Believe it or not, even in this era of progress and exploration and study, there is still no definitive count of the number of islands across the globe. They are literally countless, varying in acreage, terrain, climate, and virtually every other capacity by which we can measure a destination. Some facts of the world’s islands have been determined through the centuries of discovery by explorers and travelers. For instance, there are 443 islands measuring greater than 970 square miles, the largest of which is Greenland with nearly 2.2 million square miles. By contrast, the smallest island by far is Bishop Rock, located off Britain’s southwestern tip and boasting just two square acres – just enough space for the commanding lighthouse at its center.
Perhaps more immeasurable is the mystique that islands hold for travelers. They are each unique in their characteristics and often thought of as the most beautiful locales one can visit. Indeed, there are numerous accounts of which of these exceptional places is the loveliest of all.
In our continual quest to discover new ways to explore the world, we’re thrilled to take you to some of what we believe are, in fact, the most beautiful islands in the world. Sail to these gems with us in 2017, and decide for yourself which you find the most enchanting.
Corfu – Corfu reaches new levels of beauty, from its luminous blue lagoons weaving through the caves along the beaches, through the tiered terraces on the hillsides, each of which boast an olive tree grove. Look up, down, east or west and you’ll be taken aback by a new breathtaking view. Tourist communities along the northern side of the island charm visitors, while the Old Town will conjure the Venetian influence of history.
Santorini – Santorini seems right at home in its place in the Mediterranean Sea, with its cerulean church domes perfectly matching and linking together the sea waters below with the sky above. The contrasting stark white of its structures, cobbled streets traveled by moped or clip-clopping donkeys, and artists’ studios and hidden eateries make Greece’s easternmost island one of its grandest.
Mykonos – Seamlessly blending typical laid-back island pace (spend a day getting lost in the views from Paradise Beach or Kalafati Beach) with a famously chic party scene, Mykonos remains true to its roots. The modern intrigue and interest from world travelers hasn’t affected the beauty of the island’s natural and cultural heritage.
Hvar – Hvar distinguishes itself from other Dalmatian islands in Croatia with its abundance of fresh water springs, pine forests, vineyards and meadows. Limestone buildings and white sand beaches seem to shimmer in the light of year-round sunshine, while the green hillsides and ideal climate beckon to outdoor enthusiasts.
Korçula – Presenting a different type of island beauty, Korçula is considered the historical, cultural and political epicenter of the diverse country of Croatia. It is thought to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, conjuring a spirit of exploration and discovery throughout the squares and alleyways. But don’t lose yourself entirely to the awe of the ancient stone buildings and tradition – make sure you look beyond the city walls to the sapphire blue waters and rocky beaches that line the borders.
Cyprus – Cyprus is the lone island country on our list, with several villages and towns to captivate you. Whether you relish a festive atmosphere fueled by world-class wine, like that found in Limassol’s many bustling wineries, or the mythological legends and ancient history found in Paphos – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love – Cyprus holds wonders for you.
Our luxuriously intimate yacht, Crystal Esprit, will visit these and dozens more of the world’s most beautiful islands in 2017. Book now, and discover your favorite.