Islands Under the Radar

Looking for your own private paradise? You probably haven’t heard of these islands, but trust us, you’ll want these “secret islands” all to yourself. Just don’t bring a crowd, please.
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Photo By: Jadvinia, Wikimedia Commons

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While the Republic of Palau is picturesque, it’s what’s underwater that makes this island so special. This group of Micronesian islands, also known as “The Black Islands,” has crystal-clear water and diverse marine life, making it one of the best scuba-diving spots in the world. 


Located in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Zealand, the "Rock of Polynesia" is an adventure lover’s paradise. While there aren’t any sandy beaches to lounge on, there are plenty of caves to explore on land and in the water.

Skopelos, Greece

Want to escape the touristy Greek isles of Santorini and Mykonos? Head east of mainland Greece to the island of Skopelos. Often referred to as the greenest island in the Aegean Sea, this lush Mediterranean oasis is less commercialized than some of the more popular Greek isles. It also served as a filming location of Mamma Mia.

Favignana, Italy

This butterfly-shaped island off the west coast of Sicily is home to a rocky coastline and crystal-clear water. Those who’ve discovered the island’s charms often enjoy tuna fishing, snorkeling and diving, as well as the chance to feast on the island’s traditional seafood dishes.

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

This little-known island has some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Brazil. With warm, clear water and abundant marine life, diving here is an outdoor lover’s dream.

Pumpkin Island

Known from 2012-2015 as XXXX Island, this 15-acre patch of land off the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef was purchased by the XXXX Brewery and temporarily marketed as a "bloke’s island." It was turned into one big man cave complete with, what else, unlimited beer. Now, however, the island has been restored to a relaxation destination targeted toward couples and families.

Lofoten Island, Norway

Majestic fjords make this archipelago off Norway a Scandinavian gem. This group of islands, home to charming fishing villages, lies above the Artic Circle (on the same latitude as northern Siberia and northern Alaska), but has a much milder climate due to Gulf Stream currents. Head here between May to early August for 24 hours of daylight.

Aran Islands, Ireland

When you think of Ireland, island hopping probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But off the western coast of Galway lie these beautiful rocky islands where you’ll find traditional customs still intact and the islanders still speaking Irish.

Socotra Island, Yemen

Roughly 250 miles off the coast of Yemen, this magical group of islands has an other-planet vibe with bizarre-looking, rare plant species. Intrepid travelers who make it here will be rewarded with pristine beaches alongside landscapes of sandstone and limestone.

Vis, Croatia

A small island in the Adriatic Sea, Vis is an unspoiled paradise located off Croatia’s coast. Until 1989, it was still part of Yugoslavia and closed to tourists. Now it’s a dream destination for those seeking a remote romantic getaway or an off-the-beaten path adventure.

Monhegan Island, Maine

This small, rocky patch of land off the coast of Maine totals a mere 1 square mile of unspoiled natural beauty. Monhegan is mostly known for its artist colony that sprung up here in the mid-1800s. The island is only accessible by boat, and there are no cars or paved roads here. 

Isla Robinson Crusoe, Chile

Where’s the most famous deserted island in the world? Four hundred miles off the coast of Chile sits the real-life island that inspired the story of the shipwrecked sailor Robinson Crusoe. Now the isle’s population is about 500 and mostly clustered in the island's only village, San Juan Bautista.

Koh Surin Nua, Thailand

Looking for an island getaway in Thailand -- that’s not trampled by tourists? Consider this pristine island in Thailand's Mu Koh Surin National Park. You won't find high-end hotels or crowds here -- just small bungalows and camping under the stars.

Andaman Islands, India

This group of more than 200 islands in the Bay of Bengal belongs to India but is geographically closer to Thailand and Myanmar. Powder-white, uncrowded beaches, lush forests and exotic marine life make travel to these remote islands worth the trip.

Rabbit Island, Cambodia

A 30-minute boat trip will take you from Cambodia's coastal city Kep to Rabbit Island. Just a little over 1 square mile in area, this tiny gem in the Gulf of Thailand has 2 unspoiled beaches ideal for swimming and getting away from the chaos of mainland Cambodia.

Flatey, Iceland

In the Westfjords of Iceland, dubbed “the most famous unknown place in Iceland,” lies this mostly uninhabited island. With charming houses dating back to the 19th century, this island is brimming with history. Visit in the summer for a quiet spot to experience Iceland’s midnight sun.

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