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25 Best Islands to Visit in the Philippines

With over 7,100 islands, it might seem like an impossible task to narrow it down to the best 25 islands- but we like a challenge. Here are the islands that have the most to offer. You’ll find easily accessible islands with airports and well-oiled public transportation systems and then you’ll find islands where there are no more than dirt paths filled with potholes which you can only hope don’t bust the tire on your motorbike.

There are islands with huge shopping malls filled with cinemas and food courts, then there are islands where the only place to buy a soda is a dude’s cooler on the beach. Tap into the culture of the Philippines with a visit to a Catholic church for Sunday mass or jump in on a game of pickup basketball with a bunch of smiley barefooted kids. Island hop around the country to discover how vast, beautiful, and unique this country really is.

Let’s explore the best islands to visit in the Philippines :

1. Palaui Island

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Palaui Island perfectly represents why most travelers come to the Philippines- to find a paradise where it feels like you’re the first human to ever step foot. That’s what it feels like on Palaui Island. You can find deserted beaches, eerie caves, crystal clear waterfalls, endless rice fields, and some of the cleanest air you’ve ever breathed.

As if Scotland had a baby with South East Asia, you’ll find bright green grass lying flat atop steep cliffs overlooking the sea. The terrain here is vast and varied. One day you could spend hours hiking through vibrant green rice fields and jungle paths only meeting water buffalo along the way; the day after you could beach hop all day from one patch of white shore to the next. For nature lovers, there are no limits here.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Situated at the northeastern tip of Mindanao, 800 kilometers south of Manilla, is a dream-come-true island called Siargao.

You’ve got a couple options of where to stay when you visit. The most popular option is General Luna Beach. This lively little island town is filled with restaurants, resorts, shops, and people- yet still encapsulates that small beach town charm.

This island has got it all- exotic wildlife, mangrove forest reserves, mesmerizing lagoons, and of course, perfect white sand beaches. But there is one more element that brings travelers to Siargao- surfing. There are great waves, swells, and shops that attract surfers who were lucky enough to find out about this gem!

3. Cebu Island

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Everything you could ever want in a dream vacation is right here on Cebu Island.

Cebu is such a convenient spot for a holiday as you can fly into nearby Mactan-Cebu International Airport located close to beaches, restaurants, and accommodation.

You can get local by visiting family-owned watersport companies that will take you out parasailing, jet skiing, and banana boating. You can go on an island hopping tour to snorkel and even each raw sea urchin from the bottom of the ocean.

Down south you’ll find Tumalog Falls, a 5-story natural waterfall that has created a clear pool of water where the sun shines through the trees.

Best of all, off the coast of Oslob Beach on Cebu Island, you can go swimming with wild Whale Sharks.

4. Malapascua

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Odds are, you’ve never even heard of Malapascua. It’s small, remote, and doesn’t offer much in terms of nightlife- but if you want a once-in-a-lifetime diving experience, this is where to get it.

Off the shores of Malapascua, you have the opportunity to swim with schools of Thresher Sharks. With its long, distinctive tail that cuts through the water as it gracefully hovers over the ocean floor, swimming with a Thresher Shark can be a thrilling experience.

After you dive, head back to the island of Malapascua for some of the most impressive scenery yet. Like I said, there isn’t much development here- just untouched, raw beauty.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

The mother of all things magical and mystical in the Philippines is Palawan. It is home to El Nido (which deserves a rank of its own on this list) and many more mysterious Disney-esque destinations that attract travelers from all over the world.

It’s capitol, Puerto Princesa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as if this island wasn’t already impressive enough.

Everyone knows that you can find El Nido and Coron in the North with breath taking cliffs that wind together to create crazy waterfalls, passageways and landscape, but what about further south?

Check out Brooke’s Point that is home to Bakbakan Falls and Mainit Hot Springs where you can bath in hot pools of medicinal water. Also check out Rizal which is home to some cool eco houses where you can kayak, surf, and snorkel.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Unlike Malupascua, everyone knows of El Nido. Yet, this stretch of island has managed to keep its pure beauty in tact. El Nido is considered to be a world of its own and has some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes and scenery in the Philippines- and perhaps, in the world.

Take the 4-island tour on a classic catamaran to gain the full perspective of how paradisiacal this place really is. Nothing like you’ve ever seen before, the islands here are comprised of jagged grey cliffs sporadically covered in lush green overgrowth next to bright white sand beaches and turquoise water. Genuinely breathtaking and awe-inspiring, your time spent in El Nido will feel like you’re been transported onto an Avatar-like planet which you’ll never want to leave.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

The number one travel tip to get the most out of your Bohol experience is to find a local tour guide(s) to hire and befriend for your time spent on the island. This island is filled with hidden nature spots including secret waterfalls, fisherman-only rivers, off-the-beaten path piers with handicraft markets, local grilled seafood spots, and more that you won’t find on your own.

