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From wild
natural sanctuaries to ultra-glamorous hideaways, these islands get top marks
from seasoned travelers.

Traveling to
islands makes us feel like we’ve really traveled. It doesn’t matter whether
they’re tropical or glacial, trammeled by thousands of other visitors or just
by birds and sand crabs; by definition, islands are more remote, more
challenging to get to than mainland destinations, and therefore that much
further from our everyday lives.

It’s almost a no-brainer,
then, that islands hold a special compass point in most travelers’ hearts. And
when Travel + Leisure asked its readers to weigh in on the best islands
around the globe, we weren’t surprised to be deluged with responses.

Readers were
asked to rank their top picks according to several criteria: the islands’
natural attractions, activities and sights, and restaurants and cuisine; also,
the friendliness of the resident islanders and the overall value of taking a
vacation there.

The results, as
our list reveals, are literally and figuratively all over the map. This year’s
top-rated islands include some that can be accessed with a single domestic air
transfer and others that require crossing a half-dozen time zones using several
forms of transport. Some on the list are oases of quiet and unspoiled nature;
others draw hordes of party-minded fashionistas. And some are as tiny as
confetti scraps, while others would take months to properly explore.

Still, when
compared to 2009’s “Best Islands” survey results, this year’s list does reveal
a few particular trends. For starters, Travel + Leisure readers seemed
slightly less enamored with extremely far-flung islands in 2010 (two distant
tropical Asian destinations slipped in the rankings). They also seemed far more
interested in Mediterranean and Adriatic isles (4 of the top 10 slots were
taken by newcomers in Greece, Italy, and Croatia).

The most marked
change, however, is that this year’s top two spots were both nabbed by islands
prized for their extraordinarily riotous, untamed natural environments. One is
close by (right here in the U.S., in fact); the other is about as far-off as a
place can be without being totally inaccessible. Want to find out where they
are? Check out the list and see.

World's Best Islands 2010

From wild
natural sanctuaries to ultra-glamorous hideaways, these islands get top marks
from seasoned travelers.

Traveling to
islands makes us feel like we’ve really traveled. It doesn’t matter whether
they’re tropical or glacial, trammeled by thousands of other visitors or just
by birds and sand crabs; by definition, islands are more remote, more
challenging to get to than mainland destinations, and therefore that much
further from our everyday lives.

It’s almost a no-brainer,
then, that islands hold a special compass point in most travelers’ hearts. And
when Travel + Leisure asked its readers to weigh in on the best islands
around the globe, we weren’t surprised to be deluged with responses.

Readers were
asked to rank their top picks according to several criteria: the islands’
natural attractions, activities and sights, and restaurants and cuisine; also,
the friendliness of the resident islanders and the overall value of taking a
vacation there.

The results, as
our list reveals, are literally and figuratively all over the map. This year’s
top-rated islands include some that can be accessed with a single domestic air
transfer and others that require crossing a half-dozen time zones using several
forms of transport. Some on the list are oases of quiet and unspoiled nature;
others draw hordes of party-minded fashionistas. And some are as tiny as
confetti scraps, while others would take months to properly explore.

Still, when
compared to 2009’s “Best Islands” survey results, this year’s list does reveal
a few particular trends. For starters, Travel + Leisure readers seemed
slightly less enamored with extremely far-flung islands in 2010 (two distant
tropical Asian destinations slipped in the rankings). They also seemed far more
interested in Mediterranean and Adriatic isles (4 of the top 10 slots were
taken by newcomers in Greece, Italy, and Croatia).

The most marked
change, however, is that this year’s top two spots were both nabbed by islands
prized for their extraordinarily riotous, untamed natural environments. One is
close by (right here in the U.S., in fact); the other is about as far-off as a
place can be without being totally inaccessible. Want to find out where they
are? Check out the list and see.

Kelly Kollar [1] [1] http://www.kellykollar.com

World's Best Islands 2010

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