But not all islands are created the same. The beauty of some is defined more by the sea that surrounds them, which can captivate connoisseurs with its crystalline clarity and thriving coral kingdoms.
Other islands feature luxuriant jungles and velvety peaks, and some enchant travelers with their cultural jewels. Whether it's sublime beaches, stunning topography, or exotic cultures you seek, these islands lie far from the workaday clamor but close to creature comforts.
The Maldives are home to some of the world's most ravishing islands, but it's the sea, which truly makes these islands shine. Luminous aquamarine waters with a crystal clarity lap upon these dazzling white shores, which barely peek above the Indian Ocean.
Slivers of gleaming white-sand beaches fringed with rustling palms rim many of these jungle-clad islands, while under the water, coral reefs teem with an impressive diversity of tropical fish, offering some of the best diving in the world.
Other attractions include the islands' unique wildlife, emerald lakes, and quaint fishing villages. Coron is home to plush resorts, and El Nido drips with natural beauty and is one of the most alluring islands in the chain. From here, you can island hop around the spectacular Bacuit archipelago.
Pristine and picture-perfect, the Seychelles are worth traveling for. East of Kenya, this relatively unspoiled archipelago of 115 coral and granite islands is packed with attractions, from UNESCO-listed jungles and thriving coral reefs to palm-lined, powdery beaches flanked by giant boulders.
If you've ever dreamed of being a castaway in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands are for you. Strung between French Polynesia and Samoa but with strong ties to New Zealand, the archipelago's 15 islands are among the underrated jewels of the South Pacific.
Rarotonga is the main tourist hub, with its many resorts, lush peaks, and plentiful beaches. Aitutaki is one of the most beautiful islands in the South Pacific. Hibiscus-laced villages snuggle on the hillsides, and 21 motus or small islets lie along its heavenly lagoon, many within kayak distance of the resorts.
Diving, snorkeling, fishing, and, in some areas, surfing are all popular things to do in Fiji, but sprawling under a palm tree and slipping into the silky warm seas can be equally rewarding. With more than 300 islands, it's easy to find the best island for your vacation, from luxurious celebrity hideaways and family-friendly resorts to the sublime Yasawa and Mamanuca group.
Beneath its cobalt-blue seas, turtles and tropical fish swim along coral reefs, delighting divers and snorkelers from around the globe. Compared to its popular sister islands, Maui and Oahu, Kaua'i exudes a low-key vibe and tends to move at a more relaxed pace.
Koh Samui's sister islands, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, are also worth a visit. In fact, day trips to these idyllic islands are one of the top things to do during a visit to Koh Samui. Other popular places to visit include the beautiful boulder-strewn Chaweng and Lamai beaches, the shops and food stalls of Fisherman's Village, and majestic Buddhist temples.
St. Lucia exudes a dark and brooding beauty. Unlike other islands in the Caribbean, its best assets are not necessarily its beaches, though with their golden sands and graceful palms, they are popular with those who visit. Rather, the island itself is drenched in topographic drama. The towering Pitons, twin volcanic peaks, preside over the luxuriant landscapes, rising more than 700 meters from the sea, and providing a breathtaking backdrop to the stunning scenery.
Ko Phi Phi Don is the only inhabited island and offers day trips to the surrounding islands. Other popular activities include swimming, snorkeling, and superb diving. Don't miss Monkey Beach, famous for its cheeky namesake residents.
Sprinkled along the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands are Australia's version of the classic tropical island fantasy. These 74 lush islands are the peaks of drowned hills rising above the strikingly blue Coral Sea.
Sailing is one of the popular things to do in the Whitsundays, and diving is excellent along the fish-rich coral reefs. This is an extremely fragile ecosystem protected by six national parks, and you can explore some of the islands on hiking trails.
With 700 islands and more than 2,000 tiny cayes, it's easy to find your dream Caribbean hideaway in The Bahamas. The top attractions of these stunningly beautiful islands range from idyllic beaches and thriving coral reefs to fantastic shopping and dining.
Not all beautiful islands are tropical. Norway's Lofoten Islands, in the Arctic Circle, are a case in point. Jagged peaks and sheer rock walls soar above mirror-like fjords. Secluded beaches tuck beneath towering sea cliffs, and bright red fishermen's cabins complete the picturesque scene.