The local motorbike tour guides here draw a blurred line between tour guide and friend. They will open up to you, welcome you, and go the extra mile to make your time unforgettable. Get ready for a homegrown experience full of natural adventures on this surprisingly underrated island.

8. Dumaguette

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Come to Dumaguette where you can take a day trip across to Aple Island which translates into ‘Turtle Island’. You’ll see big sea turtles constantly surfacing for air all around you. Jump off the boat and go for a swim with them. These turtles are actually quite used to have tourists splashing around them so they will let you get pretty close for photos and experiences that make time go super slow- just respect their space.

Don’t forget to check out Cassaroro Falls- you won’t be disappointed.

From Dumaguette, consider taking a quick 2-hour trip up to Manguete- what is often called “the Maldives of the Philippines”. On this little detour, you’ll find a warm sand bar in the middle of the open water with free-standing huts that are what Instagram goals are made of.

9. MoalBoal

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

The island of MoalBoal is home to Badian Canyon- a winding canyon of waterfalls, rock formations, and fluorescent blue water that looks like someone has been pouring food coloring in drop by drop. One of the most memorable experiences you can have in the Philippines is to take a full-day guided trip that involves jumping from high places and getting wet. More specifically, you’ll be guided through narrow crevasses filled with waterfalls, tropical foliage, natural pools of water and natural waterslides. At the end of your day-long journey, you’ll come to Kawawan Falls- a waterfall that you have to see to believe. You’ll wear a helmet, life jacket, and be sure to bring a pair of tennis shoes.

10. Bantayan

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

The definition of exploring, getting lost, and reconnecting with mother Earth- a trip to Bantayan is nothing short of life changing. As we speak, Bantayan Island is a sprawling island at the northern end of Cebu whose land has not yet been overdeveloped. Visit groves of tropical trees in their natural form, go cliff jumping at your leisure, play with some free-roaming goats, rent a motorbike and get lost on the island- this place is your playground. Hurry up and visit Bantayan now, because it’s only a matter of time before land developers grab hold of this piece of paradise. At least you’ll be able to say, “I was there when…”

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

It’s not the easiest to access, but utopia never is. While every island might claim to be the most beautiful, the most pristine, the most memorable- Coron actually takes the cake. It’s magical.

Getting there will involve either a 5-hour ferry from El Nido or you can take a (slightly expensive) puddle jumper flight from Manilla- but once you arrive, every penny and every second of travel spent will be immediately worth it.

First thing to do is to rent a scooter and go. Wind through golden fields, dusty roads, and rolling hills to discover the most incredible views. The contrasting colors of dry landscape to lush jungle next to white sand and crystal blue water cannot be described in words.

Spend the entire day feeling like a pioneer who is discovering an island for the first time. No tourists, few villages, and certainly no big development.

12. Cambari

Cambari

The perfect sunset exists on Cambari Island, just off the coast of Palawan’s Araceli. Go for the day where you can investigate the unique rock formations that create a fantastic collection of caves to explore. You’ll find several caves filled with pools of water where you can swim in what feels like your own private swimming pool.

The turquoise water sparkles with soft white sand on the bottom clearly visible from the surface. Go snorkeling and discover the gorgeous corals and all the biodiversity which they hold, including monster lobsters and graceful manta rays.

When you’ve had your fill of fun, sit on the shore and wait for the sun to set.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Luzon Island is one of the most important islands as it is home to the capitol of the Philippines, Manilla. Most travelers skip over Manila completely as they expect that it’s just another Asian city with traffic, shopping, and bars, which is true. But what most travelers don’t know is that there are some spectacular hiking opportunities just a bus ride away from the capitol.

Health freaks and workout rats will love the hiking that surrounds this city. Take a mini bus to Pico de Loro to hike Mt. Palay 664 meters above sea level. You can camp out on the mountain in various campsites where you’ll meet other travelers.

Also accessible from Manila is Mt. Batuloa 811 meters above sea level and just an hour away from Manila. This trail is perfect for beginners who want a day hike to capture amazing views.

14. Siquijor Island

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Rent a motorbike and tour the entire perimeter of the island within a couple days. Stopping by waterfalls, swimming holes, and white sand beaches, you’ve never felt so free. Go cliff jumping into the clean and clear water, trek into the jungle, and eat until you’re stuffed.

You’ll also have a chance to get in touch the history of the Philippines on this island by visiting tons of Spanish-influenced landmarks such as St Francis de Assisi Church and the thought-provoking (and dilapidating) St. Isidore de Labrador Church.

You really get the best of both worlds on this little island off the coast of Bohol.

