An archipelago of 115 islands scattered in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is 500 miles from Madagascar and 900 miles from the African mainland. With beautiful beaches, lush rainforests and unique wildlife, it was made for island hopping – each one has its own special beauty. The main and largest island is Mahé, where you’ll find the major holiday resorts, as well as rich culture and the archipelago’s highest peak at Morne Seychellois National Park. The Unesco-listed Vallée de Mai nature reserve is on Praslin island, just a short boat ride from Mahé, while Silhouette – the third biggest island – has a stunning mountain range and waters protected by a Marine National Park. Visitors can also swim and snorkel in the coral reefs, book a boat trip to see rare giant tortoises, and head out on a water safari to meet some of the country’s most famous wildlife.
As well as some breath-taking landscapes, the islands are home to a rich variety of culture. On Mahé, traditional Creole culture means locals follow a laidback way of life. Its art and traditions are a unique mix of African, Asian and European influences. There are several cities to explore: Victoria, the capital and biggest city is where you’ll find lively markets, botanical gardens, museums and a range of good shops. In terms of food, expect a fusion of cuisines, with plenty of seafood, curries and fresh island fruit. Whether you want to explore the cultural hotspots on offer, or simply relax on the white-sand beaches, there’s something for everyone.
The Seychelles is home to extraordinary wildlife including several rare species native to the islands. As the world’s only mid-ocean islands that aren’t volcanic, the biodiversity is unique. There are 250 different species of bird, 12 of which are endemic, including the Seychelles black parrot. With three national parks, several nature reserves and two World Heritage Sites, conservation efforts have been largely successful, meaning most of the rarest species are protected. In Mahé, 20% of the island is given over to the Morne Seychellois National Park, a huge area that ranges from coastal mangroves to mountainous terrain, where visitors can spot the Seychelles scops owl and whale sharks. Silhouette island has several species of turtle, while Cousine island is where you’ll find some of the biggest turtle and bird conservation projects. Head to Fregate Island in the east to see whales, dolphins and giant mantas.
Where To Stay
A small and classic ‘deserted’ island, this 350-acre coralline spot has just one hotel with 25 spacious and secluded cottages. Lauded as one of the most luxury resorts in the country, its cottages have sea-facing verandas as well as private courtyards with outdoor showers just a few steps from the beach. Here, you can relax on the sand and enjoy the world-class snorkelling, take lessons at the on-site diving centre, play a game of tennis, or take a tour of the island farm. Ideal for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday or anniversary getaway, bookmark Denis Island for a romantic trip.
Four Seasons Desroches Island
Among the stunning outer islands of the Seychelles, Four Seasons Desroches Island is one of the most secluded and luxurious destinations on this list. It has everything you’d expect from a five-star resort, complete with stunning beaches and postcard views stretching over the Indian Ocean. On a romantic getaway, choose a Residence Villa for some of the best ocean views. Each villa has a double rain shower, a freestanding bath and a separate outdoor shower. You’ll also have access to a private butler who can fire up the in-villa barbecue for alfresco dining. Within the resort, there’s a state-of-the-art spa, two restaurants, a tennis court and a huge beachfront swimming pool.
For the ultimate boho experience, head to North Island. Ideal for those after a bespoke trip, the resort creates personalised experiences that make the most of the beautiful surroundings. North Island has just 11 villas – the beachfront ones might just be the most stylish. Activities run from scuba diving and snorkelling to kayaking and sunset cruises. The resort is a great option for families, with plenty to engage kids, while couples can enjoy the seclusion of the island’s four private beaches.
Constance Ephelia Mahé Seychelles
An SL favourite, Constance Ephelia is a five-star resort that’s not to be missed. Whether it’s a romantic villa for two or a suite for a family trip, every space is made with the luxury traveller in mind. There are private pools with panoramic views of the surrounding lush greenery so you’ll feel at one with nature. For an extra special stay, book the Spa Villa, which has its own pool, tropical garden and outdoor seating area. The hotel is also renowned for its experiences – think scuba diving trips, special dining experiences and wellness retreats.
Six Senses Zil Pasyon
When it comes to luxury hotels, it doesn’t get much better than Six Senses. Occupying one third of the island, the resort has 30 villas and 17 private residences. Guests can choose from six dining and bar venues, in between making the most of multiple sport and leisure facilities, three sandy beaches and a main outdoor pool. You can book a range of excursions at the Experience Centre, from diving and snorkelling trips to sailing, kayaking and paddleboarding, or arrange a private boat to tour neighbouring islands. Don’t miss Vallée de Mai nearby – a World Heritage Site home to some unique flora and fauna.
Current Travel Info: If you have received a complete course of Covid-19 vaccination (including a second dose for vaccines that require two doses) at least two weeks before travelling, you may enter the Seychelles as a visitor. Visitors must stay at approved accommodation, and provide both an authentic vaccination certificate and a negative PCR test result conducted within 72 hours of travel.
Flight Time: London to Mahé direct takes around ten hours.
When To Go: October-November and April-May offer comfortable temperatures and the least amount of rain.
Average Temperature: Temperatures are high throughout the year, ranging from 26°C to 32°C in peak season.
Currency: Seychelles rupees is the official currency, though US dollars and euros are accepted in some resorts.
Time: Local time is GMT +4 hours.
*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information.