With a score of 93.15, Palawan tops the list in the World’s Best Awards for top 10 islands. There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in the natural wonders of this Philippine archipelago. The place consists of an eponymous main island in addition to some 1,800 surrounding islets and island outposts. And with its verdant mountains, a five-mile-long underground river, limestone caves and spectacular scuba diving, its appeal is as clear as its turquoise waters. Seven lakes surrounded by craggy limestone cliffs attract hundreds of nature lovers to Coron Reefs in Northern Palawan.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Long known as a golfer’s paradise, Hilton Head Island is heaven for any type of sports enthusiast. The island plays host to many prestigious sporting events throughout the year. All of it is surrounded by sunny beaches and lush greenery. Approximately 70% of the island, including most of the tourist areas, is located inside gated communities. Raised boardwalks provide a protected path for pedestrians. And don’t miss the colourful Harbourtown Lighthouse, the island’s icon. Hilton Head Island is a shoe-shaped island that is home to a vast array of wildlife, including alligators, deer, loggerhead sea turtles, manatees, hundreds of species of birds, and dolphins.
Boracay Island, Philippines
Boracay is a small island in central Philippines. It’s known for its resorts and beaches. Along the west coast, White Beach is backed by palm trees, bars and restaurants. On the east coast, strong winds make Bulabog Beach a hub for watersports. Nearby, the observation deck on Mount Luho offers panoramic views over the island. Offshore, coral reefs and shipwrecks are home to diverse marine life.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Galápagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. It’s considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. The seismic and volcanic activity reflect the processes that formed the islands. These processes, together with the extreme isolation of the islands, led to the development of unusual animal life—such as the land iguana, the giant tortoise and the many types of finch—that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection following his visit
Kauai is an island in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian archipelago. It is nicknamed ‘the Garden Isle’ because of the tropical rainforest covering much of its surface. The dramatic cliffs and pinnacles of its Na Pali Coast have served as a backdrop for major Hollywood films, while 10-mile-long Waimea Canyon and the Nounou Trails traversing the Sleeping Giant mountain ridge are hiking destinations. More than 60 beaches dot the landscape and some beaches have great snorkelling options.
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples, Italy. It is the most developed and largest of the islands in the Bay of Naples. It’s known for its mineral-rich thermal waters. Hot springs bubble up at Maronti Beach in the south. The Cartaromana beach has views of medieval Aragonese Castle, linked to Ischia by a stone bridge. Nearby, 18th-century Palazzo dell’Orologio houses the Sea Museum devoted to Ischia’s fishing tradition. Ischia’s main industry is tourism, centering on thermal spas that cater mostly to European (especially German) and Asian tourists eager to enjoy its hot springs, and its volcanic mud.
Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands, Croatia
Hvar is a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, located off the Dalmatian coast, lying between the islands of Brac, Vis and Korcula. Approximately 68 km with a high east-west ridge of Mesozoic limestone and dolomite, the island of Hvar is unusual in the area for having a large fertile coastal plain and freshwater springs. Its hillsides are covered in pine forests, with vineyards, olive groves, fruit orchards and lavender fields in the agricultural areas. The climate is characterised by mild winters and warm summers with many hours of sunshine. Hvar Town is estimated to draw around 20,000 people a day in the high season. During the tourist season, the port is filled with large yachts. All-night discos attract large crowds of young visitors.
Bali is the most popular island holiday destination in the Indonesian archipelago with good reason. 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. Here, you’ll experience a fine combination of sandy beaches and rolling surf, an ancient culture known for its warm hospitality and exotic temples and palaces set against stunning natural backdrops. Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species. In this area alone over 500 reef building coral species can be found.
Santorini is among the most romantic destinations in the Greek islands. It was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the world and what remains today is a submerged volcano and a caldera. Villages has been constructed on the edge of this caldera.
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.