  • 15.  Guimaras Island

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Here are a handful of white sand beaches hiding in plain site! Guimaras Island is home to three pristine beaches: Nagarao, Inampulogan, and Nauway. These tranquil beaches rarely see any foreign visitors and occasionally get visits from playful groups of Filipino friends looking for an adventure.

You’d think an island that is home to a mango tree plantation, marine reserves, lighthouses, catholic churches, caves, a sea turtle conservation center, incredible restaurants, waterfalls, and undisturbed photo opportunities that there would be more visitors- but this island hasn’t hit the holidaymaker map…yet.

16. Calaguas Islands

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

In the Province of Camarines Norte lies a group of untouched virgin islands that should be on every Eden-lover’s bucket list. When you want to get away from the world, wifi, and reality TV stars, these dots in the ocean are where to go. Most tourists spend with day swimming at Long Beach, a sprawling piece of white sand with volcanic rock at both ends, while having a picnic on the shore.

While there are resorts on these islands, consider camping! For a small park fee, you and your friends can set up camp on the beach. Just imagine watching the sun fade away into a glittering star-filled sky and falling asleep to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore. You then get to wake up in paradise. Is there any better feeling than that?

17. Batan Island

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Take a break from the beaches and bathing suits and step into the country.

This dumbbell-shaped volcanic island is a sprawling landscape of farming plots, rice fields, and forests, all neatly separated with natural fences that create a quilt-like design.

It’s a different world out here as you’ll learn via the honesty system at Honesty Coffee Shop. With no store attendants, you are free to pick up your goodies as you please, leaving the right amount of money as you check out.

Fun fact: Located at the most northern tip of the Philippines’ chain of islands, Batan was the first island to be inhabited during the Japanese invasion.

18. Bucas Grande Island

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Swimming with jellyfish, exploring underground caves and tunnels, enjoying winding boat tours through mountainous passageways, and fishing with locals- that’s what you can expect on a trip to Bucas Grande Island.

You’ve never experienced anything like swimming in clear water surrounded by jellyfish of all kinds. You’ll find yellow baby jellyfish about the size of your palm, and bigger brown spotted jellyfish about the size of your forearm. It’s such a fascinating phenomenon that you’ll certainly want to bring your underwater camera. Oh, and don’t worry- they’ don’t sting!

19. Malalison Island

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Activities, activities, activities! Malalison Island is perfect for the travelers who love to trek, snorkel, and discover local culture.

To explore this slice of heaven, you must hire a guide to take you trekking. You’ll spend the day on a moderately easy trek through the gorgeous mountains where the guide will point out wildlife, flora, and fauna. You will eventually make it to a small cave on the other side of the island where you can hop on a big bamboo swing and purchase snacks from the local shop. Take your snorkeling gear with you as there is a small wildlife sanctuary where you can snorkel with the fish. After your long hike, relax on a beautiful sandbar where boats will be waiting to take you back.

20. Panay Island

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Getting off the beaten path is the most fruitful in the Philippines. Stay in the Kalibo area where you’ll find tons of beachfront guest houses that are not only less crowded, but also less expensive. I’m talking about beachfront villas for half the price that you would pay on Boracay.

Go without a plan and just wander. Discover local villages, meet local families and experience how they live. Hire a motor taxi to take you to look at properties with amazing views or to take you to the best local restaurant that he personally knows. Don’t hesitate to makes stops to get off the bike and have a beer with some locals. This is how the best adventures begin.

21. Corregidor

Corregidor Island

Take a step into the past as you visit the island of Corregidor. What was once a battle ground between American, Japanese, and Filipino troops during World War II is now a piece of history. You can visit this tiny island fortress where you’ll be able to picture the battles as they happened for yourself. See firsthand relics of the war as you go through a guided tour visiting the light hours, the barracks, and some humbling monuments.

When you want to lighten the mood, there are bird watching and boat tours around the island.

The easiest way to visit Corregidor is to join a tour group that will organize your transportation and offer lunch.

22. Great Santa Cruz Island

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

This little spec in the middle of the ocean could easily be a picture on a postcard. If you are a nature buff, here is home to some of the most diverse wildlife and marine life in the Philippines. Check out the mangrove forest where jungle trees have popped up while still half submerged in water. Grab your snorkel mask and head out into the corals where you’ll find colorful fish of all kinds. Bring your towel and a book to work on your tan on the beach. This is just the most peaceful place to explore for a day.

You can book your tours in Zamboanga City where everything will be arranged for you.

Tip: When traveling in the South, always stick with a tour guide who knows their way around conflict areas.

23. Tawi-Tawi

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

How far would you go for paradise? Tawi-Tawi’s location is quite surprising. This island is actually closer to Malaysia than it is the Philippines, which is why you’ve probably never heard of it. But I can guarantee you that after today you’ll never forget it.

