Top Ten Islands

Top Ten Islands

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  1. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
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           Bora Bora is an island in the Leeward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean. The original name of the island in the Tahitian language might be better rendered as Pora Pora, meaning “First Born”; an early transcription found in 18th and 19th century accounts, is Bolabolla or Bollabolla. The island, located about 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano rising to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, the highest point at 727 m (2,385 ft.). Bora Bora is a major international tourist destination, famous for its aqua-centric luxury resorts. The island is served by Bora Bora Airport on Motu Mete in the north, with Air Tahiti providing daily flights to and from Papeete on Tahiti. The major settlement, Vaitape is on the western side of the main island, opposite the main channel into the lagoon. Produce of the island is mostly limited to what can be obtained from the sea and the plentiful coconut trees, which were historically of economic importance for copra. According to a census performed in 2008, the permanent population of Bora Bora is 8,880.
    Links: Top Ten French Polynesian Attractions, Top Ten Oceanic Islands, Top 100 Beaches, Top Ten Resorts, Top Ten Oceanic Resorts,,
  2. Capri, Italy
           Capri is an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples in the Campania region of Italy. The main town on the island shares the name. It has been a resort since the time of the Roman Republic. Features of the island are the Marina Piccola, “the little harbor,” the Belvedere of Tragara (a high panoramic promenade lined with villas), the limestone crags called sea stacks that project above the sea (the Faraglioni), the town of Anacapri, the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra) and the ruins of the Imperial Roman villas. Capri is part of the region of Campania, Province of Naples. The town of Capri is the island’s main population center. The island has two harbors, Marina Piccola and Marina Grande (the main port of the island). The separate commune of Anacapri is located high on the hills to the west. The etymology of the name Capri is unclear; it might either be traced back to the Ancient Greeks (Ancient Greek kapros meaning “wild boar”), the first recorded colonists to populate the island. But it could also derive from Latin capreae (goats). Fossils of wild boars have been discovered, lending credence to the “kapros” etymology, but on the other hand the Romans called Capri “goat island.” Finally, there is also the possibility the name derives from an Etruscan word for “rocky,” though any historical Etruscan rule of the island is disputed.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Top Ten European Islands,,
  3. Corsica, France
           Corsica is a French island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia. Corsica is one of the 27 régions of France, although strictly speaking Corsica is designated as a “territorial collectivity” by law. As a territorial collectivity, it enjoys greater powers than other French régions, but for the most part its status is quite similar. Corsica is referred to as a “region” in common speech and is almost always listed among the other régions of France. Although the island is separated from the continental mainland by the Ligurian Sea and is closer to Italy than to the French mainland, politically Corsica is part of Metropolitan France. It was once briefly an independent Corsican Republic, until being incorporated into France in 1769. Its culture has French and Italian elements blended into it. Napoléon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio, where his ancestral home, Casa Buonaparte, is also located. Corsica is also the birthplace of the singers Tino Rossi and Alizée.
    Links: Top Ten French Attractions, Top 100 Maps, Top Ten Maps by Piri Reis,,
  4. Elba, Italy
           Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, 20 km (12 mi) from the coastal town of Piombino. The largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba is also part of the Arcipelago Toscano National Park, and the 3rd largest island in Italy, after Sicily and Sardinia. It is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 50 km (30 mi) east of the French island of Corsica. The island is divided into eight municipalities, of which Portoferraio is the main one, the others; Campo nell’Elba, Capoliveri, Marciana, Marciana Marina, Porto Azzurro, Rio Marina and Rio nell’Elba, are part of the province of Livorno, with a total of about 30,000 inhabitants, which increases considerably during the summer.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, National Parks, Top Ten European National Parks,,
  5. Fraser Island, Australia

    Fraser Island is an island located along the southern coast of Queensland, Australia, approximately 200 km (120 mi) north of Brisbane. Its length is about 120 km (75 mi) and its width is approximately 24 km (15 mi). The island is considered to be the largest sand island in the world at 1840 km². It is also Queensland’s largest island, Australia’s 6th largest island and the largest island on the East Coast of Australia. The island has rainforests, eucalyptus woodland, mangrove forests, wallum and peat swamps, sand dunes and coastal heaths. It is made up of sand that has been accumulating for approximately 750,000 years on volcanic bedrock that provides a natural catchment for the sediment which is carried on a strong offshore current northwards along the coast. Unlike many sand dunes, plant life is abundant due to the naturally occurring mycorrhizal fungi present in the sand, which release nutrients in a form that can be absorbed by the plants. Fraser Island is home to a small number of mammal species, as well as a diverse range of birds, reptiles and amphibians, including the occasional saltwater crocodile. The island is part of the Fraser Coast Region and protected in the Great Sandy National Park. Fraser Island has been inhabited by humans for as much as 5,000 years. Explorer James Cook sailed by the island in May 1770. Matthew Flinders landed near the most northern point of the island in 1802. For a short period the island was known as Great Sandy Island. The island became known as Fraser due to the stories of a shipwreck survivor named Eliza Fraser. Today the island is a popular tourism destination. Its resident human population was 360 at the census of 2006.
