoiled beaches. Despite this, if you ask a Chilean why they’re going, they’ll probably wax lyrical about how the island’s culture, accent, and aesthetic are so different from the mainland because of its long period of isolation.

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Fish-herding mermaids, sex-obsessed woodland goblins, and weather-forecasting lizards are just a few of the mythological figures who populate the colourful wooden stilt dwellings of Chiloe’s capital, Castro. Meanwhile, traditional island fare has colourful local potatoes paired with fresh seafood and other exotic fruits.



Palawan is a response to paradise from the Philippines. Southwest to Borneo this island province is covered by lush silicate peaks, rising from the treasure-like sea so stiff that the fish expressions are almost visible from on the floor.

Glossy rocks, rustling palms, facing many of the Islands of Jungle-clad and coral reefs flourish under the water in an amazing variety of tropical fish and give some of the finest diving in the world.

Attractions include the distinctive wildlife of the Maldives, emerald ponds, and photographic fishing villages. The most lovely villages of Coron and El Nido are the most appealing island in the Chain.

From here you can see the amazing archipelago of Bacuit. One of the highlights of Palawan is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, an imposing calcaire grotto on a large subterranean river.



This lush volcanic island stars shaped like a giant sombrero in innumerable imaginations in the South Pacific. Its ravishing lagoon in a techno turquoise is the focus and the best asset of this tropical beauty.

In the clear waters swim fish, turtles, sharks, and rays, and small islets or the lagoon’s motus dot.

Naturally, the island is quite French and coincides with the mouthwatering cuisine. Take a dive and snorkel in the surrounding reefs and hike through the forests of palm trees.

Hide here, when you’re asleep in the gentle slip of the sea, in a panoramic over-the-water bungalow and snorkel your fortune.

3.  Channel Islands, USA

Channel Islands, USA

Channel Islands National Park is sometimes referred to as the “Galápagos of North America” because of the incredible diversity of plant and animal life found there. Located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California, the rugged archipelago was produced by volcanic activity but has never been connected to the continent.

Although human traces, such as those of the Chumash people that have lived on the island for over 13,000 years, are still visible, these abandoned islands provide a unique chance to experience a return to the natural world.

You may go camping, hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, or kayaking in a raw, edge-of-the-world scenery, or you can just enjoy the unmatched wildlife-watching in the islands’ unexpectedly diversified topography.



Some of the world’s most beautiful islands are located in the Maldives, but it is the sea that really makes these islands shine. These bright white coasts, which barely look above the Indian Ocean, are lit up with a clear crystal.

The Archipelago of the Maldives, which consists of 26 natural atolls, is the lowest-lying nation in the world, rising at its highest point at only three meters, and shrinking every year.

Under the fascinating waters, coral reefs flourish, with divers from all over the world.

Surfers flock to ride the unpopulated breaks here too. Luxury resorts back on earth are the perfect place to launch an adventure on the sea, the greatest asset of the archipelago, and also the biggest threat of the planet’s changing climate.

1.  Haida Gwaii, Canada

Haida Gwaii, Canada



The Canadian island of Haida Gwaii is home to towering totem poles that have been standing for centuries and the thunder of pounding waves that can be heard well above the forest canopy.

The islands of Haida Gwaii, located about 50 miles (80 kilometres) off British Columbia’s coast, are a perfect example of a place where nature reigns supreme.

The thrill of exploring moss-covered woods that are home to some of the biggest spruce and cedar on Earth is undimmed by the threat of sudden thunderstorms and freezing winds.

The cultural artefacts found on Haida Gwaii are just as moving. Ancient towns and archaeological remains show that the Haida have occupied their homeland for at least the last 10,000 years. About 2,500 Haida call the islands home, and they are essential to the islands’ continued cultural vitality and environmental protection.

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