Because of its location, this island is full of totally unique culture and traditions- almost like it’s own little country. Food is a blend of Malay and Filipino and the people speak with a unique accent.

While you’re there, you can climb the mountain called Bud Bongao which locals believe can heal disease. You can visit some mosques, as there is quite a large Muslim population here. You can also visit Sama Dilaut Village where you’ll find rows of wooden houses on stilts over water. Did I mention white sand beaches?

You’ve never seen anything like this island.

24. San Jose, Dinagat Island

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

A day won’t feel like enough when you visit San Jose on Dinagat Island. There is so much to see and so many people who want to share their hospitality. This is a chance to see how life is like outside of the big cities and popular tourist destinations while stepping into small town life.

As you come in by boat from Surigao City, you’ll pass unique rock formations that look like huge crystals popping out of the ground. At the top of the island, you’ll see castle built by a local islander who craved the best views. There’s a lighthouse, beautiful jungle hills, and as you approach the port, a quaint line of colorful boats all in a row.

As you disembark and head into town, it might feel like you’ve stepped onto a Caribean island with bright yellow and green houses lining narrow streets as locals sit on their porch watching the day go by.

Take a motorbike to tour the hills where you’ll see sweeping vistas with more islands in the distance. Just be sure to find a good spot to watch the sun go down.

25. Britania Islands

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

The aquatic version of Bohol’s ‘Chocolate Hills’ are right here in San Agustin. The Britania Islands are a collection of 24 “islets” or small islands that have popped up all over this narrow region. Take an Island hopping tour and you’ll visit the 4 main islands with the most to offer.

You’ll see the most serene contrast of colors out on these ‘middle of nowhere’ islands and you’ll also visit a ‘Cast Away’ style island with a small beach full of interesting limestone formations. The most enjoyable part of this island tour however, is cruising on a catamaran all day while living the tropical life.

25 Best Islands to Visit in the Philippines:

  • Palaui Island
  • Cebu Island
  • Siquijor Island
  • Calaguas Islands
  • Batan Island
  • Bucas Grande Island
  • Malalison Island
  • Panay Island
  • Great Santa Cruz Island
  • San Jose, Dinagat Island
  • Britania Islands

Best Islands in the Philippines

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Esme Fox

written by Esme Fox

updated 28.03.2023

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Isolated white-sand beaches, reefs teeming with marine life, cascading rice terraces – it’s no wonder that the Philippines is thought of as paradise. And there’s even more than meets the eye , from the world’s smallest primate to the unique hanging coffins of Sagada. Yet, with well over 7,000 islands you can get overwhelmed by what’s on offer. Whatever kind of trip you’re after , here’s our guide to the best islands in the Philippines.

1. For beaches and wildlife: Palawan

2. one of the best islands in the philippines for reef diving: mindoro, 3. for nature: bohol, 4. for wreck diving: coron, 5. for adventure sports: boracay, 6. for diversity: luzon, 7. for getting off the beaten track: ticao, 8. for bird watching: olango island, 9. for quiet sandy beaches: panglao island, 10. for rural atmosphere: guimaras, 11. for unexpected discoveries: panay, 12. for exciting adventures: sibuyan, 13. for unspoiled beauty: malapascua, 14. for surfing: siargao, 15. for a peaceful getaway: bantayan island.

The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guide to the Philippines , your essential guide for visiting the Philippines .

Travel ideas for Philippines, created by local experts

Tropical Escape to Palawan

4 days  / from 1250 USD

Tropical Escape to Palawan

Only have a few days to discover the island paradise of El Nido? Fly into Manila and take a domestic flight the next day to enjoy the white sandy beaches. Take a full day boat tour to discover the Bacuit Bay before enjoying a last dinner on the island and heading out to Manila on Day 4.

Island Paradise Palawan

13 days  / from 2453 USD

Island Paradise Palawan

Explore the island paradise of Palawan: From the Underground River in Sabang to feeling like Robinson Crusoe on Flower Island to the popular dive and beach hang-out El Nido, this itinerary shows you the variety Palawan has to offer.

Paradise Islands: Boracay & Palawan

9 days  / from 2750 USD

Paradise Islands: Boracay & Palawan

Discover two paradise islands in the Philippines: world-famous Boracay and El Nido on Palawan. Enjoy luxurious hotels, white sandy beaches, a fascinating underwater world and the hospitality of the local population.

The Philippines’ eco-island remains a firm backpacker favourite. Palawan ’s capital, Puerto Princesa is carbon-neutral, while the island and its beaches have collected countless accolades – particularly for the jaw-dropping Nacpan Beach near El Nido. For many, a visit to Palawan is all about getting out on the water.

Once there you can go island-hopping between hidden coves and deserted beaches, and snorkelling in the coral reef-filled waters. For many, the island’s main attraction is the famous Puerto Princesa Underground River . One of the ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature' – the river runs for 8.2km underneath the St Paul Mountain Range.

