When we think of travel, many of us instantly conjure images of white sand beaches, regal palm trees, and crystal clear blue-green oceans – all on a secluded and pristine tropical island. It’s true, as islands hold a unique and dear place in our wandering hearts.
For that reason, we often cover some of the best tourist destinations around the world that happen to be surrounded on all four sides by water, like Siargao, Palawan, and Boracay in the Philippines. (In fact, Asia has 6 out of the top 15 islands on this list!)
In fact, Boracay was named the world’s best island several years running in various surveys and polls, and Palawan was recently named the world’s best island for 2018 by other magazines.
But today, we wanted to highlight one particular list of the best islands in the world, as released by the respected Travel + Leisure publication. I like this list because it’s not a collection of snobbish travel writers who may have a personal stake or interest in a certain locale but based on reader polls. When it comes to the best islands in the world, the people have spoken!
Of course, this is subjective, as different people find their island paradise in different places – and reasons. But here is the T+L list as a great guide to the best islands in the world, as well as our brief notes on the top 10.
1. Java, Indonesia
Indonesia is the island-du-jour for T+L readers surveyed, and the paradise island of java takes the top spot this year!
2. Bali, Indonesia
Bali has long been a popular destination for travelers, which offers the natural wonderland of Ubud as well as more crowded and commercial Bali.
3. Lombok, Indonesia
Want to get an even better taste of Indonesia’s nature without the crowds? Check out Lombok!
You can’t really get more beautiful than the Maldives, with their iconic floating resorts and endless clear waters. But the high prices probably keep some tourists out – and the Maldives from going higher on this list.
5. Waiheke, New Zealand
New Zealand – land of the Lord of the Rings – is one of the most gorgeous, remote, and wild places on earth, and Waiheke Island off the mainland coast never disappoints!
6. Palawan, Philippines
This “island” is actually a province in the Philippines, with dozens of islands – and some of the best day-trip island hopping in the world! Check out Coron and El Nido as the best spots for that, as well as the underground river outside of the main city, Puerta Princessa.
You’ll be amazed by the natural beauty – and lack of annoying crowds!
8. Cebu, Philippines
Cebu can be tricky since it’s a really large island with one of the worst cities in Asia by the same name (Cebu), but there are some chill places about an hour or two off the coast, like Malapascua and Bantayan, as well as the fun Sumilon Island to the south.
9. Páros, Greece
Whitewashed buildings, coral blue décor, ships everywhere, and the Mediterranean as far as the eye can see. What’s not to like?
10. Tasmania, Australia
While Australia is technically a continent – not an island – Tasmania is an island off its south coast with jaw-dropping ecosystems and natural beauty.
Also on this year’s T+L survey of top islands in the world (from 11-15):
11. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
12. Cook Islands
13. Orkney Islands, Scotland
14. Maui, Hawaii
15. Azores, Portugal