The question really should be: why not? The island archipelago of the Seychelles isn’t just for romance and honeymooners. It’s a vibrant, exciting country that offers more than just the usual pretty beaches and stunning sunsets. Find some of the world’s most diverse flora and fauna, not to mention the rich marine life – for nature lovers it truly is a paradise.
An exciting history full of pirates and legends can be explored and, of course, there are the picturesque beaches and amazing coral reefs. If you’re looking for plenty to do as well as palm trees, this could be your perfect destination.
What to do
The Seychelles’ mountainous landscape offers a world of adventures away from the beach, if just lying on the sand or snorkelling isn’t your thing. Mahé is full of walking trails, from easy strolls that snake along the beach to hikes through misty forests to the top of the island’s tallest mountain, Morne Blanc.
Nearly a hundred smaller islands lie outside the main triptych of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, and many can be explored with a boat tour. And, of course, you can also head out to sea to sail, fish, dive or snorkel to take in the world-class marine life.
Where to stay
From private villas by the sea to family friendly resorts, it’s all here. The only question is budget – a trip to the Seychelles can get expensive quite quickly. On Mahé, Banyan Tree and Raffles offer Seychelles. Petit Anse. Gerard Larose. Seychelles Tourism 520.
Mango Lodge on Praslin is a mid-range jungle escape, with lovely wooden chalets. For complete privacy and a once-in-a-lifetime stay book into the North Island resort, on one of the smaller islands, which is where Prince William and Kate spent their honeymoon.
What to eat
For a fabulous restaurant on the sand head to Anse Soleil in Mahé or Bonbon Plume on Praslin. The islands aren’t short of beachside options, or look to the five-star resorts for fine dining. Chateau St Cloud offers Creole cuisine on the site of an old vanilla plantation while Le Château de Feuilles on Praslin uses fruits and veggies from its own garden and fish caught on its own beach.
A ferry and catamaran operate between the islands of Mahé and Praslin several times a day. While the islands have bus networks, renting a car is the best option if you want to explore independently. Hotels can arrange tours or taxis as well.
When to go
Seychelles has year-round tropically warm weather but the calmest time (for the clearest diving or snorkelling) to go is in October, November, April or May. October also has a week-long festival that celebrates the islands’ Creole heritage.
Three things we like
- Hire a car (and drive it on the same side as the UK), head down the coast and discover tiny unpopulated bays, colourful beachside shacks serving cocktails, and a relaxed vibe.
- The craft village at Domaine de Val des Pres showcases Creole arts, crafts and cuisine. It’s an eco-tourism site, made mostly from parts of the coconut tree, and you can take part in workshops during the day.
- The Seychelles is one of the best places to dive, for novices and experts. You’ll find Hawksbill turtles, manta rays, reef sharks and sometimes even whale sharks below the surface.
Something we don’t like
If you’re hiring a car don’t set off without a decent map. Mahé isn’t known for its abundance of road signs.
The ancient Aldabra giant tortoises in the National Botanical Gardens in Mahé’s capital, Victoria. These huge beasts are hundreds of years old and are fascinating to watch and feed.
Aride Island is one the world’s most important bird and nature reserves. Head out on a boat trip and discover a pristine paradise that’s home to over a million birds.
Find the rare Coco de Mer plant on Praslin. It has both male and female parts and the largest seed in the world.
Travelling with family
There’s so much to see and do within the islands of the Seychelles that kids will love the tropical adventures. Coral lagoons make for safer snorkelling while most of the resorts run organised kids’ clubs and activities.
High50 insider tips
- If you fancy giving back, book into Frégate island’s five-star eco lodge and help the island’s ecologists with a range of conservation projects.
- Head over to La Digue, where your taxi is an ox and cart, orchids and hibiscus bloom with abandon, and you can see rare species of bird and terrapins.
- Regularly apply high-factor sunscreen, even if it’s not blazing sunshine. The sun is very strong here and can burn even the hardiest skin.
Need to know
- The Seychelles is four hours ahead of the UK (GMT +4).
- Flight time from London is 10.5 hours.
- The Seychelles uses British three-pin plugs.
- The currency is the Seychelles rupee.
- A service charge is generally included in your bill but tipping taxi drivers or waiters for a good job is always warmly received.
- There are no visas needed for the Seychelles but you’ll need proof of an onward or return ticket, booked accommodation and possibly sufficient funds for your stay.
- The Seychelles is malaria-free but all tourists should have their own travel insurance in place before visiting.
- Visitors are advised to drink bottled water.