The Seychelles lie just four degrees south of the equator but several hundred miles from anywhere else. In total there are 115 islands scattered across this section of the Indian Ocean. Some are simply low-lying coral atolls or reef islands whilst 40 or so are mid-ocean granite islands with soaring peaks at their centre.
Dreamlike and picture-perfect, the islands, which have excellent ecotourist credentials, are ideal for people looking to really relax, or for honeymooners looking to celebrate. Yet there are also affordable, equally attractive ways to visit.
The main island, Mahe is home to the capital, airport and most of the population. Protected by coral reefs, it has 70 sand beaches, lush vegetation, forested peaks up to 1,000m high and coconut plantations to explore. Head into the Morne Seychellois National Park to see rare endemic plants and take scenic strolls.
Mahe also acts as the cultural and economic heart of the country, along with the islands of Praslin and La Digue, both of which boast extraordinary beaches and some outstanding swimming and diving spots as well as stylish places to stay and high-quality restaurants. Walk through the forested Vallee de Mai on Praslin to find the exotic, erotic nut of the coco de mer palm or simply indulge in the laidback charms of La Digue.
Aldabra is the world's largest atoll and home to 150,000 giant land tortoises, which can only be found here and on the Galapagos Islands. Wildlife enthusiasts should also travel to Cousin Island, which is run as a nature reserve and home to a number of rare endemic species as well as huge flocks of migrating birds.