An awe-inspiring archipelago made up of 115 coral and granite islands, The Seychelles is a treasure trove of flora and fauna, from hawksbill turtles to vanilla orchids. The islands are famed for their beaches, many reaching the top ten in the world! We bring you a Turquoise guide to our favourite islands, hotels and beaches in the Seychelles…
The Seychelles is a short 10 hour direct flight from London with British Airways, making it an extremely reachable destination for those looking for perfect paradise. If you had some last minute shopping to do and would like a city stopover on route, Emirates also fly via Dubai creating a fantastic twin centre holiday. Whichever route you pick, you will land into Mahé. From here, either stay a couple of nights or venture out to an island by domestic flight, private charter flight, boat transfer or helicopter if you wish to travel in style. At Turquoise we see The Seychelles as an island hopping haven. With it being so easy to get around, we always recommend visiting at least two islands – one of the main granitic islands with one of the outer coralline islands. Due to international flight schedules, it is sometimes necessary to spend a night on Mahé either end of your trip to ensure a smooth journey to the airport with plenty of time to pick up any last minute souvenirs.
We should also find a map!
Mahé is the largest of the islands in The Seychelles and home to the countries capital, Victoria. Far from the traffic and pollution of the UK, Mahé is framed with tropical palm trees, from the soft sandy beaches to the and the peak of ‘’Sans Souci’’. Explore bustling traditional markets, enjoy some of the finest hotels in the world and lose yourself amidst luscious botanical gardens and jungle landscape; Mahé is the perfect beginning or end to a Seychelles island hopping itinerary.
The smallest capital city in the world, Victoria cannot be missed! This hub of vibrant culture and fascinating history can easily be explored on foot in a few hours. Visit St Paul’s Cathedral, Domus and the Natural History Museum to get a real insight into the heritage and history of the island. Victoria has been home to Arab sailors, the British, the French, Tamil tribes, Chinese traders and African slaves, which has created an incredibly dynamic and unique culture and community. My favourite thing about Victoria? Even though it is a capital, there is a law that there is no building may be taller than the tallest palm tree, in order to preserve the natural beauty of it’s mountainous surroundings.
Where to stay?
My top pick – Banyan Tree Seychelles
Sat on the south-west coast of the island is Banyan Tree Seychelles. The hotels 60 stand-alone villas cascade down the hillside to the granitic boulder framed beach below, surrounding by Takamaka trees and winding pathways. The rooms are colonial in style and design, drawing on traditional architecture, with a touch of Seychellois colour, creating an intimate and sophisticated atmosphere. The hotel is steeped in history, with Peter Sellers, the famous British actor from Pink Panther and George Harrison, a member of the Beatles first being the sites first owners, when they bought it in 1974 to make it their home. In the late 70’s the Banyan Tree Group took over the site and created the stunning boutique bolthole it remains today. Both Peter Sellers and George Harrison are still very close with the Banyan Tree team and are frequent visitors.
Anse Intendance is our favourite beach on Mahé. Located on the south coast, this beautiful, wild and rugged beach is framed on both sides by huge granite boulders, with sparkling white sand running between.
Praslin is one of the greener islands in the archipelago. Despite being the second largest in the Seychelles, it has a fraction of the population, meaning life on Praslin is slower paced and quieter than Mahé. Accessible via a 20-minute flight or 1.5hr ferry, it is the perfect complement if you are looking for two different granitic island experiences. Praslin is all about exploring the Seychelles’ natural beauty and is famed for the Vallee de Mai national park, where the interestingly shaped coco-de-mer bean grows on ancient palm trees. The larges seed in the plant kingdom, the Coco de Mer bean is the largest in the plant kingdom and can weigh over 30 pounds. Within this incredible UNESCO World Heritage site, you will find a huge variety of species of plants and birds; the Seychelles sunbird, black parrot and the bronze gecko, just to name a few.
Where to stay?
My top pick – Constance Lemuria
Constance Lemuria is tucked away on the north-west coast of Praslin. With a choice of three different beaches, this idyllic hideaway is something quite special! Having recently undergone a beautiful refurbishment, it is looking better than ever… fresh and colourful, totally Seychellois! What we adore about this hotel is the cuisine and dining options. Choose from four different restaurants; Legend Restaurant located in the main hotel, Takamaka is their beachside grill, overlooking the golf course is The Nest or lastly Diva, our absolute favourite. We highly recommend trying a coconut sherbet cocktail at The Nest, it is not to be missed! Seafood is also exceptional here, with the freshest fish and shellfish cooked to perfection.
