Dream destinations around the world: we’re talking about the 25 most beautiful islands in the world, tropical paradises with picture-postcard beaches, and irresistible destinations where you can explore and immerse yourself in history.
Costa Cruises takes you on a trip around the world: discover fantastic islands with us, where you can lose yourself in unspoiled nature or enjoy a fresh cocktail under a straw umbrella. Of course, you are spoiled for choice: we take care of everything else.
- Santorini (Greece)
- Crete (Greece)
- Hvar (Croatia)
- Rarotonga (Cook Islands)
- Sri Lanka
- Koh Phi Phi (Thailand)
- Koh Samui (Thailand)
- Galapagos (Ecuador)
- Azores (Portugal)
- Bora Bora (French Polynesia)
- Aruba (Caribbean)
- Sardinia (Italy)
- Saint John (US Virgin Islands)
- Bali (Indonesia)
- Moorea (French Polynesia)
- Maldives (Indian Ocean)
- Easter Island (Chile)
- Boracay (Philippines)
- Antilles (Caribbean)
- Grand Cayman (Caribbean)
- Bahamas (Caribbean)
- Palawan (Philippines)
- Nosy Be (Madagascar)
The fabulous island of Santorini is the southernmost of the Cyclades, lapped by the beautiful waters of the Aegean. Its volcanic origin makes it a harsh and rugged land, characterized by dark cliffs from which emerge spectacular white-walled villages whose churches stand out with their blue domes. So whether you are passionate about photography or just want a sun and sea holiday, Santorini is the perfect destination.
The best season to visit Santorini is between April and November. Come here if you are looking for a romantic destination where you can spend unforgettable moments with your loved one. The island’s sunsets are proverbial, as is the scent of a glass of wine sipped on one of the many terraces overlooking the sea.
What is there to see in Santorini? History buffs come here to learn more about Greece’s cultural heritage. The excavations of Akrotiri are considered one of the most important prehistoric finds ever and go back to 3600 BC. The city has survived in a similar way to Pompeii, having been submerged by lava from a volcanic eruption.
Of all the Greek islands, Crete is the largest and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea. Once the center of Minoan civilization, today it is the most popular island for tourists looking for sun, sea, and nightlife in one exclusive place. Beautiful mountains, crystal clear water, and sunshine almost all year round. Being so large, Crete offers its tourists a wide choice: you can sit on one of the many equipped beaches, rent an umbrella and sun lounger, or, wearing comfortable shoes, go to secluded bays, where you will feel like the lord of the universe.
History buffs will find Crete the perfect holiday destination: explore the Heraklion Museum and the perfectly preserved Venetian mountains in the village of Chania, or visit the Castle of Rethymno, located in close proximity to a beautiful sandy beach.
Visit Crete between April and mid-October: the climate is perfect for a swim or a comfortable nod on one of Crete’s many beaches along the coast.
Mauritius is a paradise from the warm waters of the Indian Ocean; it is over 500 kilometers from Madagascar. The Archipelago includes the mother island of Mauritius and the sister islands of Agalega, Cargados, Carajos, and Rodrigues.
Unlike most of the destinations listed here, you can travel to Mauritius all year round. Its favorable location, just below the Tropic of Cancer, makes it a land of the sun where temperatures never drop below 16°C, even in winter.
As if that weren’t enough, the islands of Mauritius boast fabulous beaches. Who doesn’t love the feeling of soft sand underfoot on a hot sunny day while the waves of the sea beckon you for another dive that afternoon? So, come and relax under the umbrella or brace yourself for the thrill of scuba diving. The surrounding seabed will take your breath away thanks to the presence of coral formations that are home to hundreds of species of fish and crustaceans.
Mauritius is a crossroads of cultures where diverse ethnic groups and religions live together in exemplary harmony. The majority of the population is Hindu, with a strong Creole influence. In the cities, you can breathe a simply irresistible cosmopolitan atmosphere: this trip will open your mind and soul!
