Pitcairn, British Overseas Territory
A group of four volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, these remote drops of land are further from any continent than any other inhabited island. The rugged main island was settled by mutineers of the HMS Bounty and their Polynesian companions. Today, only around 40 people reside here, with most spending two torturous months relocating to Norfolk Island (1200km off the coast of Australia) in 1856. It’s not easy to visit – there are no airstrips, and limited boats. But when you do arrive you’re guaranteed spectacularly unspoiled nature, not in the least UNESCO World Heritage Listed Henderson Island, home to a large number of migrating seabirds.
The smallest of Honduras’ Bay of Islands, Utila sits at the south of the second-largest barrier reef in the world (after Australia’s). Needless to say, the snorkelling and diving experiences are excellent – the marine park is more than 1000km long and home to some 500 species of fish, 1000 manatees, and an amazing amount of dolphins. The region is also known for its large population of whale sharks, and a research centre dedicated to studying them. If you’re looking to get your diving certificate, this is one of the cheapest places in the world to do it.
This petite island off the northwest coast of Madagascar in the Mitsio archipelago shot to fame – very briefly – when Joanna Lumley spent 10 days here in 1994 for BBC Reality TV show Girl Friday. Today, Tsarabanjina is home to a single resort, the Constance Tsarabanjina Madagascar, which is dedicated to barefoot luxury. There are no TVs or phones, but you will find azure blue water and white sand beaches. Rosewood bungalows at Constance come with thatched roofs and large balconies so you can soak up the sun and silence in absolute privacy.
The southernmost Greek island, located to the south of its much larger neighbour Crete, Gavdos is also the southernmost point of the entire European continent. While thousands visit in summer, the island is only home to a permanent population of 50 people. It’s easy to see why they choose not to leave – Gavdos enjoys a wild beauty with crystal blue waters, breathtaking sunsets, and a dramatic coastline where beaches are laced by tall cedars.
While there are a couple of boutique hotels on this small and stunning island, many people choose to visit on a day trip from Fethieye on the Turkish mainland. The slip of land is blissfully road and car free yet easy to walk around – you can circumnavigate the entire island in less than an hour. Explore deserted beaches, swim and snorkel without crowds, soak up the sun in open-air cafes, then catch a water taxi back to the mainland at the end of the day. Bliss.