One of Australia’s go-to tropical escapes, Fiji ticks all the fantasy island boxes. White sand beaches, translucent turquoise waters, and teeming coral reefs are all found here in abundance. And the Fijian people welcome visitors with warm, friendly smiles. Diving, snorkeling, fishing, and in some areas, surfing are all fantastic, but sprawling under a palm tree and slipping into the silky warm seas can be equally rewarding. With more than 300 islands, it’s easy to find the perfect match, from luxurious celebrity hideaways and family-friendly resorts to the sublime Yasawa and Mamanuca group. Fijians love young children, so this a fabulous destination for families looking to relax.
Kauaʻi is called “the Garden Isle” for good reason: Rainforests cloak much of the interior. Waterfalls tumble from lava cliffs, and the intoxicating fragrance of tropical blooms hangs heavy on the sultry air. But the island’s beauty lies not just in its luxuriant flora and abundant rain; its spectacular coastline will take your breath away. Lava sculpted this stunning island, thrusting up from the ocean floor to form velvety ridges and vertiginous cliffs rimmed by gorgeous beaches. Beneath its cobalt-blue seas, turtles and tropical fish swim along coral reefs, delighting divers and snorkelers from around the globe. Compared to its popular sister islands, Maui and Oahu,Kauaʻi exudes a low-key vibe and tends to move at a more relaxed pace. Don’t miss the breathtaking Nā Pali Coast, 10-mile-long Waimea Canyon, and the cloud-capped vistas from the cliffs above Hanalei Bay.
11. St. Lucia
St. Lucia exudes a dark and brooding beauty. Unlike other Caribbean islands, its best assets are not necessarily its beaches, though with their golden sands and graceful palms, they are popular with those who visit. Rather, the island itself is drenched in topographic drama. The towering Pitons, twin volcanic peaks, preside over the luxuriant landscapes, rising more than 700 meters from the sea, and provide a breathtaking backdrop to the stunning scenery. Bristling forests of coconut palms, waterfalls, quaint fishing villages, coral reefs, nature trails, and healing hot springs are just some of the sights to explore here. Pretty Marigot Bay and Anse Chastanet Marine Park are highlights. The island’s French influences also add to its exotic appeal.
12. Capri, Italy
Glamorous Capri, about 20 kilometers off the Amalfi Coast, lives up to all the hype. Sea stacks and soaring cliffs rise from the teal-hued Tyrrhenian Sea framed by sprays of colorful flowers. A popular attraction is the blue grotto, a glowing sea cave, where locals row tourists in on tiny boats and sing opera to demonstrate the acoustics. Once you arrive at the port of Marina Grande, catch the funicular up to the main town of Capri, which feels like a movie set. The piazza here buzzes with impeccably-dressed locals and tourists toting shopping bags filled with designer clothes and the island’s perfumes. While you’re here, be sure to also visit the highest town, Anacapri, and take the chair lift up to Monte Solaro for spectacular views across the island and sea.