You can feel fine white sand underneath your feet and the sun warming your upturned face. The sound of the turquoise blue waves rolling into shore hitting your ears as you take a refreshing sip from the freshly cut coconut balanced on your knees. This is paradise.
Thousands of kilometres off the coast of East Africa and with quite a steep price tag the Seychelles is a relatively quiet tourist destination. This makes it perfect for enjoying some of the world’s most stunning places with few around to disturb you. If you’ve only got a week (but really I wish we’d had longer) then don’t miss these 11 ways to have an unforgettable week in the Seychelles.
1. Island hop across the archipelago
The Seychelles archipelago is made up of over 150 different islands and whilst you might only fit a handful into a week you must definitely island hop between a few. Praslin & La Digue, the nation’s second and third largest islands are within easy reach of its main island, Mahé. Praslin is just under an hour ferry ride from Mahé and La Digue 15 minutes from Prsalin. We booked our tickets in advance with Cat Cocos. One week is enough time to get an overview of these biggest islands but consider extending your time if you want to explore them at a slower pace or if you want to add on some more islands.
Even between Mahé, La Digue & Praslin you get a sense of how different each individual island is that makes up the Seychelles as they vary in island vibe, look and wildlife. For a more relaxed way of life and to step back in time spend longer on sleepy La Digue. If you want to spend more time exploring dense jungles on the hunt for the elusive black parrot amongst exquisite flora and fauna then take your time to explore Praslin. If the hustle and bustle of Seychellois life and learning more about the history that has influenced these unique islands is what you’re after then hold tight with more time on Mahé where your international flight will arrive into.
2. Relax on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches
What makes beaches in the Seychelles so beautiful is hard to describe until you see them in real life. There are plenty of beaches across the world with golden soft sand and ice clear blue waters so I believe it is the rocky features alongside them that make them so unique. Huge granitic boulders weathered by time jut out into the ocean and the tangle of jungle tumbles down to meet the waters edge.
The most recognised Seychelles is beach is Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue because of its characteristic rock formations that extend out into the water creating a serious of smaller beach areas. We came at high tide making the beach considerably smaller and being one of the most popular spots across the islands it was very busy! This is one of the places that you can hire a clear bottomed kayak and where snorkelling is successful.
One of the world’s most beautiful beaches can be found on the north western edge of Praslin – Anse Lazio. The golden sweep of sand across the bay is fringed by long slender palms and flanked at either end by huge boulders. We arrived an hour before the sunset to enjoy the long evening rays of the sun casting a glow on the beach turning everything to gold.
On Praslin we stayed 20 steps away from the beach which meant I could wake up at sunrise to walk along the shore of its nearly 3km length with just the sound of the fishing boats chugging softly in the background. Being able to roll out of bed and onto this gorgeous beach was a perfect experience so make sure to book at least one place during your stay that beach life is this easy!
3. Catch a sunset every night
Seychelles sunsets turn the whole sky into their great expanse of canvas to paint a ripple of colour all the way from the heavens to the horizon that stretches out endlessly over the Indian Ocean. Settle down on a blanket with a cocktail and join everyone else waiting for the light show to start above their heads.
Every sunset we watched was completely different even when we watched some from the same spot. The cloud formations change and nature’s colour palette changes. Try and catch as many as you can over your week from different beaches or viewpoints.
My favourite sunset was from Anse Lazio on the island of Praslin. Lauded as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches we made a rock our seat and watched as the evening rays cast a golden glow on the palm fringed beach before sinking down towards the horizon and the sky turned pink. Seemingly ginormous fruit bats soared in as darkness descended, the sound of their wings beating together cutting through the crashing of the waves on the shore.
4. Discover an underwater world while snorkelling
The Seychelles must have some of the best snorkelling in the world with crystal clear turquoise waters and an abundance of protected underwater landscape filled with corals, fish and other sea creatures just waiting to be explored! If you’re very lucky you may get to glide alongside a hawksbill sea turtle 😍
As part of our day trip to Curieuse Island, we stopped off at St Pierre Islet on the way back to Praslin for an hour of snorkelling. I was nervous as I’d never tried it before but our guide was very helpful! As soon as I ducked under the water all fears disappeared as this whole new world swam beneath me. Multi coloured fish of brightly coloured shades, trumpet fish with long thin fronts and massive purple sea urchins clinging to the ocean floor! It’s left me longing to return to this underwater territory and also when I wished I had a water resistant camera!
5. Hire bikes to explore
On La Digue there is only one way to get around and that is by bike! There are very few motor vehicles on this island where time seems to have stopped a few decades ago. Hiring a bike is the best way to explore the island as whilst it’s small a bike will ensure you see as much of the island as possible if you’re not spending long here. Our B&B like many other B&Bs and hotels on the island had bikes for hire which had the very fetching (but practical) green baskets you can see above!
Cycle out to the East of La Digue to see the mighty crashing waves of Grand Anse and up round the North of the island where the road comes to an abrupt end looking out to dense tangled trees tripping down to the ocean front and the last stretches of glistening sand behind you.
