Getaway to London: Secluded Island Vacation Destinations
With light at the end of the Covid tunnel, we can’t wait to head for the sun again. However, the pandemic has taught us the importance of privacy and personal space and so crowded beaches, busy hotels and bustling bars and restaurants have lost their appeal for many. If you dream of an island getaway, away from the hustle and bustle, here are six secluded island destinations to awaken your wanderlust…
1 Necker and Moskito Islands, British Virgin Islands
The ultimate escape is to indulge yourself on a private island, far from mass tourism with a beach to yourself, a cocktail in hand and maybe just a little lizard for company. One of the most famous private islands in the world is probably 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 three kilometers from Necker, Moskito extends over 50 hectares and offers ten properties for rent. The villas are led by private chefs and a resident manager creates a personalized itinerary for each guest. Water sports and tennis are available for the sporty and a luxury spa for those in the mood for some post-pandemic pampering. It isn’t cheap, needless to say – rates start at £12,855 a night.
2 Vatuvara, Fiji
Megan and Harry stayed on the offbeat private island of Vatuvara in Fiji during their royal tour of the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. They would have arrived by private jet at the islands airstrip and stayed in one of three luxurious villas here, each with its own private beach and infinity pool. Here you will also be assigned a personal masseuse for the ultimate indulgence. The 800-acre property features a 4-hole golf course and putting green, and scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking are available. If you wish to leave the island, visits can be arranged to a Fijian village. All this for around £7,300 a 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 clean mountain air and lakes, it doesn’t have the beaches of the Caribbean or the Pacific, but for escape and solitude, this is the place. You can feel like the monarch of your own valley as you stroll around 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 a night.
Although 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 isolation, lack of tourists and peace and quiet at a price that won’t break not the Bank. And some of these gems are only a cheap flight away, hidden away in European countries best known for mass tourism. One of those gems is this overlooked gem in the Lesser Cyclades, Greece that has everything you need for a quiet, tranquil retreat. There are two islands in the group, Ano Koufonissi is inhabited, while Kato Koufonissi is uninhabited which means you can have seclusion as well as the opportunity to enjoy long lunches in uncrowded villages, exploring quiet hiking trails or just soaking up the sun. Koufonisia has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. And when you’re on the beach, you might not see anyone else, let alone an A-lister or a Royal. If you want to explore the pristine coast of Koufonissia, it is best to rent a boat. Koufanisa is two and a half years by ferry from Naxos, but well worth it.
Levanso, Egadi Islands, Italy
The Egadi Islands, west of Sicily, are not an obvious choice for British tourists, although they are popular with Italians who flock here in high season. Favigagna. Lavanzo and Marratimo are the trio of beautiful islands with great weather, delicious cuisine and some of the best beaches in Italy. Levanso is the smallest and prettiest of the three islands, with white houses arranged around the harbor and an unpolluted blue sea. To the east, a short walk from the village, is a small beach of light, smooth pebbles. On the other side, 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 potsherds dating back to the first century BC.
Porquerolles, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, is located just off the coast of France, near Hyères from where you catch 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 calm and clean atmosphere for cycling and hiking. You can visitFort Saint Agatha, a fort built in the 14th century and the Cap d’Arme lighthouse. Visit the beaches in the north or the spectacular cliffs in the south and sample delicious French cuisine in the handful of excellent bars and restaurants.
While the Maldives conjures up images of glorious five-star resorts jutting out into impossibly crystal-clear waters, the Indian Ocean destination also offers a more affordable yet equally tranquil vacation with equally stunning views. In fact, the archipelago has several islands that you can explore where you can experience the local culture, do a bit of surfing, diving or snorkeling, and bask in the sun. One of these islands is Dhigurah, which is only four kilometers long and only 300 meters wide at its thickest point. 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 a manta ray or two. Thoddoo Island is also a good destination, with good airport connections.
The dam, Seychelles
Another great choice in the Indian Ocean is the Seychelles, off the west coast of Africa. An archipelago with a chain of over 100 islands, you don’t need to stray far to find a patch of your own. Mahé, the largest island in the archipelago, is also the most popular. The third largest island, La Digue, is much quieter than Mahé, but still easily accessible – it’s a 20-minute ferry ride from Praslin. Almost traffic-free, explore the island by bike or on foot and relax on the white sand shores of Anse Source D’Attrgent beach.