“No man is an island,” said poet John Donne in 1624, but that hasn’t stopped men (and women) from seeking out island vacations. There’s just something about an island, whether you are living in the 17th or the 21st century, that seems to promise absolute tranquility. It’s a safe space to leave your email inbox behind. Travel + Leisure’s editors and contributors evaluate island vacations based on the ease or difficulty of getting there, the quality and value of accommodations, the food, drink, and other amenities available, as well as—most importantly—the sheer beauty of the backdrop.
Tropical islands evoke paradise, and when you are on an island vacation it’s hard to disagree. Step back in time on Greece’s whitewashed and blue roofed Santorini, the southernmost outpost of the Cyclades. Steep yourself in the South Pacific on the Indonesian island of Bali, whose breathtaking temples are the stuff of desktop backgrounds. Saint Lucia, in the Caribbean, presents visitors with spectacular views of its dramatic Piton Mountains rising above the sea.
Not all islands are tropical. (After all, trip to Manhattan is, arguably, an island vacation.) Vancouver Island, which sits just west of the city of Vancouver on the mainland, offers whale watching, sport fishing, hiking, and surfing. Scotland’s Isle of Skye shows off the unearthly, jagged ridge of Cuillin as well as the earthy tastes of the Talisker Scotch distillery. Off the coast of Ecuador, travelers can see the fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos, islands that helped Darwin give birth to the theory of evolution, while visitors can sample the eponymous wine on the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira.
To each their own island, whether a traveler seeks a tropical escape or a more northerly destination: T+L will help you find your perfect island vacation. Stop by often for the latest news and information.