The Most Beautiful Island's in the World 2017

 
Boracay, Philippines
This itty-bitty island (just under four square miles) in the Western Philippines is as close to a tropical idyll as you’ll find in Southeast Asia, with gentle coastlines and transportative sunsets. Fold in a thriving nightlife scene, and you have one of the top tourist spots in the region. The aptly named White Beach is Boracay’s main draw, with powdery white sand and shallow azure water ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Cebu and Visayan Islands, Philippines
The most densely populated island in the Philippines, Cebu is famous for its beaches on the mainland as well as across many of the surrounding islands. Not as wild as Phuket in Thailand, Cebu City is more personal, with plenty of up-and-coming restaurants and shopping. To get a true taste of island life, head off the grid on the Camotes Islands, two hours east of Cebu. Bring cash because there are no ATMs. 

Mallorca, Spain

Generations of Europeans flock to this Spanish isle every summer, but Mallorca still exhibits a laid-back charm. You'll find classic Mediterranean blue waters, stunning mountain views, and winding cobblestone streets, depending on which type of vacation you take. The main town, Palma, is a culturally-rich, smaller, and less crowded version of Barcelona. Hire a wooden sailboat to take you around to nearby beaches, like Cala Sant Vincenç and Cala Deià. You'll feel like an old Hollywood star. 
Mykonos, Greece
Said to have been where Hercules killed the giants, Mykonos is steeped in mythological history. A popular cruise ship stop, the island hasn't quite outgrown its raucous party reputation that would impress even Dionysus, but is on the path to attracting a more sophisticated and upscale type of traveler. Avoid July and August to miss the major crowds and get a better sense of local life. Head to Little Venice in Mykonos Town, an uncrowded neighborhood full of tavernas. While in the area, stop by Kounelas, close to the harbor, to eat what locals say is the best fish.

Palawan, Philippines

This small island—one of the Philippines’s 7,107—is home to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, one of the newly crowned seven natural wonders of the world. Palawan's natural wonder is one of the longest underground rivers in the world, traveling five miles through a subterranean cave system. Guided boat tours take visitors down a portion of the waterway, where karsts, natural rock formations created by dissolving limestone, loom in every direction.

 Bermuda
Though this small island sits in the North Atlantic, its climate is decidedly subtropical. A British Overseas Territory, Bermuda is a melting pot of British, American, and Caribbean cultures, and offers a long list of things to do: snorkeling near pink-sand beaches, golfing, shopping, museum-hopping, and more. Bermuda is riddled with watery underground caverns, its most famous being the Crystal and Fantasy Caves. Tours take you on a walkway over eerily clear water, with pale stalactites hanging overhead. One of the site’s first visitors? Mark Twain.
St. Barts
This tiny slice of France in the Caribbean brings a distinctive European spirit to island life. While it may be most famous for glamorous celebrity-filled parties, St. Barts has quality restaurants, beautiful tropical hikes, sublime beaches, and great hotels to back up the hype. The island saw the brunt of Hurricane Irma in September 2017, but is already bouncing back in formidable fashion. For the closest thing the island has to a beach shack, take a meal at Dõ Brazil on Shell Beach just outside of the capital, Gustavia. It's still St. Barts, so expect martinis instead of Coronas alongside your fish fritters.

Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos consists of 40 islands (only eight of which are inhabited), but it's still hard to go wrong here. You have your pick of some of the world's loveliest white sand beaches in Providenciales and colonial architecture throughout Cockburn Town. It's the best of both Caribbean worlds. Turks and Caicos is surprisingly family friendly. Try booking a stay at The Palms, which is now back in operation following hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, and you'll have access to a sprawling suite with a full kitchen and a patio, plus complimentary windsurfing lessons just steps away on Grace Bay Beach. 
Bali, Indonesia
There's nothing quite like Bali. It's the kind of place where you'll eat the best fresh fish of your life on the beach, with your feet in the sand. You'll watch whole families zoom by on motorbikes, or maybe a monkey will steal your glasses at Uluwatu temple. Mount Agung is rumbling, as of early-October 2017, so double-check the latest seismic and volcanic activity before departing. Avoid Denpasar, where you fly in, and Kuta, a tourist trap; visit culturally rich Ubudinstead, or take a few days to venture north to Munduk in the mountains.

Cayman Islands

You've probably heard of the Seven Mile Beach and cruise ship excursions to Stingray City on Grand Cayman, but the British territory's smaller offshoots, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, make for great active vacation spots. Get your fill of hiking, snorkeling, sailing, and even golfing. Head to Little Cayman, population 170, for some of the best diving at Bloody Bay Wall. Expect sea turtles, colorful sponges, and maybe even a shark or two.

Condé Nast Traveler readers ranked the best islands in the world outside the U.S. in the 2017 Readers' Choice Awards survey, from far-flung gems in Southeast Asia to volcanic outcrops in the Mediterranean. photo Getty
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