Probably most of you have heard of Seychelles and its beauties. But, have you ever asked yourself where are Seychelles?
Seychelles archipelago (officially known as the Republic of Seychelles) is an island nation made up of around 115 coral and granite islands off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.
Lush vegetation, deep blue waters, tropical white sandy beaches with various exotic sea life, constant high temperatures and much more… Long story short, there are a lot of things to do in Seychelles, especially for water and beach lovers.
The Seychelles beaches are the most photographed in the world. When you get there, its pure beauty will literally leave you speechless. It is a tropical paradise that offers an unforgettable experience. Relax and enjoy the unique exotic surroundings.
Seychelles is also an incredible place for your honeymoon. It is one of the most famous honeymoon destinations in the world. The islands of Seychelles are without a doubt the most romantic locations imaginable, perfect for a Seychelles honeymoon. There are many hotels and resorts that suit all budgets. Even Prince Williams and his wife, Kate Middleton, visited the beautiful archipelago country for their honeymoon.
How to start your Seychelles vacation? Here is a list of things to do in Seychelles in order to make the most of your stay in this little paradise on Earth:
Start The Journey At Mahé
Mahé is the largest island, where the majority of Seychellois live and also where the international airport (Aéroport de la Pointe Larue or Seychelles International Airport) is located, so this is where you are going to start and finish your Seychelles vacation.
(i) Explore Victoria
Take a walk around the capital city, Victoria, which is the smallest capital city in the world and discover the local culture. It is definitely an exciting experience.
Victoria is the largest city of Seychelles. Around 25.000 people or one-third of the nation’s population live here. It is the cultural and administrative centre of Seychelles.
You are going to need just your own two feet in order to feel better the charm of Victoria.
In fact, in about 15 minutes you can walk from the western end of the city through downtown to the harbour (less than a mile away). However, locals and tourists say that you have to stay at least two days in Victoria in order to fully experience the city.
Wander the picturesque streets around Creole-style houses and old colonial buildings. Take a break to admire the clock tower, a silver-painted replica of that on London’s Vauxhall Bridge Road, which arrived in Victoria in 1903. The governor of the time saw the clock on a London visit and ordered a copy to be made.
Spend a morning at Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clarke Market (also known as Victoria Market) in the heart of the city, where in addition to various clothing and souvenirs you can get fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, fresh fish, seafood and flowers. Here vendors have been selling fruit and fish since 1840. It is a busy and colourful market. The best time to visit the market is early in the morning when there are fewer tourists. The market stands close to a small Hindu temple. In Victoria, you will also find many restaurants that serve Creole cuisine and fresh seafood.
All roads lead to the capital city of Victoria… The capital is the transportation hub for all of Seychelles. The airport is nearly 6 miles southwest of Victoria. There are also numerous bus services from Victoria to other parts of Mahé, as well as ferries to the other islands.
(ii) Visit The National Museum Of History
Learn details about the history and culture of Seychelles at the National Museum of History. This wonderful museum was opened in December 2018 in the restored former Supreme Court building (1885) in the centre of Victoria. While the colonial-era building is a unique piece of architecture itself, the museum’s exhibitions are remarkable. Take a journey through 300 years of Seychelles history. Many model ships, old cannons, old firearms and other precious historical items are put on display. Very informative exhibition.
On the second floor, there is a permanent exhibit on Creole culture, from architecture and music to clothing and fishing.
(iii) Do Not Miss The Seychelles National Botanical Gardens
The botanical gardens stretching along 5 acres of Mont Fleuri, on the southern periphery of Victoria, give visitors a unique opportunity to observe closely the Seychellois wildlife.
Spend some time in the National Botanical Gardens of Seychelles and enjoy the vibrant colours and fragrances of the flora planted more than 100 years ago. Here you will find towering palms, orchid’s aromatic flowers, fruit and spice trees, but also animals such as giant tortoises and fruit bats.
From downtown Victoria, you can reach the Botanical Gardens on foot or by car. It will take approximately 30 minutes to walk.
(iv) Learn About The Spice Trade In Le Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden
In the late 18th century, the spice trade was flourishing on Seychelles and the island of Mahé was the centre for the trading activities. Spend some time touring Le Jardin du Roi and learn about this part of the Seychelles history. This old spice garden is situated near Anse Royale beach on Mahé’s southeast coast, and it is still filled with vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, clove and other spices. Wander the gardens and enjoy the scents and beautiful surroundings. There is also a small museum with items used in the spice trade, a restaurant which serves spice food, a shop where you can buy spices and giant tortoises. For guided tours, you have to inform the garden prior 24 hours.
(v) Anse Intendance: A Heaven For Surfers
Approximately 20 miles south of Victoria you will find the famous Anse Intendance beach. However, Anse Intendance is not the best place for a swim. Here the waves are larger and stronger, so it is more prefered by surfers. If you’d prefer to swim, go to Beau Vallon instead.