Read also: The 10 most beautiful beaches in the world
You have landed on Hvar. This beautiful island of Croatia is considered one of the top beach destinations in the state by many specialized publications. In its cities, you can still breathe the passage of ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, and Venetians. History buffs shouldn’t miss a trip to Spanjola Fortress, built by the Venetians in the 13th century. It was also of prime importance in later centuries, especially in 1571 when the Turks invaded the island.
Not to mention the coast! Magnificent rocky or sandy beaches gently descend into the crystal clear waters of an irresistible sea. If you want to reach postcard places, take a trip to the Pakleni Islands, which are not far from here, and enjoy the silence and privacy on the pristine sand.
Also known as the island of lavender, the island of Hvar is dotted with fields of this fragrant plant, souvenirs par excellence to take home in the form of scented sachets, essential oils, or soaps.
Rarotonga (Cook Islands)
Of all the Cook Islands, a New Zealand paradise nestled in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, Rarotonga is surely the crown jewel. This paradise is not only a popular travel destination for New Zealanders but has also slowly been discovered by mass tourism in recent years.
Rarotonga will also be a small island, no more than 20 miles in circumference, but it will give you the impression of a unique, immense vacation spot. The bus service works very well and allows you to reach all kinds of beaches, lagoons, shops, churches and everything you need to immerse yourself in the nature and culture of the place. In the villages, you can still breathe the Polynesian atmosphere of the first Cook settlers who came from Tahiti about 1400 years ago. In more modern areas, however, Maori culture reigns supreme, so don’t be surprised at the smiles of the locals, who may decide to invite you into their home for dinner to show you the beauty of the local culture.
Rent a parasol on one of the picture-postcard sandy beaches or indulge in snorkeling and diving in a fantastic sea in the company of tropical fish species and giant sea turtles.
You have arrived in Sri Lanka, also known as Ceylon, an island nation in Asia that emerges from the waters of the Indian Ocean. What will impress you about this fabulous country is its fabulous beaches and irresistible cuisine. Also known as the Pearl of the Ocean, in recent years, Sri Lanka has become a popular beach holiday destination for tourists from all over the world, a meeting point for water sports enthusiasts, and a coveted destination for history buffs. In addition, there are 26 natural parks and 2 marine parks to visit, the most famous being Yala National Park which is home to the world’s largest population of leopards.
Unlike many other islands mentioned here, Sri Lanka offers a tropical and warm climate whenever you decide to visit. The area is affected by two monsoon seasons that affect different parts of the island at different times of the year.
And suppose the beaches have not already seduced you. In that case, all you have to do is sit down at the table and get ready for the delicious experience of a lifetime: the cuisine maintains a unique identity, a mix of flavors and spices that will make you fall in love.
Koh Phi Phi (Thailand)
Of all the islands of Thailand, Koh Phi Phi is surely one of the most popular tourist magazines in the world. You only need to look at a few photos of the place to understand why. Ever since Koh Phi Phi was the location of the movie “The Beach,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, tourists have added this beautiful place to their must-see destinations at least once in their lifetime.
From pristine sandy beaches that slope gently into a warm, crystal-clear sea, the island has much to offer visitors looking for a relaxing oasis where they can spread out their towels. Order a cocktail at the Sandbar and be treated to some of the most exclusive parties on the beach. Try places like Ao Lo Moo Dee or Ao Toh Koh if you prefer quiet.
If you are looking for adventure, Thailand is the place for you. Koh Phi Phi is not only a perfect spot for scuba diving, with a seabed teeming with tropical fish but also a place to sit at the table and explore the local culture straight from the plate. How can you resist the smell of a freshly cooked pad thai in the expert hands of a chef?
Koh Samui (Thailand)
You have never seen an island like Koh Samui in Thailand. The most iconic scenery of this fabulous place is surely the round stones of Hin Ta and Hin Yai, large stones that rest on the shore where bathing is a real pleasure.
Koh Samui offers amazing beaches, shopping, and plenty of activities to make for an unforgettable day once you disembark the big Costa ship. Come and admire, for example, the gigantic golden statue of the Buddha, which is more than 12 meters high and stands on a terrace that offers a breathtaking view of the rest of the island. Do you like oddities? Don’t miss the Mummy of the Monk of Wat Khunaram, the remains of a monk who died silently while meditating and is now on display in a shrine.
