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The 25 Best Islands in the World

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


Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.


The majority of the most popular islands offer crystalline sands and thriving marine life that can be explored by divers of any level. Cases in point: the Maldives (No. 2), Bali in Indonesia (No. 3), or Thailand’s Phuket (No. 7). Readers also flocked to isles with rich culture and food, from the ancient ruins and unsurpassable food of Mílos, Greece (No. 4) to nightlife on Ibiza, Spain (No. 17).


Readers’ enthusiasm for Vietnam’s Phu Quoc (No. 14) has earned it a place on this list thanks to its white-sand beaches and delectable food. The island is renowned for its production of fish sauce and peppercorns, as well as its coral reefs and dense tropical forest.


But this category, according to T+L readers, has a new winner this year. Read on to discover why Italy’s Ischia took the title of the No. 1 island.



1. Ischia, Italy

Casa Malcovati e Castello Aragonese, Ischia, Italy.
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Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, a one-hour ferry ride from Naples, Ischia has attracted more attention among travelers 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, thermal springs, and unspoiled beaches, which include Le Fumarole and its geothermally heated sand. One reader added praise for the “very nice and helpful” locals. While there are myriad villas to rent, there’s also the full five-star hotel experience of the grande dame Regina Isabella and newcomer Mezzatorre, run by Pellicano Hotels.


Score: 94.61



2. Maldives

Virgin Island in Maldives.
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Score: 94.44



3. Bali, Indonesia

Floating temple, Bali, Indonesia.
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WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 92.51



4. Mílos, Greece

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



5. Fiji Islands

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



6. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

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



7. Phuket, Thailand

James Bond island, Phuket, Thailand.
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Score: 91.90



8. Dominica

Woman walking down Jacko Steps to Layou River, Dominica.
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Score: 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 peak of Cape Breton, Canada.
Adam Hill/Courtesy of Destination Cape Breton

Score: 90.88



11. Palawan, Philippines

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



12. Páros, Greece

Village of Naousa, Paros island, Greece.
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Score: 90.62



13. Azores, Portugal

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



14. Phu Quoc, Vietnam

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



15. Moorea, French Polynesia

Anemone fishMoorea, 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 on summertime, Spain.
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Score: 89.89



18. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Bamboo bridge in St Vincent, St. 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, United States.
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WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 89.55



21. Anguilla

Anguilla beach.
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Score: 89.43



22. Crete, Greece

Woman admiring the old stone church, on Crete, Greece.
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Score: 89.40



23. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island, views, United States.
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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, United States.
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Score: 88.49