Let’s face it: No matter how advanced and progressive society is right now, there comes a time in your life when you just want to get away from everything and go back to living close to nature – even for only a short time.
One great way to do this is to visit — or even live — in an island. Stumped for ideas? Here are the top three unforgettable ones you should include in your list:
Santorini was ranked ‘World’s Top Island for 2011” in Travel+Leisure Magazine and “The World’s Best Island” by BBC on the same year. Situated in the southern Aegean’s Cyclades islands, you can marvel at the caldera left by a volcanic eruption and the giant lagoons found in the island. Enjoy spectacular views of the lagoon, and don’t forget to take some historic trips to the ash-preserved town of ancient Akroti.
Santorini was named after Saint Irene, from the name of the old cathedral in the village of Perissa in the thirteenth century. It was once named Kalliste (the most beautiful one), Stongyle (the circular one) and Thera, with the latter revived in the present time and is now the official name of the island and its main city. However, the colloquial name, Santorini, is still used by a lot of people today.
The island is basically what was left of a volcanic explosion. Santorini experienced the largest volcanic eruption in history: the Minoan volcanic eruption. Many theorists believe that this is what Plato referred to in Plato’s dialogues as Atlantis.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Ecuador’s Galapagos is teeming with wildlife. Many tourists enjoy taking a stroll on land, while avid snorkelers, nature lovers, conservationists, biologists, and divers enjoy observing sea lions, sea turtles, iguanas, flamingos, finches, and other endemic species at Santiago’s Cousin’s Rock and Darwin Trail.
Galapagos is located in the eastern Pacific Ocean. It was the starting point of Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection, with many of his observations attributed to the many species that thrived in the island.
Many humans have introduced plants (guava, avocado, balsa, citrus, elephant grass, etc.) and animals (feral goats, cattle, dogs and cats) which have become a threat to the native plants and animals of Galapagos, although steps are being made to control their population.
Galapagos was short-listed as a candidate for the New7Wonders of Nature for the category of islands in 2009.
Madagascar Islands, Africa
Madagascar is like no place on earth — literally. Separated by a hundred kilometers of sea to Africa and 165 years of evolution, Madagascar has helped its plants and animals to evolve differently than anything in the world. Today, Madagascar is considered a biodiversity hotspot, with 90 percent of its wildlife found nowhere else on earth
Considered the fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar has lost more than 90 percent of its original forest due to human activity. Illegal logging, slash-and-burn activities, and coffee planting are some of the factors responsible for the degradation. Hunting and destroyed habitats are the common reasons why a lot of endemic species of Madagascar were driven to extinction. The elephant bird, which was considered the largest bird in the world, became extinct in the 17th century, and giant lemurs also vanished when human settlers arrived on the island. Lemurs are still considered an endangered species today, as many of them are increasingly hunted for food.
Visiting an island is one of the best ways you can enjoy nature and relaxation at its finest. So go ahead, relax, unwind, and don’t forget to have fun while doing it. These islands are the closest things you’ll ever get to understanding paradise.