Move over, desert island: it's time to demand a little bit more from your next getaway. These isles offer all the action and adventure your heart could dream of, from glass-bottomed kayaking in the Korea Strait to watching absolutely enormous icebergs drift along the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Grab your energy bars and your hiking boots, it's time to get exploring...

Top pick: Newfoundland, Canada

As far as islands go, Newfoundland – the 42,000sq-mile monster off the Atlantic coast of Canada – is a bit of a big one. But that just means there's a load more to explore. From the cutesy, colourful waterside houses of St. John's to the whale and iceberg-filled waters that surround the island, a trip to Newfoundland is like walking into a Wes Anderson movie with the natural scenery amped up to epic proportions. Expect to eat fresh seafood (lots of it), go hiking (bring boots) and stay at some of the most iconic, under-the-radar boltholes on the planet (more about that below).

Stay: Unique, design-led luxury at Fogo Island Inn.
Getting there: WestJet flies from Gatwick to St. John's from £340 return.

Best of the rest...


Just off the east coast of Africa, Madagascar is home to mind-blowing landscapes, spectacular rainforests and unique wildlife, all of which are best explored by getting active. Go trekking through Isalo or Andringitra National Parks, or grab a kayak and gawp at flora and fauna that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world.

A horse-shaped lighthouse on Jeju, South Korea

A horse-shaped lighthouse on Jeju

Jeju, South Korea

If Seoul is neon lights, karaoke and bustling boutiques, the southern island of Jeju, well, isn't. Instead, it's a paradise for hikers, whether you choose to do the long (but worth it) nine-hour hike to the crater lake at the summit of Hallasan, South Korea's highest peak, or the slightly less ambitious Eorimok and Yeongsil trails. Alternatively, you can take to the water in a transparent kayak and peer into the ocean's depths.

Henriksholm, West Sweden

Found in the middle of Lake Animmen in West Sweden, the quiet island of Henriksholm is about as remote as it gets: five glass cabins in the woods are the main accommodation, which means the rest of the island is your nature-filled playground. Book yourself in for a 72-hour getaway and you'll swim in the lake, forage mushrooms, fish, fire cook and canoe – and maybe, just maybe, all your stresses will melt away.

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Nearby Tenerife has long been the winter playground of pro and keen amateur cyclists, but Lanzarote's super-sharp climbs and long, wind-blasted coastal roads make it an intriguing wildcard option. It's already popular with multisports athletes thanks to a super-tough annual Ironman triathlon that takes in the best (or worst) of the island's surreal and brutal volcanic landscape.