Where better to escape from reality to than some of the world’s most beautiful and remote archipelagos? We’ve pulled together a few of our favourite island groups – check them out and get inspired for your next big adventure.
1. Society Islands, French Polynesia
The stunning Society Islands lie in French Polynesia in the South Pacific Ocean. The islands became a French colony in 1880 and have a total population of around 230,000 inhabitants. The eastern island of Meheti’a (pictured) lies 110 kilometres east of Tahiti and is an active stratovolcano.
2. Hawaii, USA
The Hawaiian Islands consist of eight major islands, as well as a number of atolls and smaller inlets. The archipelago is made up of exposed peaks of a huge underwater mountain range, with the highest island, Mauna Kea, being taller than Everest from seabed to summit. The oldest Hawaiian island, Kauai (pictured), is approximately six million years old.
3. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands, situated about 350 kilometres off the coast of Brazil. The islands are home to a fantastic array of sea life, including dolphins, turtles and albatrosses. The entire archipelago has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, unsurprisingly, the locals want it to preserve it – that’s why a small environmental preservation fee is charged to every visiting tourist.
4. La Maddalena Archipelago, Italy
The Maddalena Archipelago is a group of Italian islands between Corsica and Sardinia in the Straits of Bonifacio. Swimming and sailing are the specialities here, as well as lots of long walks, sun worshiping and generally looking stylish. The Spiaggia Rosa (pictured) is one of the most famous beaches in the country and is known for its pink sand, a product of a microorganism that lives on the area’s seagrass.
5. Faroe Islands, Denmark
The Faroe Islands is a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark, despite the fact it lies approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland and only 320 kilometres off the north of mainland Scotland. The Faroe Islands only has a population of around 48,000, but despite that, people of 77 nationalities call the archipelago home. The Streymin Bridge that connects the islands of Streymoy to Eysturoy is the only bridge in the world that goes over a section of the Atlantic Ocean.
6. Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, South America
Located off the southernmost tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego (Spanish for ‘Land of Fire’) is an archipelago made up of many islands. The largest of those, Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, is divided between Chile and Argentina – 61.43% in Chile and 38.57% in Argentina to be precise. With an area of 47,992 km², this island is the 29th largest in the world.
7. Archipelago Sea, Finland
Part of the Baltic Sea, the Archipelago Sea is technically the largest island group in the world by number of islands. The sizes of these Finnish islands vary vastly, with the archipelago containing 257 large islands over the size of 1 km2, 17,700 smaller islands, and around 50,000 small uninhabitable rocks thrown in for good measure.
8. The Maldives
An island nation in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is made up of 26 atolls and 1,192 individual islands, of which only 192 are inhabited. The total territory of the Maldives takes up around 90,000 square kilometres, making it one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries.
The Maldives is also the lowest country on the planet, with its highest natural point above sea level peaking at 2.4 metres.
9. Svalbard, Norway
Located in the Arctic Ocean, midway between Norway and the North Pole, the archipelago of Svalbard is the northernmost point of Norway. Svalbard is home to polar bears, reindeer and several marine mammals and two thirds of the archipelago is taken up by national parks and marine reserves. Svalbard is also the northermost place in the world with a permanent human population.
10. Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial archipelago, created off the coastline of Dubai. Extending into the Persian Gulf, it is one of three planned ‘Palm Islands’ which, on completion, would extend the emirate’s coastline by 520 kilometres.
The archipelago is constructed in the shape of a palm tree, including a trunk and 16 fronds to make up the distinctive palm leaf shape. Its total area is greater than that of 800 football pitches and the Palm Jumeirah has itself already doubled the size of Dubai’s coastline.
The Palm Jumeirah shares the Persian Gulf with The World archipelago, a number of small artificial islands created to take the shape of a world map. This archipelago is constructed from 321 million cubic metres of sand and 386 million tons of rock.
...and we just couldn't resist adding one last amazing archipelago to our top ten...
11. Atlantic Road, Norway
The Atlantic Road is an 8.3 kilometre section of Norway’s County Road 64 that connects the island of Averøy with the mainland. It runs through an archipelago in the Norwegian Sea and is built over several islands and eight bridges. Due to the distinctive environment and scenery that surrounds the Atlantic Road, it has become a popular place for car manufacturers to film adverts, with more than 10 automotive brands having already shot an ad on its tarmac.