Two Idyllic Island Escapes
Two Idyllic Island Escapes
Which will you choose?
As human beings, we just cannot cope with prolonged isolation from the outside world – as the saying goes, no man is an island. That is not to say, however, that no man - or woman, for that matter - would love to escape to an island, just for a week or two…
We’ve selected two contrasting island destinations which offer some of the world’s most outstanding natural beauty, fascinating culture and, most importantly, sweet, sweet seclusion.
Picture this: dappled sunlight filters through gently swaying palm trees and your stresses are swept away on a warm breeze; you lay peacefully in the shade, as the comforting rhythm of the azure ocean lulls you to sleep... Sound like a dream? It doesn’t have to be. Make your way to Mozambique and head to the epitome of paradise, Bazaruto.
Unlike the more popular African island destinations such as Mauritius, Seychelles or Zanzibar, the Bazaruto archipelago has yet to gain mainstream popularity. Those who have experienced the islands’ unspoilt nature and empty beaches keep hushed in the hopes of guarding Mozambique’s best kept secret.
The islands, however, are in no danger of rapid over-development, as the government maintains strict limitations on the growth of tourism in Bazaruto, which, along with a huge stretch of ocean, forms Bazaruto National Park. Only two of the six islands - Bazaruto and Benguerra - provide accommodation to guests, all of which is eco-friendly.
Not only are the pre-requisites of sun, sea and sand at their most vibrant here, but a host of activities are available if (and it’s a big IF) you should feel the need to vacate your sun lounger. The archipelago is home to whales, dolphins, barracudas, sea turtles and the rare dugong, as well as some of the least-disturbed coral of the Indian Ocean, making the crystalline waters perfect for diving and snorkelling. With over 180 species of birds to admire, shell-collecting trips to nearby Pansy Island and the opportunity to take romantic horse rides along the sparkling shores at dusk, a holiday to Bazaruto is all about the unparalleled beauty of nature.
Bazaruto is a year-round destination. The dry season from May to September is ideal, as the heat is tolerable and you could stand a chance of spotting whale sharks (May) or humpback whales (August).
The coastal town of Vilankulo is the main gateway to the islands. Day trips from here can also be arranged. If you are staying in one of the luxury island resorts, private seaplanes may be available to take you directly to the islands, which lie 30km from the mainland. Visit Bazaruto.org for more information.
If the tropical, Blue Lagoon version of island life isn’t what you’re looking for, perhaps the dramatic coastline and rich heritage of Norway’s Lofoten Islands is. A place where vast pillars of weathered rock seem to float on the surface of calm, icy waters, ancient traditions are proudly upheld and the northern lights dance in the sky above you.
Lofoten is an archipelago of rugged islands carved by grand fjords and winding inlets in northern Norway. Buffered by fresh sea winds and blessed with raw natural beauty, these islands are famed within Norway itself, but little known beyond Scandinavia.
The seven main islands are dotted with traditional fishing villages, where Norway’s sustainable cod fishing industry is well and truly on display, in the form of tall wooden frames laden with hundreds of drying cod - a smelly but significant insight into Norwegian culture.
The Lofoten landscape has an almost magical, otherworldly appeal. Admire the views from a frosted mountain top or a sheer precipice of rock – or if mountaineering and rock climbing are a little too extreme, there are plenty of coastal walks and cycle paths which allow you to take in the scenery at leisure. Kayak or take a wildlife cruise to spot sea eagles and killer whales. You can end each day tucked up in a cosy, traditional fisherman’s cabin, or on a clear dark night, wrap up warm and head out in search of the elusive aurora borealis.
Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the Lofoten islands have a much milder year-round climate than the rest of the Arctic Circle communities; winters are mild and summers cool. If you want to experience 24-hour daylight, visit from late May to mid July; if it’s perpetual twilight you’re after, try December through to the New Year.
Flights depart from Oslo daily. From Narvik airport you can take public transport or rent a car to Lofoten – the journey takes less than three hours and winds through jaw-dropping scenery. Check out Visit Norway for more information.
Dappled sunlight filters through gently swaying palm trees and your stresses are swept away
By Themes (All Destinations)
- Central America
- Middle East
- North America
- South America
"I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them" - Twain