A fascinating underwater world is ready to be explored. Coron is known for its wreck diving while El Nido has one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines, hidden lagoons, and hundreds of species of coral and marine life. This tailor-made diving adventure in Palawan allows you to discover both places, above and below the water.

Where to stay on the Palawan islands:

  • For a hidden beach: Sunset Colors
  • For city stays: Hue Hotels and Resorts Puerto Princesa

Find more accommodation options to stay on the Palawan island

Palawan

The beautiful scenery around Palawan - one of the most popular islands in the Philippines © Kasia Soszka/Shutterstock

While many islands in the Philippines are full of excellent snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities, Mindoro goes the extra mile. Some 30km off the coast lies the Mindoro . It's one of the world’s most spectacular and important reefs, with over 450 different species of coral.

Once you're at the reef you'll see all sorts of marine life, from giant schools of tuna to barracudas, sharks, sea turtles and manta rays. Other top dive sites around Mindoro can be accessed from the popular town of Mindoro , which is situated on the north side of the island.

Where to stay on Mindoro island:

  • For peaceful stays: Playa Blanca Beach Resort
  • For families: Blue Crystal Beach Resort

Find more accommodation options to stay on Mindoro island

Reef diving

Sabangvideo/Shutterstock

Part of the Visayas group of islands in the Philippines, Bohol is a nature paradise packed with national parks, spectacular beaches and cascading waterfalls. Many people visit to see the famous Chocolate Hills – over a thousand rounded hills, that turn chocolate brown in the dry season.

Bohol offers numerous encounters with wildlife – the highlight being a chance to see tarsiers. These tiny, saucer-eyed creatures are the world’s smallest primates.

On this tailor-made Total immersion in Visayas you will get to know Cebu with its waterfalls and some of the best islands in the Philippines before heading to Dumaguete to swim with turtles and over to Bohol: known for its chocolate hills and tarsiers, this island never ceases to amaze. A few more beach days in Siquijor conclude this trip.

Where to stay on Bohol island:

  • For river views: Fox & The Firefly Cottages
  • For luxury: South Palms Resort Panglao

Find more accommodation options to stay on Bohol island

Tarsier

A tiny tarsier on the island of Bohol © IRA_EVVA/Shutterstock

One of the Calamian Islands, Coron is known for its diverse opportunities for shipwreck diving. If you're a scuba diving fan Coron should be on your list of the best islands in the Philippines. You'll get the chance to explore World War II-era Japanese ships. Besides wreck diving, other top dive sites in and around Coron include the jungle-encircled Lake Barracuda and Siete Picados Reef.

At the reef, you can see everything from sea turtles to staghorn coral. Snorkellers can also explore these sites, as well as the eerie Kayangan Lake, where strange rock formations and bizarre needlefish lurk just beneath the surface.

Where to stay on Coron island:

  • For boutique stays: The Funny Lion
  • For price and quality: Bay Area Lodge

Find more accommodation options to stay on Coron island

Diver exploring shipwreck underwater. Gunboat at Lusong Island © Shutterstock

Snorkelling in Coron © Khoroshunova Olga/Shutterstock

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Located in the central Visayas region, Boracay is one of the smallest islands in the Philippines on our list. The island hit the headlines in 2018 when the Philippines government announced it was 'closing' the island. Tourists were banned from visiting for 6 months while the island's infrastructure and ecosystem recovered. Now, the island is welcoming tourists again, albeit with stricter rules in place.

Here you’ll find many of the top international chains of hotels and resorts. On top of that, there are plenty of beach bars and clubs – especially around White Beach and Bulabog Beach. Adrenaline seekers will be spoilt for choice here with a range of water sports and other adventures on offer. Options range from windsurfing, kitesurfing and parasailing to cliff diving, horse riding and sailing.

Discover two paradise islands in the Philippines with our tailor-made trip to Boracay & Palawan . Enjoy luxurious hotels, white sandy beaches, a fascinating underwater world and the hospitality of the local population.

Where to stay on Boracay island:

  • For ambience: 7Stones Boracay
  • For White beach location: The Piccolo Hotel of Boracay

Find more accommodation options to stay on Boracay island

Boracay

Boracay - one of the best islands in the Philippines for water sports © Anna ART/Shutterstock

The Philippines’ biggest and most densely populated island, Luzon, is home to the nation’s capital Manila , with its bustling traffic-clogged streets and swanky shopping malls . North of Manila, this vast island unravels a range of sights. You can see everything from 2,000-year-old rice terraces and Sagada’s hanging coffins to the historic colonial city of Vigan.