If you prefer hiking in nature, consider taking a trip to Namuang Falls instead, whose natural beauty will leave you speechless? Then, have a picnic among the rocks and seduce yourself to Thailand’s untouched nature.
Charles Darwin found inspiration for his masterpiece “The Origin of Species” on the Galapagos Islands. Also known as the Columbus Archipelago, the Ecuadorian Archipelago is one of the most volcanically active areas in the world and offers tourists a unique ecosystem owing to the location’s relative distance from any other emerging country.
UNESCO considers the 19 Galapagos Islands and the surrounding sea islands to be a biospheric heritage of inestimable value for the history of evolution and flora and fauna. Come and relax on one of the beautiful sandy beaches or indulge in a snorkeling experience with the turtles and marine life that touch the 400 different species here. If you’re lucky, you can admire magnificent specimens of the Galapagos penguin.
Last but not least, there are the volcanoes, the beating heart of the Archipelago. From the Sierra Negra to Cerro Azul, you’ll be spoiled for choice when exploring the mart terrain that surrounds these lava vents, which are active nearly every year.
Breathe in the irresistible atmosphere of Fiji, an island nation in Oceania made up of 322 islands, only 106 of which are inhabited. Not only is Fiji a fabulous place for a honeymoon or love vacation, but it also inspires generations of tourists with an irresistible cultural experience.
There is no other place in the world like the Fiji Islands. Known worldwide for the coral reefs that surround 333 islands and atolls, this destination attracts thousands of tourists each year, fascinated by the great snorkeling and diving opportunities amidst the extraordinary and vibrant seabed.
Of all the Archipelago’s attractions, the Fijians are certainly the most astonishing: Fijians are said to be the happiest people in the world. Greet them with the word “bula” and with any luck, you will be included in their speeches and invited to some of the most exclusive and beautiful places. From meke performances to kava ceremonies, there is so much to experience in this magical place!
Welcome to the Azores, a volcanic archipelago in the heart of the North Atlantic under the jurisdiction of Portugal. The Azores are 9 in total: Flores, Corvo, Terceira, Graciosa, Faial, Sao Jorge, Pico, Santa Maria, Sao Miguel. Despite being quite close to each other, these islands offer heterogeneous landscapes and biomes, as well as cultures and traditions that can vary depending on their geographic location.
The Azores are the perfect destination for those looking for a paradise of beaches and unspoiled nature without having to worry too much about the tourist crowd. Far from being a mundane place, they are rather an archipelago worthy of your time if you are looking for a place to relax and unwind in the lush greenery and along the sunny shores. Also, come here if you are looking for a spa: anywhere on the islands, you can swim in natural pools heated by the temperature of the volcanic soil from which they were formed. That’s why the Azores are considered the Hawaii of Europe… They’re a paradise!
Bora Bora (French Polynesia)
If you’ve ever seen a picture of Bora Bora, we don’t need to tell you why you should come here at least once in your life. Crystal clear water, pristine sand, coconut palms to enjoy the shade of during the hottest hours of the day, and lots and lots of beauty. You have arrived in the Society Islands archipelago, in the heart of the Pacific Ocean of French Polynesia.
It may be one of the most beautiful places in the world, but Bora Bora is never crowded: even in high season, the area seems to be yours alone! The volcanic past of this paradise has left fertile and lush soil, with a mountain jutting out from the heart of the island. Of course, we’re talking about Mount Otemanu, surrounded by a turquoise lagoon and irresistible coral reefs.
Come to Bora Bora to soak up the sun on the beach or relax at one of the many luxury resorts. Dive here to swim with sharks or manta rays. How can one resist such an opportunity? Bora Bora is waiting for you!
