The 25 Best Islands in the World

The best islands in the world, according to Travel + Leisure readers, invite visitors to adopt a slower pace of life.

Ischia, Island
Italy, Campania, Naples, Gulf of Naples, Ischia Island, Aragonese Castle on rock island. Photo: Getty Images

In the eyes of Travel + Leisure readers, the best islands in the world promise much more than aquamarine waters, dramatic coastlines, and pristine beaches. All are evidence that we are not only enthusiastically exploring again but re-examining what an ideal island experience might entail.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.

The majority of the most popular islands offer crystalline sands and thriving marine life that can be explored by divers of any level. Cases in point: the Maldives (No. 2), Bali in Indonesia (No. 3), or Thailand's Phuket (No. 7). Readers also flocked to isles with rich culture and food, from the ancient ruins and unsurpassable food of Mílos, Greece (No. 4) to nightlife on Ibiza, Spain (No. 17).

Readers' enthusiasm for Vietnam's Phu Quoc (No. 14) has earned it a place on this list thanks to its white-sand beaches and delectable food. The island is renowned for its production of fish sauce and peppercorns, as well as its coral reefs and dense tropical forest.

But this category, according to T+L readers, has a new winner this year. Read on to discover why Italy's Ischia took the title of the No. 1 island.

1. Ischia, Italy

Ischia, Italy
Casa Malcovati e Castello Aragonese, Ischia, Italy. Getty Images

Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, a one-hour ferry ride from Naples, Ischia has attracted more attention among travelers after featuring prominently in Elena Ferrante's novel "My Brilliant Friend," which HBO recently adapted into a series. It earned the top spot thanks to its picturesque villages, thermal springs, and unspoiled beaches, which include Le Fumarole and its geothermally heated sand. One reader added praise for the "very nice and helpful" locals. While there are myriad villas to rent, there's also the full five-star hotel experience of the grande dame Regina Isabella and newcomer Mezzatorre, run by Pellicano Hotels.

Score: 94.61

2. Maldives

Virgin Island in Maldives. Getty Images

Score: 94.44

3. Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia
Floating temple, Bali, Indonesia. Getty Images

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 92.51

4. Mílos, Greece

tourist exploring SARAKINIKO beach, MILOS, GREECE. Getty Images

Score: 92.50

5. Fiji Islands

Fiji Island, Fiji
Woman on sandy beach, Fiji Islands, Fiji. Getty Images

Score: 92.38

6. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Aerial view of Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. Getty Images

Score: 92.00

7. Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand
James Bond island, Phuket, Thailand. Getty Images

Score: 91.90

8. Dominica

Woman walking down Jacko Steps to Layou River, Dominica. Getty Images

Score: 91.00

9. Boracay, Philippines

Boracay, Philippines
Sunset at White beach, Boracay island, Philippines. Getty Images

Score: 90.89

10. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Island, Canada
woman on peak of Cape Breton, Canada. Adam Hill/Courtesy of Destination Cape Breton

Score: 90.88

11. Palawan, Philippines

Palawan, Philippines
Woman floating in idyllic lagoon, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. Getty Images

Score: 90.81

12. Páros, Greece

Paros, Greece
Village of Naousa, Paros island, Greece. Getty Images

Score: 90.62

13. Azores, Portugal

Azores, Portugal
Panoramic landscape from Azores lagoons. sland of Sao Miguel has many lakes, Portugal. Getty Images

Score: 90.48

14. Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Temple on the beach in Phu Quoc island in Vietnam. Getty Images

Score: 90.25

15. Moorea, French Polynesia

Moorea, French Polynesia
Anemone fishMoorea, French Polynesia. Getty Images

Score: 90.24

16. Cebu, Philippines

Cebu, Philippines
Taoist Temple, in Cebu City,Cebu, Philippines. Getty Images

Score: 90.12

17. Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza, Spain
Ibiza old town with flowers on summertime, Spain. Getty Images

Score: 89.89

18. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Bamboo bridge in St Vincent, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Getty Images

Score: 89.79

19. Madeira, Portugal

Madeira, Portugal
Sao Vicente, Madeira, Portugal. Getty Images

Score: 89.78

20. Maui, Hawaii

Maui, United States
Shops and Restaurants Along Front Street, Maui, United States. Getty Images

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 89.55

21. Anguilla

Anguilla beach. Getty Images

Score: 89.43

22. Crete, Greece

Crete, Greece
Woman admiring the old stone church, on Crete, Greece. Getty Images

Score: 89.40

23. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island, United States
Mackinac Island, views, United States. Getty Images

Score: 89.10

24. Island of Hawaii

Big Island, Hawaii
Rainbow Falls,Hilo,Big Island, Hawaii, USA. Getty Images

Score: 88.53

25. Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Island, United States
Wildlife at Kiawah Island, United States. Getty Images

Score: 88.49

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