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A picturesque beach in the Seychelles

Dreaming of a blissful break, in simply gorgeous surroundings? A holiday in the Indian Ocean could be the perfect choice. This part of the world is absolutely beautiful, a true tropical paradise with sparkling turquoise waters and exquisite white sand beaches fringed with gently swaying palm trees.

Whether you’re looking to unwind on a beach holiday or planning a special honeymoon getaway, there’s something for everyone here. But with a few islands to choose from, which Indian Ocean destination is right for you?

Read on for the lowdown on our favourite Indian Ocean beach holiday picks.

Where are the best Indian Ocean holiday destinations?

You can’t really go wrong with a holiday anywhere in the Indian Ocean. It’s a stunning collection of islands and archipelagos sitting between Africa, Asia and Australasia, surrounded by some of the bluest waters you’ve ever seen. Each island boasts its own unique and glorious natural wonders, but all share a hot, sunny tropical climate.

Below, we’ll run through a few of the most popular choices of Indian Ocean beach holidays, including Mauritius, the Maldives, the Seychelles and Reunion Island.

Mauritius

Mauritius is one of the top choices for honeymoons, and for very good reason. It’s ridiculously beautiful, with romantic sunsets and picture-perfect beaches.

It’s a year-round destination soaked in sunshine, known for world-class diving, lush forests, deep lagoons and wild waterfalls. Mauritius also has more than 100 beaches along its coastline, many bordered by coconut or palm trees.

This is a destination made for relaxation, with many luxury hotels, spa resorts and perfect beaches to choose from. Some of the most famous stretches of sand on Mauritius include Le Morne, Ile aux Cerfs and Flic-en-Flac. You can also go on dolphin and whale watching trips in Tamarin Bay, and go diving to the colourful coral reefs which surround the island.

Feeling more adventurous? Hike the trail to the famous Alexandra Falls, making your way through the Black River Gorges National Park.

The Maldives

Made up of over 1,000 islands, the Maldives archipelago is another popular spot for honeymooners. This is because of its postcard-perfect beaches, clear blue waters, luxurious resorts and mesmerising sunsets.

But it’s also a mecca for diving and snorkelling fans, thanks to its huge and diverse range of marine species. You can swim in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and see everything from rays and sea turtles to reef sharks, coral and colourful tropical fish. It really is an experience like no other.

The Maldives is a foodie’s paradise, with a string of amazing restaurants dotted among the islands and some of the freshest seafood imaginable.

Want to find out more about Maldivian culture and heritage? A great place to start is the capital of Malé, but there are also a number of other must-see attractions to visit. These include the peaceful gardens of Rasrani Bageecha (perfect for picnics), the Mulee Aage Palace and the Grand Friday Mosque made from pristine white marble. You might also want to take a trip to the ‘glowing’ beach of Vaadhoo Island, to see a phenomenon called bioluminescence where microscopic plankton emit light at certain times of the year.

The Seychelles

The Seychelles are among the oldest islands on the planet, and the Republic of the Seychelles is also the smallest country in Africa.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable beach break, this tropical paradise has it all. You can expect powder-soft sandy beaches so white you’ll need sunglasses, along with warm waters in almost every shade of blue. And while the Seychelles is a popular holiday destination, its beautiful beaches are hardly ever crowded.

The islands offer the perfect chance to try authentic Creole food, including delicious dishes like octopus curry, spicy street food and fresh-grilled fish.

As well as being a diver’s dream with diverse marine life and colourful corals, the Seychelles is home to rare wildlife including Aldabra giant tortoises and hawksbill tortoises. It also has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Vallee de Mai on Praslin Island and the Aldabra Atoll on the outer-island chain. So, there’s plenty to explore beyond the beaches.

Reunion Island

A lesser-known Seychelles destination compared to the others we’ve looked at so far, Reunion Island is something of a hidden gem. It’s a tiny French-governed island off the coast of East Africa, and it boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Indian Ocean region.

Reunion Island offers a mix of white and black sand beaches, some of which are as pretty as you’d find on neighbouring island Mauritius. But it’s a land of more dramatic scenery, home to active volcanoes, secret waterfalls and over 200 micro-climates. It’s the perfect spot for hikers and explorers, or simply beach-lovers looking for something a little quieter and more unusual.

There are plenty of interesting things to do on Reunion Island, whether it’s searching for secret coastal basins, strolling through botanical gardens, paragliding off the mountains or trekking through centuries-old tamarind tree forests.

Zanzibar

A jewel of the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar offers the perfect combination of white, soft sands, tall, leafy palm trees and shimmering azure waters. Located off the Tanzanian coast, Zanzibar is an archipelago of over 50 picturesque islands and islets.

Arguably one of the most beautiful beach destinations, Zanzibar is home to some of the world’s finest shores. Renowned for its balmy temperatures, it’s the ideal place to soak up the sunshine while you lounge away the hours, or adventure into the warm, clear waters for a leisurely swim or snorkel.

Each beach on this archipelago has its own personality. Matemwe offers ultimate chill vibes, enticing you in with its picture-perfect powdery sands, while Paje is known for its kitesurfing. Escape the crowds at Pongwe, or head to Jambiani for a taste of local island life.

Sri Lanka

The beautiful South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka offers a coastline like no other. Fringed with sun-kissed sandy stretches, this destination is a must for any holidaymaker’s travel bucket list.

With so many beautiful beaches to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. The most tourist-oriented part of the island, Sri Lanka’s west coast is where you’ll find the best beaches, including Kosgada. Here, you can witness the release of baby sea turtles during the hatching season between November and May.

Meanwhile, the south coast is one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful regions to visit, offering gorgeous beaches, verdant wildlife parks and unique colonial towns. The southern region is quintessentially rural, offering a slow, relaxed pace of life.

Need help planning your dream Indian Ocean holiday? Get in touch with our travel experts here at Away Holidays.

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Visit www.gov.uk/foriegn-travel-advice for latest destination travel advice from the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) including Covid19 travel advice, security and local laws, and passport and visa information.

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected.

If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. If you have booked a flight only where the ticket is not issued immediately, your flight will be protected under our ATOL. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to www.caa.co.uk/ATOLCertificate

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