World’s Best Awards 2022: Top 20 Islands in the World

The best islands in the world, according to Travel + Leisure readers, invite visitors to adopt a slower pace of life.

Ischia Porto seen from the ferry boat leaving the Island, Italy

Ischia Porto seen from the ferry boat leaving the Island, Italy. Photo by LeoPatrizi/Getty Images/Canva

By Travel+Leisure Editor

Jul 18, 2022

IN THE EYES OF Travel + Leisure readers, the best islands in the world promise much more than aquamarine waters, dramatic coastlines, and pristine beaches. All are evidence that we are not only enthusiastically exploring again but re-examining what an ideal island experience might entail.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.

Ischia by night, Italy
Ischia by night, Italy. Photo by Andreja Potocnik/Getty Images Signature/Canva

The majority of the most popular islands offer crystalline sands and thriving marine life that can be explored by divers of any level. Cases in point: the Maldives (No. 2), Bali in Indonesia (No. 3), or Thailand’s Phuket (No. 7). Readers also flocked to isles with rich culture and food, from the ancient ruins and unsurpassable food of Mílos, Greece (No. 4) to nightlife on Ibiza, Spain (No. 17).

Readers’ enthusiasm for Vietnam’s Phu Quoc (No. 14) has earned it a place on this list thanks to its white-sand beaches and delectable food. The island is renowned for its production of fish sauce and peppercorns, as well as its coral reefs and dense tropical forest.

But this category, according to T+L readers, has a new winner this year. Read on to discover why Italy‘s Ischia took the title of the No. 1 island.

T — INDICATES A TRUE TIE
* — ON THE LIST FOR THE PAST 10 YEARS 

1. Ischia, Italy

Beautiful Ischia, Italy
Beautiful Ischia, Italy. Photo by Freeartist/Getty Images/Canva

Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, a one-hour ferry ride from Naples, Ischia has attracted more attention among travelers after featuring prominently in Elena Ferrante’s novel “My Brilliant Friend,” which HBO recently adapted into a series. It earned the top spot thanks to its picturesque villages, thermal springs, and unspoiled beaches, which include Le Fumarole and its geothermally heated sand. One reader added praise for the “very nice and helpful” locals. While there are myriad villas to rent, there’s also the full five-star hotel experience of the grande dame Regina Isabella and newcomer Mezzatorre, run by Pellicano Hotels.

Score: 94.61

2. Maldives

Maldives Aerial Shot
Maldives Aerial Shot. Photo by Asad Photo Maldives/Pexels/Canva

Score: 94.44

3. Bali, Indonesia *

Diamond Beach in Nusa Penida Island, Bali, Indonesia
Diamond Beach in Nusa Penida Island, Bali, Indonesia. Photo by R.M. Nunes/Getty Images/Canva

WBA Hall of Fame honoree.
Score: 92.51

4. Mílos, Greece

Famous Sarakiniko Beach at Mílos, Greece
Famous Sarakiniko Beach at Mílos, Greece. Photo by milangonda/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 92.50

5. Fiji Islands

Remote Tropical Island in Fiji
Remote Tropical Island in Fiji. Photo by tobiasjo/Getty Images Signature/Canva

Score: 92.38

6. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Galápagos Islands view, Ecuador
Galápagos Islands view, Ecuador. Photo by jkraft5/Canva

Score: 92.00

7. Phuket, Thailand

Laem Phromthep, a tourist attraction in Phuket, Thailand
Laem Phromthep, a tourist attraction in Phuket, Thailand. Photo by usssajaeree/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 91.90

8. Dominica

Rowing boat padding into the rainforest, Dominica
Rowing boat padding into the rainforest, Dominica. Photo by mbrand85/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 91.00

9. Boracay, Philippines

White Beach in Boracay, Philippines
White Beach in Boracay, Philippines. Photo by danilovi/Getty Images/Signature

Score: 90.89

10. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Photo by creignton359/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 90.88

11. Palawan, Philippines

Tropical Island Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines
Tropical Island Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines. Photo by Alexpunket/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 90.81

12. Páros, Greece

View of port in Naousa Village on Páros, Greece
View of port in Naousa Village on Páros, Greece. Photo by milangonda/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 90.62

13. Azores, Portugal

Azores, Portugal
Azores, Portugal. Photo by Evgeni Fab/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 90.48

14. Phu Quoc, Vietnam

View from cable car in Phu Quoc, Vietnam
View from cable car in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. Photo by BojackHorseman/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 90.25

15. Moorea, French Polynesia

Shark underwater in Moorea, French Polynesia
Shark underwater in Moorea, French Polynesia. Photo by Christian Herzog/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 90.24

16. Cebu, Philippines

Kawasan waterfalls located on Cebu, Philippines
Kawasan waterfalls located on Cebu, Philippines. Photo by Oneinchpunch/Canva

Score: 90.12

17. Ibiza, Spain

Panorama of Ibiza, Spain
Panorama of Ibiza, Spain. Photo by Michal Bednarek/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 89.89

18. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Beautiful Beach of Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Beautiful Beach of Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Photo by NAPA74/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 89.79

19. Madeira, Portugal

Sunset over Funchal, Medeira, Portugal
Sunset over Funchal, Medeira, Portugal. Photo by DaLiu/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 89.78

20. Maui, Hawaii *

Surfers at Muai Beach
Maui. Photo by PatrickHutter/Getty Images Signature/Canva

WBA Hall of Fame honoree.
Score: 89.55

21. Anguilla

Anguilla Beach
Anguilla Beach. Photo by Richard Depinay/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 89.43

22. Crete, Greece

Habor of Chania, Crete, Greece
Habor of Chania, Crete, Greece. Photo by Anastasia Collection/Canva

Score: 89.40

23. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Arch Rock on Mackinac Island, Michigan
Arch Rock on Mackinac Island, Michigan. Photo by searagen/Getty Images Pro/Canva

Score: 89.10

24. Island of Hawaii

Night Manta Dive, Island of Hawaii
Night Manta Dive, Island of Hawaii. Photo by HIROMASA ARAKI/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 88.53

25. Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Island, South Carolina view through pink seagrass to ocean
Kiawah Island, South Carolina view through pink seagrass to ocean. Photo by KathyKafka/Getty Images/Canva

Score: 88.49

For more World’s Best Awards 2022 lists of your favorite hotels, resorts, cities, islands and more, visit: travelandleisureasia.com/trending/worlds-best-awards.

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