With miles of remote, untouched shores, lush, tropical flowers, and exotic wildlife, we love living out our stranded-on-an-island fantasy on holiday in the Seychelles. Here you can pack a picnic lunch and explore striking ribbons of bright white sand flanked by turquoise waters, palm-fringed jungles, and sculpted granite boulders; your only companions shoals of jewel-toned fish and ancient, sleepy-eyed sea turtles. Even Mother Nature calls this paradise.
There are 16 islands in the Seychelles with accommodation available. The three main islands are Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue, each with their own character, geography, and history. Mahe is the largest and most developed of the Seychelles, offering tropically picturesque bays caressed by topaz waters. Praslin is devastatingly beautiful, with tangled lush jungles and curving mountains that drop into silky sand beaches and crystalline waters. La Digue, the smallest of the three, offers a genuine opportunity for a remote, castaway adventure.
Wherever you go on holiday in the Seychelles, you are sure to find pristine beaches. Anse Aux Pins on Mahe has a narrow beach with shallow waters great for snorkelling and seeing the marine life trapped in the rock pools. The main beach on Mahe is Beau Vaallon, offering most tourist facilities, water sports, and recreational activities. On Praslin, head for Anse Boudin, a long, slender strip of powder-soft sand and calm water perfect for swimming and snorkelling, or explore Anse Lazio, possibly the most famous beach in the Seychelles and consistently ranked the most beautiful beach in the world. On the island of La Digue, Anse la Reunion features a long, curving sun-soaked beach, or head to Grand Anse Beach to see interesting rock formations and blue, blue water.
Situated on the granitic island of Praslin, the Vallée de Mai is home to the preserved palm forest made up of the endemic coco de mer. This unique seed weighs up to 30 kilos and is the largest seed of any plant in the world. The reserve is also home to the rare Seychelles black parrot, mammals, reptiles, and crustaceans. Legend has it that the island of Praslin was the original Garden of Eden and the coco de mer was the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.
This spice garden on the island of Mahe is designed in the original French tradition of the 18th century. The garden sprawls across hills and through valleys and boasts rows of vanilla vines, citronelle, nutmeg, and cinnamon, as well as plants used medicinally. A small museum exhibits artefacts and information about agricultural history and a spice shop sells handmade candles, medicinal plants, and spices.
Victoria is the tiny characteristic capital of the Seychelles. One of the smallest capital cities in the world, Victoria can be explored in a two-hour walk. Wander past old colonial houses with Creole furnishings. Don't miss Victoria's clock tower modelled after the Vauxhall Clock Tower in London, the Victoria National Museum of History, the Victoria Botanical Gardens, or the Victoria Market.
There are a number of carriers offering flights to the Seychelles from the UK.
Direct Carriers: There are no direct flights to the Seychelles from the UK.
Indirect Carriers: Air Seychelles offers a twice weekly service via Europe, Emirates via Dubai, Qatar Airways via Doha and Air France via Paris.
Departure Taxes: An international departure tax of USD40 must be paid when departing the Seychelles.
No special vaccines are required or recommended for travel to the Seychelles. All travelers should be up to date on routine immunizations. It is important to contact your GP to check for the latest recommendations.
Dig out your summer clothes, a tropical holiday in the Seychelles is always warm without any extremes. Here the temperature rarely drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C, giving sun worshippers and beach lovers an idyllic holiday. The rainy season falls in January and February and the drier, cooler weather comes between May and September. The rest of the year is invariably warm, with high humidity.
Relaxed clothes that will keep you cool, in fabrics such as cotton or linen;
A wide-brimmed hat;
Hiking sandals or shoes;
Camera (an underwater one if you plan to go diving or snorkelling).
Rain gear, including an umbrella during the rainy season;
Smart-casual eveningwear (long trousers for men);
High factor sunscreen (the Seychelles are near the equator where the sun is very strong);
Light jacket for when it is windy or rainy;
The currency in the Seychelles, Seychelles Rupees, is restricted and cannot be bought or sold in the UK. Additionally, Seychelles Rupees are not accepted in most places from non-Seychellois people. By law visitors must pay for accommodation, excursions, car hire, transportation, etc. in a major foreign currency (typically Euros).
Most places in the Seychelles quote prices in Euros, although some prices are given in US Dollars. Cash machines are located at the airport and all major banks, however you will receive Seychelles Rupees, which can be quite hard to spend as they are not widely accepted from people who are not from the Seychelles. We recommend you bring Euros with you and use a credit card as a backup. Credit cards, including Visa and MasterCard, are accepted at most hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions.
A 10 to 15 percent service charge is already included by most service providers, however, if you feel the service was exceptional it is okay to add a little bit extra.
May, June, September
The dominant cuisine in the Seychelles is Creole. Dishes are rich, thanks to the common use of coconut milk, and exotically prepared, mixing French and Indian tastes. Flavours are marked by the use of tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and chillies, and Indian influences can be seen in dishes such as curry and chutney. Staple dishes you might eat on holiday in the Seychelles include fish, rice, breadfruit, cassava, and sweet potatoes.
Bouillon brede is a simple spinach soup with thinly sliced onion, garlic, and ginger. Other variations might add greens such as pok choi rather than spinach.
