It’s back: This island is world No.1 again

Sri Lanka has endured its fair share of hardships, but that hasn’t fazed travellers who have just voted it the world’s best island.

Sri Lanka has made great strides to recover from so many hardships, this most recent setback should not keep you away © Ffilipovich / Getty Images

It was named Lonely Planet’s top destination for 2019, but the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka saw the country’s booming tourism industry suffer tremendously. Now things are on the mend, with a new world No.1 ranking — and this time it’s voted by travellers. Sri Lanka has been named No.1 in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Islands a reader generated list based on activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness and value. Here are the top 5:


It may be only a smidge bigger than Tasmania, but what Sri Lanka lacks in size it makes up for in its variety of attractions. The coastline is home to several marine national parks making it every diver’s dream, while the island’s perfect waves and crowd-free waters lure its surfers. The inland is home to cascading hills of tea plantations and wild life parks, inhabited by elephants, monkeys and leopards. Sri Lanka’s flavourful cuisine continues to draw in the crowds, as does its luxurious accommodation offerings.


A true tropical paradise, Palawan, known as “the Last Frontier” is a must-see spot for every traveller. The archipelago feels predominantly untouched with its rich underwater tapestry, long empty beaches and lush jungle inland.


Rich in culture and cheap where it matters, the mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of paradise. Aside from Australian tourists, dramatic volcanoes, hillside temples, tea plantations and luxe beachside resorts dominate this enticing island.


Just north of Crete, you’ll find the picture-perfect Milos, an island of turquoise waters, incredible seafood and a history as intriguing as its landscape. The ancient Venus de Milo was discovered here in the spring of 1820, scattered in a section of rural land in six separate pieces, before it was transported to the Lourve in Paris.


Home to some of the best beaches in the world, each of the Maldives’ 1200 islands are as beautiful as the last. It is here that the waters are ideal for diving, the sands are whiter than powder and the waters as luminous as can be.

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