Written by Olly Lomas
The spectacular Seychelles islands are the epitome of tropical paradise. Look a little closer though and you will discover an amazing diversity in these islands, from the inner granite islands to the outer coral islands, with nature reserves, hill treks, unique flora and fauna and friendly towns. Discover islands on foot, by bike or hire car. Explore the sea on board a ship, snorkelling or scuba diving. And all this can be achieved via an intricate network of seaplanes, helicopters and ferries that connect these remarkable islands. Combine a holiday in the Seychelles with a stay in Dubai or safari in Tanzania or Kenya for the ultimate twin-centre honeymoon. Romance, relaxation and escapism. This isn’t just a sun-and-sand destination: The Seychelles is for the explorers, the barefoot luxury dreamers and the romantics forever chasing the sunset to the next island.
The most popular islands in The Seychelles
Mahé is the largest island in The Seychelles, home to the capital city, Victoria, as well as Morne Seychelles National Park. Take some time to discover the Creole culture and cuisine here on Mahé as well as the secluded beaches, the Botanical Gardens and Victoria’s cathedrals. Lose yourself in the side streets of Victoria where markets and shops are interspersed with hidden gem restaurants.
Praslin is reached by a 15 minute flight from Mahé and is where you will find some of the country’s most prestigious 5 star resorts. Praslin is also home to the rare coco de mer trees in UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vallée de Mai. Keep your eyes peeled for the endemic black parrot, and also cute little tenrecs. Take some time to visit Anse Lazio: arguably the best beach in the world, with clear blue waters, fine white sand and swaying palm trees.
La Digue is where you really slow down to island time. Both locals and tourists travel around the island by bike, which is the perfect and peaceful way in which to wind through La Digue’s forests and discover its beaches. Take a picnic lunch to the beach at Anse la Source d’Argent where gigantic, smooth granite boulders frame this picture-perfect idyll.
The Seychelles’ private islands
Denis Island is a short hop from Mahé but offers a total retreat from modern life. Honeymooners and couples can switch off totally and stay in one of the 25 gorgeous cottages here, before discovering epicurean delights created from the catch-of-the-day and ingredients from the island’s farm.
North Island must be one of the most incredible places on earth. Offering the apogee of eco-friendly barefoot luxury, there are just 11 luxurious villas on the island with each one crafted from natural elements and boasting its own plunge pool. Rare flora and fauna is being reintroduced and cared for here, earning North Island then name ‘Noah’s Ark Island’.
Desroches is 230km from Mahé and offers the authentic Creole escape. Coconut plantations and verdant jungles give way to 14km of beautiful white sand beaches that fringe this island paradise. The waters here are renowned for their diversity, and where the shallows give way to the deeper ocean you will find superb diving and deep sea fishing.
Silhouette rises dramatically from the ocean to jungle covered mountain peaks in the centre. Check into your own private villa in the beautifully created Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, where you can dine on delectable cuisine and relax in the gorgeous spa, or why not explore the island on foot to find your own private beach for the day?
The beauty of the Seychelles is that you can create your own unique holiday according to your own unique tastes. The larger inner-islands, along with their smaller neighbours, are easiest to explore so most people focus their stay here and then add on a stay at one of the private islands. Here are some combinations we recommend:
Denis Island and Silhouette
Praslin and La Digue
Mahé, La Digue and Praslin
Denis Island and Mahé
Mahé and Silhouette
Mahé, Silhouette and Praslin
Island-hopping by air
Some islands are only accessible by air, while other times you may just prefer to arrive in style by plane or by helicopter with breathtaking views of the islands below:
Mahé to Praslin Island: Air Seychelles runs 20-minute flights multiple times a day between these two islands, which lie 43km apart.
Mahé to Silhouette Island: the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa runs helicopter flights via ZilAir. The 20km journey takes around 15 minutes.
Mahé to North Island: the owner of this exclusive island only allows guests access by helicopter (also by ZilAir). It takes just 20 minutes to cover the 39km distance.
Mahé to Denis Island: make the 95km journey to Denis Island in just 30 minutes by plane. Flights go once a day, seven days a week and are automatically reserved when booking a room at Denis Private Island Resort.
Mahé to Desroches: this island lies a substantial 230km from Mahé, so is only accessible by plane. There are seven flights a week that make the 30 minute journey, operated by Island Development Company.
Island-hopping by boat
There is a unique romance and excitement as you skip across crystal waters toward your tropical island paradise. Ferries and fast boats in The Seychelles are operated by Seyferry, Cat Cocos and the Inter Island Ferry Services.
Mahé to Praslin: there are at least three boats per day for this route. The journey takes roughly one hour.
Mahé to La Digue: these islands lie around 50km apart, boats go multiple times per day and take approximately 90 minutes.
Praslin to La Digue: a short, 15 minute boat trip between these neighbouring islands is available every day.
La Digue to Felicité Island: this trip takes just 15 minutes by boat.
Praslin to Round Island: it is just five minutes by boat from Praslin to Round Island.
Mahé to Cerf Island: it takes less than 10 minutes to reach Cerf by boat.
Cruising and sailing The Seychelles
What better way to explore an island nation than aboard a cruise ship or sailing ship? You travel in your accommodation, you only have to unpack once, you can visit multiple islands and of course enjoy life on those turquoise waters. Intrepid offer an 8 day itinerary from Mahé that takes in 10 islands, while Variety Cruises gives you the choice of 3, 4 and 8 day itineraries depending on your budget and time available. Snorkel hidden reefs, learn from the onboard naturalist and then unwind with a drink on deck while you enjoy another stunning sunset. There are also options to hire yachts in The Seychelles for the ultimate in decadence and seclusion.