Updated: Sep 13
What traveler doesn’t enjoy an island vacay? With warm, sunny weather, the ocean at your feet, beautiful beaches and flora, and a laid-back vibe, what’s not to love? Destinations like the Bahamas, Hawaii, and Santorini are popular island hotspots where you’re sure to have an amazing time. But if you’ve been there, done those, and are looking for equally stunning and interesting alternatives, consider these lesser-known island destinations around the world.
Whitewashed houses, crystalline waters, and year-round perfect weather make Marettimo, Italy a picturesque dream come true. Part of the Egadi Islands archipelago, this quaint, carless island is just an hour boat ride from Sicily. In addition to fishing and diving, guests can explore caves and even ancient Byzantine ruins.
Mafia Island, Tanzania
You’ve likely heard of Zanzibar, but have you heard of its neighbor, Mafia Island? Don't let the name fool you; it has nothing to do with organized crime. With a population of only 40,000, it is an ideal trip for those seeking peace, quiet, and relaxation surrounded by nature. The island has all the beauty of its more popular Indian Ocean islands and is also home to Tanzania’s first marine park as well as important archeological sites dating back to the time of the Kilwa Sultanate.
Isla Holbox, Mexico
Just a few hours from Riviera Maya, on the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, lies the 25-mile-long Isla Holbox. The hidden gem has a couple dozen different accommodations options to suit various budgets. Delicious, fresh-caught seafood and diverse marine and wildlife are two of the island’s shining features. Adventurous vacationers visiting between June and September can even swim with the whale sharks (a harmless species) that migrate here during these months.
Two islands over from Bali, you’ll find Sumbawa. This off-the-beaten-path destination is a great place to immerse yourself in authentic Indonesian culture with minimal influence from touristic consumerism. Sumbawa is an ideal spot to surf and enjoy water activities and also boasts gorgeous waterfalls and Mount Tambora, an active volcano.