Beach panorama

Welcome to the enchanting world of island holidays, where sun-kissed shores, turquoise waters, and vibrant cultures beckon you to explore. Whether you’re seeking a quick getaway or a far-flung adventure in paradise, islands offer a diverse range of experiences to suit every traveller’s taste. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll whisk you away to some of the most captivating island destinations, tailored to your preferred travel time. Get ready to indulge in the allure of short-haul, medium-haul, and long-haul island holiday destinations that promise unforgettable memories.

Where to Go

Travel to islandWe have broken the following sections into short, medium and long-haul flights as it is important to know how far away the destination is. Not only do longer flights generally cost more money but when travelling a long way, you are going to want to stay longer to make it worth your while. Considering the high potential for jetlag, flying 10 hours for a long weekend break would not be many people’s idea of a good trip!

Note that the approximate flight times are given as a general guide. They may be a little quicker or slower depending on which UK airport you are departing from due to the increased/decreased journey length. Also, be aware that many airports do not serve these locations year-round due to decreased demand.

Short Haul (Max 4 Hour Flight Time)

There is no fixed definition for a short-haul flight but many draw the line at a maximum of four hours. The below destinations include those that are accessible in under four hours directly from at least one UK airport.

Azores, Portugal

  • Travel Time – Direct flights from the UK in approximately 4 hours
  • Direct Flights From – London Gatwick & London Stanstead
  • Currency – Euro
  • Population – 250,000
  • Airports – The Azores had three international airports but the only one served by Gatwick and Stanstead is Joao Paulo II located in Ponta Delgada. If you want to get to another Azores island, or not fly from London, transferring at Lisbon is your best bet.
  • Overview – The Azores, a secluded archipelago in the North Atlantic, offer a unique blend of volcanic landscapes and tranquillity. With thermal springs, verdant hills, and charming villages, this short-haul destination promises an off-the-beaten-path adventure. Discover the natural beauty and authentic culture of the Azores on this immersive island escape.

Crete, Greece

  • Travel Time – Direct flights from the UK in approximately 4 hours
  • Direct Flights From – 15+ UK airports
  • Currency – Euro
  • Population – 650,000
  • Airports – Crete has two airports with direct links to the UK: Chania situated in the west of the island and Heraklion in the centre. Due to Chania’s smaller size, fewer flights go there but it does not suffer from the same overcrowding problems you can witness at Heraklion during peak times.
  • Overview – Crete, the birthplace of mythology, invites you to explore ancient ruins, beautiful beaches, and vibrant markets. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Greek history while savouring delectable cuisine and warm hospitality. With its varied landscapes and cultural treasures, Crete is a (borderline) short-haul destination that promises an unforgettable journey.

Ibiza, Spain

  • Travel Time – Direct flights from the UK in approximately 2.5 hours
  • Direct Flights From – 12+ UK airports
  • Currency – Euro
  • Population – 50,000
  • Airports – Ibiza’s sole airport sits at the bottom of the island and is just seven kilometres from the Island’s capital (Ibiza Town).
  • Overview – Famed for its electrifying nightlife, Ibiza also unveils serene beaches and a bohemian atmosphere. With crystal-clear waters and vibrant sunsets, this short-haul haven seamlessly balances excitement and relaxation. Explore historic sites, enjoy the local cuisine, or simply unwind on the captivating beaches of the White Isle.


  • Travel Time – Direct flights from the UK in approximately 3.5 hours
  • Direct Flights From – 12+ UK airports
  • Currency – Euro
  • Population – 535,000
  • Airports – Malta has only one international airport (Malta International Airport) located beside the small town of Luqa.
  • Overview – This Mediterranean jewel is steeped in history and welcomes visitors with its ancient architecture, clear waters, and a unique fusion of cultures. Explore the narrow streets of Valletta, uncover prehistoric temples, and unwind on the pristine beaches of Gozo. With its diverse offerings, Malta is both an excellent and highly convenient option for any UK tourist.