Meanwhile, Southern Luzon is known for its coconut-infused cuisine, wild windswept eastern coastline and the perfectly conical Mt Mayon – the Philippines’ most active volcano.

Where to stay in Luzon:

  • For family stays: Timberland Highlands Resort
  • For peaceful surroundings: The Farm at San Benito

Find more accommodation options to stay in Luzon

Mount Mayon Luzon

Mt Mayon in Luzon © Wassily-architect/Shutterstock

The little island of Ticao is part of the Masbate Province and it lies just off the tip of Southern Luzon. Home to just two resorts, a smattering of tiny villages and one small town, the landscape here consists of isolated golden beaches, rainforests and waterfalls. Here you’re unlikely to meet other travellers and you’ll often the beaches deserted.

The Rough Guides to Philippines and related travel guides

In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice.

The Rough Guide to the Philippines

The excellent snorkelling spots are often quiet too. The waters off the coast are a favourite for a variety of manta rays and sharks, including blacktip reef sharks, whale sharks and even hammerheads.

Ticao

Ticao's unspoiled surroundings © Khoroshunova Olga/Shutterstock

Five kilometres east of Mactan Island, Olango Island supports the largest concentration of migratory birds in the country. About 77 species, including egrets, sandpipers, terns and black-bellied plovers, use the island as a rest stop on their annual migration from breeding grounds in Siberia, northern China and Japan to Australia and New Zealand.

Declared a wildlife reserve in 1998, the island is also home to about 16,000 resident native birds which live mostly in the northern half; the southern half of the island is made up of a wide, shallow bay and expanses of mudflats and mangroves. The reserve is at its best during peak migration months: September to November for the southward migration and February to April northbound.

Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary © Shutterstock

Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary © Shutterstock

The island of Panglao is a tropical diving paradise with some lovely sandy beaches and a friendly little capital with an old Spanish church. The best quiet, undeveloped stretches of white sand on the east coast are Bikini Beach, San Isidro Beach and Libaong Beach – this is an ideal place to relax if you want to get away from it all.

The reef at the western end of Panglao, a few minutes by banca from Alona Beach, is in good condition, with healthy corals, a multitude of reef fish and perpendicular underwater cliffs that drop to a depth of 50m.

Where to stay on Panglao island:

  • For families: Island World Panglao
  • For friendly vibes: Tamarind

dumaluan-beach-panglao-island-bohol-philippines-shutterstock_1057514468

Panglao island beach © Shutterstock

Between the islands of Panay and Negros is the small island province of Guimaras , known in the Philippines for the sweetness and juiciness of its mangoes. Separated from the Panay mainland by the narrowest slither of the ocean, Guimaras is a gentle island of few hassles, where the people depend largely on agriculture for their livelihood and treat tourists with a mixture of kindness and curiosity.

You get the feeling that while tourism has begun to get its claws into Guimaras, it still can’t quite hold on. In the hinterlands and most of the barangays, life continues to revolve around the harvesting of citrus fruit, coconuts and rice. Other industries are equally rural, including fishing, charcoal production, basket making and mat weaving.

Where to stay on Guimaras island:

  • For stunning views: Nature's Eye Resort
  • For price and quality: SunSea Resort

Aerial View of Guisi Lighthouse in Guimaras © Shutterstock

Aerial View of Guisi Lighthouse in Guimaras © Shutterstock

The substantial, vaguely triangular island of Panay has been largely bypassed by tourism, perhaps because everyone seems to get sucked towards Boracay off its northern tip instead. There’s room enough on Panay, though, for plenty of discovery and adventure: the island has a huge coastline and a mountainous, jungled interior that has yet to be fully mapped.

Looking for some more exotic destinations for your trip? Read our guide about the best things to do on the Fiji islands or explore the most exotic places to travel in the world .

Vibrant green tropical valley with rice field and farmland - Panay, Philippines © Shutterstock

Vibrant green tropical valley with rice field and farmland - Panay, Philippines © Shutterstock

Dominated by the ragged saw-like bulk of Mount Guiting Guiting (an unforgettable sight), the isolated Sibuyan Island is the easternmost of the Romblon group and has everything an adventure traveller could dream of. Sibuyan is known for its sparkling coastline, thickly forested interior and a couple of daunting mountain peaks.

This magnificent emerald isle, covering 450 square kilometres, has one of the most intact natural environments in the entire country, a fact that was recognized in 1996 when a large part of Sibuyan was declared a reserve.

Cresta De Gallo Island near Sibuyan island © Shutterstock

Cresta De Gallo Island near Sibuyan island © Shutterstock

Eight kilometres off the northern tip of Cebu, the island of Malapascua has been touted as the next Boracay, largely because of Bounty Beach, a blindingly white stretch of sand on the island’s south coast where a dozen simple resorts have sprung up offering a good choice of accommodation.

