10 Hidden Gem Islands to Explore

by Allie Menzione

May 28, 2018

Beach in Dominica © Donnariccia | Dreamstime

Trends / Unique Itineraries & Tours

Nosy Be
This island off the coast of Madagascar is the nation’s No. 1 beach destination, but still remains low-key and uncrowded. Here you can find volcanic lakes, coral reefs, beautiful beaches and crystal waters to explore. The sacred lemurs roam freely and are extremely friendly to visitors.

Dominica is part of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. Tropical rainforests cover two-thirds of the island; it is known as “the nature island.” Covered in volcanic peaks, underwater springs, waterfalls, streams and wildlife, the island is rife with adventure. 

Réunion Island
Réunion Island is a French island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. It is much less visited and an unusual island paradise. The volcanic island is covered in large craters, in which entire villages reside. It is home to the world’s most active volcanoes, the most beautiful village in France (that’s not in France), the Indian Ocean’s highest peak and more.

If you want the beauty and mystique of Bali without the crowds of the major destination, try a lesser-known island in Indonesia — like Sumba. The island has gorgeous azure waters, white sands, waterfalls, beautiful lakes, historic villages and more. Explore the national parks and pristine beaches on a relaxing island getaway. 

Tobago is an island in the Caribbean, northeast of Trinidad and southeast of Grenada. It is the smaller and more low-key of the two islands making up the nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Its pristine nature was allegedly the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island. Pigeon Point Beach on the island has been named one of the best beaches in the world.

This Greek island gives travelers all of the charms and beauty of bigger islands like Mykonos and Santorini, without all of the overcrowding and tourist traps. It is like stepping into the Greek Islands before the tourism boom of the 1980s. Rare passion flowers, butterflies, honeysuckle and apricots make up this vibrant paradise. Explore pristine beaches, blue waters and charming old towns throughout your stay.

This Caribbean island on the outpost of the Grenadines, south of St. Vincent, is one of the best and most underrated Caribbean islands. It is home to stunning beaches, a welcoming local atmosphere and budget stays thanks to the lack of overdevelopment. The beaches are dotted with rum shacks and bars to enjoy a cold one before you dip into the crystal-blue waters. Hiking, snorkeling and whaling are popular activities to indulge in.

Cavallo is a small island in the Mediterranean Sea between Corsica and Sardinia and is part of France — but almost wholly owned by Italians. It is an exclusive private and quiet island known as a respite for celebrities. No cars are allowed on the island, only electric golf carts. If you’re looking for a remote, pristine and luxurious stay, this is the island for you.

Pom Pom Island
This island north of East Malaysia is a diver’s paradise, known for a rich and rare marine biodiversity with more than 500 coral species. It is also an important nesting site for green and hawksbill turtles, protected on the island. The pristine beaches, incredible wildlife and remoteness of the island make it a dream for nature lovers.

Cocos Keeling
These four islands are a remote territory of Australia, located in Southeast Asia. Direction Island’s Cossies Beach has been named the Best Beach in Australia. Its waters are home to vivid fish, coral and huge parrotfish for snorkelers to enjoy. The remote island has no drinking water or electricity so most visitors stay on Home Island or West Island.


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