Palma de Majorca, Spain

  • Travel Time – Direct flights from the UK in approximately 2.5 hours
  • Direct Flights From – 18+ UK airports
  • Currency – Euro
  • Population – 425,000
  • Airports – Majorca’s only airport is Palma de Mallorca Airport, located 8km east of Palma.
  • Overview – Palma, the capital of Majorca, beckons with its historic charm and Mediterranean allure. Explore the stunning Gothic cathedral, stroll along the vibrant waterfront, and indulge in the island’s rich culinary scene. With its short flight time, Palma is the perfect short-haul escape for culture and relaxation.

Medium Haul (4-7 Hour Flight Time)

These medium-haul flights will take you to the very edges of Europe or further afield. Given the additional travel time and cost of the flight, you will usually want a minimum of a week’s break for such trips.

Cape Verde

  • Travel Time – Direct flights from the UK in approximately 6 hours.
  • Direct Flights From – Flights from 6+ UK airports including Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham.
  • Currency – Cape Verdean Escudo
  • Population – 550,000
  • Airports – Cape Verde consists of 10 islands, seven of which have an operational airport. Three (Boa Vista, Sal and Santiago) have an international airport and the UK has direct routes serving the first two. Both Boa Vista and Sal are major tourist destinations while Santiago (Praia airport) offers a more authentic ‘local’ Cape Verde experience. For flights here, the easiest place to transfer is Lisbon.
  • Overview – Off the coast of West Africa, Cape Verde emerges as a vibrant destination with colourful markets, music festivals, and pristine beaches. Discover the unique blend of African and Portuguese influences in this Atlantic archipelago. With its warm hospitality and diverse landscapes, Cape Verde provides an escape that captivates the senses.


  • Travel Time – Direct flights from the UK in approximately 5 hours
  • Direct Flights From – 15+ UK airports
  • Currency – Euro
  • Population – 1.25m
  • Airports – There are two options when flying to Cyprus, either Paphos or Larnaca. There are many direct flights to each and which one you choose will largely depend on which part of the island nation you want to stay. For west coast stays, pick Paphos, and for anything central/east, pick Larnaca. The third airport on the island, Nicosia, only has routes to Turkey.
  • Overview – Cyprus, an island of contrasts, offers a journey through time with its rich cultural heritage and archaeological treasures. Its golden beaches to mountainous landscapes usually attract at least four million tourists per year, and how could so many people be wrong?! Explore ancient ruins, savour traditional Cypriot cuisine, and relax in the welcoming atmosphere of this Mediterranean gem.

Rhodes, Greece

  • Travel Time – Direct flights from the UK in approximately 4.5 hours
  • Direct Flights From – 15+ UK airports
  • Currency – Euro
  • Population – 125,000
  • Airports – Rhodes has the one international airport situated in the north of the island, 16km from the city of Rhodes.
  • Overview – This captivating jewel in the Aegean Sea blends history with vibrant local life. Its UNESCO-listed Old Town invites exploration through medieval streets and ancient sites, including the majestic Palace of the Grand Master. Pristine beaches, such as Faliraki and Lindos, grace the eastern coast, complemented by natural wonders like the Valley of the Butterflies.

Tenerife, Spain

  • Travel Time – Direct flights from the UK in approximately 4.5 hours
  • Direct Flights From – 12+ UK airports
  • Currency – Euro
  • Population – 900,000
  • Airports – Tenerife has two international airports: Tenerife South Airport (TFS) and Tenerife North Airport (TFN), but all UK routes go directly for the former. The two are only located a 45-minute drive apart so it is not worth taking an extra flight should you want to spend time in the north.
  • Overview – The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife, invites you to explore its fascinating landscapes including volcanic peaks and golden beaches. With a mild climate year-round, this destination offers a perfect blend of outdoor adventures, vibrant nightlife, and relaxing beach escapes. For those seeking a bit of fun, Tenerife is also home to arguably Europe’s largest and arguably best waterpark, Siam Park.

