The Seychelles archipelago of over 100 islands has been called the closest place to paradise here on earth, and a 5 star holiday here certainly lives up to this claim. As well as isolated beaches with soft white sand and azure waters, you’ll also find lush plantations, striking granite rock formations and an incredible array of flora and fauna to explore. Combining an unmatched natural beauty and uncrowded, secluded feel, a holiday in the Seychelles is the perfect place for a honeymoon hideaway or couples retreat.
A great place to visit early in the morning is one of the thriving markets in Victoria, the capital of the largest island of Mahe. It’s a lively scene, bustling with vendors and buyers all vying for the best prices. Fresh fish, fruit and local produce are all sold here. You’ll also find gorgeous coral souvenirs, jewellery and other gifts on sale from the friendly locals. Look out for the coco de mer coconut, an unusually shaped giant coconut, which is indigenous to the islands and is said to be a powerful aphrodisiac.
It’s perfectly possible to get up close and personal with the magnificent marine life on the Seychelles without even setting foot in the water, with cruises and charters setting sail from the marina in Victoria each day. Why not try a deep sea fishing excursion where you have the chance to catch marlin and tuna, and then enjoy the fruits of your labours with a delicious barbeque on a secluded beach. Or perhaps join a boat trip to the excellent marine farm, where you’ll get the chance to learn more about the various protected species living in the archipelago’s waters. A real highlight is the opportunity to feed some of the fish. Glass bottom boat tours are also available and provide spectacular views of the islands’ dazzlingly colourful marine life.
For the ultimate in romance and style, don’t miss the opportunity to take a sunset cruise on one of the islands’ traditional schooners. These beautiful boats have been sailing around the Indian Ocean for about a hundred years, and create the perfect silhouette against the sea. Sunset cruises depart every evening from Victoria Harbour, and include a delicious dinner on a desert island where a Creole buffet is served, and you can enjoy colourful and rhythmic music and dancing from local dance groups.
If you fancy a break from the beach then take a trip to Praslin National Park, with its well-organised trails and paths. You will see a variety of indigenous species, including the famous coco de mer palm, with its oversized double husk coconuts, said to have powerful aphrodisiac properties. There’s also a chance to see the islands’ protected giant tortoises, frigate birds and sheath-tailed bats - photography enthusiasts shouldn’t forget their camera.
The biggest island in the archipelago is Mahe, which is also the main airport hub where most tourists arrive for their Seychelles holiday. The petite capital Victoria is a pretty town with hints of its colonial past in the architecture and street names. You’ll find an abundance of luxury holiday boltholes situated on Mahe’s west coast, with gorgeous 5 star hotels set in lush tropical surroundings on pristine beaches. Praslin is home to another group of gloriously isolated and luxurious hotel resorts, each set on secluded coastline. You’ll also find restaurants and spas and the famous coco de mer palms at the Valee de Mei national park. However, truly the best way to experience all that the Seychelles has to offer is with an island-hopping adventure.
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