It’s hard to imagine that this archipelago of idyllic islands off the East African coast was formed millennia ago by undersea volcanoes and the separation of India from Africa. Today, the Seychelles is home to world-class resorts in settings of startling natural beauty. Spend your mornings looking for Aldabra tortoises on the beach and walking the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park, then get pampered in one of these luxury resorts in the Seychelles in the afternoon – all bookable with Culture Trip.
Switch off from the daily grind of everyday life and lose yourself in this tiny jewel in the heart of the Indian Ocean. You’ll find no signal for your mobile phone when you arrive, no in-room internet, no cable television. What you will find is a sea turtle sanctuary, some of the rarest birds on earth and century-old tortoises roaming one of the most secluded islands in the world. Relax in one of the 22 stand-alone cottages or villages dotted around the private island and shower under the stars in open-air bathrooms.
The deliciously idiosyncratic Bill Bensley-designed villas with shaggy fringes of thatch and shocking pink loungers give a special edge to this resort. Not that it needs one, given the location – a private peninsula on Mahé. One of the loveliest beaches on the island, Anse Louis, is at your feet, while forests, mountains and the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens are close at hand.
Resorts don’t come more exclusive than this, with just 10 villas set deep in the forest of Sainte Anne Marine Park on a tiny private island off Mahé. Each has a private pool, but you will be hard-pressed to leave the sensational white beaches and warm water – except perhaps to indulge in a body wrap and massage at the hilltop spa.
Play castaway on your own private island just off Mahé. Barely 1.5km (1mi) long and 1km (0.6mi) wide, Cerf Island is ringed by snow-white beaches, massive granite rocks and magnificent native Takamaka trees coloured with lichen. The villas, like the food, are a relaxed blend of Seychellois and traditional Creole style, with an international flair.
Even the beds are comfort-engineered at this five-star resort in the Seychelles. The rooms are spread out in tropical gardens around the biggest swimming pool in the country – below it, kilometres of pristine beach. If you can drag yourself from the water, Mahé is also home to mountains, botanical gardens, markets and art studios begging to be explored.
This is the sole resort on the jewel-like Silhouette Island. Hike the emerald rainforests, dive, snorkel and take in a sunset cruise, or just chill in your beachfront or garden villa (book one with a private plunge pool). Later, wander down for a seafood barbecue on the beach, bare feet in the still-warm sand.
Set between the forested peaks of Mahé and the sapphire sea, these contemporary villas celebrate their setting. Elegantly fashioned from local stone and wood, the beds are hung with wafts of white cotton. The back-to-nature theme is echoed in the private dining experiences on offer, including sushi on the beach or a picnic on the top of Mount Kempinski (really a rocky promontory overlooking the jungle to the sea beyond).
Here, you have the run of a private coral island fringed with palm trees, powdery sands and glittering aquamarine shallows. Beyond them, where the sea darkens suddenly to indigo, there’s a steep drop-off, where you can dive caves with vivid marine life, before retreating to a rustic but luxurious villa.
Part of what sets this boutique resort apart is the coral reef 50m (165ft) off the white sands of Beau Vallon Beach – the only beach on Mahé that’s swimmable all year. Snorkel the reef or catch the colourful fish action from a kayak. After a siesta in the cool of your canopied bed, explore the nearby Mahé capital, Victoria, home to hip galleries and shops.
Francesca Paul contributed additional reporting to this article.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
If you’re after even more tranquility in the Seychelles, check out the best hotels on the island of La Digue, as well as this guide to the best luxury hotels in the Seychelles, bookable with Culture Trip.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.