There's not a single person on earth who would turn down a vacation to the Maldives unless, of course, they have a severe hatred of sand, sun, and heavenly relaxation. If the island vibes aren't something that piques a divine interest, then perhaps this flawless U.K. destination doesn't quite make the bucket list. However, if it is, then those who dream of a tropical vacation that's equally as beautiful as the Maldives are in luck.
There's one destination in the U.K. that was recently voted the most scenic in the country, and it's also been hailed as a great alternative to everyone's (pricey) dream vacay. Who says one needs to fly to a far-away island just to soak up the sun and take in the ocean views?
The Maldives Of The United Kingdom
One place that doesn't get enough attention in regard to its stunning beauty is the British shores. Located at the southernmost part of the U.K., there's one archipelago, in particular, that has been compared to the Maldives in terms of its overall landscape: Isles of Scilly. These are not to be confused with Sicily, Italy, and though they sound quite similar, the two destinations are entirely different from one another.
Those lucky enough to have visited this archipelago - which lies only 28 miles west of the city of Cornwall - can attest to the fact that the island vibes and laid-back lifestyle are legitimate. It's an altogether unique part of the U.K., and one that not many people realize is so comparable to one of the most coveted destinations in the world.
St. Mary's: A Bustling Seaside Town
As one of the more accessible islands, this is the first stop for most in the Isles of Scilly. It's the largest and home to more amenities, as well as the island center of Hugh Town. Cars are permitted on this island only, and visitors will find boutique shopping, plenty of restaurants, and friendly residents. Accommodations include quaint B&Bs, as well as a coastal Elizabethan-style fortress called the Star Castle Hotel.
Tresco: A Quaint Island
This is the second-largest of the islands and is home to cottages and farms, feeling very similar to the U.K. countryside if it was transported to an island. Here, visitors will find gardens (Abbey Garden is beautiful), secluded and sheltered beaches, and even some history. Accommodations include seaside cottages and small inns.
Bryher: Untouched Haven
For nature and wildlife lovers, a trip to the island of Bryher will not disappoint. It's a haven for seabirds and also offers access to both calm bay water on one side, and the rougher Atlantic Ocean on the other. This island has a truly remote feel with unparalleled beauty in its untouched island wilderness, and visitors will be swapping out seaside hotels for charming barn and private house accommodations.
St. Martin's: A Northern Adventure
Situated at the northernmost point of the Isles of Scilly, St. Martin's echoes isolation in the most beautiful way possible. It's home to a true beach town in every sense of the term and is surrounded by farms and picturesque fields that meet the sand and surf. It's also an artisan's haven, and visitors will have no problem perusing small shops full of local work and wares. Camping and a beachside hotel are two accommodation options, and visitors should be sure to check out the vineyard during their time there.
St. Agnes: Isolated Beauty
For those who don't mind feeling somewhat disconnected from the mainland, St. Agnes promises the most Maldive-like experience yet. Its secluded and untouched beaches are graced with crystal-clear aqua waters, and its lack of development only adds to its unique beauty. Camping is the most popular accommodation for those wishing to get up close and personal with the island's scenery, but there are private rental options as well.
Why Choose The Isles Of Scilly Over The Maldives?
For starters, the flight to Europe will almost always be more affordable than a flight to the remote Maldives. Right off the bat, travelers are saving more money than they realize. Secondly, the islands are a mere two-hour ferry ride from Cornwall but a (very) short flight is also an option, so travelers have the chance to see both city and island in one trip. Not to mention, the Isles of Scilly is not nearly as remote as the Maldives are, and are not prone to the same weather patterns - which means their geographical location allows for more options throughout the year.
Those points aside, the Isles of Scilly are home to 140 islands and visitors can choose from five of which are actually inhabited to visit. Island hopping is also an easy option here - no two islands are the same, and travelers are bound to find their perfect vacation spot.