Set Sail for the Ultimate Island Hopping Experience
Why settle for just one paradise, when you can cherry pick your itinerary and plan the perfect island hopping holiday? Based on the experiences of our travelers*, some of the top destinations to soak up that amazing island vibe include Angra dos Reis (Brazil), El Nido (Philippines), Whitsunday Islands (Australia), Magong (Taiwan) and Koh Phi Phi in Thailand.
With so many traditions, cultures and cuisines waiting to be explored, hop from beach to beach and discover each island's unique character, with each one likely to be more beautiful than the last. Seeing as much as possible is a significant personal motivator to travel and island hopping is the perfect way to achieve this, with 56%** of global travelers agreeing. From elegant yachts to lazy catamarans, luxurious marinas to quaint harbors, pastel-hued towns to beach-lined stilted tree houses: wherever you’re looking to stay, we have something for everyone. Anchors aweigh!
Angra dos Reis, Brazil
With an impressive 365 islands, travelers have endless shores to explore in Angra dos Reis. Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and take in the fresh air and tropical greenery. With so many islands to choose from, Ilha Grande is the most famous, renowned for its lush forests and pearly white beaches.
Where to stay: If you haven’t quite found your sea legs, a stay at the Pousada Sonho Real is still a great way to explore the neighboring islands. Pousada Sonho Real is nestled between Angra dos Reis and Paraty, offering an outdoor pool with breathtaking views of the ocean and surounding mountains.
El Nido, Philippines
Gateway to the Bacuit archipelago and ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, El Nido firmly claims a place on our list of top island hopping spots. Venture to neighboring Miniloc for crystal clear waters and serene lagoons, Shimizu Island for fish-filled waters perfect for snorkeling, or escape to Dilumacad Island to explore a long tunnel that leads to a mystical underwater cavern.
Where to stay: El Nido Resorts Lagen Island is set in a peaceful cove, fringed by lush forests, perfect for observing the surrounding wildlife. Whether you are looking for the ultimate in relaxation or an action-packed getaway, El Nido Resorts Lagen Island can accommodate either. You can spend lazy days on the white sandy beaches exploring the extensive cocktail list or hop in the water and discover more of the surrounding area. A third of global travelers (34%)* say that the chance of experiencing a simpler lifestyle is something that strongly motivates them to travel, and this is a perfectly serene setting to do just that.
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Nestled in the northeast coast of Queensland, the 74 Whitsunday Islands are mostly uninhibited, except Airlie Beach which is the main resort town, from which to explore its tropical rainforests, impressive hiking trails, white sands and cerulean waters. Explore the legendary shores of Airlie Beach, gateway to the stunning Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.
Where to stay: Dive right in and explore arguably one of the most iconic beach landscapes in the world with a boat stay on Portland Roads. Portland Roads is conveniently docked right on Airlie Beach, the starting point for the iconic Whitsunday Islands’ tour and boasts a barbeque, sun terrace and even a private beach area.
Like dazzling jewels scattered across the ocean, the Penghu Archipelago consist of 90 islands and islets dotted along the Taiwan Strait. The largest island is Magong, home to the Penghu Tianhou Temple, a place to honor the Chinese sea goddess Mazu, the romantic Cimeiyu rock formation and the mystical Fenggui Caves in the ancient fishing village of Fenggui.
Where to stay: The Jia Xiang Lin Guan Hai Homestay is the perfect option for beach lovers who want the coastline right on their doorstep. Wake up to peaceful views of the turquoise waters through your balcony and tuck into an authentic Asian breakfast. A car rental service is also available through this accommodation, perfect for taking a ride across the popular Xiying Rainbow Bridge.
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
With their pristine beaches, emerald waters and lush jungle surroundings, it’s no surprise that the Ko Phi Phi Islands are a firm favorite with Booking.com travelers. Located along the dreamy Andaman Coast, each island has its own personality. From the hedonistic vibe at Phi Phi Don to the quiet and unspoiled beauty of Ko Phi Phi Len with its coral reefs and crystal clear waters, there is something to suit every taste, which makes them a perfect destination for the almost six in ten global travelers (59%) that are likely to take a beach vacation in 2018**.
Where to stay: For travelers looking for a little bit of luxury during their beach escape, a stay at the Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort is a must. Experience world-class service with your very own private beach, infinity pool and a pool bar. Be spoilt for choice with four on-site restaurants, serving authentic Thai cuisine, international dishes, fresh seafood and tasty cocktails. However you wish to spend your day, the Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort has you covered, from an on-site dive center for adventure seekers to the Wanna Spa for serenity seekers.
*The best islands for island hopping list was based on endorsements from international Booking.com users who traveled to these destinations. The destinations had to receive 50 endorsements in the category "Islands" to be considered, and were selected on the basis of share of total endorsements.
**Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 56,727 respondents were surveyed (2,000+ from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Germany, Spain, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Malaysia, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the US, and 1,000+ each from Denmark, Croatia, Sweden, and New Zealand). Respondents completed an online survey in October 2017.