Islands in India are one of the most overlooked regions as tourist spots. From the heavenly Munroe Island in the backwaters of Kerala to the picturesque Havelock and Neil Islands in Andaman, India offers many captivating yet unexplored island destinations.
With gorgeous beaches, wonderful landscapes and unique biodiversity, these places pack an assortment of treasures for visitors. Here is a list of the 10 most beautiful islands in India that will leave you mesmerized.
A Quick Glance Through
- Havelock Island
- Diu Island
- Lakshadweep Islands
- Neil Island
- Majuli Island
- Divar Island
- St. Mary’s Islands
- Pamban Island
- Munroe Island
- Netrani Island
1. Havelock Island
Tucked away in the thick tropical forests of Andaman Islands, Havelock is best known for its picture-perfect turquoise water beaches and pristine coral reefs. It was renamed “Swaraj Island” in honour of India’s beloved freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose.
Radhanagar Beach (beach no. 7) is the most visited beach of this island and features in the list of best beaches in Asia.
Also Read: Radhanagar Beach – A Quick Travel Guide.
Elephant Beach located on the northwest coast offers a lot of adventurous water sports including snorkeling and jetski. For many visitors, its Kalapathar Beach’s breathtaking views that deserve the most admiration.
Undoubtedly, Havelock Island is one of the most beautiful islands in India that you must visit. Check this post to know, how to plan your Andaman trip: Andaman Islands Travel Guide
Getting To Havelock Island
Havelock Island is accessible by cruise from Port Blair, the capital city of Andaman Islands. Port Blair is connected with mainland India by flight and ship.
The domestic airport in Port Blair has direct flights from many cities, such as Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad. Ships take much longer and can be taken from the ports of Kolkata, Vizag and Chennai.
2. Diu Island
Once ruled by Portuguese for over 400 years, Diu Island became part of India in 1961. Until 2019, It was a separate union territory along with Daman. In January 2020, Daman and Diu were merged with the union territory of Dadra Nagar Haveli.
Situated off the southern coast of Gujarat’s Kathiawad region, Diu is small (45 sq km) but one of the most scenic islands in India. The tranquil beaches of Diu are the major attraction for tourists. However, it is also famous for the Portuguese era structures.
Nagao Beach and Ghoghla Beach are the two most visited beaches of Diu. Both the beaches have water sports centers offering parasailing, speed boat and water scooters.
Overlooking the vast sea, Diu Fort is another major attraction that draws a lot of tourists. It is located in the main town and can be easily accessed by road.
For those who love exploring historical edifices, there is a fortress in the middle of the sea, known as Panikotha.
It is a gigantic stone structure that served as a prison at the time of Portuguese rule in Diu. The Fortress of Panikotha is reachable by ferries from Diu jetty.
An old church, St. Paul’s, built in Gothic style architecture by Portuguese is also worth a visit. Wooden carvings on the church wall indeed look very beautiful.
If you are interested in birding, don’t miss exploring the Fudam Bird Sanctuary. It is situated in Fudam town roughly 3 km from Diu. Flamingos, common babblers and parakeets are some of the commonly spotted birds in this wetland.
Getting To Diu Island
Diu airport has regular flights from Mumbai. Other metros like Bangalore and Hyderabad are connected to Diu by flight via Mumbai.
The nearest major railway station is in Veraval, 90 km from Diu. Veraval has direct trains from cities like Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Mumbai.
A few passenger trains run from Veraval to Delvada railway station which is only 8 km from Diu, but it is meter gauge. Diu is well-linked by buses from Veraval, Ahmedabad and Junagadh.
3. Lakshadweep Islands
One of the most gorgeous tropical islands in India, Lakshadweep is an archipelago of 36 islands in the Laccadive Sea, of which 10 are inhabited. Measuring 32 sq km, it is the smallest union territory in India.
Lakshadweep means “Hundred Thousand Islands” in Malayalam and also in the Sanskrit language. Popular for its sun-kissed beaches and natural landscapes, Lakshadweep archipelago is the only coral atoll of the country.
An airport in Agatti Island serves as the gateway to the Lakshadweep archipelago. In addition to Agatti Island, Kadmat and Bangaram Islands also attract a large number of tourists.
Teeming with colourful corals and salubrious marine life, the turquoise waters of the sea are perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling.
There are sports centers near all the touristy beaches that offer an eclectic mix of water sports, such as snorkeling, kayaking, speed boat and glass-bottom boat ride.