Lapped by the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela, Aruba is a paradise among the Netherlands that impresses with its extraordinary beauty. The sand is as soft and white as powder snow, a friendly population ready to welcome you, and natural wonders to explore to be blown away by picture-postcard landscapes. Of course, there are beaches for all tastes: from beaches suited to water sports, such as Fisherman’s Hut, to the more secular Palm Beach. However, those looking for peace and quiet must go to Boca Grandi.
Sometimes, when you find yourself on such an island, you forget how much the local culture can offer extraordinary surprises. Aruba boasts a flora of artistic and musical events, with streets teeming with artwork and wonderful enthusiast attractions. Stop by Oranjestad and walk down Wilhelminastraad Avenue to really immerse yourself in the local vibe. Then, stop at one of the restaurants and savor the best of local cuisine using fresh fish and the creativity of some of the world’s most renowned chefs.
The beating heart of the Mediterranean, Sardinia, awaits you with fabulous beaches and a tradition of hospitality that has its roots in centuries past. From the most secluded coves to sandy paradises and bathing establishments where you can rent an umbrella and forget all the troubles of the world for a day, Sardinia welcomes you with open arms and is ready to amaze you with its thousand secrets.
Thanks to the many attractions, Sardinia is not only the perfect destination for families but will also delight you with its lively nightlife, long excursions in the mountains, and spectacular rocky landscapes. Come here to relax and indulge in the local cuisine.
Saint John (US Virgin Islands)
Welcome to the Virgin Islands, a fabulous Caribbean archipelago off the east coast of Puerto Rico. Of these fabulous places, St. John is certainly the most famous of them all. The island is largely under the jurisdiction of the Virgin Islands National Park, and it is known for its stunning beaches of soft white sand, green palm trees, and crystal-clear waters. This gives you access to extraordinary landscapes, secluded shores, and unspoiled paradises.
Come snorkel and admire the seabed teeming with tropical fish, where you may be lucky enough to see turtles lazily swimming underwater. Alternatively, you can paddle, kayak, or windsurf – you’ll be spoiled for choice!
If you prefer, you can always put on a pair of comfortable shoes and immerse yourself in the wilderness of the national park, where many trails are planned for tourists with reduced mobility. In addition, history buffs will be able to admire the ruins of the Danish Fortress, a marvel for photography.
Indonesia has over 17 thousand islands, but Bali always appears on the list of the most beautiful tropical destinations in the world. Let’s start with the endless list of beaches to visit, each with its own unique charm. Immaculate sand, limestone cliffs, and coves are where you can immerse yourself in the thrill of the most extreme water sports.
If you stop to observe for a while, you’ll discover that Bali’s culture has an irresistible charm. The island is home to countless traditions, festivals, and ceremonies that attract thousands of tourists every year. Take, for example, the Monster Parade, the Day of Silence, or the Omed Omedan Kissing Festival.
For the adventurous soul, Bali is an ideal destination. Come surf in search of the biggest wave, or enjoy a swim at Aling-Aling Waterfalls. Book a submarine ride or go scuba diving and discover the seabed full of surprises. Bali is waiting for you!
Moorea (French Polynesia)
Located approximately 11 miles from Tahiti, the spectacular island of Moorea in French Polynesia is the tropical paradise you’ve always dreamed of. Everyone’s talking about Bora Bora, that’s true, but everyone should be talking about Moorea too. With its volcanic peaks surrounded by lush nature, the transparent waters that lap it, and beautiful beaches, Moorea is the ultimate destination for those seeking pure relaxation. Perfect for couples and large families, the island is organized to welcome and pamper its tourists.
However, there is also plenty to do for those who want to carry a pair of walking shoes. From Bali Hai’s eight peaks to hikes accessible to everyone, Moorea takes you to landscapes to photograph.
If you’d rather swim, you might be lucky enough to dive with sharks or snorkel alongside amazing tropical fish.
Maldives (Indian Ocean)
The island state of the Maldives is the ultimate tropical paradise. This group of atolls rising in the heart of the Indian Ocean offers incredible beaches, all dedicated to tourists in search of relaxation.
If you’ve always dreamed of those pristine beaches kissed by the shade of palm trees, where the sands of the atolls descend into a crystal clear, warm sea teeming with life, then you have to come here. Come to the Maldives any time of the year and enjoy the sun, sea, and fantastic heat.
