MO’OREA, French Polynesia – Arthur Frommer once stated that Mo’orea is the most beautiful island in the world. Its not surprising that it greatly impressed this seasoned world traveler. Mo’orea, a 10-mile-wide island off the western coast of Tahiti, is a secluded mountain paradise. In order to get on the island, you must take a small plane from Tahiti. There is only a single road that goes around the entire island. The sapphire-colored waters, swaying palms, and cloud-topped mountains are more than worth the inconvenience of getting to Mo’orea. Walking around the sandy beaches will reveal hidden coves where you feel as though you have stumbled on your own private heaven. Because the island is surrounded by a coral reef, it is an amazing place to dive and snorkel.
CAPE BRETON ISLAND, Canada – This rugged island is a green jewel set in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Canada. The wild rocky shores jut out into the dark blue Atlantic. The lush green land set against bright blue skies and sloping mountains make this a treat for the eyes. Visitors to the island will be steeped in the deeply ingrained Scottish heritage and infamous Celtic music traditions of Cape Breton. One of the worlds most beautiful scenic highways winds through the island, so you can take in the majesty of the place in a single day from the comfort of your vehicle. If you prefer to get hands-on, you can also explore the remote beaches and cliffs by hiking. The oceans around the island are heavily populated with whales, so you can view the arresting sight of the far off island while whale watching. If you time your visit perfectly, you can participate in one of the Scottish festivals where there is plenty of food, fun, and fiddle music.
PALAWAN ISLAND, Philippines – Expansive white sand beaches, gray rocks rising from a turquoise ocean, and a range of biodiverse wildlife make Palawan Island in the Philippines a top bucket-list item. Unlike many islands, the natives of Palawan have managed to preserve their culture and are more than happy to share local customs and traditions with visitors. The bright, clear oceans make Palawan an ideal place for swimming, diving, and snorkeling. Those who are brave enough can try cliff diving from the high rocks into the ocean. For the traveler that loves food, Palawan Island has an exquisite range of delicious cuisine. One of the best pastimes is setting up a hammock and enjoying the unparalleled natural beauty surrounding you.
MALTA, Italy – Right off the coast of Italy lies the charming island of Malta. The amazing weather and rich history of Malta make it one of the best European islands to visit. Malta’s historical record begins in 5200 BCE when it was settled by mainland explorers. Beginning at that time it was successively claimed by many different countries and empires, who all left their mark in some way. For this reason, architectural enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the temples, churches, palaces, and state buildings that date from hundreds of years ago.
Even though the island has perfect weather, the temperature rarely dipping below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the area is not overdeveloped. The small population that lives there is deeply religious. There are a number of festivals centering around the islands Roman Catholic religion, including carnival, festivals dedicated to saints and holy week. The warm, sandy beaches are a haven for surfers, divers, and swimmers. The island also features magnificent opportunities for rock climbing and curvy paved roads for recreational driving.
VANCOUVER ISLAND, Canada – This large island off the West Coast of Canada has an abundance of mountains, forests, and water. It inhabits the beauty of the scenes Jack London captured in his works on Alaskan landscapes. The shorelines are lined with large, towering timbers, and the interior is dotted with picturesque lakes reflecting the imposing snow-capped mountains in the background. Vancouver Island boasts one of Canada’s warmest climates.
It is a beautiful place to visit at any time of the year. In the warmer months, there are chances for breathtaking hiking, good fishing, surfing, and whale watching. In the winter months, visitors to Vancouver Island can ski on picturesque runs. Victoria on the islands southern tip is the most populated city and is as quaint as a postcard. On the rugged west side of the island, a trip to Tofino is worth the harrowing waters edge road trip. The fertile nature of the island attracts wildlife of all kinds. The island’s locally produced craft beers and BC wines are famous throughout Canada.