While the private islands of the Seychelles are exclusive enclaves, the majority of visitors will choose to spend their time on one of the three main populated islands - Mahe, Praslin, or La Digue - or one of the smaller islands just off shore.
Each island has its own character, and the three main islands all have a great choice of accommodation, stunning beaches and lush vegetation in the interior. It is impossible to say which is the most beautiful, but it is certain that whichever island you choose you will not be disappointed.
Mahe is the largest island in size and population, with a dramatic mountainous interior, rich old growth rainforest and enough bays and coves to keep you beach hopping for months. Mahe has some stunning private beaches if you wish to simply relax, but is a great place for those who like to explore and beach hop as its size offers plenty of variety.
Multi Island Hopping Holidays
The three main islands are close enough together that it is possible to make a daytrip between them; a flight from Mahe to Praslin takes just 15 minutes or the boat is 45, while the ferry from Praslin to La Digue is just 15 minutes. Many people choose to take a multi center holiday, spending part of their trip on Mahe and the other on Praslin, La Digue or one of the exclusive private islands.
Wherever you decide to stay, it's easy to arrange a daytrip to Mahe or Praslin through your accommodation, but we feel if you have the time it's worth exploring each island in its own right. Equally La Digue can be visited for one day easily from a base on Praslin, but we feel the combined Praslin + La Digue day trip is just a little too frenetic for the Seychelles' laid back nature.
How long to spend on each island?
The majority of travellers - and honeymooners in particular - visit the Seychelles for relaxation, not a mad dash to take in all the 'sights'. Each island is unique - but if you are only able to visit for a week or less you are likely better off enjoying one island to the full rather than racing across the waters to take in more sights.
Bear in mind you may well wish to take at least one day trip to snorkel and visit smaller islands off the coasts of Mahe or Praslin as well as any activites on land such as visiting mountain viewpoints on Mahe or exploring the Valee Du Mai in Praslin.
If you're planning to stay two weeks or more you might consider spending a week on Mahe and a week on Praslin, or if you really want to squeeze it all in why not try 6 nights Mahe, 4 nights on Praslin and 3 on La Digue?
Considerations when choosing an island
For Luxury Travellers & Honeymooners
You're really spoilt for choice; with stunning resorts on Mahe, Praslin and many private islands your choice is likely more down to which hotel appeals most rather than the location. Most activities such as sailing, scuba diving, snorkelling and fishing can be undertaken from any location on the Seychelles, but keen golfers will likely want to make a beeline for Praslin, where the Constance Lemuria offers the only 18 hole championship course in the Seychelles.
For Younger Families with Babies & Toddlers
Hotel pools are lovely but its likely you came to the Seychelles for the beaches: for this reason you'll want to find a location with calm water shallow waters suitable for learner swimmers. Easy access to supermarkets, a variety of food and medical facilities as well as beautiful, becalmed turquoise waters make the beaches of Beau Vallon and Anse Royale on Mahe, and Cote D'or or Grand Anse on Praslin ideal candidates.
La Digue may not be the ideal choice to base yourself for the entire holiday though it still warrants a visit; few of its beaches are ideal swimming beaches due to strong waves and currents, and the hilly tracks to reach the beaches by bicycle can be hard with a heavy child on the back. That said, it is possible to hire bicycles with child seats and children do love to ride. It's also a very safe place for children to play outside, away from the sea as there is little to no motorised traffic.
For Families With Older Children
Whichever island you are on, most resorts will offer a wide range of inclusive activites such as kayaking, snorkeling, windsurfing and diving to keep older children happy. Yet if your teenagers have energy to burn there is no better island than Mahe for a wide range of activities away from the beach, from rock climbing and zip lines through to mountain treks, botanic gardens, markets and art galleries.