The beauty of Malapascua is that while it’s every bit as scenic as Boracay (and, at 2.5km long and 1km wide, even smaller), it has none of the cosmopolitan development, with no big hotels, no fashionable nightclubs and only a handful of beach-style bars frequented largely by divers.

Where to stay on Malapascua island:

  • For beach location: JPH Resort
  • For dive trips: Avila's Horizon Dive Resort Malapascua

Find more accommodation options to stay on Malapascua island

Malapascua Island in Visayan Sea, One of Cebu Island © Shutterstock

Malapascua Island in the Visayan Sea, One of Cebu Island © Shutterstock

Off the northeastern tip of Mindanao lies the teardrop-shaped island of Siargao , a largely undeveloped backwater with Boracay-type beaches and dramatic coves and lagoons. Siargao has got everything, with a typically tropical coastal landscape of palm trees and dazzling seas, and a verdant hinterland of rustic little barrios and coconut groves.

Some of the first tourists here were surfers, who discovered a break at Tuason Point that was so good they called it Cloud 9, and though it’s still off the tourist trail, word-of-mouth is bringing an increasing number of surfers from around the world.

Where to stay on Siarago island:

  • For the perfect getaway: DaRosa Del Mar
  • For chill vibes: Hiraya Surf Hostel

Find more accommodation options to stay on Siarago island

A silhouetted surfing airing on a wave breaking on a beach in Puerto Rico © James Parascandola/Shutterstock

Siargao - one of the best islands in the Philippines for surfers © Shutterstock

Bantayan Island, just off the northwest coast of Cebu , is quiet and bucolic, flat and arable, without the moody mountains of mainland Cebu. It’s a great place to explore, though divers will be disappointed with the lack of coral left along the shore. Most of the island’s resorts and beaches are around the attractive little town of Santa Fe on the southeast coast, which is where ferries from mainland Cebu arrive.

Where to stay on Bantayan Island:

  • For authentic style: Carl‘s Island Inn
  • For couples: Anahaw Seaside Inn

Find more accommodation options to stay on Bantayan Island

Beautiful sandy beach with palm trees. Bantayan island, Philippines © Shutterstock

Bantayan island, Philippines © Shutterstock

Ready for a trip to the Philippines ? Check out the snapshot of The Rough Guide to the Philippines .

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to the Philippines without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

We may earn commission from some of the external websites linked in this article, but this does not influence our editorial standards - we only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Top image: Beautiful scenery of Coron, Palawan, Philippines © Kasia Soszka/Shutterstock

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The best Philippines islands: a local’s guide to the 10 prettiest islands

By Hannah Tan-Gillies

The best Philippines islands a locals guide to the 10 prettiest islands

Referred to as the Pearl of the Orient by those who've visited and loved the Philippines , this archipelago in Southeast Asia has so much to offer to those looking to find a slice of tropical escapism. This rich, biodiverse country is made up of 7,641 islands (depending on the tide) – and to our minds, is one of the most alluring destinations on the planet. 

Boracay Aklan

1. Boracay, Aklan

Boracay Island is hailed as having the best beach in the world across countless reader polls – this is the Philippines’ most famous island for a reason. Famous though it may be, the caster-sugar beaches, crystal waters and vivid sunsets make it well worth a stop-off. Unlike some of the smaller, more off-grid isles, Boracay has some sensational places to stay, too – ranging from rustic boltholes to grand spots from the likes of Shangri-La .

While the best-known White Beach may be a tad overcrowded for some, check out the island’s less-hyped beaches for an experience away from the hordes. Bolabog Beach is set on a quieter side of the coast and is well-loved by Boracay’s kitesurfing community. Here, you can watch hundreds of colourful kites light up the sky – all the better while sipping a Pineapple Mint shake at the Banana Bay , Bolabog’s best-kept boutique hotel .

Siargao Surigao del Norte

2. Siargao, Surigao del Norte

The once sleepy surf town of Siargao has grown in popularity over recent years and, in 2019, was voted as the best island in the world by Condé Nast Traveller readers. With giant barrel-shaped waves, Siargao is the Philippines’ surf capital – but there’s plenty to occupy those who aren’t taking to the waves, too. This tear-shaped island is dotted with hidden lagoons, magical rock pools, gigantic national parks and protected dive sites.

Naked Island, Guyam Island and Daku Island are three of the immaculate islets you can visit in Siargao. Naked Island is a completely uninhabited sand bar that disappears with the tide, while Guyam Island is a small tropical atoll covered by a handful of palm trees that you can cross in 50 steps. Daku Island, meanwhile, is our favourite for the handful of delicious seafood restaurants run by locals. Siargao also has a reputation as one of the Philippines’ most notorious party islands, with wild, joyful raves a nightly occurrence in many of the local bars .

