An insider’s guide to the 9 best island destinations for 2017

© Capri

Sitting in a stuffy office, listening to your Manager Ian drone on about the latest sales figures in a Monday afternoon meeting, it’s easy to let your mind wander

Instead, you think about the sun, sand, the gentle rolling of the ocean waves, a page-turning book in your tanned fingers as you relax on a sun lounger awaiting your recently ordered cocktail.

My God, that sounds amazing. But swish island holidays aren’t cheap, right? That’s where you’re wrong. Our travel experts have scoured for the best destinations for an affordable island getaway without breaking the bank.

The Perfect Greek Getaway in Santorini

Santorini isn’t an unknown island but it’s not the place UK tourists go for Greecian typical sun, sea and cocktails. If you’re looking for spectacular panoramic views, picture-perfect beaches and alluring Greek cuisines like local specialities Faba beans and tomato fritters, then Santorini might be your kind of island.

Santorini cliff face
Your new dream destination, Santorini © leoks/Shutterstock.com

Flights from £111Accommodation from £21

KAYAK Tip: Shrouded by greenery and backlit by a setting sun there is no finer way to enjoy cinema than at Cine Kamari – Santorini’s own open-air cinema.

Uncover a Portuguese Paradise in Madeira

Contrary to popular belief that Madeira is an old-school island destination the island is still famed for its vibrant seafood, fascinating botanical scenery and whale watching. If you’re hankering for a beach Porto Santo is only a short ferry ride away whilst Madeira offers quiet, relaxation and indulgence in its namesake wine.

Madeira waterfront
Old school cool in Madeira © DaLiu/Shutterstock.com

Flights from £52Accommodation from £13

KAYAK Tip: One of the most beloved restaurants on the island is Armazem Do Sal, whilst the food is definitely Mediterranean fine dining, the interior of the restaurant is quintessential rustic Portuguese.

All Rhodes Lead to, uh, Rhodes

Where you’re going, you do need Rhodes. The largest of the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes is bustling with ancient history, sun worshipers and cultural wonders. Walk the medievals walls in Old Town to get spectacular views of the entire island. Loosen your belt as well as you have to indulge in the achingly good food at one of the island’s flagship Greek restaurants, we recommend Mavrikos founded in 1933.

Rhodes beachfront
Travel to Rhodes in 2017 © Timofeev Vladimir/Shutterstock.com

Flights from £58Accommodation from £34

KAYAK Tip: One of the must-see’s on Rhodes is the Petaloudes Valley or ‘Valley of the Butterflies’ a mythical looking nature reserve filled with exotic butterflies and moths.

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A Croatian Hidden Gem, Discover Vis

If you’re the sort of person who marches to the beat of their own drummer and typically shies away from ‘traditional’ holiday destinations than Vis might be right on your street. Military occupied until 1989 it’s probably one of the most authentic Croatian destinations – so that means history, very cheap wine and oodles of fresh seafood. A ferry ride away from the bustling of Split you could fall in love with Vis and many tourists find it becoming their traditional holiday getaway.

Vis Croatia coastal
Breathe in Vis © xbrchx/Shutterstock.com

Flights from £49Accommodation in Vis

KAYAK Tip: There is an amazing selection of restaurants in Vis serving incredibly fresh seafood and fish so you really have your pick, but for some great food and a great view we’d recommend Roki’s nestled in a traditional vineyard serving Croatian delights.

Hollywood is Forever in Capri, Naples

Capri is well known for its relaxing atmosphere because it’s been a holiday destination since the literal Roman times, seriously look it up. In the 1950’s Hollywood starlets were also drawn to the islands glamorous mystique and charm, this magical quality can be truly felt visiting the famed Blue Grotto. A great place to have a torrid love affair.

Capri seafront
Star of the sea, explore Capri © S-F/Shutterstock.com

Flights from £44Accommodation from £47

KAYAK Tip: For affordable luxury, the Hotel Gatto Bianco is in an excellent location and comes equipped with a spa, sauna and a free breakfast to set you up for a day of sightseeing.

Beach Bums Ahoy, Formentera Ahead

If you could describe Formentera it would probably be as Ibiza’s calmer and less hectic sister. In fact, Ibiza-goers tend to come to Formentera for a day-break from the island’s party atmosphere but that’s not to say Formentera doesn’t know how to have a good time. The beaches are lifted straight from a postcard, stretches of pure untouched sand meet crystal blue water for an unforgettable view.

Ibiza’s better-behaved sister, Formentera © holbox/Shutterstock.com

Flights from £37Accommodation from £38

KAYAK Tip: To see the hippie influence of Formentera then visit the Artisan Market open on a Sunday and Wednesday from 8.30 until late. Expect arts, crafts and live music.

Dive into Gozo

Lesser known than its neighbour of Malta, Gozo is famous its rustic scenery, pristine beaches and excellent diving opportunities. Due to the island’s abundance of natural limestone, there are plenty of wonders dotted around the island, try your hand at diving and the nearby Blue Hole dive to catch a glimpse.

Crystal clear waters in Gozo © Darkydoors/Shutterstock.com

Flights from £56Accommodation from £22

KAYAK Tip: For a taste of luxury without the hit to your wallet try the Cornucopia Hotel, a four-star gem that has two outdoor pools for you to relax and unwind by.

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Illustrious Island Life in Île de Ré

If you’re looking for a chic island stay, why not choose where the Parisians holiday? Île de Ré doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of Côte d’Azur but it retains the best features – the food, the sun and the, how do you say, je ne sais quoi?

Île de Ré lighthouse
Your secret French hideaway Île de Ré © bofotolux/Shutterstock.com

Flights from £35Accommodation from £113

KAYAK Tip: Markets are a staple of life on Île de Ré, the fish markets, in particular, have an excellent atmosphere and sometimes you’ll be buying from the fishermen themselves if you get there later in the day.

Don’t be Silly, Visit Scilly

Now, hear me out before you go ‘What? You’ve made that up’. Scilly is made up of 10 islands, with St. Mary’s being the largest and the islands themselves are like a British fairy tale – gorgeous scenic landscapes and with the added bonus of one of the best climates in all of the UK. Before you discover European delights overseas, make sure you haven’t already got a gem in your backyard. Ship off from Penzance in style.

Isle of scilly beach
Not your standard British beach © Timothy Dry/Shutterstock.com

Trains to Scilly 

KAYAK Tip: Even if you’d never call yourself someone whose ‘interested in plants’ there’s no doubt that Tresco Abbey Garden will catch your attention. Housing amazing sub-tropical plants that exist nowhere near the UK but thrive in the island’s climate.

Note: These rates are based on search queries made on KAYAK.co.uk on January 28th, 2017. The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available.

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