You will need an entry permit before arrival as the entry to the island is restricted. It can be obtained from Lakshadweep Administrator Office in Kochi.
Getting To Lakshadweep Islands
Agatti Island is connected to Kochi by flight. Air Indis runs direct flights from Kochi to this Island. From all other large cities of the country, you need to book a flight via Kochi.
There is no train connectivity to arrive here. Another option is to reach Lakshadweep by ship that operates from Kochi and Mangalore. It takes much longer up to 18 hours to reach Lakshadweep by ship from Kochi.
4. Neil Island
Known for its pristine white sand beaches and unadulterated coral reefs, Neil Island is 17 km away from Havelock by sea route.
This island was renamed as “Shaheed Island” in 2018 as a tribute to the Indian freedom fighters. With a total area of 13.7 sq km, It is small but one of the best tropical islands in India to visit. You can explore the entire island on a bicycle or a scooter.
Bharatpur Beach is the most popular beach here. It is considered the best beach of Neil Island for water sports and swimming.
The sea is so clean that you can see corals and small colourful fishes in the shallow waters. Nothing beats the diving and snorkeling experiences in the turquoise blue waters of Neil Island.
Merely a few kilometers away from the Neil jetty is Laxmanpur Beach (beach number 1), which is famous as the best sunset point of this island.
Natural rock formations near Laxmanpur Beach number 2 is also worth a visit. It resembles a bridge and locally referred to as the Howrah bridge.
Also Read: 6 Best Things To See and Do in Neil Island
Getting To Neil Island
To reach Neil Island, you first need to reach Port Blair, which houses the only airport of the Andaman Islands. Port Blair is connected by flight from Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore.
From Port Blair jetty, take a cruise to Neil Island that takes roughly 3 hours to reach via Havelock. Book cruise tickets in advance as seats may not be available in peak season.
5. Majuli Island
Known as the largest river island in the world, Majuli Island is formed by the river Brahmputra and its tributaries. Majuli literally means ‘the land between two rivers’. It measures an area of 352 sq km and is shrinking fast due to extensive soil erosion.
Predictions say that the island may fully disappear in the future if land mass erosion continues at this rate. Visit this gem of nature and one of the unique islands in India, before it is entirely taken over by nature.
The island is home to a large variety of flora and fauna. During winters, it hosts a number of migratory birds including Siberian crane, pelican and greater adjutant stork.
Apart from this, it offers unique opportunities to experience the rich cultural heritage of tribals residing here. A five day festival of Ali aye ligang is celebrated with a lot of zeal during mid of February.
You can also see many monasteries of the Assamese Neo-Vaishnavite culture, known as Satras. A visit to the Satra can give you a flavour of the local culture and village life on this island.
Getting To Majuli Island
The nearest town to Majuli is Jorhat. Get a ferry from Nimati ghat in Jorhat which will drop you at Kamalabari Ghat on Majuli Island.
Jorhat has a railway station with train connectivity from cities like Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Kolkata. By flight, you can reach Guwahati and from there, travel by road or train to reach Jorhat town.
6. Divar Island
Away from the typical tourist circuit of Goa, the Island of Divar is one of the hidden islands in India. It is situated on the Mandovi river in Goa, about 10 km upriver from Panjim.
This quaint island is the place to visit if you want to experience the rustic charm of Goa beyond beaches. Divar Island is famous for grand celebrations of some of its major festivals, namely Bonderam and Potekar.
Bonderam festival originated from a Portuguese system of putting flags to define boundaries of the land. It is celebrated every year on the fourth Saturday of August with great fanfare.
A 3-day Potekar festival is celebrated before the beginning of Lent when young villagers can be seen roaming around with costumes and homemade masks.
A beautiful old church named “Church of Our Lady of Compassion” situated atop a hill in Piedade village is also worth seeing.
It is believed that a Hindu temple existed there before the construction of the church in the early 1700s during Portuguese rule. Enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding Goan countryside from the hilltop.
Also Read: 12 Best Places To Visit in Goa.
Getting To Divar Island
Divar Island is accessible by ferry only. You can take a ferry from Old Goa near the Viceroy’s Arch to reach the south side of the island.
Another ferry from Naroa village connects to the east side of the island. On the south-west side, it is connected from Ribander, located between the main city of Panjim and Old Goa.
7. St. Mary’s Islands
Dotted with swaying coconut palms, St. Mary’s Islands is a cluster of four small islands in Udupi, Karnataka. It is popularly also known as Coconut Island and Thonsepar. These islands are located 6 km off Malpe Beach in the Arabian Sea.