The Maldives is the ideal destination for a romantic trip or honeymoon. Rent a private stilt house and immerse yourself in your personal stretch of shore.
Easter Island (Chile)
Welcome to Easter Island, the South Pacific paradise under the jurisdiction of Chile. Yes, we are talking about this beautiful little island with huge stone heads shrouded in mystery. Called Rapa Nui by the locals, it is one of the most exotic and curious destinations you will ever visit.
The nearly 100 Moai statues are the main reason to come here. There is no other place on earth like Easter Island, and once you get there, you will see why. These head statues date from the 12th century and are up to 10 meters high. Each of them is different: from the thinnest to the funniest, they are all waiting to be discovered.
The island is also known for its beautiful beaches and extinct volcanoes: Terevaka, Pioke, and Rano Kau. Come and relax on the warm sands or put on a pair of shoes and go on the most exotic hike of your life!
The spectacular island of the Philippines is located just a few kilometers from the north end of Panay Island in Aklan Province. Don’t trust those who tell you that the island is overcrowded and too commercial: you have just arrived on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. The problem of pollution is largely solved after two years of closure: Boracay now offers beautiful beaches and dreamlike places to spend unforgettable moments.
Rent a sun lounger and enjoy the pristine sea. You won’t regret it for a moment. And the people here are friendly and hospitable, too: stop by to talk to the residents and get advice on the best beaches in the area. Relax – you have arrived in a magical place.
Welcome to the Antilles, the Caribbean paradise par excellence. Arranged to form an arc from Florida to Venezuela, the islands offer tourists a wide choice of fabulous beaches, an irresistible tropical climate, and many, many entertainment options.
From the Greater Antilles, which includes the Cuban Archipelago, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico, to the Lesser Antilles, which includes the Leeward and Leeward Islands, the options for visiting this place are truly limitless. Immerse yourself in the history of Barbuda or choose the beaches of Martinique and treat yourself to the ultimate beach vacation in a tropical paradise.
Grand Cayman (Caribbean)
Among the Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman is certainly the largest and most important island. Picturesque locations, luxury resorts, and lots and lots of relaxation. Best things to do in Grand Cayman? Sweet idleness! In a good way, of course. Come here, rent an umbrella on the golden beach and enjoy the sound of the sea without worrying about anything. Unplug and enjoy the day until sunset before rejoining our ships.
However, if you prefer, you can always go to the Cayman Turtle Center, the center for turtle research and conservation. Observe them closely and learn to appreciate these extraordinary creatures!
Welcome to the Bahamas, a spectacular coral archipelago is emerging from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba. Of all the places to visit here, the Grand Bahamas and the Paradise Islands are certainly the most popular for mass tourism.
Immaculate beaches, crystal clear waters, and a sea you want to dive into anytime to snorkel and admire the coral reefs at Andros or the black coral gardens at Bimini.
The best time to come to the islands of the Bahamas is certainly between mid-December and mid-April when the weather is warm.
Welcome to Palawan, one of the islands of the Philippines, where the sea is magical, and the land offers the best of itself. From the city of Puerto Princesa, you can take many incredible excursions. Take, for example, the one that takes you to El Nido, a golden and fabulous beach, or a boat ride on the city’s underground river.
Palawan is also the destination where you want to be in the next few years if you are interested in diving and snorkeling. In addition to the seabed teeming with life, the panorama is also enhanced by the wrecks of some WWII ships.
Nosy Be (Madagascar)
Nosy Be is a spectacular islet off the west coast of Madagascar. Not only is it a sandy paradise with palm trees and crystal-clear waves, but it’s also the place where you want to be before everyone else!
Nosy Be is famous for the presence of the world’s smallest frogs, chameleons, and turtles, which you can swim with and explore the seabed with. Of all the islands mentioned, this one belongs to the small minority that can be visited all year round. Temperatures vary very little here. From May to October, it rains less often: don’t miss the opportunity to visit this paradise!