Leave the hordes behind this year. Make your holiday heaven a far-flung speck in the watery vastness
EVERYONE LOVES islands, perhaps because of the senses of seclusion and otherness that they impart. Surrounded by water, they’re by definition places apart – tiny worlds unto themselves that are frequently breathtakingly beautiful. Bora
Bora in French Polynesia, for example, is what remains of an extinct volcano that’s surrounded by a spectacular turquoise lagoon, while the lush green cliffs of Kauai were also punched out of the Pacific by volcanic activity. Off the Bay of Naples and within spitting distance of the fury of Vesuvius, the origins of Capri are somewhat less dramatic, having been gradually raised by tectonic upthrust. Yet regardless of how it came into being, each of these specks in the blue yonder – wonderfully compact and in its own way remote – is exquisite. As the chances are high are that you’ll be considering visiting an island this year (and we don’t mean Hong Kong or, God forbid, Tsing Yi), we’ve done your homework for you. So read on and discover all the island you’ll ever need in 2018. western edge of the Philippines and has been hailed as the most beautiful island in the world. What this accolade really refers to, however, is the fabulous karst limestone coastline around El Nido, more extraordinary than that of Thailand’s better-known Phang Nga Bay, but less easily reachable and thus far less popular. A fantastical world – luxuriant in almost every shade of blue and green – of fluted crags that tower out of turquoise waters, and caves, hidden pools and lagoons – and even a subterranean river running into the sea, which Unesco has added to its list of World Heritage sites – this archipelago comes as close as it’s possible to get to an Earthly wonderland. Stay in one of numerous small resorts, explore by canoe or banka boat, snorkel and scuba dive – and constantly gaze in wonderment.