Nothing says ‘holiday’ like kicking back at the beach on a tropical island, but there are plenty of other equally rewarding experiences to have on the world’s many islands that go beyond a sun tan and a fruity cocktail. If it’s wildlife you’re looking for, the Galapagos will not disappoint with countless opportunities to jump in the water with some of the region’s most unique animals. For partying, Ibiza has to be your go-to. It’s famous for its open-air, high-end and beachside clubs attracting the biggest DJs from around the world.
Famous for: Clubbing and partying
The Spanish island of Ibiza may have a reputation as a total party town, but below the surface, it’s actually quite a spiritual place. It’s becoming well known for its health and wellness offerings with companies like Ibiza Retreats welcoming guests for yoga, wellness and life coaching getaways. A step further, House of Colours offers detoxing, fasting and spiritual healing.
Although, a more accessible way to experience the island's spiritual side is to join in on one of the sunset drumming sessions that take place on the popular beaches each night. The island’s bohemian past is still strong today, as you’ll learn if you visit the hippy market on Wednesday in Es Caná or the Las Dalias Hippy Market on Saturday in San Carlos.
If you love music, dancing and drinking, Ibiza has you covered. The clubs are open nearly every night with different styles of music and entertainment. Some of the most famous clubs that draw the biggest DJs are Ushuaïa, Cafe del Mar and Pacha. But there are plenty of smaller spots tucked away in their own private coves that host day time parties and are perfect for renting a cabana or sun bed and spending the entire day listening to music, eating great food and washing it all down with a few cocktails.
Where to eat
Cafe del Mar
Not just a great music spot, this is arguably the ultimate sunset location on the entire island. It’s also a fantastic restaurant with lavish dishes ranging from light tapas to generous mains. Expect fresh seafood, high-quality cuts of meat and plenty of vegetarian options including zucchini blossoms and croquettes.
Las Dos Lunas
One of the island’s most iconic fine dining institutions, Las Dos Lunas is Mediterranean restaurant with a focus on the highest standard of Italian food, serving up handmade pasta, wood-fired meats and pizzas and tasty veggies grown in their very own organic garden.
Amante in Cala Llonga
Right next to Cala Llonga, perched on a cliff overlooking Sol d’en Serra Bay, Amante is a chilled out beach club during the day and a fine dining restaurant in the evening, offering a wide selection of contemporary Mediterranean dishes.
Where to stay
Grand Palladium Palace
This all-inclusive resort in Playa d’en Bossa overlooks the longest stretch of white sand beach in Ibiza. On top of the luxurious amenities, the hotel offers wine tasting, cocktail making and food workshops to keep you entertained. There’s also four onsite restaurants and three bars with live music, beach parties and regular entertainment.
This super stylish, adults-only resort is perfect for travellers who want to be right in the throes of Ibiza’s world-famous nightlife. Not only does it host the best international DJs but also has all the ingredients for a world-class, party-oriented stay, including rooms with DJ turntables, two stylish pools, a rooftop bar and seven restaurants to indulge at.
Aguas de Ibiza Grand Luxe
This luxury design hotel boasts one of the best rooftop terrace bars on the island, with incredible views over Santa Eulalia marina and out to the nearby island of Formentera. The onsite restaurant uses only the freshest local produce and the Kids’ Club makes it a great option for families.
The Galapagos Islands
Famous for: Wildlife and nature
When people think of the Galapagos Islands, they generally associate the region with the famous turtle of the same name. Of course, these fascinating animals are a big drawcard, but they’re just one of the incredible species of marine animal that thrives in these gorgeous Ecuadorian waters.
Located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador, this string of islands is home to myriad species you won’t find in such abundance anywhere else on the planet. Whale sharks, Manta rays and even marine iguanas are among them, but for many scuba divers, it’s the scalloped hammerheads, Galapagos sharks and white-tips that really steal the show.
When you set out to explore the underwater offerings of the Galapagos, you generally have two options: live aboard and land-based. The former involves sleeping on a boat for the duration of your expedition, visiting remote islands and lesser-known diving spots. The latter is better for those who are just dipping their toe in the deep end and only need a day trip to satisfy their curiosity.
Where to eat
Finch Bay Restaurant
Part of the award-winning Finch Bay Hotel in Puerto Ayora, this is considered by many to be one of the best fine dining restaurants in the Galapagos Islands with excellent menu options for seafood-lovers, vegetarians, Ecuadorian, and international dishes.
Want to know where to get the cheapest lobster or the freshest fish? Los Kioskos, local and cheap street seafood, is the place to be. Whether you are looking for a place for dinner or even food after you’ve gone clubbing, Kioskos chefs will cook it right in front of you.