Daube de Banane
There are 17 types of bananas in the Seychelles. Unsurprisingly, they are used in a lot of dishes. Daube de banane uses plantains, but these can be replaced with breadfruit, bananas, yams, or cassava to make a delicious dessert. The plantains are cut in half and placed over cinnamon sticks, sprinkled with a few tablespoons of sugar, salt, nutmeg, and a split vanilla pod, covered with coconut milk, and boiled to make a creamy, delicious pudding.
Seychelles Fish Curry
As an island, it’s no surprise that the Seychelles likes its seafood. Fish curry is one of the most popular dishes here. Snapper (or another local Seychellois fish) is fried with curry paste and turmeric, cloves, ginger, tamarind water, thyme, star anise, and fish stock to make a traditional Seychellois dish.
Fruit Bat Soup
Seychellois people love bat roasted, curried, en civet (stewed with vegetables), and in soup. If you’re feeling brave, you could try bat soup. Fruit bats are boiled with finely sliced ginger, onion, and salt to make a flavourful broth. The skin and bones of the bats are then removed and discarded, while the meat is returned to the pot with a sprinkling of scallions, soy sauce, and coconut cream.
You won’t find a large selection of street vendors in the Seychelles. However, fresh fruit and fish can be bought from the markets, particularly Victoria Market, including shark, bourgeois, hogfish, and moonfish, as well as star fruit, bananas, papayas, pineapples, mangoes, and pomegranates.
Average prices in the Seychelles tend to be moderate to expensive, although there are bargains to be found if you know where to look. Lunch for two people costs about 50 to 75 Euros, although getting takeaway or eating fruit from a market is considerably less. A bottle of water costs up to 6.50 Euros in a hotel and about 1.50 Euros from a grocery store. A bottle of wine costs about five Euros from a grocery store, but varies widely at a hotel or restaurant (from 15 to 115 Euros). A bottle of Seybrew, the local beer, costs about 1.25 Euros at a grocery store but can go up as high as seven Euros in a hotel or restaurant.
Seychellois customs and traditions are related to the colourful mix of people who first inhabited the island, primarily those of African, Indian, and European descent. They brought with them a strong sense of Creole customs, traditions, and cuisine.
Some of these customs and traditions include:
• Seychellois typically greet people with a handshake, although children are expected to greet with a kiss on the cheek.
• Lifestyle in the Seychelles is generally very laid-back, with relaxed dress codes.
• There are several traditional dances in the Seychelles: the Sega is a hip-swaying dance to the rhythm of African bongos, the Moutia is a traditional, almost sexually brazen dance to flat drums, the Contre Dance originated at the French court, and the Kanmtole is a barn dance done to a fiddle and banjo.
• Avoid complimentary statements to or about other people, especially children, as this is thought to bring misfortune.
• Seychellois are generally very friendly but can be shy.
• One of the biggest and most celebrated festivals in the Seychelles is the Creole Festival, in which Creoles from around the world (the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, North America, etc) celebrate Creole arts, crafts, cuisine, music, and dance.
Thanks to its geographic location and environment, there is a very special biodiversity in the Seychelles. These are the oldest oceanic islands on Earth and, while there are no land mammals that occur naturally here, the Seychelles are home to many endemic species that can be found nowhere else, including 242 species of birds. Other wildlife includes the Seychelles magpie robin, the Seychelles warbler, the coconut crab, and numerous species of turtles and tortoises, such as the Aldabra giant tortoises and the hawksbill turtle.
The birds in the Seychelles are rare and unique, with 12 endemic species. Two of the worlds’ rarest birds, the Seychelles white eye and magpie-robin, are found here. The best seabird island is Aride, where you can see noddies, red-tailed tropicbirds, blue pigeons, and fairy terns. See terns, noddies, the Seychelles brush warbler, and magpie-robins on Bird Island, Cousin, and Aride. The striking Seychelles black parrot is found on Praslin and around the Vallée de Mai. The largest island, Mahe offers many sights for bird watching, including the Seychelles blue pigeon, bulbul, and sunbird at the island’s botanical gardens, and the Seychelles scops owl, kestrels, and white-tailed tropicbirds in Morne Seychellois National Park.
The Aldabra Atoll
A raised coral atoll cast like stepping stones across the Indian Ocean in the outer regions of the Seychelles, these four islands surround a tidal lagoon. The islands are home to about 100,000 Aldabra giant tortoises, the coconut crab, the world’s largest land crab, green turtles, hawksbill turtles, barracuda, hammerhead sharks, and a variety of birds, such as the endangered Malagasy sacred ibis, the Aldabra rail, the last flightless bird in the Indian Ocean region, and two species of bats. To visit the stunning Aldabra Atoll, you must get written permission from the Seychelles Island Foundation in Victoria.
Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
The clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean offer up to 30 metres of visibility for scuba divers and snorkelers in the Seychelles. The underwater topography includes expansive reefs, wrecks, canyons, and colourful corals teeming with tropical fish. See the hawksbill and green turtles swimming in the waters or laying their eggs in the soft sand. You may also see whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. These gentle plankton-feeders are seen around the Seychelles between August and March.