If you're looking to get away to a tropical island but stay away from the usual tourist-traps, set your sights for the idyllic Seychelles. A collection of over 100 screensaver-ready islands just off the coast of East Africa, this unique destination has it all – from sumptuous stays and heart-stopping adventure to unspoilt beaches and mouthwatering cuisine. Ready to experience it all? Here's why you should be packing your bags for the Seychelles...
Related article: 5 reasons to visit the Seychelles
Welcome to an exotic paradise
The Seychelles – even the name gives a hint of the French inﬂuences you’ll ﬁnd in this Indian Ocean archipelago. From the commonly spoken language to the French-inspired cuisine served in restaurants and street-food stalls across the islands, there's a cultural fusion here that'll enchant romantics. That, mixed with postcard-perfect tropical scenery and fascinating culture, makes the Seychelles such a uniquely exotic paradise.
Another reason to visit? With 115 islands, you can choose whether to island-hop or settle on the main island of Mahé. There's also the two nearby islands of Praslin and La Digue, where most of the accommodation and tourism facilities are located. Venture out as much as you like, or take it as easy as possible. Choices, choices...
Explore Insta-ready isles
Decided to escape to the Seychelles but don't know where to begin? You can do worse than base yourselves at Mahe (where the international airport is located) after touching down. A buzzing hub loved for its markets and beach clubs, it's ideal for those wanting to immerse themselves in the local culture. Our advice? Split your time between Mahe's crowded north and the more laid-back south. There are plenty of blissful swimming spots and markets here, away from the usual tourist-packed areas – yes, please!
Another Seychelles go-to, Praslin is definitely worth visiting. Blessed with honeymoon-ready beaches (think sugar-white sands, turquoise waters and swaying palms), it ticks all the right boxes. There's more to do here, though, than just relax by the water (as tempting as that is). For an unforgettable getaway, explore the World Heritage-listed Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve (pictured above) and keep an eye out for the incredible birdlife, feast on freshly caught seafood, go scuba diving or spot sea turtles while snorkelling.
Seeking somewhere where you can just chill out? Secluded La Digue is the place to go. With one of the world's most photographed beaches (Anse Source d'Argent), the island is dotted with dreamy stretches of pristine sand. Discover them all for yourselves and fit in time for waterfront dining, hiking and seeing the local giant tortoises!
Discover untouched nature
Wherever you base yourselves, you really can't come to the Seychelles without taking a boat-trip out to Cousin Island, Curieuse and St Pierre (many local groups offer day-trips out to these islands).
The former is protected by the NGOs Nature Seychelles and Birdlife International – join a guide to see amazing reptiles and birdlife on this tiny isle. Haven't yet had your fill of marvellous wildlife? On Curieuse Island, follow the boardwalk through preserved mango forest to learn about the local lemon sharks after visiting the baby giant tortoise pens – animal-lovers, this one's for you! Finish the day with snorkelling off St Pierre's heavenly coastline and take in the breathtaking scenery on the boat-ride home. The perfect day out? We think so!
Get a little adventurous
There's plenty opportunity to channel your inner Indiana Jones in the Seychelles. A must-visit for adventure-seekers, Mahe's Copolia Trail will have intrepid travellers in their element. Winding its way through dense rubber tree and cinnamon forest, the 1.6-kilometre trail leads up a mountain to one of the destination's most incredible outlooks – expect a 360-degree panorama stretching across lush forest and Mahe's azure coast.
Prefer to get your thrills under the water's surface? A slew of PADI-certified scuba groups in Mahe will take you out to spectacular underwater wonderlands like Port Launay Marine National Park and Shark Bank. Here, you'll come across brightly coloured coral gardens and creatures like reef sharks, yellow snapper, brissant rays, batfish, manta rays and barracuda, and even the occasional whale shark. Prepare to feel like Ariel from The Little Mermaid…
Sample unique flavours
Here at H4C, we think one of the best ways to get to know a destination is to try its local cuisine. And in the Seychelles, you won't be let down. Fusing exotic flavours with incredibly fresh seafood, the destination's culinary offerings are anything but boring – gourmands, welcome to creole food heaven.
A staple that you really have to try, grilled fish is on the menu at pretty much any restaurant in the Seychelles and for good reason. Cooked with fragrant spices, it's a simple dish that seems made for evenings spent sipping a chilled beer by the beach. You'll also find an array of curries on offer throughout the islands, plus fruity desserts like Ladob (spiced bananas in coconut milk). Trying it all is an experience you can't miss, whether you're dining at a sophisticated hotel restaurant or grabbing something quick to eat from a street-food stall. Bon appetite!
Related article: Romance in the Seychelles
Image credits: Unsplash, Chris Close, Ennio Mafei, Torsten Dickmann and Imaran Ahmad