Feel like a drink while getting a steak? Isla Grill is the place and offers everything from vegetarian dishes, seafood, ribs, and burgers. Isla Grill is a popular restaurant on one of Puerto Ayora’s main streets, making it fairly easy to find when walking around hungry.
Where to stay
Royal Palm Hotel
Located on Santa Cruz Island, the highlands of the Galapagos, the hotel is designed as a haven of peace and quiet. Its landscaped gardens, pool, outdoor spa and fountains — as well as the longest lava tunnel in the islands (which is located on the hotel’s grounds) — form a part of the hotel’s magic and its exclusive surroundings.
One of the few, exclusive rental houses in the Galapagos Islands, this gorgeous beachfront villa offers gorgeous views of Pelican bay, with a pool, bar, jacuzzi and steam bath. A private chef, caretaker and housekeeper will make sure you’re very well looked after.
Golden Bay Hotel & Spa
This beautiful 21-room hotel combines comfort and style with environmental considerations. With spectacular views over the bay of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the hotel is just a five-minute walk from the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and has direct access to the Playa de Oro beach.
Famous for: White sand beaches and turquoise water
Tanzania is one of the best places in the world to experience a safari, but it’s always nice to end a trip with a little bit of relaxation. There's no better place to do that than on the sunny beaches of Zanzibar. Just off the Tanzanian coastline, a 90-minute boat ride or 30-minute flight from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar stretches out in a 90-kilometre (55 mile) strip, rimmed by powder white sand and dazzling azure waters.
The balmy Indian ocean ocean is inviting year round, which is why more and more resorts, hotels and boutique accommodations are popping up on its shores.
If you want to peel yourself away from the ocean and do a bit of exploring, there’s plenty to see. Stone Town is the epicentre of the island; a fishing hub-turned-trading centre in recent years. The buildings reflect the various changes in colonial powers over the years, from Portuguese to the British. The entire town is considered an UNESCO World Heritage Site, so be sure to dedicate some time to wandering the maze-like streets.
Another way to see the island is to jump on a boat and admire Zanzibar from the sea. Many local tour companies offer half/full-day and overnight boat trips. You’ll be sailing in the warm Indian ocean breeze, swimming in the crystal clear water and maybe even swimming alongside dolphins and other marine life if you’re lucky. Some more luxurious tours include a buffet lunch on a sandbar, or sunset Champagne as you cruise along the coastline.
Where to eat
The Rock Zanzibar
Literally located on a rock surrounded by glistening blue water, The Rock is one of the most iconic restaurants on the island, dishing up high-end seafood-based dishes to just 12 tables of people at a time. You’ll definitely want to make a reservation for this one!
House of Spices
A reminder of Zanzibar’s long standing spice industry, the House of Spices is one of the most popular restaurants in Stone Town. The restaurant occupies one of the terraces where the spices were dried before being packaged. The restaurant serves an international menu including Mediterranean dishes and delicious pizzas.
Emerson on Hurumzi
This stunning rooftop restaurant on top of the House of Wonders offers panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and the surrounding mosques. Hurumzi House functions today as a small hotel, its rooftop restaurant being one of the best locations in town to enjoy a fresh seafood-based menu.
Where to stay
The Zanzibari by Tent With A View
This boutique hotel on the north-eastern tip of the island is where most visitors stay for a few days of relaxation after the excitement of a safari on the mainland. Spread across seven acres of land, the rooms are surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens with the crystal clear water lapping along the pure white sand just metres away.
Park Hyatt Zanzibar
The first five-star hotel in Stone Town with direct access to a white-sand beach and the Indian Ocean offers a delightful blend of Omani style and understated luxury in the heart of Zanzibar’s World Heritage-listed old district.
Zanzibar’s original eco-chic beach lodge with 12 vibrantly furnished guest villas and two pools perched on a coral rag cliff. Just opposite is the Mnemba Island Marine Conservation area which is home to nesting green turtles and more than 600 species of coral reef fish.
Famous for: Sunsets and volcanoes
There are few destinations that combine beautiful beaches, spectacular scenery, ancient cities, amazing restaurants, some of the world's best wine, and an active volcano. But Santorini has all this and more.
The volcano of Santorini last erupted in 1956 and remains active today, though it’s unlikely to erupt again in our lifetime. The volcanic activity has created five separate islands, Santorini, Therasia, an uninhabited island called Aspronisi and the volcanic islands of Palaia Kammeni and Nea Kammeni. The existence of the volcano is visible all over the island of Santorini, especially on the bizarre beaches that are covered, in their majority, in black sand and pebbles made of solidified lava.
Santorini is also known for its incredible sunsets. To experience it at its best, you must go to Oia. Standing at the top of a ruined castle near the windmill, you’ll witness a magical sight that will leave you spell-bounded when the sun goes down the horizon. Another perfect way to experience the natural beauty and stunning sunset of Santorini is by joining sunset cruises.
