A paradisiacal archipelago in the glistening Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is truly the place of dreams. It's made up of 115 islands, each with its own character and unique charm, and you haven't really experienced the destination if you don't visit at least a couple of different islands on your travels. Combine the two largest islands of Mahé and Praslin to experience the varying landscapes and spectacular beaches, or if you want an authentic insight into island life, visit Praslin before heading to La Digue, where village where the pace is a little slower. Nature-lovers will get the most from a holiday that combines Mahé and Silhouette, an island where extraordinary national parks await. With a great schedule of connections, it's so easy to hop from one island to another by boat, or if you want to experience something truly spectacular, travel by seaplane and see the islands from the air.
The largest of the Seychelles islands, Mahé is also its busiest and most developed. But when we say large, we’re not saying you can get lost for days – you can actually drive around Mahé in just two and a half hours. Over 90% of the country's population lives here and it's home to the only international airport in the archipelago. This is where you'll experience your first taste of true island paradise. A colonial capital with its own historic charm, there are plenty of little villages to explore and colourful local markets to wander around. Beyond the gorgeous granite-fringed beaches, an absolute must-see here is the spectacular Morne Seychellois National Park. Covering over 20% of the entire island, this mass of thick emerald forest and hidden walking trails is where you’ll discover towering peaks that taper down to unspoilt hidden bays.
An hour's boat ride from Mahé, is Praslin, the second largest island in the Seychelles. Laid-back and rustic, it has the perfect balance between the hustle and bustle of Mahé and the sleepiness of La Digue. Praslin is home to the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, a real-life slice of Eden and one of only two places on Earth where you can see the rare coco de mer palm growing naturally. It's also an incredible birding hotspot; its forests are home to the endemic Seychelles bulbul, the blue pigeon and the elusive black parrot. If basking on beaches is you top priority, you're in luck – this is where you'll find some of the most photographed beaches in the world. Just across the water to the north of Praslin is tiny Curieuse Island, where you can meet a population of giant Aladabra tortoises.
There's really nowhere else quite like La Digue. Sleepy and relaxed with a slow pace of life, it's an undeveloped paradise. There's a definite sense of getting back to nature here; La Digue has managed to avoid the development that's happened on some of the other islands, so there's virtually no cars and only a handful of surfaced roads. While walkable in an hour, the best way to get around is by bicycle or traditional oxcart. Old colonial buildings give an insight into the island's past, while secluded beaches are wonderfully unspoilt. The natural environment is very much a part of island life here; large granite boulders shelter gorgeous hidden bays, and it's very easy to find yourself off the beaten track as you hike back to your resort in the island's centre. As you explore La Digue, keep an eye out for the black paradise flycatcher, one of the rarest birds on Earth.
As you peer out from Mahé's famed Beau Vallon Beach, the mountainous profile of Silhouette should be just visible on the horizon. Dominated by the towering mist-forest-covered peak of Mount Dauban, this remarkable island is almost entirely protected by the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles, and so remains relatively untouched. There are just a couple of signs of human life on the island – the small village of La Passe and the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa. Silhouette's natural interior has an ancient primitive beauty and its pristine palm-shaded beaches are encircled by a protected coral reef. Silhouette's incredible biological diversity and its unique variety of habitats and ecosystems make it the perfect spot for hiking, diving, snorkelling and wildlife spotting.