World’s Best Island Hopping Destinations

I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but the world is a big place. Sadly, this means that the odds of exploring every last inch of it are heavily stacked against you. However, all is not lost. Every year, thousands of people head off on island hopping expeditions, and whilst you won’t see the entire world,  you’ll be getting to know one particular country’s assets inside out.  If you’re planning an island hopping adventure, passports at the ready, because these are four of my top picks!

The Philippines
The World's Best Island Hopping Destinations
Image source: Backpacking with Bacon

Comprised of around 7,641 islands sporadically strewn across 300,000 square kilometres of pristine ocean, exploring The Philippines is no overnight job. In fact, months could be spent exploring the volcanic, mountainous islands so teeming with tropical greenery in search of the ultimate paradise. Whether it’s swimming with whale sharks, staying in a remote beach hut with no door, kite surfing in Boracay or simply kicking back on the remote beaches of Palawan, the Philippines will etch at least one cross on the bucket lists of those who visit.  For dive enthusiasts, world class diving awaits off the coast of the Coron Islands, where 14 sunken Japanese shipwrecks lie on the bottom of the ocean, abundant with tropical fish and colourful coral. If you’re lacking your own private vessel, there are countless island hopping tours heading out to explore the Bacuit Bay archipelago amongst other popular routes. Or if you’re feeling like making friends with the locals, hitch a ride on a fisherman’s junk boat to save on cash and get the ultimate authentic experience. If your sea legs are suffering, spend some time exploring the rice terraces and spectacular chocolate hills of Bohol. (Read: A One Day Itinerary to Bohol) Of course, the beaches here are some of the finest in the world, and with many of the island uninhabited, you’ll find your personal paradise before you know it.  Here is what you need to know before going to Boracay.  For those on a budget, here is a Philippines Backpacking Guide.

The World's Best Island Hopping Destinations
Source: Michael Day Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

No island hopping list would be complete without a mention of Indonesia, south-east Asia’s glistening gem. With over 13,000 islands under its belt, it’s in fact the world’s largest island country, so when it comes planning your trip of a lifetime, selecting your absolute must-see islands couldn’t be any more vital. The wonderful thing about Indonesia is that it’s not all about temples and beach bathing (although, who can resist those sandy shores?). No, in fact, for the active adventurer it serves as a natural playground with zip lining, jet packing, jungle treks and quad biking all on offer. Take the sunrise trek to the aluminous lakes of volcanic Kelimutu to experience a spectacular natural phenomenon coupled with sweeping views of the Indonesian archipelago before heading for a day of dragon-spotting on Komodo Island, famous for these dinosaur-like creatures that roam the national park. Check out Padar Island, a beautiful island where you can also spot Komodo dragons.  Indonesia serves as a foodie’s dream. Feast on fresh fish beach-side, caught by your own two hands and dine with the locals at the neighbourhood warung to soak up the zingy spices and aromas of Indonesian banana-leaf wrapped dishes. Add the ever-popular island of Lombok to your itinerary and experience the country’s finest underwater exploration before returning to its pearly white shores for an afternoon of nothing but surfing, sea and sun. Round off your trip with a stay at one of the world-famous luxury hotels in Bali to experience Indonesian hospitality at its finest.


beautiful islands

The Southeast Asia country of Malaysia has hundreds of islands or ‘Pulau’.  Some of the most beautiful and well known islands include Penang, Langkawi, Tioman, Redang and the Perhentian Islands.  Sipadan is one of world’s best dive sites.  The Perhentian Islands are composed of two islands, Perhentian Kecil (Big Perhentian Island) and Perhentian Besar (Big Perhentian Island) and both are great spots for snorkeling.


For a slightly more refined, relaxing and cultural experience, hire a luxury yacht and cruise leisurely through the Mediterranean Sea taking in the sights and sounds of this 6,000-island strong archipelago. With many islands still untouched and untrodden by the soles of tourists’ feet, finding those hidden coves, bays and inlets to dock the boat will instantly become part of the daily fun. Steeped in history and rich in well-preserved heritage, Greece remains a sought-after destination for culture vultures and history buffs alike. Imagine feasting upon local olives with views of the local grove. Envision yourself sipping a rich and velvety red wine, sourced from the local vineyard. Visualise the wind blowing through your hair as you dock on the shores of the cosmopolitan harbour town, Porto Heli, where sitting waterside with a newspaper and coffee cup in hand soaking up the far-reaching views is all part of the culture. And whilst some islands will offer a world of architectural delights, others a rustic, wine-filled experience and many simply afford the rolling Greek countryside at its best – each is unique. If you don’t have the luxury of a private yacht, the ferry routes are well serviced, convenient and will take you to far flung places. The weather is spectacular during the summer months, however, during the winter months things cool down substantially to an average of 10 degrees, making it the ideal time to beat the mobs of tourists. Here is more information about visiting Greece in the off peak season.


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