With light at the end of the Covid tunnel, we look forward to going back to the sun. However, the pandemic has taught us the importance of privacy and personal space and so crowded beaches, crowded hotels and bustling bars and restaurants have lost their appeal for many. If you’re dreaming of an island escape away from the crowds, here are six secluded island destinations to rekindle your wanderlust…
1 Necker and Moskito Islands, British Virginislands
The ultimate escape is to spoil yourself on a private island away from mass tourism with a beach to yourself, cocktail in hand and maybe just a small lizard for company. Probably one of the world’s most famous private islands is Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, a 74-acre retreat in the fabulous British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Now the Virgin mogul has added Moskito Island to his portfolio. Just two miles away from Necker, Moskito sits on 125 acres and offers ten estates for rent. The villas are staffed by private chefs and a local manager creates a personalized itinerary for each guest. Water sports and tennis are available for the energetic and a luxury spa for those in the mood for some post-pandemic pampering. IIt’s not cheap, needless to say – rates start at £12,855 per night.
2 Vatuvara, Fiji
Megan and Harry stayed on the private alien island of Vatuvara in Fiji during their royal tour of the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. They would have arrived at the island’s airstrip by private jet and stayed in one of three luxury villas here, each with its own private beach and infinity pool. Here you will also be assigned a personal masseuse for the ultimate pampering. The 800-hectare estate has a 4-hole golf course and putting green, as well as diving, snorkelling and kayaking. If you do want to leave the island, tours can be arranged to a Fijian village. All this for around £7,300 per night.
3 Eriska, Scotland
Closer to home, the Isle of Eriska, near Oban, Scotland, is a beautiful 300-acre private island with a hotel and spa. Surrounded by clear mountain air and lakes it doesn’t have the beaches of the Caribbean or the Pacific, but for pure escapism and solitude this is the place. You can feel like the monarch of your own valley as you wander the island where deer roam and gray seals and otters swim in the surrounding waters. There is a spa, golf course, croquet lawn, swimming pool and gourmet restaurant. Rates start at £400 per night.
While Sir Richard Branson’s private beaches are out of reach for most of us, there are places that offer an under-the-radar experience with seclusion, lack of tourists and peace and quiet at a price that won’t break the price. Bank. And some of these gems are just a budget flight away, hidden in European countries better known for bustling mass tourism. Such a gem this is overlooked gem in the Lesser Cyclades, Greece that has everything you need for a peaceful, undisturbed getaway. There are two islands in the group, Ano Koufonissi is inhabited while Kato Koufonissi is uninhabited meaning you can be both isolated and have the opportunity to enjoy long lunches in quiet villages, exploring quiet hiking trails or just soaking up the sun. Koufonisia has some of the best beaches in Europe. And when you’re at the beach, you might not see another soul, let alone an A-lister or a Royal. If you want to explore the pristine coastline of Koufonisia, it is best to rent a boat. Koufanisa is a two and a half ferry ride from Naxos, but well worth it.
Levanso, Aegadian Islands, Italy
The Aegadian Islands, on the western edge of Sicily, are not an obvious choice for British tourists, although they are very popular with Italians who flock here in high season. Favigagna. Lavanzo and Marratimo are the trio of beautiful islands with wonderful weather, great food and some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. Levanso is the smallest and most beautiful of the three islands, with white houses around the harbor and an unpolluted, blue sea. To the east, a short walk from the village, is a small beach with clear and smooth pebbles. Across the road, a path leads to theCaletta Del Faraglione, considered one of the twenty most beautiful beaches in Italy for divers. Here you will find the remains of a Roman shipwreck, with shards of pottery from the first century BC.
Porquerolles, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, is located just off the coast of France, near Hyères from where you take the ferry. There are three islands in this small group, but Porquerolles is the largest at seven kilometers wide and three kilometers long. With a wonderful climate and no cars allowed on the island, you are assured of a quiet, clean atmosphere for cycling and walking. You can visitFort Saint Agatha, a fortress built in the 14th century and the lighthouse of Cap d’Arme. Visit the beaches to the north or the spectacular cliffs to the south and enjoy delicious French cuisine from a handful of excellent bars and restaurants.
While the Maldives conjures up images of glorious five-star resorts jutting out into impossibly pristine waters, the Indian Ocean destination also offers more affordable yet equally tranquil getaways with equally glorious views. In fact, the archipelago has several islands for you to explore, where you can experience the local culture, do a bit of surfing, diving or snorkelling, and laze in the sun. One such island is Dhigurah, which is only four kilometers long and only 300 meters wide at its thickest. The palm-covered tropical oasis is a place to swim with whale sharks or snorkel and dive to see manta rays, turtles and coral. Dhigurah also has a large lagoon, which is also a good place to find one or two mantas. Thoddoo Island is also a good destination, with good connections to the airport.
The dam, Seychelles
Another great choice in the Indian Ocean is the Seychelles, off the coast of West Africa. An archipelago with a concatenation of more than 100 islands, you don’t have to wander far to find a spot for yourself. The largest island in the archipelago, Mahé, is also the most popular. The third largest island, La Digue, is a lot quieter than Mahé, but still easily accessible – it’s a 20 minute ferry ride from Praslin. Explore the island virtually car-free by bike or on foot and laze for days on the white sands of Anse Source D’Atrgent beach.