The Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles is made up of some 115 islands, scattered across thousands of square miles of the Indian Ocean. Few destinations can match the Seychelles’ winning combination of outstanding natural beauty, compelling history -- tales of buried pirate treasure abound…bring a shovel! -- fascinating cultures, and amazing wildlife. Here's our guide to island hopping in the Seychelles:
Mahé is home to the Seychelles’ capital, Victoria, which is one of the world’s smallest. Despite its size, it has more than enough character to make a visit very worthwhile. Experience vibrant Creole culture in the colorful, bustling Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke market where you can stock up on Seychellois delicacies. These include fiery chili sauce and shark chutney, both of which pack quite a bite! Keep a lookout, too, for the replica of London’s famous Big Ben clock tower.
If walking around Victoria makes you a little thirsty, enjoy tea tasting at The Tea Factory or opt for a drop of something a little stronger at the Takamaka Bay rum distillery, home of the Seychelles’ national spirit. Everywhere you go, you will be welcomed by warm smiles and friendly greetings in a mixture of French, English, and Creole, reflecting the country’s changing fortunes over the last few centuries.
With each meal consisting of the freshest seafood and tropical fruits, Mahé will satisfy your taste buds and leave you hungry for more island time. Be sure to live like a high-roller at least once, and order a millionaire’s salad, made of coconut palm hearts. When it’s time to move on, you can easily reach some of the other main islands by Cat Cocos ferry from Mahé.
The Seychelles’ second-largest island is arguably the most beautiful, from the postcard-perfect beaches of Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette to the stunning Vallée de Mai UNESCO World Heritage Site. This pristine forest was once believed to be the biblical Garden of Eden.
Follow shady trails through the indigenous tropical forest in search of the semi-mythical coco de mer tree. When its suggestively shaped fruit washed up on faraway beaches, they inspired many bizarre erotic legends.
Indulge your senses as you wind your way through fragrant vanilla orchards, or while away the afternoon with a picnic on the powdery sand of Praslin’s stunning beaches.
The tiny island of Curieuse can be visited as a day trip from Praslin. It is a striking place with bare red earth dotted with iconic coco de mer trees. A nature reserve and marine national park since 1979, Curieuse is notable for its populations of endemic birds and plants, including the rare Seychelles black parrots. It is also an important location for sea turtle nesting. Visit Curieuse to learn more about the fascinating biodiversity of the Seychelles, the impact that humans had historically, and how they are making amends today.
To visit delightful La Digue is to step back in time. With very few vehicles on the island, most people still get around its narrow lanes and tracks by bicycle. You may even see the occasional oxcart still in use! It often seems that little has changed since La Digue was first settled, centuries ago.
The iconic granite boulders that frame Anse Source d’Argent make this one of the most photogenic beaches in the world, and you can cool off after a day exploring the island with a swim in the warm azure waters here or at Anse Cocos.
Felicité, Cocos, Sisters and Marianne Islands
These “satellite islands” of La Digue were all previously used as coconut plantations, but are today more important as sanctuaries for the Seychelles’ unique wildlife. They make for a fascinating excursion from Praslin and a wonderful opportunity to spot dolphins, rays, flying fish and seabirds en route. The southern tip of Marianne Island is regarded as one of the world’s best dive sites, and there is plenty to see above the waves, too.