7 Secret Islands That’ll Make the Perfect Getaway
Part of what makes a vacation so great is choosing the right spot to spend your time. Knowing whether you’re looking for a major metro or a place with more relaxing vibes will help set the tone for your trip and make it easy to put together the ultimate itinerary. Since we love off-the-beaten-path destinations and uncovering local gems, we rounded up seven amazing islands that are still *mostly* under the radar. Keep reading, and then round up your best traveling companions. Adventure in unspoiled paradise awaits!
1. Martinique, Caribbean: Not far from its well-known neighbor, St. Lucia, Martinique is a Caribbean destination that offers the ultimate mix of activities, which range from shopping and sightseeing to fitness-based adventures like mountain biking or hiking. The island, which is part of France’s overseas region, has a unique vibe that beautifully blends French and West Indian influences with its narrow streets and a gorgeous seaside garden (La Savane) surrounded by cafes and shops. People also rave about the pristine white sand and luxe accommodations — so if you’ve been looking for a place to splurge or are planning your honeymoon, this could be a perfect pick.
2. Skopelos, Greece: We’d be surprised if you’ve heard of Skopelos, but you might’ve seen it before — Mamma Mia was filmed here. The little-known Greek island is a dreamy backdrop full of forests, orchards, and quiet beaches, all of which will make your jaw drop as the sight of them unfolds when your ferry approaches. Good food and Greek culture round out what sets this place apart. With three main ports, Skopelos is pretty accessible too; start your journey in Athens to get a history lesson before heading out for the ultra-relaxing portion of your Mediterranean getaway.
3. Flatey, Iceland: While most people flock to dip in the bright blue hot springs, photograph the colored houses in the capital, or see glaciers and Icelandic ponies IRL, you can branch out with a ferry trip to Flatey, a super-tranquil and mostly isolated island off Iceland’s northwestern shores. The largest island in a cluster of nearly 40, Flatey has just one road, a few brightly colored homes, and many migratory birds. Note that if you’d like to spend the night there’s also just one hotel open during the summer season; we’ve heard it has a charming, hometown feeling that makes it really special.
4. Pico, Portugal: Often called the Black Island or Ilha Preta for its impressive volcanic appearance (you’ll love looking at Ponta do Pico, the highest mountain in Portugal), this cool spot has historical, UNESCO-designated vineyards that helped aid its development. Though still relatively unknown compared to other cities, Pico is a great pick if you’re looking for an outdoorsy island adventure, with tons of walking, hiking, and bike trails, as well as horse or donkey rides. When the day is done, kick back to enjoy some local wine while watching a colorful sunset from a sailboat.
5. Ponza, Italy: This small island is considerably close to famous places like Ischia and Capri but far less known to tourists. Off the coast near Latina and just a few hours from both Naples and Rome, Ponza offers some of Italy’s most adored experiences without the foreign crowds and spiked prices. Enjoy your authentic Italian getaway like a local by swimming in warm, crystal-clear waters, sunbathing on umbrella-lined beaches, and treating yourself to an afternoon gelato between boat rides and long walks along the shore. La bella vita indeed!
6. Aran Islands, Ireland: We recently learned that glamping is a thing in Ireland too. To do it “Wild Atlantic style,” plan a trip to the Aran Islands, off the nation’s western coast. Inis Mór (Inishmore), the biggest island, boasts a center for glamping right on the mouth of the Galway Bay at Frenchman’s Beach. Known for its rugged landscape and cultural heritage, it’s a super-unique place to experience Ireland away from popular spots like Dublin, Galway, or Shannon. You’ll be able to scope medieval ruins and the “worm hole” (a rectangular natural pool) while perched atop your quiet cliff by the ocean.
7. Gili Trawangan, Indonesia: Remarkably, there’s no motorized traffic allowed on this zen-calm Indonesian island. Said to be something like Bali was before it blew up in popularity, Gili Trawangan still isn’t your typical tropical escape. You’ll find casual cool bars, delicious restaurants, and bohemian vibes. While the west coast has been developed more in recent years, you’ll find quiet on the super-tranquil north side of the island. Head inland to get a sense of local life — you’ll see children playing games like hopscotch, wild chicken crossing the streets, and bustling horse carts and bikes. Basically, there’s something here for *every* type of traveler.
(Photos via Getty)
Pocket doors are so delightful in and of themselves. They appear when you need them, get tucked away when you don't, and make it easy to define rooms while keeping an open floor plan. Add to the pocket door a joyful patterned wallpaper surprise, and you will be sent right into fits of visual jubilation! Or something ;) Today we're sharing two simple and impactful pocket door makeovers that zhuzh up your space in a jiffy.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and proud owner of several pocket doors! When I moved into my first real grown-up house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper so reached out to our friends at Chasing Paper to see how we might collaborate. It felt like a total lightbulb moment when I realized I could create a surprise pop of pattern on a couple sets of pocket doors.
Not only is it a whimsical way to bring color into a space, but the doors double as picture-perfect backdrops for all your SFH (selfies from home, obvs).
A few pro tips about install:
- Removable wallpaper is miraculously forgiving! You can take it on and off multiple times without it losing integrity (or mucking up your surface).
- I ordered this adhesive wallpaper installation kit with a squeegee and xacto knife and it worked super well. I also recommend a sharp pair of scissors for cutting longer lines.
- This is a two-person job! Get a friend, put on a playlist, and get ready to bond.
- Wild, organic patterns like Tally are great because it's challenging to spot any imperfections in pattern alignment; keep pattern choice in mind if you've got a lot of corners to match up. More geometric patterns and larger shapes leave less room for error (but are awesome in their own right!).
BATHROOM POCKET DOORS
In our primary bathroom, we chose the wallpaper pattern Tally, designed by Kelly Ventura, in White and Navy. In our space, the navy reads as a soft black, which is perfect for the space. It's easy to combine an ever-rotating collection of linens with the Tally pattern.
I love how the white trim becomes the perfect frame around this pocket door piece of art.
My favorite moment in this space is the fact that you actually get a third pop of pattern thanks to our serendipitously placed mirror!
And yes, this one works pretty darn well as a backdrop too ;)
LIVING ROOM DOUBLE DOORS
This set of doors is definitely a focal point of our home. It separates our living room from our primary bedroom which opens onto our backyard. The doors are pretty much always open, but when they're closed we wanted to evoke a fun, nature-inspired vibe. With that in mind, we selected the Lines and Moons pattern by Thimblepress in Green and Brown.
Earth mama vibes up in here! I love how the shapes and colors echo the ferns you see through the windows and the acorn wood details throughout the house.
Love this pattern moment, and xacto-ing out the door handle is def on the oddly satisfying DIY list.
For a pattern lover like me, I love that now I have this instant photo backdrop!
Thanks to Chasing Paper for providing these rolls of pure pattern amazingness. Head to chasingpaper.com to find our own favorites and start adding patterns to your home!
(Wallpaper wingwoman: Kayla Haykin; Photography: Kurt Andre)