It’s time to stop scrolling through everyday travel sites, browsing through traditional resorts and spas on traditional, touristic islands. Today, we’re uncovering some of the most beautiful, exotic, and lesser known islands around the world. You won’t find yourself lounging on crowded beaches, eating at chain restaurants, or bumping into photo-snapping tourists. Instead, we’ll introduce you to winding hiking trails, exotic dishes, and a unique vacation experience that will leave you never wanting to come back.
We start our list in the Azores, a personal favorite of Quest Travel Adventures. Pico is located off of the coast of Portugal, and sits in the central cluster of the Azores. Rather than being known for its sandy shores, this island is known for what is found on the island; Mount Pico. Mount Pico—a massive volcano situated in the center of the island—stands as the highest peak in Portugal and makes for a long list of challenging hiking trails. Guided tours are offered on your journey to the peak, where you’ll learn about the history of the island throughout your ascent. If you love hiking but aren’t particularly fond of heights, don’t worry, because Pico Island has got you covered. Gruta das Torres is a massive underground lava tube that brings you on a geological journey beneath the island. Whether you’re traveling up or down, either path will offer a stunning, unique hiking experience.
Now that we’ve gotten our exercise out of the way, it’s time to kick back and enjoy the quaint island with a glass of Pico’s unique wine. Situated on black basalt rock, the island’s top wineries garner a unique taste from the volcanic soil and nearby ocean waters. In fact, these grapes produce a wine so tasty, Pico’s vineyard landscape was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While Pico Island may be a less traveled island in terms of tourists, they see more visiting whales than any of the 8 other Azorean islands. Pico Island sits very close to the annual migration routes, and is widely considered one of the best whale-watching destinations in the world. If these friendly giants interest you, we recommend traveling between April and October.
Our next destinations lies in the Canary Islands, the temperate Spanish archipelago found off the northwest coast of Africa. La Gomera is the second smallest and second least populous of the 7 islands, but there is certainly no shortage of things to-do during your visit.
First and foremost, if you’re hoping for a relaxing vacation spent on the beach, La Gomera may not be your first choice. Instead consider Tenerife, whose sandy shores and vibrant nightlife make for an ideal beach getaway.
On La Gomera, you’ll travel between distinctive natural landscapes; beautiful valleys, forests, ravines, and streams surround you as you venture across the island. With such a small, isolated ecosystem, the island is home to animals and other species that aren’t found anywhere else on the planet. Two of the top sights to see are the Ancient Laurel Forest —a rainforest a diversity of species roaming its floors —and Los Órganos, an indescribable cliff formation that mimics the shape of an organ piano. Moving away from its beautiful natural features, this less traveled island offers plenty of organized activities. The island boasts one of Spain’s 10 best golf courses, Tecina Golf, and Jeep tours around Garajonay National Park, and boat tours across the surrounding crystal-clear waters.
La Gomera offers a few resorts and hotels that give you options of luxury or authenticity. Most often visitors will be staying on the island of Tenerife and visit La Gomera on a full day tour via ferry transfers.
Anaga Forest, Tenerife
As an added bonus, our last destination is a much more specific one; the Anaga Forest of Tenerife. The scenic laurel forest is found within the Anaga Rural Park, on the northeastern tip of Tenerife Island in the Canary Island archipelago, which boasts high mountain peaks and deep valleys. Getting to the forest, you’ll be on switchback roads entering the beautiful valley that surrounds this treasure. During your hike through the Biosphere Reserve, you’ll encounter a slew of fauna and flora that make the island truly unique. You may even encounter some of the largest fern species in the world, with single frawans as big as 6 feet! Anaga Forest is located just a few miles from the island’s capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, however we recommend staying in the UNESCO World Heritage town of La Laguna to get a more unique perspective of the destination.
Aside from its beautiful forest, we highly recommend exploring the rest of the island of Tenerife, whose sandy beaches and year-round temperate weather make for an ideal island getaway.
Here at Quest Travel Adventures, we strive to provide exciting and unique destinations for your next vacation getaway. We provide travel tips and details for some of our favorite, less traveled islands and other destinations. If you didn’t find the island destination that you were looking for here, then check out our website http://www.questtraveladventures.com.