This place is renowned for its awe-inspiring hexagonal basaltic rock formations. It is one of the most picturesque islands of India and features in the list of 34 National Geological Monuments, declared by Geological Survey of India.
It is believed that Vasco da Gama landed at St. Mary’s Islands on his journey from Portugal in 1498. As a dedication to Mother Mary, he named one of these islands, O Padrão de Santa Maria and fixed a cross there. So, this is how the island gets its name.
Spend some time witnessing the spectacular rock formations, coconut groves and seashells. You can also climb the rocks and enjoy the magnificent views of the surrounding from the top.
Adventure seekers can enjoy jet skiing, banana ride and speed boats in the azure water of the Arabian Sea. Swimming is not allowed here due to the rocky nature of the beach.
Getting To St. Mary’s Island
St. Mary’s Island is connected to Malpe beach by ferries. From Malpe Beach, a scenic boat ride lasting roughly 30 minutes takes you to this island. Malpe Beach is accessible by road from Udupi (6 km) and Mangalore (59 km).
The ferry boat runs from 8:30 am to 5 pm. Get there before 6 pm since the island closes at 6 in the evening.
8. Pamban Island
Situated off the coast of Tamil Nadu, Pamban Island lies in the Gulf of Mannar, at the tip of the Indian Peninsula. It is a part of Ramanathapuram district in Tamil Nadu and connects to mainland India by the Pamban bridge.
There is a lot to see in this offbeat, but one of the incredible islands in India. Serene beaches, the temple town of Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi are the major attractions of Pamban Island.
Olaikuda Beach, located in the fishing village of Olaikuda, is popular amongst tourists for its wide and beautiful shoreline.
Another famous beach of Rameshwaram is Sangumal Beach, which is situated close to Agni Theertham village. It offers breathtaking views of sunrise and sunset.
The holy town of Rameshwaram houses an array of Hindu temples. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Ramanathaswamy temple located in the heart of the town is visited by many devotees.
In Dhanushkodi, you can see the ruins of the abandoned town. It is also referred to as the ghost town of Pambam Island. Once inhabited, Dhanushkodi was completely destroyed by a cyclone in 1964.
Getting To Pamban Island
Pamban Island is 3.5 hours drive (170 km) from Madurai airport, which is the nearest airport to reach here. You can catch a train also from Madurai station to enjoy the scenic train journey through the Pamban bridge.
9. Munroe Island
A prized possession of Kerala and one of the hidden islands in India, Munroe Island is a group of eight small islets in Kerala backwaters.
The islands are separated by small water channels and put together it measures 13.4 sq km. It is named after the Resident Colonel John Munro of the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore.
Nestled at the confluence of Ashtamudi Lake and the Kallada River, Munroe Island boasts of unparalleled scenic beauty.
The canoe rides gliding through the breathtakingly beautiful waterways and narrow canals are a major draw for tourists. It lasts for roughly 3 hours. You may spot a lot of migratory birds also during the canoe tour.
A casual walk through the villages of this island will give you a peep into the local culture and their way of living. Witness the coir retting and traditional coir weaving, which is finely done by the people of this island.
Also Read: 20 Major Lakes in India That Will Amaze You
Getting To Munroe Island
Kollam is the nearest town located 25 km away from the island. You first need to reach Perumon ferry point in Kollam and from there, a short ferry ride takes you to Munroe Island.
Trivandrum airport (68 km) is the nearest airport to Kollam. Kollam is connected by train also to cities like Chennai and Visakhapatnam.
10. Netrani Island
Situated off the coast of Karnataka in the Arabian Sea, Netrani is one of the tiniest islands in India. It lies roughly 19 km away from Murudeshwara town in Bhatkal.
Netrani is renowned as a diving destination on the west coast of India. Brimming with gorgeous corals and colourful fishes, the crystal clear waters of the sea around the island are perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling.
There are plenty of diving sites to choose from. Tourists are not allowed to climb the island as it is an important site for the Indian Navy.
If you don’t want to go diving, simply hire a motorboat at Bhatkal and soak in the beautiful vistas of the surroundings. You may also sight birds like fish eagles and Indian pond heron.
Getting To Netrani Island
To reach Netrani Island, you can hire a motorboat from Murudeshwara and it takes a little over 1 hour to reach there. Mangalore airport (158 km) is the nearest airport to Murudeshwara. It is also accessible by train from Mangalore and Mumbai.
Over To You Now…
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