Mistaken for the Garden of Eden by early British explorers, Seychelles is a paradise. As cliché this might sound, there is no better word to describe this marvelous archipelago suspended in the Indian Ocean. Situated east of Kenya and north of Madagascar, Seychelles gathers under one name 115 islands, all little corners of beatitude adorned with spectacular beaches caressed by hypnotic turquoise waters.
The sand in Seychelles is as powdery as snow and the superb waters hide a breathtaking world of exotic fish and colorful coral reefs. The secret coves are perfect to hide away and enjoy a Robinson Crusoe moment. An exotic fairy tale realm and a seductive destination especially for those with generous budgets, Seychelles mesmerizes at first glance.
And it’s not all about the beaches! The country is a genuine melting pot of cultures. Its inhabitants have African, Asian, and European roots, and you’ll notice their heritage in their fascinating customs and traditions. Their eclectic cultural past is also notable in the fabulous fusion cuisine of the archipelago, while the architecture enchants with superb French and British colonial examples.
But, it’s true, travelers do come to Seychelles for the beaches. Extraordinary strips of white, powdery sand designed by Mother Nature to caress and embrace any soul who searches for utmost relaxation, the beaches in Seychelles are considered one of the best in the world.
Anse Lazio is undoubtedly the most famous of all. Located on Praslin Island, the second largest island of Seychelles, and framed with statuesque granite rocks, this is an idyllic destination for visitors who are searching for the ultimate relaxation spot. The crystal clear water is perfect for snorkeling while the panoramas make you forget about all that’s real.
Anse Royale is dotted with mammoth granite boulders but this only adds to its surreal beauty. Situated on the southern coast, this beach is divided into little private coves and shaded by takamaka and lush palms.
The serene La Digue is a place where time stood still and serenity is at your fingertips. It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches of the archipelago, including the world-famous Anse Source D’Argent, a favored spot for modeling and film shoots. However, the beach is never crowded and you’ll always find a quiet spot to enjoy the crystalline water and the scenery dominated by ancient granite boulders.
Mahe is Seychelles’ largest island, a place decorated with tranquil bays and enigmatic coves, dramatic mountainous scenery, and a thick, intriguing rainforest. Glorious beaches await in Mahe too, with Beau Vallon being the most popular and Anse Intendance being considered the most beautiful strip of sand in the Indian Ocean. The latter is the perfect spot for surfing while all the other beaches on the island have plenty of water sports centers to keep thrill-seekers happy.
Off the beaten track, on the southeastern coast, you’ll discover the breathtaking Anse Soleil divided by majestic granite boulders and home to a small and solitary café. When the night comes, head to Anse à La Mouche, where the bay comes to life in the light of bio-luminescence organisms and creates a magical painting.
Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue are the three main islands of the archipelago. Mahe is home to the country’s capital, Victoria, and inhabited by one-third of the total population of Seychelles. An economic and cultural hub, Mahe attracts tourists with many wonderful beaches and fascinating sights. Head to Victoria to admire Victoria Clock, a smaller version of Big Ben, erected in 1903 to honor Queen Victoria. Take your time to visit colonial Victoria and visit Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, an early-Victorian style market and the perfect place to buy spices, fruits, fish, and souvenirs.
Familiarize yourself with the exotic flora of Seychelles visiting the National Botanical Gardens, situated on the outskirts of Victoria. The gardens were planted more than a century ago and are home to superb palms, including the rare Coco de Mer, beautiful local species, a spice garden, as well as Aldabra tortoises and flying foxes.
Discover the archipelago’s history at the National Museum of History. Founded in 1964, the museum has a beautiful collection of artifacts illustrating the traditional lifestyles of the pre-colonial people, as well as an interesting display on the trade slave and its influences on the archipelago.
Drive around Mahe to admire beautiful colonial-style mansions fighting time and plantations of vanilla and cinnamon. Visit the Sainte Anne National Marine Park off the coast of Mahe to discover a fabulous underwater world. You can stay on Sainte Anne of Cerf islands and enjoy glass-bottom trips, and snorkeling and scuba diving adventures.
The island of Praslin is known both for its spectacular beaches and beautiful Vallée de Mai Nature Preserve. Dive into this thick prehistoric jungle and discover primitive plant and animal species that have been here since the islands were formed. If you’re paying attention, you might even spot the black parrot, a bird that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is also home to Coco de Meer trees and prehistoric forest trails.
Slow down and relax on the island of La Digue, the perfect place to reset yourself. From here you can enjoy a short trip to Rene Payet Veuve Reserve, where the endangered paradise flycatcher lives, and discover the L’Union Estate, home to giant tortoises, copra mills, and a fascinating cemetery where the original settlers of the island have found their eternal rest.
If you want to get close to giant tortoises, plan a trip to Aldabra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the largest atoll in the world and includes 13 islands. Those passionate about scuba diving and snorkeling should definitely discover the Aquarium, Madam Zabre, and Passe Tambi areas around Desroches Island. This underwater universe intermediates memorable face to face encounters with turtles, reef fish, and stingrays.