Long Haul (7+ Hour Flight Time)

Make sure you pack some in-flight entertainment if heading to any of these destinations as you will be travelling for some time, although of course, long-haul flights tend to be a lot less basic than the no-thrills short-haul options. So relax, pick your in-flight movie and maybe order yourself a nice glass of wine… or rum punch.


  • Travel Time – Direct flights from the UK in approximately 8-9 hours
  • Direct Flights From – London Heathrow
  • Currency – Barbadian Dollar (BBD)
  • Population – Approximatelyimately 280,000
  • Airports – The only public airport in Barbados is the Grantley Adams International Airport, situated on the south coast of the small Caribbean island.
  • Overview – There are lots of fantastic options in the Caribbean including Antigua, St Lucia and Jamaica but out of them we have picked Barbados. Arguably the shiniest of all the gems in the Caribbean, it lures visitors with its white-sand beaches, vibrant culture, and historic charm. From the UNESCO-listed capital of Bridgetown to the lively Oistins Fish Fry, Barbados promises a delightful blend of relaxation and exploration in the heart of the Caribbean.


  • Travel Time – In the region of 25-30 hours
  • Direct Flights From – None. If flying from Heathrow it is possible to do the journey with only one stop (San Francisco or Los Angeles) but otherwise, you will need to change twice.
  • Currency – US Dollar
  • Population – 1.4m
  • Airports – Fiji has two international airports, Nadi and Nausori. Nadi is the one you should always be looking at though as it deals with 97% of international tourists. Conveniently, it is based on the largest island of Fiji, this being Viti Levu.
  • Overview – Fiji, a South Pacific gem, entices guests with overwater bungalows, friendly locals, and vibrant marine life. Immerse yourself in the laid-back island culture and explore the diverse landscapes that make this far-flung destination a true paradise. With its warm hospitality and pristine beaches, Fiji promises a getaway like no other. The journey is incredibly long but if you can afford to stay long enough, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip that is worth all the travelling.

Hawaii, USA

  • Travel Time – Flights from the UK in approximately 18-20 hours depending on connections
  • Direct Flights From – None. You will need at least one transfer to get there. You can make one stop if heading to the likes of Los Angeles, Seattle or Vancouver.
  • Currency – US Dollar
  • Population – 1.4m
  • Airports – Hawaii consists of 137 islands and the most populated of these is the island of Oahu (also the third largest). Here you will find Honolulu International Airport which is by far and away the busiest airport in Hawaii and the easiest place to fly to/from.
  • Overview – Hawaii, a tropical paradise in the Pacific, invites you to discover its volcanic landscapes, vibrant Polynesian culture, and world-renowned beaches, many of which offer brilliant surfing and other watersport opportunities. Each island offers a unique blend of adventure and serenity in this captivating long-haul destination. From the lush landscapes of Kauai to the vibrant city life of Oahu, Hawaii promises a truly unforgettable escape.


  • Travel Time – Between 11 and 14 hours
  • Direct Flights From – The only direct route is between London Heathrow and Velana International. You can easily get there with just one change though, with most of these located in the Gulf States.
  • Currency – Maldivian Rufiyaa
  • Population – 520,000
  • Airports – The Maldives has many airports but the only one you need to be aware of is Velana International, based on Hulhule Island.
  • Overview – The Maldives, a tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean, beckons island lovers with overwater bungalows, coral reefs, and pristine beaches. It is a haven for watersport enthusiasts, offering unparalleled diving and snorkelling experiences in crystal-clear turquoise waters. The place also offers appeal for anyone seeking a romantic getaway thanks to its tranquil surroundings and superb hospitality options and it has long been a popular honeymoon destination.


  • Travel Time – Direct flights from the UK in approximately 12 hours
  • Direct Flights From – London Gatwick
  • Currency – Mauritian Rupee
  • Population – 1.3m
  • Airports – Mautirtius is served by one major airport which goes by the rather long name of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. It is based 48km southeast of the country’s capital, Port Louis.
  • Overview – Nestled in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius entices visitors with coral reefs, luxury resorts, and a melting pot of cultures. From watersport activities to cultural excursions, the East African nation promises a luxurious and immersive experience. Discover the breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture of this Indian Ocean paradise.

