With over 11,000 permanently inhabited islands in the world’s oceans, it is difficult to choose the most famous island in the world. However, we have narrowed it down to the top 10 famous islands to visit in the world.
Famous Island in the World List – Top 10 to Visit
1. Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
One of my favourite places is the island of Phu Quoc in Vietnam, but you need to visit as soon as possible before this little paradise becomes a major tourist attraction.
For the time being, you can still rent a bungalow next to the beach and spend a great time relaxing. The locals are fantastic (as they are across all of Vietnam). During our visit to Phu Quoc, we found a small place in the back streets where we loved to take our breakfast in the morning.
The sand on Phu Quoc island is beautiful and the sea water is very hot, as is the sun. When visiting, it is definitely a good idea to use a lot of sun block. We always try to respect the environment and the sea when travelling and, as a result, use an eco-friendly sun block.
On the island of Phu Quoc, you can enjoy the beach and eat fruit from local sellers, or you can rent a scooter to explore the rest of the island. On our travels around the island by scooter, we met a father and his son working in a coconut field and spent an agreeable hour chatting with them. Amongst the things we learned from them was how to climb the trees to pick coconuts.
If you want to rent a scooter, you need to be aware that sometimes the road just stops, and you may find yourself in the middle of a construction site! Further on, the road starts again.
I highly recommend that you visit the rainforest. When you get close, you can’t help but hear the noise from the animals and birds. There are paths which run inside the rainforest, but they are mainly off road, dirt paths. This was a great experience for us and a tip we received from other backpackers.
To conclude, this island isn’t completely isolated, and you will find everything you need but it’s still a great place to spend 4 or 5 days. Another tip is that I recommend you use the plane to travel to this island. Internal flights are not very expensive and very quick.
2. Holbox Island, Mexico
This is my second choice of the most famous island in the world to visit because it’s etched in my memory as being the place where I asked my wife to marry me.
This Mexican island is not a deserted location – you will find an established small community on this island. However, the island is completely free of cars and has sandy roads for local buggies. You need to leave your cars at the small port of Chiquila and wheel your luggage onto the awaiting ferries.
This island is just beautiful. You will discover amazing beaches with pure white sand and transparent water. It is the ideal location if you want to spend romantic time with your other half. What more do you need than a place where you can watch the sunset sitting peacefully on white sand?
If you want to be more active, this island also offers you the opportunity for this. You can enjoy all the popular water sports, or you can go and watch the pink flamingos flying in for sunset at the end of the island.
The best way to enjoy the entire island is to ride a bike and just go and explore. Along the way, you will find idyllic and tranquil places like hammocks on the shallow water.
After a full day making plenty of memories, you can eat at one of the restaurants in the centre, or if you want to save money, you can easily buy street food from the central square. Afterwards, don’t miss out on dancing on the beach with the locals!
For more information about Holbox, you can read these posts: How to Get to Isla Holbox, What to do in Isla Holbox or Best Holbox Beaches
3. Whitsundays, Australia
If you plan to go to Australia, you must spend a few days on some of the wonderful 74 islands located in Queensland. They are simply paradise on earth and will please everybody.
If you love photography, you will find amazing landscapes to shoot. However, you don’t need to be a good photographer to get impressive photographs. You are in the middle of a picture perfect post card!
If you are a beach lover, this is the place for you! If you want to swim, you will find the best spots with more than 1,600 species of fish, like dolphins, rays, whales or octopuses because the archipelago is at the heart of the reef.
The best way to start your visit is Airlie Beach. Here you will find all you need to start your adventure. It is the best place to find your first night’s accommodation. Whether you are a backpacker keeping an eye on your budget or whether you want to have a more luxurious, use the banner below to check out the prices of local accommodation in the area.
When to Visit Whitsundays Island?
Good news! It’s a great time to visit Whitsundays Island all year round. However, the best time is between May and September.
The least favourable time is between November and May when you will find deadly jellyfish, so swimming in beachwear will be off limits. However, you can still swim with a full wetsuit.
We advise you to visit Whitsundays Island in September to have ideal conditions and this is the time when you will see the whales.
How to get to Whitsunday Island?