Winter is equally beautiful, when a dusting of snow imbues these jaw-dropping vistas with a fairy-tale charm. But despite its location in the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten Islands are not as cold as you might expect. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, the islands offer relatively mild winters and warmer summers than other destinations at this latitude.
Samoa is a poster child for South Pacific beauty. Volcanic uprisings crafted much of this island's dramatic topography: jungle-clad peaks plunge to the Pacific, and rugged rock islands rise from the sapphire sea.
Samoa is actually an archipelago of 10 tropical islands about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. You're in the heart of Polynesia here, and the big hearts of the locals are a big part of the islands' appeal.
Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was.Read More
Imagine that moment, being in that perfect spot as the sun rises, and everything comes into focus. A rocky shoreline suddenly reflects the world around you. Waiting for you among the water, land, forests, and history is that moment. How will the islands inspire you?
Heat islands are usually measured by the temperature difference between cities relative to the surrounding areas. Temperature can also vary inside a city. Some areas are hotter than others due to the uneven distribution of heat-absorbing buildings and pavements, while other spaces remain cooler as a result of trees and greenery. These temperature differences constitute intra-urban heat islands. In the heat island effect diagram, urban parks, ponds, and residential areas are cooler than downtown areas.
In general, temperatures are different at the surface of the earth and in the atmospheric air, higher above the city. For this reason, there are two types of heat islands: surface heat islands and atmospheric heat islands. These differ in the ways they are formed, the techniques used to identify and measure them, their impacts, and to some degree the methods available to cool them.
An island or isle is a piece of subcontinental land completely surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or a lake island may be called an eyot or ait, and a small island off the coast may be called a holm. Sedimentary islands in the Ganges Delta are called chars. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands, such as the Philippines, is referred to as an archipelago.
There is a widely accepted difference between islands and continents in terms of geology. Continents are often considered to be the largest landmass of a particular continental plate; this holds true for Australia, which sits on its own continental lithosphere and tectonic plate (the Australian Plate).
By contrast, islands are usually seen as being extensions of the oceanic crust (e.g. volcanic islands), or as belonging to a continental plate containing a larger landmass (continental islands); the latter is the case of Greenland, which sits on the North American Plate.
Continental islands are bodies of land that lie on the continental shelf of a continent. Examples are Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Sakhalin, Taiwan and Hainan off Asia; New Guinea, Tasmania, and Kangaroo Island off Australia; Great Britain, Ireland, and Sicily off Europe; Greenland, Newfoundland, Long Island, and Sable Island off North America; and Barbados, the Falkland Islands, and Trinidad off South America.
Oceanic islands are typically considered to be islands that do not sit on continental shelves. Other definitions limit the term to only refer to islands with no past geological connections to a continental landmass. The vast majority are volcanic in origin, such as Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. The few oceanic islands that are not volcanic are tectonic in origin and arise where plate movements have lifted up the ocean floor above the surface. Examples are the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean and Macquarie Island in the South Pacific Ocean.
One type of volcanic oceanic island is found in a volcanic island arc. These islands arise from volcanoes where the subduction of one plate under another is occurring. Examples are the Aleutian Islands, the Mariana Islands, and most of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean. The only examples in the Atlantic Ocean are some of the Lesser Antilles and the South Sandwich Islands.
Another type of volcanic oceanic island occurs where an oceanic rift reaches the surface. There are two examples: Iceland, which is the world's second-largest volcanic island, and Jan Mayen. Both islands are in the Atlantic Ocean.
A third type of volcanic oceanic island is formed over volcanic hotspots. A hotspot is more or less stationary relative to the moving tectonic plate above it, so a chain of islands results as the plate drifts. Over long periods of time, this type of island is eventually "drowned" by isostatic adjustment and eroded, becoming a seamount. Plate movement across a hot-spot produces a line of islands oriented in the direction of the plate movement. An example is the Hawaiian Islands, from Hawaii to Kure, which continue beneath the sea surface in a more northerly direction as the Emperor Seamounts. Another chain with similar orientation is the Tuamotu Archipelago; its older, northerly trend is the Line Islands. The southernmost chain is the Austral Islands, with its northerly trending part the atolls in the nation of Tuvalu. Tristan da Cunha is an example of a hotspot volcano in the Atlantic Ocean. Another hotspot in the Atlantic is the island of Surtsey, which was formed in 1963. 041b061a72