6. Marvel at giant tortoises
The ancient inhabitants of Curieuse Island wander slowly (very (very) slowly) across the beach and gaze out at the ocean before them. Only one of two giant tortoise populations in the world, they are the main draw for visitors to Curieuse Island. These friendly beasts can live to over 100 years old and nothing can truly prepare you for the moment that you walk on to the beach on the island where hundreds of them are sunbathing, eating and ambling across the grass.
A selfie with a giant tortoise must be on everyone’s bucket list (if not then get it on there!) and you can easily make that a reality on Curieuse. The tortoises are motivated by food so if you’ve got some leaves and branches to feed them you’ll find yourself with a few of these gentle giants following you!
You can also see giant tortoises on La Digue at L’Union Estate Farm on the way to Anse Source d’Argent but I would recommend a trip to Curieuse as here the gentle giants roam far more freely.
7. Hike and work up a sweat
There are many different hikes you can complete on the different islands whether to get a wonderful viewpoint over an island or trekking along jungle paths in the Vallée de Mai. We undertook two shorter hikes during our week in the Seychelles. The first up to the Trois Frerès viewpoint to look out over Mahé. The second was on a daytrip to Cureieuse Island where we walked from Anse St Jose across to our lunchtime BBQ on another beach passing angry looking crabs along the way.
Make sure to research well any walks or hikes you plan to do as conditions are hot and humid and it might take longer to climb than you’re used to! Some trails may be exposed to the sun so always take plenty of sun cream and water!
8. Savor fresh fruit & Creole cuisine
Seychellois cuisine has many influences from the sea to the plants and spices that surround them. Grilled fish is common as is curry and they’re combined in the traditional dish octopus curry. Food flavours are smokey, salty, creamy and spicy. At Beau Vallon we feasted on street food combining a little of them all to taste. With over 20 varieties, bananas feature heavily in Seychellois food whether as crisps, an addition to a curry or as I devoured many of banana cake fritters. If I could have taken some home I would have…in fact maybe I’ll look for a recipe to make at home instead 🍌
Our Curieuse daytrip included a beach BBQ and I was nervous (but really should have expected!) to find that fish was on the menu along with Creole rice and chicken. I am not a seafood fan but decided that I would give the fish a try and wow was it the right thing to do. The kingfish had been freshly caught by our chef that morning and grilled to perfection. Full of smoky flavours and a melt in the mouth texture!
The Seychelles are a tropical paradise so it’s only right to try some of its juicy sweet produce – fruit from the supermarket never compares to having it fresh from the branches or from a market stall. As we tucked into our fruity breakfast at our accommodation on La Digue the sticky ripe juice ran down our fingers as the taste burst with flavour.
9. Swim in the Indian Ocean (even in the rain)
That crystal clear turquoise water is just inviting you to run straight into it…especially when the weather is hot and humid it’s the perfect way too cool off. The Indian Ocean waters that surround the Seychelles are what you imagine when you close your eyes and think of a tropical beach paradise so jump straight in!
Some of the beaches on the Seychelles are not safe for swimming due to powerful waves, undercurrents and ocean drops so make sure to do your research before choosing a beach to swim.
The best beach we visited for swimming was Beau Vallon on Mahé. The beach is nice and long and the waves aren’t too high making it much easier to keep yourself from going under the waves! If it rains then don’t let this put you off from swimming. With a tropical storm erupting on our arrival to Praslin I decided to head in for a dip anyway and with big warm raindrops bouncing down around me I smiled joyfully at the deserted beach around me.
10. Enjoy your drinks with a view
It’s important to stay hydrated in a country that’s as hot and as humid as the Seychelles and with so many stunning locations make sure to enjoy your drink with a view! On the more touristy beaches cool down with a refreshing freshly chopped coconut. I promise it tastes SO much better fresh from a coconut compared to what you might have had bottled from the supermarket!
At the food market along Beau Vallon on Mahé there are a number of cocktail stands to sip on the beach. Happy hour deals are perfect for watching the sunset. If you fancy a break from teh sun but keeping the same great view over the beach try a drink from La Plage restaurant instead.
On La Digue, there is an excellent juice bar called Bikini Bottom at Anse Severe that is perfectly placed to take a break from cycling round the island!
Top Tip: I would never have guessed that the Seychelles produces its own cider but in fact it does and I can highly recommend the delicious sweet crisp taste of Slow Turtle Cider so don’t forget to pick up a bottle to try!
11. Discover the capital city Victoria
The capital city of the Seychelles is on its busiest island but is one of the smallest capital cities in the world. We didn’t spend much time here but it is certainly worth a visit even to see the Victoria Clock Tower which looks suspiciously like Big Ben! Victoria is the self proclaimed ‘Creole capital of the world’ and hosts a 3 day carnival in April each year to celebrate.
Visit the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market to experience its colour and animation as well as to pick up last minute souvenirs and gifts from the craft stalls.
And for (more) proof that the Seychelles is stunning…