The 25 best islands in the world

In the eyes of Travel + Leisure readers, the world’s best islands promise much more than aquamarine waters, dramatic coastlines and pristine beaches. All are proof that we are not only excited to explore again, but re-examining what an ideal island experience might entail.

Every year, as part of our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to give their opinion on travel experiences around the world – to share their opinions on the best cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, etc Readers rated the islands based on their sights and activities, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.

The majority of the more popular islands offer crystal clear sands and thriving marine life that can be explored by divers of all skill levels. Examples: the Maldives (n°2), Bali in Indonesia (n°3) or Phuket in Thailand (n°7). Readers also flocked to islands rich in culture and gastronomy, from the ancient ruins and unrivaled food of Mílos, Greece (#4) to the nightlife of Ibiza, Spain (#17).

Readers’ enthusiasm for Phu Quoc (#14) in Vietnam earned it a spot on this list thanks to its white-sand beaches and delicious cuisine. The island is renowned for its production of fish sauce and peppercorns, as well as its coral reefs and dense rainforest.

But this category, according to T+L readers, has a new winner this year. Read on to find out why Ischia in Italy took the title of the #1 island.

1. Ischia, Italy

Casa Malcovati and Castello Aragonese, Ischia, Italy.
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Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, an hour by ferry from Naples, Ischia has drawn more traveler attention after featuring prominently in Elena Ferrante’s novel “My Brilliant Friend,” which HBO recently adapted into a series. It earned the top spot thanks to its picturesque villages, hot springs and unspoilt beaches, including Le Fumarole and its geothermally heated sand. A reader added praise for the “very kind and helpful” locals. While there are myriad villas for rent, there is also the complete five-star experience of Mezzatorre, managed by Pellicano Hotels. It overlooks the Bay of Naples and features a 16th-century watchtower, in which some of its 52 rooms and suites are located, as well as a spa and 17 acres of grounds.

Score: 94.61


Virgin Island in the Maldives.
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Score: 94.44

3. Bali, Indonesia

Floating Temple, Bali, Indonesia.
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Member of the WBA Hall of Fame. Score: 92.51

4. Milos, Greece

tourist exploring SARAKINIKO beach, MILOS, GREECE.
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Rating: 92.50

5. Fiji Islands

Woman on sandy beach, Fiji Islands, Fiji.
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Score: 92.38

6. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Aerial view of Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.
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Rating: 92.00

7. Phuket, Thailand

James Bond Island, Phuket, Thailand.
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Rating: 91.90

8. Dominica

Woman walking the Jacko Steps to the Layou River, Dominica.
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Rating: 91.00

9. Boracay, Philippines

Sunset at White Beach, Boracay Island, Philippines.
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Score: 90.89

10. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

woman on top of Cape Breton, Canada.
Adam Hill/Courtesy of Destination Cape Breton

Score: 90.88

11. Palawan, Philippines

Woman floating in an idyllic lagoon, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines.
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Score: 90.81

12. Paros, Greece

Naoussa village, Paros island, Greece.
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Score: 90.62

13. Azores, Portugal

Panoramic landscape of the lagoons of the Azores. Sao Miguel Island has many lakes, Portugal.
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Score: 90.48

14. Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Temple on the beach of Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam.
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Score: 90.25

15. Moorea, French Polynesia

Moorea anemone fish, French Polynesia.
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Score: 90.24

16. Cebu, Philippines

Taoist Temple, in Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines.
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Score: 90.12

17. Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza old town with flowers in summer, Spain.
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Rating: 89.89

18. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Bamboo bridge in St Vincent, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
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Score: 89.79

19. Madeira, Portugal

Sao Vicente, Madeira, Portugal.
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Score: 89.78

20. Maui, Hawaii

Shops and restaurants along Front Street, Maui, USA.
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Member of the WBA Hall of Fame. Rating: 89.55


Anguilla Beach.
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Score: 89.43

22. Crete, Greece

Woman admiring old stone church, Crete, Greece.
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Rating: 89.40

23. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island, views, USA.
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Score: 89.10

24. Island of Hawaii

Rainbow Falls, Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii, USA.
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Score: 88.53

25. Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Wildlife at Kiawah Island, USA.
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Score: 88.49

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