There’s something magical about relocating to an island idyll, even if only for a temporary period of time. The sense of solitude, serenity and seclusion that a stay on a tropical island can instil is unmatched, and with so many to discover all over the world your island getaway can take many different forms. Here at Original Travel, our experts are well-versed in some of the best lesser-known and under-the-radar islands; perfect if you’re looking to truly embrace an isolated escape.
The Greek Islands are renowned for their outstanding beauty and laid-back atmosphere, making them one of the most popular island holiday destinations. Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu and Crete are arguably the stand-outs and most frequented, with their archetypal white villas and turquoise-hued ocean. For those after a quieter escape, there a plenty of idyllic Grecian getaways away from the spotlight, such as Paros, where you’ll still be able to stay in a luxurious white-washed villa and lounge on postcard-perfect beaches.
The Azores, Portugal
Belonging to Portugal, but positioned closer to the west coast of Africa, the Azores are a delightful combination of lush rolling hillsides, peaceful fishing villages and dramatic volcanic terrain. Choose from one of the nine islands in the archipelago for seasonal cuisine and unspoilt landscapes on an under-the-radar luxury adventure. The region is also famed for its world-class diving and wildlife sightings, including whale and dolphin watching.
The furthest inhabited island from the Croatian mainland, Vis is perhaps best-known as the filming location of Mamma Mia 2. Regardless of its starring role in the well-loved film franchise, the island has largely remained out of the tourism spotlight, meaning you can enjoy its beautiful beaches and gin-clear waters in relative peace and quiet. Wander through the 17th-century courtyards and walkways of Kut, the island’s old town, and sample fresh seafood and Italian-influenced cuisine from a charming restaurant hidden within an ancient palazzo.
Isabela Island, The Galapagos
Despite being the largest of the islands in the Galapagos archipelago, Isabela is not the most populated – nor the most regularly visited – with Santa Cruz, Bartolomé and San Cristobal often taking precedence. Nevertheless, Isabela has plenty to offer in the way of wildlife and is a worthy addition to any Galapagos Island hopping excursion. Hike Sierra Negra Volcano, the second largest active crater in the world, and visit the Tortoise Centre to learn about the island’s gentle giants.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
Norway might not be the place that first springs to mind when imagining an island escape, but if you’re after breath-taking scenery, intriguing topography and dramatic natural formations, then the Lofoten Islands promise all three. Located around 800 miles from Oslo, the archipelago is a magnet for adventure lovers, offering hiking, climbing, fishing, kayaking, skiing and cycling. Explore authentic Norwegian fishing villages, discover world-famous fjords and if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights.
Italy is home to a staggering 450 islands, with the largest and most popular being Sicily, Sardinia and the Venice archipelago. While these are certainly worth a visit, there are a number of equally enchanting lesser-known islets, largely untouched by tourism. Ponza, located off the coast of the Lazio region, is part of the collection of Pontine Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is often likened to Capri, however its more secretive status means that you can explore its pastel hillside villages and charming soft-sand coves in peace, without the crowds.