To get to Whitsunday Island, you can take the plane and arrive in Hamilton or Airlie Beach (this is the best place to start). Alternatively, you can reach the island by car using the Bruce Highway. For a cheaper option, take a bus. Greyhound operates a line from different towns along the coast to Airlie.
4. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Bora Bora is probably one of the most mythical islands in French Polynesia. At 260 km from Tahiti, you will discover another paradise on earth. The island is surrounded by a lagoon and coral reef.
This island is a pearl in French Polynesia with plenty of things to do. If you want to enjoy diving or snorkelling, Bora Bora is a very good destination. Thanks to the coral ring around the main island, you will see a lot of amazing sea creatures like dolphins, rays, turtles and other colorful fish.
The whole area around Tahiti is very expensive and Bora Bora is no different. If you are travelling in the area, you should definitely take time to explore and enjoy this island. Some people say the island is too touristic, but you can easily avoid the tourist spots and find more secluded places in the sun and swim inside the lagoon.
5. Vanuatu, South Pacific
Vanuatu is the only island in the world where the French and the British governed together until 1980. As a result, you will find a cultural mix and a typically Pacific atmosphere. Next to cafés and French restaurants, you will find pubs and English shops. The people are open minded and very happy.
This island offers world class and almost deserted beaches, ancient culture and many beautiful diving spots. In addition, you can climb an active volcano and see the magma-filled crater in the morning, then dive in a magnificent sea during the afternoon and share a drink with locals in the evening. Where else in the world you can do that?
These are a few of the things waiting for you on this archipelago. Vanuatu will surprise you whether you are a beach lover or an adventurer.
6. Bali, Indonesia
There is a good reason why so many people go to Bali on vacation. Bali evokes thoughts of paradise but it is more than that. For me, Bali is like strong alcohol. It takes you by surprise at first but afterwards you fall under its spell and you want to stay and see more.
Bali has everything. You can go for a trek in the middle of the rice terrace, take part in all the popular water sports or discover the rich and diverse culture of Bali. At the end of the day, you can experience almost everything. No matter what you want or who you are, Bali is fun.
If you want to stay in a good location, have a look at this selection of hotels:
For more inspiration about what you can do in Bali, check out the activities in the banner below.
7. Santorini, Greece
Some people believe that Santorini is located in the area of the long lost city of Atlantis. What I do know is that Santorini is a paradise for photographers, as there are so many things waiting to be captured by your camera. These include black and red sandy beaches, stunning blue domes and one of the largest caldera lakes in the world.
You can fly to Santorini but the best way to discover this island is to arrive by boat. It is an unforgettable experience as you approach the 200-300 metre-high cliff in Fira where geology has created different layers. Once you reach the top of the cliff (by donkey, cable car or walking), you will discover the famous white-washed buildings of Santorini.
For more information about the island activities and to be able to buy your ticket in advance, check out the banner below.
8. Dominican Republic, Caribbean
If you are looking for a fantastic island on a budget, then the Dominican Republic is for you. This Caribbean island boasts great weather, lovely beaches, low cost hotels and plenty of things to do. Cheap direct flights from the USA, UK and Europe make this island easy to travel to.
If you want more than beaches, you can also experience hiking, climbing and all water sports. We recommend going to Puerto Plata which is less touristic and less expensive than Punta Cana. Check out great accommodation below.
9. Jamaica, Caribbean
Another great island in the Caribbean, which won’t break the bank or damage your budget, is Jamaica. Of course, Jamaica is the land of reggae music and it’s brilliant to chill out after activities with music on the beach.
On the island, you will find plenty of bars and restaurants with great atmosphere. Jamaican food is also really excellent; you must try BBQs on the beach which are a memorable and authentic experience. On top of that, it is very easy to find great accommodation in idyllic locations.
10. Aruba, Caribbean
If you are looking for beaches and amazing weather, Aruba is for you. This small island is located off the coast of Venezuela and offers cheap all-inclusive resorts.
Aruba also has superb beaches with a lot of sunshine but there is nothing much else to do. If you are looking for culture, scenery or hiking, then you need to pass on this island.
The best period to visit Aruba is between December and August. The good news is that most visitors don’t need visas.
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