Closer takes a look at some of the most isolated and intriguing islands that can be reached on a Fred. Olsen cruise.
1. Faial, Azores
Often called ‘the blue island’ for its spectacular summer eruption of blue hydrangeas, this picturesque Portuguese outpost is one of nine islands comprising the central group of the verdant Azores. Colourful yachts adorn the bustling harbour in Horta, the island’s only settlement, while a tour to the Capelinhos Volcano will showcase Faial’s geological splendour and dramatic vistas.
2. Ascension Island
A secluded, sub-tropical British island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, Ascension is best known for its striking golden-sand beaches and the beautiful Green Mountain National Park. Though it’s also famed for Green Turtles. Every year, thousands of these endangered marine mammals flock to the island to lay their eggs, heaving their great bulk up the same beaches on which they themselves were born. There are excellent opportunities to witness these lovable and endangered creatures as they make their annual pilgrimage of procreation.
3. Spitsbergen, Svalbard
With its stark but beautiful landscape of glaciers, fjords and snow-capped mountains, isolated Spitsbergen – the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago – offers spectacular scenery on an epic scale. The capital, Longyearbyen, also happens to be the world’s northernmost town. For wildlife enthusiasts, there’s a rare opportunity to see reindeer, Arctic foxes and walruses. And during the summer months you’ll benefit from a long and magical exposure to the Midnight Sun.
4. Mystery Island, Vanuatu
Offering visitors an alluring blend of nature and tranquillity, this tiny uninhabited islet is a deserted tropical paradise. Once a landing strip that was used by allied forces in World War II, the island is now only host to cruise ship passengers and neighbouring natives who travel to the island to sell handicrafts and tours. Evident in the surrounding crystal-clear waters and pristine, white-sand beaches, this idyllic island has managed to retain its unspoilt beauty. Glass-bottom boats, canoes and snorkelling tours provide ideal ways to view the abundance of colourful marine life and coral reefs hidden below the peaceful waters.
5. Mozambique Island, Mozambique
Lying just off the mainland, Mozambique Island is a serene and exquisite piece of heaven in the Indian Ocean. In addition to untouched beaches this small, UNESCO-listed destination is steeped in history – and at only three kilometres long is perfectly suited to exploring on foot. A sense of authentic beauty has remained constant through time, and can be yours to discover during a rewarding stroll. There’s unique architecture that’s sure to catch your eye, such as the Chapel of Nossa Senhora, which is said to be the oldest European building in the Southern Hemisphere.