Islands are usually presented as a perfect stretch of sand, where you can relax under a palm tree overlooking the carefree blue sea.
But not all islands look the same. Some have the advantage of a sea that attracts connoisseurs with its crystal clarity and thriving coral reefs.
Other islands have lush jungles and mountain peaks, while some enchant travellers with their cultural treasures. Whatever the attraction, all the islands are away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and offer a comfortable holiday amidst nature, or maybe you fancy an entire kingdom occupying an archipelago.
From the Seychelles to Santorini and from the Caribbean to Capri, find your own Shangri-la in this list of the world's most beautiful islands!
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
This magnificent volcanic island is shaped like a giant sombrero. The focal point and best asset of this tropical island is its enchanting bright turquoise-coloured lagoon. Fish, turtles, sharks and rays swim in the clear waters and tiny islets or motos are scattered around the lagoon.
The island is noted for its delicious French cuisine. The surrounding reefs are great for diving and snorkelling, and hiking trails wind through palm forests.
The ideal holiday here is to take refuge in a luxurious bungalow over the water and enjoy your bliss as you fall asleep to the gentle splash of the ocean.
The Seychelles should be visited at least once. Located east of Kenya, this relatively pristine archipelago of 115 coral and granite islands is packed with attractions, from UNESCO-listed jungles and vibrant coral reefs to palm-lined sandy beaches surrounded by giant boulders.
Almost half of the total land area of these equatorial islands is protected, and many islands lie within fish-rich marine reserves with excellent conditions for diving and snorkelling.
Seychelles also has some of the richest fishing grounds on the planet, making it a top destination for fishermen. Add spicy Creole cuisine and the luxury resorts of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue and the appeal of the Seychelles becomes evident.
If you've ever dreamed of a relaxing holiday in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands are for you. Situated between French Polynesia and Samoa, the 15 islands of the archipelago are some of the most beautiful islands in this part of the Pacific.
Highlights of the islands include attractive aquamarine lagoons, palm-fringed beaches and volcanic peaks and the locals are some of the friendliest in the South Pacific.
Rarotonga is a major tourist destination with numerous resorts, lush peaks and rich beaches. Aitutaki is one of the most beautiful islands in the South Pacific. Hibiscus villages dot the hillsides and there are 21 motos dotted along its paradise lagoon, accessible by kayak directly from the resort.
One of Australia's most popular tropical islands. White sandy beaches, translucent turquoise waters and abundant coral reefs can be found in abundance here. And the Fijians welcome visitors with warm, welcoming smiles.
Diving, snorkelling, fishing and, in some areas, surfing are popular activities in Fiji, but lounging under a palm tree and swimming in the silky warm sea are also great options. From the more than 300 islands, it's easy to choose the best one for your holiday, from the luxury hideaways of celebrities and family resorts to the upland group of Yasawa and Mamanuka Islands.
Fijians love young children, so it's a great place for families looking for a getaway.