(vi) Have Fun At Beau Vallon Beach
On Mahé’s northwest coast, you will find Beau Vallon beach, one of the Mahé’s most popular beach areas. The wide shoreline and calm seas make Beau Vallon a great place for swimming, especially for children, and water sports. There are many restaurants, hotels and shops.
Explore Praslin Island
Praslin Island is one of the most travelled islands in Seychelles. Charming beaches, crystal clear waters and dense jungles… The second-largest island of Seychelles is simply majestic.
(i) Do Not Miss Anse Lazio Beach
Anse Lazio beach is a must when you are travelling in the Seychelles Islands. According to many, this is the most beautiful beach in the world. Half a mile of a perfect, soft white sand and turquoise waters. There is something divine about this beach that often appears in the world’s top beach lists.
While it is certainly one of the most popular locations on the travel websites, Anse Lazio beach is not too crowded. Spend at least one afternoon there doing nothing.
(ii) Walk In The Vallée De Mai Nature Reserve
Vallée De Mai is a protected natural rainforest full of rare fauna located in the heart of Praslin. It is mostly famous for the endemic Coco de Mer palm, a tree that produces the world’s the largest double nut with the largest seed. Today, in this “primaeval” forest there are more than 4,000 Coco de Mer palms.
For a long time, the Coco de Mer was believed to be a mysterious ‘coconut that grows in the depths of the sea’ when washing up on India’s coasts, but when the French landed on Seychelles in the 1700s, the myth was debunked. This exotic plant gave Praslin the nickname ‘the Garden of Eden’.
In the late 19th century, Coco de Mer led to the belief that Praslin was the biblical Garden of Eden. General Charles George Gordon, who toured Seychelles in 1881, believed that the Vallée de Mai was the true Garden of Eden and that the Coco de Mer was the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Vallée de Mai is one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Seychelles. It is also home to the endangered Black Parrot, the Seychellois bulbul and many other indigenous species. The black nests in the dead standing trunks of the Coco de Mer.
Boat Trip To Curieuse Island, Cousin Island And St Pierre
Praslin Island is a great base for day trips to the neighbouring islands.
Observe the amazing sea birds on Cousine Island. Visitors here are only allowed to explore with a guide in order to avoid disturbing the wildlife. Cousine Island is part of the Inner Island Group of the Seychelles Islands. Only 10 guests can be accommodated at any moment on the island.
Explore the hills and take a walk through a preserved mangrove forest on Curieuse Island. Here you can also meet giant tortoises in the wild. Curieuse Island has not been developed for tourism and is a protected island. There are no restaurants or hotels. The island is a National Marine Park which is opened every day. Because of the red coloured soil on this rugged island, it is also called the Red Island. Praslin and Curieuse are the only places in the world where the Coco de Mer grows naturally. The island was a leper colony from 1833 till 1965. The colony was called Anse St. Joseph and the doctor’s house, which dates from the 1870s, is a museum and educational centre now.
Swimming or scuba diving around St Pierre is a must.
Cycle La Digue Island
Take a ferry from Mahé or Praslin and visit La Digue. La Digue is a quiet island. It looks like the time on La Digue has stopped somewhere in the past. It is an island with almost no motor vehicles, very few paved roads and many locals and tourists on bikes. Take a walk or rent a bike and tour the island.
Exploring La Digue by bike is a great adventure. A must-try experience if you are in Seychelles.
(i) Explore L’Union Estate
You must visit the L’Union Estate. Not just because it is the entrance to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Anse Source d’Argent, but also because there are many other interesting things to see, like the vanilla plantation, coconut plantation, the park with giant tortoises, bananas trees, a traditional coconut (copra) oil mill, Copra house (kiln), a very nice colonial plantation house and an old cemetery.
The plantation house of La Digue is a national monument and exhibits the historical and cultural significance of the place.
(ii) Enjoy Anse Source d’Argent
Spend the day on one of the most popular beaches of Seychelles full with rustling palm trees, enormous granite boulders and a mixture of white and pink sand, and enjoy in the crystal clear turquoise waters. It is one of Seychelles’ most unspoiled beaches and one of the most photographed beaches in the world. It was used as the background for many advertising campaigns for Campari, Bacardi Rum and Bounty Chocolate, as well in many photoshoots and films, including movies such as Crusoe, Castaway and Emanuelle.
Because it is one of the beaches for which Seychelles is most famous, sometimes you can find it too crowded.
Though many people visit La Digue just as a day trip from Mahé or Praslin, it is worth booking a
night or two there, so you can have Anse Source d’Argent more for yourself in the early mornings
before the ferry arrives.
(iii) Climb The Eagle’s Nest
Hike up Eagle’s Nest Mountain, the highest point on La Digue, at 333m above sea level. Take some pictures and enjoy the views over the island, as well the neighbouring islands.
The best time to start your journey is in the early evening, so you can arrive on time to watch the breathtaking sunsets. There is a small restaurant that serves delicious creole food.
How to get to Seychelles: The best way to reach Seychelles is by plane. Most connecting flights originate from Dubai, Doha or Nairobi.