    Links: Top Ten Australian Attractions, Top Ten Australian Resorts,,
  6. Grenada, Caribbean
    Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. Grenada is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela, and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Grenada is also known as the “Island of Spice” due to the production of nutmeg and mace crops of which Grenada is one of the world’s largest exporters. Its size is 344 square km (133 square mi), with an estimated population of 110,000. Its capital is St. George’s. The national bird of Grenada is the critically endangered Grenada Dove.
    Links: Top 100 Birds, Top Ten North American Islands, Top Ten Caribbean Islands, Beaches, Top Ten North American Beaches, Top Ten Caribbean Beaches,,
  7. Ibiza, Spain
           Ibiza is an island in the Mediterranean Sea 79 km off the coast of the city of Valencia in Spain. It is the 3rd largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community of Spain. With Formentera, it is one of the two Pine Islands or Pityuses. Its largest cities are Ibiza Town, Santa Eulària des Riu and Sant Antoni de Portmany. Its highest point, called Sa Talaiassa (or Sa Talaia), is 475 m/1,558 ft. above sea level. The island is well known for its summer club parties which attract large numbers of tourists, but the island and the Spanish Tourist Office have been working in order to promote more family-oriented tourism. Though some dispute the island’s ability to attract higher income families in large numbers, the island is keen to dispel its image as merely a destination for young clubbers. Noted clubs include Space, Pacha, Privilege (ex Ku), Amnesia, DC10, Eden and Es Paradis. Probably the most famous bar on the island is Café del Mar. This bar is significantly connected with the music genre of chill-out music. The other notable player in the entertainment world in recent years has been Ibiza Rocks who feature more live acts than the established clubs. The brand now runs the most famous youth hotel on the island, Ibiza Rocks Hotel. Ibiza is also home to the legendary “port” in the district of Ibiza, a popular stop for many tourists.
    Links: Top Ten Spanish Attractions, Top 100 Clubs, Top 100 European Clubs, Top Ten Spanish Clubs, Top Ten Pools,,
  8. Koh Samui, Thailand
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           Ko Samui island of Surat Thani Province, or often, simply Samui as it is referred to by locals, is an island off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand, close to the mainland Surat Thani town and in Surat Thani Province. It is Thailand’s 3rd largest island after Ko Chang and Phuket, with an area of 228.7 square km and a population of over 50,000 (2008) attracting 1.5 million tourists per year. It is rich with natural resources, white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees.
    Links: Top Ten Thai Attractions,,
  9. Mahé, Seychelles
           Mahé is the largest island (155 km²/59.8 mi2) of the Seychelles, lying in the north east of the nation. The population of Mahé is 80,000. It contains the capital city of Victoria and accommodates 90% of the country’s total population. The island was named after Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais, a French governor of Mauritius. Mahé’s tallest peak is Morne Seychellois at 905 m, which lies in the Morne Seychellois National Park. The northern and eastern parts of the island are home to much of the population and the Seychelles International Airport which opened in 1971. The southern and western parts have Baie Ternay Marine National Park and Port Launay Marine National Park. The Ste Anne Marine National Park lies offshore, as do Conception Island, Thérèse Island, Anonyme Island and Silhouette Island. Mahé was first visited by the British in 1609 and not visited by Europeans again until Lazare Picault’s expedition of 1742. Mahé remained a French possession until 1812 when it became a British colony. It remained a colony until 1976 when Seychelles became an independent nation. Mahé’s forests have rare endemic plants found only in the Seychelles, such as the critically endangered Medusagyne oppositifolia (the “Jellyfish tree”), the carnivorous Seychelles Pitcher plant and many species of unique orchids. Mahé is currently undergoing a huge land reclamation project due to housing problems.
    Links: Top Ten Seychelles Attractions, Top Ten African Islands,,_Seychelles,
  10. Paros, Greece
    Paros is an island of Greece in the central Aegean Sea. One of the Cyclades island group, it lies to the west of Naxos, from which it is separated by a channel about 8 km (5 mi) wide. It lies approximately 100 nmi (185 km) south-east of Piraeus. The Municipality of Paros includes numerous uninhabited offshore islets totaling 196.308 km² of land. Its nearest neighbor is the municipality of Antiparos, lying to its southwest. Historically, Paros was known for its fine white marble, which gave rise to the term “Parian” to describe marble or china of similar qualities. Today, abandoned marble quarries and mines can be found on the island, but Paros is primarily known as a popular tourist spot.
    Links: Top Ten Greek Attractions,,
  11. Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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           Santa Cruz Island is one of the Galápagos Islands with an area of 986 square km (381 square mi) and a maximum altitude of 864 m (2,835 ft.). Situated in the center of the archipelago, Santa Cruz is the 2nd largest island after Isabela. Its capital is Puerto Ayora, the most populated urban center in the islands. On Santa Cruz there are some small villages, whose inhabitants work in agriculture and raising cattle. This island is a large dormant volcano. It is estimated that the last eruptions occurred around a million and a half years ago. As a testimony to its volcanic history there are two big holes formed by the collapse of a magma chamber: Los Gemelos, or “The Twins.” Named after the Holy Cross, its English name (Indefatigable) was given after a British vessel HMS Indefatigable. Santa Cruz hosts the largest human population in the archipelago at the town of Puerto Ayora.