Where to eat
Pyrgos is located in one of the highest points of Santorini offering stunning views across the island and out to sea. The restaurant stretches across five different halls, indoor and outdoor areas, with elegant décor that make it ideal for any kind of event. Its history dates back to 1980 and today it is one of the best and most successful wedding and event venues on the island.
Located in the picturesque Oia village on the edge of the staggering caldera cliffs, this charming terrace restaurant serves up a Mediterranean menu with traditional Greek recipes made from local produce grown from the island’s rich volcanic soil. The dishes are accompanied by a large list of fine Santorini wines.
In the beautiful seaside Kamari village, close to the popular Black Sand Beach, lies the traditional restaurant which was founded back in 1984. Itt has managed to stand out among the best restaurants in Santorini for its friendly staff, warm atmosphere, high-quality food and entertainment.
Where to stay
The Lilium Santorini Villa sits on the edge of the caldera in Fira, above the Aegean Sea and overlooking the volcano.The restaurant provides creative Mediterranean cuisine, using fresh local produce. The bar offers fruit and cocktails, which you can enjoy whilst admiring the view of the volcano.
La Perla Villas & Suites
Located in Oia, this adults-only hotel offers unique accommodation in cave houses with spectacular views of the coastline. Many of the rooms in this 5-star hotel boast a private jacuzzi, rain showers and fresh fruit and champagne for guest arrivals. See the concierge to plan activities such as sunset cruises on a boat, private yacht tours and helicopter tours, and wine tasting excursions.
Enjoying panoramic views over the Caldera and the Aegean Sea, Alti in Megalochori Village offers minimal-style suites with outdoor and private, heated plunge pools with hydromassage facilities. Enjoy a full Mediterranean breakfast served on your own patio and head out to the many restaurants, shops, bars and beaches just a short walk away.
Famous for: Overwater villas and honeymoon luxury
The Maldives are home to some of the world's most ravishing islands, but it's the sea that truly makes these islands shine. Luminous aquamarine waters with a crystal clarity lap upon these dazzling white shores, which barely peek above the Indian Ocean.
Consisting of 26 natural atolls, the Maldives archipelago is the planet's lowest lying nation, rising no more than three meters above the sea at its highest point, a measurement that shrinks every year.
Beneath the mesmerising waters, coral reefs flourish, luring divers and snorkelers from around the world. Surfers also flock here to ride the uncrowded breaks. Back on land, luxury resorts provide the perfect launching points for adventures focused upon the sea.
The Maldives are home to some of the world’s most unbelievably lavish resorts with private overwater villas boasting their own helipads and yacht docks. You’ll find infinity pools that drop off into the crystal clear ocean, beach bars that serve up the best cocktails you’ve every tasted and restaurants headed up by esteemed chefs. A trip to the Maldives is likely a once-in-a-lifetime experience but boy is it worth it!
Where to eat
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
For a truly otherworldly dining experience, go below the ocean’s surface and eat amongst the fishes at Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, part of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort. Serving up contemporary European dishes, guests can enjoy a luxurious six-course dinner whilst revelling in the unique opportunity to watch reef sharks and manta rays sail on past them.
The place to go to escape the tourists and dine with locals, the Iberry Café is the most popular restaurant in Hulhumale. A small, boutique-style eatery in a residential part of town, the service is swift and friendly, serving a huge variety of dishes typical of the area, both the fish curry and the shrimp fried rice are great choices.
Serving a mix of Maldivian and international dishes in a trendy, low-key setting, the Jazz Café often hosts live music gigs with talented local musicians entertaining diners with their renditions of great jazz, rock and soul numbers. Dishes on offer include yellow chicken curry, roshi, beef and onion stir fry, and roast chicken with barbecue sauce.
Where to stay
LUX* North Male Atoll
For an equally luxurious alternative to the traditional thatch-style villa, these gorgeous overwater residences can be described as ‘yacht-chic’ with their white washed walls and oversized everything (including huge, private infinity pool!)
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
Private beaches, lush gardens, stunning villas and plenty of exciting activities – this Maldives resort is a top pic for adventurous travellers who still want their five-star fix. The resort’s spa is one of the most renowned in the country with everything from plasma treatments and meso facials to IV drips to replenish your system after a long flight.
With a trophy cabinet full of awards, this luxury resort is all you could imagine a Maldivian getaway to be and more, Swaying palms, floating breakfasts, private plunge pools, overwater villas and some of the best sunset views you’ll ever see. Cruise around the island on your own bike or embrace the No Shoe policy and explore barefoot.
Have any of these spectacular places tickled your fancy? Let's plan a tropical island getaway of your own, shall we? Get in touch!