9X (UNKNOWN) ISLANDS YOU WANT TO VISIT BEFORE YOU DIE
There is something magical about an island. Perhaps is the slow way of living, and let’s not forget about those white sandy beaches. Time for a list!
If you’ve been on an island before, you know exactly why we are so crazy about them. With so many islands across the globe, we thought we give you 9 lesser-known islands you want to visit before leaving this earth. Have you heard about these ones?
Outer Hebrides Islands, Scotland
Scotland has islands! Yes, we were surprised as you are when we first heard about this. You can find them about 48KM off the Scottish West coast. If you like surfing, this is also the place for you. The Atlantic and North Seas bring excellent swirls, especially on the west coast of Lewis. But there are also ruins, castles and traditional houses. But the most unique of this archipelago are the white beaches. Here is a list of the most beautiful beaches in this region:
- Vatersay Bay
- Garry beach
Luskentyre Sands, Scotland islands
Socotra Island, Yemen
My oh my, this island has been on our must-visit-list for over 3 years now. This island officially belongs to Yemen, which to this day remains one of the most inaccessible countries in the world, and that is what makes it so special. There are virtually no roads on the island and a third of the plants and trees you find on Socotra cannot be found anywhere else in the world! Only around 20 western tourists are spotted per week and that has everything to do with the fact that only once a week a plane leaves Cairo for the island. We recommend that you book a 7-day tour through Welcome to Socotra. They arrange transport, food & drinks, tents, a local guide and activities. Warning: there are no hotels and don’t expect beach bars, this is hard core travelling and enjoying nature.
An island full of hippies, freedom and happiness. Gavdos is the southernmost island of Greece and the lower neighbour of popular island Crete. During our trip through Southwest Crete, a Greek man told me about this special island, which is in principle even closer to Africa than to Athens. He said that travelers often linger on this island because life there is so wonderfully relaxed. On Gavdos you will find a combination of rocks, pristine beaches and sand dunes.
It really is one of those places where you only come because someone told you about it.
Gavdos is a true paradise for hippies, but also for nudists. You can camp there for free and if you want you can walk all day in your birthday suit! If you go here, take plenty of time, because the boat from Chora Sfakion only goes with good weather, it won’t be the first time that tourists get stuck on Gavdos. But who knows, you might never want to leave…
A lot closer to home (for those in Europe). Norderney proofs that pretty islands don’t always need to be located in the middle of the ocean. From the Amsterdam, it’s about a 3 hour drive to Norddeich where you take the ferry. Even so, the German islands are still relatively unknown territory for most Dutch people. A few years ago we visited one of the larger islands, Norderney. For starters, the architecture is amazing. Elegant white houses and stylish buildings make the island a pleasant aesthetic surprise. In addition, there are countless trendy hotels and beach cafes, such as the Milchbar, where you can drink trendy cocktails during the sunset. There are also plenty of excellent restaurants to choose from, such as Surf Café or Weisse Düne. My tip for Norderney? Rent a bicycle and explore the whole island.
If you ask Google for a list of the most unknown countries in the world, Tuvalu will undoubtedly pop up. Tuvalu consists of 9 small islands, and is located between Hawaii and Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. About 1000 tourists a year come to this archipelago, so it is definitely Off the Beaten Track! This also means that there are few facilities. There is only a plane from Fiji to Tuvalu twice a week. Unfortunately, Tuvalu is one of those places on Earth that is very vulnerable to the effects of global warming. It is estimated that sea level rise will make the islands uninhabitable within 50 years. A sad prospect, so if you want to visit this special country, don’t wait too long.
Not too far from Australia you’ll find Vanuatu that consists of 83 islands. From Brisbane Australia you can fly there in about 3 hours. You can snorkel in the blue lagoons, hike in dense rainforests, or relax on the tropical beaches. There are also active volcanoes that you can climb and the area has a wonderfully mild climate.
Vanuatu is recognised as one of the most diverse countries in the world where you can find more than 110 different cultures!
If you go for unspoilt, visit the Banks Islands (or Îles Banks) and the Torres Islands in the north of Vanuatu. Together these islands form the province of Torba. The two islands are completely different, but for both, (mass)tourism isn’t presence. STAY: On Vanuatu you can spend the night in, for example, La Maison du Banian, a tree house that is equipped with traditional furniture and decoration. You will find this unique spot about 15 km from the capital Port Villa.
The Kei Islands, Indonesia
Arguably, Indonesia’s best kept secret are the Kei Islands. Is this the place in the Moluccan with the most beautiful beaches? Man oh man, the pictures don’t lie. The most famous island is Kei Kecil, which is best explored by scooter or taxi. You can also find the snow-white beach of Pasir Panjang, or the bizarrely beautiful Matwaer Beach, in the south. Around Kei Kecil you can visit Ngurtafur beach. This beautiful sandbank is also called snake beach, because it meanders into the crystal clear sea. Best of all? You won’t encounter many (western) tourists on these islands. This is probably because the journey there is quite far (there are no direct flights from Amsterdam). It is only a 2 hour flight from Australia and 6 hours from Jakarta. In any case, the Kei Islands are high on our list!
We recently published a post about these stunning and lesser known islands and its region. You can find them in the North Eastern part of Norway. To get there you fly to Oslo and eventually to Evenes. Norway is known for its mountains rising from the sea and snowy climate. Surprisingly, Lofoten also has stunning beaches with WHITE sand. You need to visit in order to believe it, but here’s a picture.
Lamu Island, Kenia
This once popular island is making a comeback! Yes, it used to be a high on the list island for those travelling to Kenia. Years ago a woman was attacked IN 2011 (which can happen anywhere) and the island lost its good reputation. And that’s a shame because Lamu is amazing for many reasons. The old town, the beaches, the people and the narrow streets. Fun fact; the island is full of donkeys that walk pretty much everywhere!
Find some of these islands and MANY more in our book Off the Beaten Track!