    Links: Top Ten Ecuadoran Attractions, Top Ten Lizards, Top Ten Volcanoes,,
  12. Santorini, Greece
           Santorini, officially Thira, is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast from Greece’s mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 square km (28 square mi) and a 2001 census population of 13,670. The municipality of Santorini comprises the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 square km (34.990 square mi). Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit. Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic explosion that destroyed the earliest settlements, on a formerly single island and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft.) high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. On the 4th side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon is connected to the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest. The caldera being 400 m deep makes it impossible for all but the largest ships to anchor anywhere in the protected bay; there is, however, a newly built marina in Vlychada on the southwestern coast. The principal port is called Athinias. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. The volcanic rocks present from the prior eruptions feature olivine and have a notably small presence of hornblende. It is the most active volcanic center in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, though what remains today is chiefly a water-filled caldera. The volcanic arc is approximately 500 km (310 mi) long and 20 to 40 km (12 to 25 mi) wide. The region first became volcanically active around 3–4 million years ago, though volcanism on Thera began around 2 million years ago with the extrusion of dacitic lava from vents around the Akrotiri. The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of feet deep.
    Links: Top Ten Greek Attractions, Top Ten Greek Artifacts, Top 100 Houses, Top Ten Minoan Artifacts,,
  13. Sardinia, Italy
           Sardinia is the 2nd largest island in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily. It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands. The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun sard, Romanized as sardus (feminine sarda); that the name had a religious connotation is suggested from its use also as the adjective for the ancient Sardinian mythological hero-god Sardus Pater “Sardinian Father,” as well as being the stem of the adjective “sardonic.” Sardinia was called Ichnusa (the Latinized form of the Greek Hyknousa), Sandalion, Sardinia and Sardo by the ancient Greeks and the Romans.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Top Ten European Islands,
  14. Musha Cay, Bahamas
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           Musha Cay is a 150 acre (1/4 of a sq. mile), privately owned island in the Exuma Chain, in the southern Bahamas. It is located 85 miles southeast of Nassau. It is owned by illusionist David Copperfield. Musha Cay is surrounded by three smaller islands that maintain its guests’ privacy. There can only be one group of guests, numbering up to 24, at any one time. Google co-founder Sergey Brin was married on Musha Cay in May 2007.
    Links: Top Ten Bahamas Attractions, Top Ten Magicians,,
  15. Mustique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

           Mustique is a small private island in the West Indies. The island is one of a group of islands called the Grenadines, most of which form part of the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The island covers 1,400 acres (5.7 square km or 2.2 square mi) and it has several coral reefs. The land fauna includes tortoises, herons and many other species. Its year-round population of about 500 mostly live in the villages of Lovell, Britannia Bay and Dover. The island of Mustique is owned by the Mustique Company, which in turn is owned by the island’s home owners. The island has approximately 100 private villas, many of which are rented out through the Mustique Company. In addition there is one hotel called the Cotton House, owned by the Mustique Company, and one privately-owned four bedroom hotel called Firefly, which is owned by Stan and Liz Clayton. The island is located in the Grenadines Parish administrative area of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
    Links: Top Ten St. Vincent and the Grenadines Attractions,,
  16. La Réunion, France
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           La Réunion is an island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about 200 km (120 mi) south west of Mauritius, the nearest island. Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas départements of France. Like the other overseas departments, Réunion is also one of the 27 regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the Republic with the same status as those situated on the European mainland. Réunion is an outermost region of the European Union and, as an overseas department of France, is part of the Eurozone.
    Links: Top Ten French Attractions, African Attractions, Top Ten Volcanoes,,
  17. Mauritius
           Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 km (560 mi) east of Madagascar. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the Republic includes the islands of Cargados Carajos, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands. Mauritius Island is part of the Mascarene Islands, with the French island of Réunion 200 km (120 mi) to the southwest and the island of Rodrigues 570 km (350 mi) to the northeast. The area of Mauritius is 2040 square km; its capital city is Port Louis. England took control of the islands from France during the Napoleonic Wars, and Mauritius became independent from the UK in 1968. Mauritius has an upper middle income economy. The main languages spoken in Mauritius are Mauritian Creole, French and English. English is the only official language but the lingua franca is Mauritian Creole and the newspapers and television programs are usually in French. Asian languages also form part of the linguistic mosaic. The country’s populace is composed of several ethnicities, including Indian, African, Chinese and French. The first European explorers found no indigenous people living on the island. The island of Mauritius was the only known home of the dodo. This bird was an easy prey to settlers due to its weight and inability to fly, and became extinct fewer than eighty years after the initial European colonization.
    Links: Top Ten Mauritius Attractions, Top Ten Birds, Top Ten Extinct Animals,,
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