How Much Does an Island Holiday Cost?

Plane Island

Embarking on an island holiday can be a dream come true, but understanding the potential costs is crucial for planning. While prices can vary based on personal preferences and travel styles, here’s a rough idea to help you gauge the expenses for popular island destinations. Be mindful that flying during the school holidays, or otherwise peak teams, often comes at a sizeable premium.

Prices listed below are a general cost per adult, staying for one week (based on two adults sharing one room) in relatively standard accommodation. Estimates include flights, accommodation, meals, and a few activities. Keep in mind that luxury resorts, excursions and other add-ons can significantly impact the overall expense. As a very general rule, the shorter the flight distance, the cheaper the trip will be.

    • Europe (short-haul) – £400 to 900
    • Europe (medium-haul) – £700 to £1,000
    • Cape Verde – £800 to £1,200
    • Carribbean – £1,200 to £1,800
    • Mautiritus & Maldives – £1,500 to £2,000
    • Fiji – £1,800 to £2,400
    • Hawaii – £2,000 to £2,500

When To Go

Choosing the right time for your island getaway is crucial to ensure you experience the destination at its best. Unlike continental climates, islands often have distinct seasons influenced by their unique geographical locations. Let’s delve into some considerations when planning your escape to different island regions:


  • MediterraneanBest time to go – Usually any time between May and October.
  • Watch out for – Sadly, these days there is a risk of fires in some regions during the peak of summer. You will also want to avoid the winter due to the cooler temperatures and limited availability of activities due to the huge drop in demand.

Canary Islands

  • Canary IslandsBest time to go – There is not really a bad time to go, with the Canary Islands called the ‘Islands of Eternal Spring’. There are no particularly wet months and even the “winter” months are pleasant (certainly when compared to the UK!). Additionally, rarely do any of the islands suffer from the kinds of extreme heat that can make a trip unpleasant.
  • Watch out for – Fires and dust storms can happen occasionally but there is no time of year you need to avoid.

Cape Verde

  • Cape VerdeBest time to go – The best window for seeing Cape Verde is very large thanks to its consistent climate. Between November and June, average temperatures are pleasantly hot, without reaching scorching, plus there is the breeze from the ocean that just takes the edge off. During these months there is also very little rainfall, as the bulk falls between August and October.
  • Watch out for – Cape Verde is not especially prone to extreme weather so you just need to avoid the rainy months.


  • CaribbeanBest time to go – The peak tourist season in the Caribbean generally aligns with the dry season, which runs from December to April. During these months, you can expect sunny days, balmy temperatures, and calm seas. This is ideal for beach lovers and watersports enthusiasts.
  • Watch out for – Hurricane season, which officially lasts from June to November. While the risk varies by specific island and month, it’s wise to stay informed and purchase very good travel insurance during this period that covers cancellation and other possibilities in relation to hurricanes.

Indian Ocean

  • Indian OceanBest time to go – The Indian Ocean islands, such as the Maldives and Mauritius, boast a tropical climate with two main seasons. The dry season, from May to September, is often considered the best time to visit, offering pleasant temperatures and lower humidity.
  • Watch out for – Monsoon season, typically from November to March. This period may bring heavy rains and cyclones, impacting certain activities and travel plans.

Pacific Islands

  • Pacific IslandsBest time to go – The Pacific islands typically enjoy a warm and pleasant climate year-round. For Hawaii, the dry season from April to October is popular. In Fiji, May to October is the dry season with slightly cooler temperatures.
  • Watch out for – Hawaii does not rain torrentially but the period between November and March is considerably wetter than the rest of the year. Cyclone season in Fiji is from November to April, with a higher risk of tropical storms.

No matter where you decide to go, planning your island holiday around these considerations ensures a more enjoyable and hassle-free experience. Always check specific destination details, monitor weather forecasts, and be flexible (where possible) in case nature has its own plans. Whether you’re chasing the sun, exploring vibrant cultures, or seeking off-peak serenity, there’s an island paradise waiting for you at any time of the year.