Idyllic islands where you can laze on sugar-white sands or snorkel and dive in crystal clear waters on pristine reefs alive with vibrant corals and tropical fish; romantic beaches shaded by drooping palm trees and giant rocks; forests full of exotic birds and pierced by towering waterfalls; big-game safaris; fascinating cultures and history to explore; mouth-watering cuisines to savour.
From the Maldives to Sri Lanka, Mauritius and the Seychelles, experience all of this and more on an Indian Ocean holiday. Whatever you desire, there is bound to be the perfect option to suit for your island in the sun escape.
Like drops of green, white and azure ink on a cobalt-blue canvas, the Maldives archipelago comprises nearly 1,200 islands clustered in 26 atolls stretching almost 880km (550 miles) to just below the equator.
Around 140 islands have been developed as self-contained resorts, some offering the height of indulgence but all serving up a get-away-from-it-all holiday where you can do as little as you want or enjoy water sports galore. And for a romantic break, where you can dine on the beach, nowhere does it better.
Lying just off India’s south-east, Sri Lanka is a wonderfully-diverse, welcoming island where you can combine a relaxing or luxury stay alongside glorious beaches fringed with swaying coconut palms and dotted with fishing villages with plenty more to enjoy.
Go on safari to spot wild elephants, leopards and crocodiles, visit an elephant orphanage and watch them being bathed, see traditional stilt fishermen, cool off in the forested hills and watch tea pickers at work and soak up the ambiance of the country’s cultural capital, Kandy.
Mauritius is small but punches well above its weight as a holiday destination.
Five-star resorts galore can be found around its coastline, many fronting beautiful beaches and shallow lagoons protected by encircling reefs.
Sharp-peaked mountains cloaked in lush forests form a stunning backdrop. Some of its once-ubiquitous sugar cane plantations have become nature reserves, enhancing the island nation’s rich flora and fauna. Discover hidden forest waterfalls, play golf on world-class courses – and catch a colourful Sega dance performance on the beach.
This chain of 115 islands sprinkled south of the equator is guaranteed to take your breath away with its drop-dead gorgeous, white-sand beaches, mesmerising scenery and diverse wildlife.
It encompasses world-famous beaches such as Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue island, lined by huge pink granite boulders, its equally-famous giant tortoises and unique coco de mer double coconuts.
Take your pick from beach-side hotels on larger islands with a host of activities and dining options on hand or nearby to exclusive resorts where you have the whole island to yourself.