1. Go island hopping
With 115 islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles was made for island hopping. And, with marine parks, nature reserves and UNESCO World Heritage sites a mere boat ride apart, to only laze on these pristine white beaches would be nothing short of a travesty. The shores of Praslin are the ideal jumping-off point for your island-conquering adventure, with Curieuse, St Pierre and Cousin forming a perfect tropical trio nearby. Curieuse is the fifth largest of the Inner Seychelles islands, with granite rock beaches and iconic coco de mer palms leading onto lush mangrove forests and sparkling turquoise waters. From there, set sail for uninhabited St Pierre and incredible snorkelling, before dropping the anchor at Cousin Island to visit baby hawksbill turtles at a protected nesting site.
2. Take a hike to mountain peaks
The Morne Seychellois National Park on the island of Mahé is the perfect place to dust off those hiking boots and discover the archipelago’s natural beauty. Here you’ll find the Copolia Trail and what is probably the Seychelles’ most iconic trek. Follow the 45-minute signposted route through jellyfish trees and carnivorous pitcher plants under the gaze of miniature frogs and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views when you reach the 500m summit. For a more vigorous march through the verdure, try hiking to the top of the park’s Morne Seychellois, which teethers in the clouds at 905m. This route takes around five hours to complete and requires a certain amount of grit to hack through the tangled undergrowth.
3. Charter a luxury helicopter flight
The Seychelles regularly tops lists as one of the world’s most luxurious destinations for good reason. From its stunning villas and five-star resorts to gourmet picnics on private beaches, this island archipelago oozes opulence from every angle – including above. A helicopter ride is the ultimate sightseeing experience, with most tours passing over a variety of islands and coral reefs. Opt for a sunset excursion for maximum romance or take off on an extended 90-minute tour to see sharks, manta rays and giant turtles as they frolic in the cobalt waters below. Enjoying the high life? Extend your VIP experience at one of the island’s sumptuous spas from global names including Anantara, Six Senses and Kempinski.
4. Hit the beach
The Seychelles is a beach destination like no other, and in between mountain hikes and helicopter flights, there’s a good chance you’ll spend a hefty portion of your holiday flopping on sugar-fine sands – and you’d be mad not to. One of the most popular beaches is Anse Source D’Argent inside the grounds of L’Union Estate Park on La Digue, with palm-fringed shores and sea-smoothed granite forming the picture-perfect backdrop to your holiday snaps. Anse Lazio is another popular choice, often turning up on lists of the world’s most beautiful beaches. For something more remote take a stroll to Anse Major, a quieter spot on Mahé that is only accessible by foot.
5. Take the plunge on an ocean adventure
Beyond the powder white sands, the Seychelles’ brilliant blue seas are a playground for aquaphiles. Teeming with marine life and with crystal clear visibility, scuba diving and snorkelling are a staple of any island holiday itinerary, whether you’re a first-timer or a diving pro. Though possible all year round, the best visibility is from March to May and September to November when the wind drops and the waters are at their calmest. Head to Shark Bank off Mahé Island for sting rays, barracuda and stunning coral formations or the nearby Dredger Wreck for blue-striped snappers, scorpion fish and moray eels.
6. Go sightseeing in Victoria
Chances are you’ve come to the Seychelles for the shoreline, but once you’ve satisfied your sun, sea and sand quota, a wander around the archipelago’s capital city is not to be missed. The Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market is a hive of activity where local herbs and spices lie side by side with souvenirs, sarongs and salted fish. Culture-seekers, meanwhile, should make a beeline for the National Museum of History for a glimpse into the country’s Creole origins. To spend an afternoon in nature, The Botanical Gardens feature a spice grove, a patch of coco de mer palms and a creep of giant tortoises.
7. Tour a tea factory
Since tea was introduced to the Seychelles in the 1960s, locals have guzzled little else. Today, Mahé Island has its very own working tea factory around 3km north of Port Glaud, which has become a popular tourist attraction. Tours around the SeyTe factory last around 20 minutes, where you can see the entire process from traditional withering, rolling and fermentation to drying and packaging. Samples can be purchased from the onsite shop so you can take a taste of the Seychelles home with you. Keep our eyes peeled for the white-tailed tropicbirds that take flight nearby.
8. Visit giant tortoises
The Seychelles is home to the world’s biggest giant tortoise population, with over 100,000 of the animals residing on the mystical Aldabra Atoll. A Unesco-protected island 1,150km from Mahé, accessing the island is tricky, but there are plenty of other ways to meet the gentle giants without venturing off the beaten track. The Curieuse Marine National Park on Curieuse Island houses more than 200 Aldabra tortoises that live in a protected paradise. Another tortoise hotspot is the L’Union Estate Park, located at the southern end of La Digue, or Moyenne Island off the northeast coast of Mahé, where the reptiles roam freely.