Tantalising white-sand beaches are dappled with the silhouettes of swaying palms, the sapphire Indian Ocean laps gently at the shore, and amid banyan trees and fairy terns, you lay swaying in your hammock, wondering where else in the world there could possibly be a place as idyllic as this. Just a few degrees south of the equator, the 115 granite islands of the Seychelles are a luxurious sanctuary, where hopeless romantics come to idle away a couple of weeks in bliss and families can delight in exploring jungle pathways and discovering giant tortoises.
The two main islands are Mahé and Praslin. Lined with sugar-white sands and with mystical granite peaks rising from the ocean, Mahé is the largest of the islands. Come here to picnic at picturesque coves and swim in azure lagoons. Some of the world’s most endangered species reside in the forest interior, including the Gardiner’s Seychelles frog, tinier than a human finger tip. Anse à la Mouche and Turtle Bay boast fine white sands and crystal clear waters, while Sunset Beach is named for its delivery of the most outstanding sunsets.
A short hop from Mahé by plane, or less than an hour by boat, you’ll fall upon some of the whitest beaches in the world on the exotic island of Praslin. Framed by granite boulders and takamaka trees, the talcum powder sands of Anse Lazio are some of the most stunning on the island, and cobalt waters invite you to swim and snorkel all day, before rewarding yourself with a refreshing bottle of SeyBrew lager. Praslin is one of only two islands in the world where the rare Coco de Mer grows, deep in the Vallée de Mai’s prehistoric forests, and a guided walk into the jungle is definitely worth the effort.
Take a day trip to the island of La Digue for a more authentic Seychellois experience, in which locals travel by bicycle or ox-cart and fishermen stroll past traditional Creole houses with their day’s catch in hand. For nature, head north west of Mahé to Silhouette Island, where a melting pot of endangered birds and animals find sanctuary in the magnificent National Park.