These Are The World’s Best Islands 2020

These far-flung winners promise way more than pristine beaches. Expect world-class wildlife viewing, delectable local foods and as much (or as little) outdoor activity as your heart desires.

Jul 20, 2020

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented due to COVID-19. The results, therefore, reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic. We hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come—whenever they may be.

TOP 25 ISLANDS TO VISIT

1. Palawan, Philippines

Palawan last snagged world’s No. 1 island in 2017, and its return to the top of the heap this year certainly is timely as we are all daydreaming about greener, farther-flung destinations. The limestone karsts of El Nido are this Philippine isle’s most iconic landmarks, but there’s plenty to discover up and down the coastline, whether you’re snorkeling the abundant reefs, diving shipwrecks, swimming with sea turtles, or cruising the underwater river. Birdwatchers note: there are more than a dozen endemic species and, since Palawan sits in the middle of the East-Asian Australasian Flyway, 170 migratory ones to be spotted.

Score: 94.83

In addition to its incredible tropical scenery, this archipelago between the South China and Sulu seas captivates with affordable resorts, leisurely snorkeling and plentiful birdlife—including the endangered peacock-pheasant.

2. Páros, Greece

Score: 90.55

3. Mílos, Greece

Score: 90.33

4. Sri Lanka

Score: 90

See:

5. Koh Lanta, Thailand

Score: 89.41

See:

6. Mauritius

Score: 89.07

7. Anguilla

Score: 89.01

8. Langkawi, Malaysia

Score: 88.76

See:

9. Sicily, Italy

Score: 88.62

10. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Score: 88.44

11. Azores, Portugal

Score: 88.42

12. Maui, Hawaii

Score: 88.38

* On the list for the past 10 years

13. Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands, Croatia

Score: 88.35

14. Boracay, Philippines

Score: 88.22

See:

15. Crete, Greece

Score: 88.22

16. Cook Islands

Score: 88.15

17. Bali, Indonesia

Score: 88.14

* On the list for the past 10 years

See:

18. Moorea, French Polynesia

Score: 88.05

19. Tasmania, Australia

Score: 87.89

20. Great Barrier Reef Islands, Australia

Score: 87.82

See:

21. Ischia, Italy

Score: 87.76

22. Mallorca, Spain

Score: 87.58

23. Koh Samui, Thailand

Score: 87.56

See:

24. Kauai, Hawaii

Score: 87.50

25. Bora-Bora, French Polynesia

Score: 87.27

Hotels & Resorts

We Go Vegan for a Week at Soneva Kiri in Honor of World Vegan Day (Video)

Spoiler alert: We didn’t even miss fish during the vegan “sushi” omakase.

Food & Drink

This Macau restaurant has no menu, and that’s exactly why you should go

When Macau’s shiny new Zaha Hadid–designed Morpheus hotel opened last year to great fanfare, Yi restaurant sidled into the property’s 21st- floor, glass-walled skybridge, quietly but confidently positioning itself as one of the most innovative Chinese fine-diners in the city.

Inspiration

This Boutique Homestay is Hidden Inside Malaysia’s Secret UNESCO World Heritage Site

In offbeat Perak, a new boutique homestay is throwing the spotlight onto Malaysia’s least-known UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Inspiration

Khmer Connection

Newly paved roads in Cambodia’s northeast make exploring via motorbike easier than ever. An intrepid solo trip around Banlung leads to natural discoveries and tasty local eateries and, best of all, that warm Khmer hospitality.