Anse Lazio is my number one beach on Praslin and by no coincidence is it the most famous on the island as well. Due to its picturesque scenery and perfect white sand. It is currently ranked sixth best beach in the world and we definitely agree! Everything about this beach is perfect – the sand shines silver at dawn and turns golden at dusk, the sea is the perfect temperature.
La Digue is the third largest island in the Seychelles. It is known for being laid back and low key. The easiest way to travel is by fast catamaran from Praslin, a very easy journey and worth every second on the water! Despite the beauty of the island, La Digue has somehow managed to escape the rampant tourist development that affects most of the world’s islands. With no cars on the island (bar a taxi here and there), getting around the island is a case of hopping on a bicycle and following the road – you can’t go wrong and will always end up at a beach – perhaps Anse Source D Argent which is the most famous beach in the Seychelles! L’Union Estate is the place to step back in time and see a traditional mill, kiln and plantation houses.
Where to stay?
My top pick – Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie
Situated just north of La Digue’s tiny main town, La Passe, is Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie. This is a hotel in which time stays still and it’s hard not to rest, relax and unwind. Choose from one of the hotels 55 villas, all unique in their design and location.
Grand Anse gets the award in our eyes for the best beach on La Digue. The sea here can be a little rougher than other beaches, but for us, that is what makes it more special and wild. Topped off with the fact that it is only accessible by bike or on foot makes it that much more special. There is also a small (turquoise!) beach shack, serving fresh coconuts and cold beers – bliss.
Denis Private Island
Denis Private Island is an idyllic coralline island, protected by a stunning coral reef, about 40 minutes to the north of Mahé. The flight is ‘pinch me’ in itself, giving passengers a birds-eye view of the luscious green islands and azure atolls below. As you begin the descent down to Denis’s private airstrip, you will be greeted by a waving team of wonderful hosts, ready to whisk you away to your rustic beach bungalow by golf-buggy, along sandy paths carved out into the jungle. With just 25 stone cottages, all with open-air bathrooms and your own private beach and sun loungers to relax on, a true Seychelles doesn’t get better than this! On island, there is no spa building, so instead, therapists bring the spa to your villa fitting in with the island’s naturally holistic lifestyle!
Denis Private Island is home to some of my favourite beaches in the Seychelles for sure, and potentially the world. If I had to pick one, it would be Belle Etoile. Located on the east side of the island, it stretches the whole way down the coast to the south point. The waters around the island have an official protected status by the Seychelles government making it a no-take zone and limits for fishing. Therefore meaning the beach and sea life is in incredible condition. From this beach, if you keep an eye out, turtles are known to be seen on a daily basis! This side of the island is also sunset side where you can enjoy a sundowner in a slice of paradise!
Felicite is a private island, accessed via catamaran or helicopter from Mahé or speedboat from Praslin and La Digue. The island is home to the eco-chic retreat of
Six Senses Zil Pasyon
Six Senses Zil Pasyon. Located on the north tip of the island, Six Senses only covers 30% of the island in order to maintain as much natural beauty, flora, and fauna as possible. This means that it is a nature lovers paradise with a huge range or trekking and adventure trails around the island to see the islands very own Coco de Mer, an array of birdlife and much more. Under the waves in the turquoise waters, the marine life is incredible! With eagle rays, small reef sharks, needlefish, turtles and more! For a water babies, the sea doesn’t get better than this!
Six Senses Zil Pasyon presents 30 one and two bedroom pool villas each offering seclusion surrounded by tropical vegetation and unsurpassed views of the ocean. What we particularly love at Turquoise about Six Senses Zil Pasyon is that every villa has its own GEM (Guest Experience Makers) essentially butlers who will be yours for the duration of your stay – to make reservations at your chosen restaurant, book your spa or simply check in to see how they can improve your stay – they really do make a holiday an experience.
Grand Anse is located on the outskirts of the hotel grounds and is the most impressive beach of the three which can be found at Six Senses Zil Pasyon. It faces towards La Digue and seems to be soaked in sunshine whatever time of day you visit. Make sure you borrow a kayak and head over to Coco Island, a national marine park known for its fabulous snorkelling… watch out for eagle rays who rest here in the shallow warm waters.