El Nido Palawan

3. El Nido, Palawan

Comprising 45 islands, El Nido is one of the most biodiverse archipelagos in the Philippines. Characterised by limestone formations and aquamarine lagoons, the landscape is as close as possible to what comes to mind when one conjures up images of the Philippines.

El Nido Resorts , which has three outstanding hotels in Miniloc, Lagen and Pangalusian Islands, is your best bet for a truly superb stay – charter private ‘bangkas’, or wooden boats, to visit El Nido’s many natural sites such as the picturesque Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Seven Commandos Beach, and Snake Island.

Coron Palawan

4. Coron, Palawan

Coron blends perfect white sand beaches with clear freshwater lakes and marine-life-rich lagoons. Kayangan Lake is one of the most beautiful natural sites here, and is known as one of the cleanest bodies of water in the Philippines. To stay, Two Seasons Coron , which occupies the tip of a snake-shaped corner of the island, is a classically-Filipino style resort that maximises the best of Coron’s gorgeous natural surroundings while offering the world-renowned hospitality of the Filipino people.

Pamalican Island Palawan

5. Pamalican Island, Palawan

Known as one of the Philippines’ most luxurious private islands , Amanpulo certainly lives up to its impeccable reputation. Occupying the beautiful Pamalican Island in the Cuyo Archipelago of Northern Palawan, it offers the ultimate in smart tropical living. Guests can choose to stay in the Casitas, which are built on the island’s lush forest canopies or the Villas, which each include its secluded beachfront. Surrounded by pristine reefs, verdant jungles, and offering plenty of water sports and activities — there are plenty of reasons to splash out on a stint here.

Calaguas Camarines Norte

6. Calaguas, Camarines Norte

Within driving distance from the capital of Metro Manila, Calaguas is an uninhabited group of islands perfect for those looking for a more rustic island experience. ‘Mahabang Buhangin’, which translates to ‘long sand’, is the most popular atoll and is known for its two-mile stretch of pristine beach. With not a single hotel on these islands, camping under the stars is your only choice for accommodation, which may discourage travellers from looking for familiar creature comforts. However, for those willing to brave the wilderness and total lack of any amenities, a visit to this wild, untouched island is well worth the discomfort.

Balesin Quezon

7. Balesin, Quezon

Balesin Island Club is a 500-hectare private resort that is just a 25-minute flight from Metro Manila . This members’ club even has an airport – with guests often arriving in their jets and helicopters. Balesin has seven sumptuous environments that were inspired by the world’s most iconic summer destinations. The Balesin, Phuket , Mykonos , St. Tropez , Costa del Sol and Toscana villages each reflect the same architectural touches and gastronomic delights as their namesake destinations — and do so with plenty of gusto.

Sorsogon Bicol

8. Sorsogon, Bicol

In many ways, Sorsogon is the best place to discover the Philippines’ vibrant wildlife – one of the richest in the world. It is perfect for those looking to add a bit of adventure to their Philippines sojourn. Here, you can swim with manta rays and giant ‘Butandings’ (whale sharks), hike the Bulusan Volcano National Park or sail along the Donsol River. A relatively-unknown spot, the Donsol River is a wonderfully ethereal boating experience, as its idyllic rural landscape gets transformed by hundreds of thousands of fireflies that illuminate the riverbank once night falls.

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San Juan La Union

9. San Juan, La Union

San Juan is another surfing paradise in the province of La Union in Luzon, the Philippines’ largest landmass. Just a few hours’ drive away from Metro Manila, San Juan has become a popular weekend getaway for locals looking for a sun-soaked escape from the busy capital. This laidback town has plenty to offer those looking for a more relaxed stay, with a string of quirky cafés and hidden gastronomic gems. Beyond all the incredible surf spots that San Juan has to offer, visitors can head to Tangadan Falls for cliff-diving, bask in the infinitely blue views of the Luna Pebble Beach or visit the wonderfully eccentric, sculptural museum-cum-ancestral home ‘Bahay na Bato,’ which translates to House of Rock.

Puerto Princesa Palawan

10. Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Yet another Palawan spot on the list, Puerto Princesa is home to many of the Philippines’ indigenous flora and fauna. The Subterranean River Natural Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site , is a magical albeit eerie place that is an absolute must-see. Here, you can explore the vast, cavernous limestone caves with a boat tour and enter the dark echoing depths of the Saint Paul Mountain Range.

Elsewhere in Puerto Princesa, you can meet monkeys and monitor lizards at the wildlife reserve or go on an island-hopping excursion from Honda Bay. From here, you can sail to the nearby Starfish, Luli and Cowrie islets whose names reveal exactly what you will find in each of these small pockets of paradise. For an excellent home-cooked meal, drop by the Purple Fountain, whose menu is as colourful as this quirky hotel’s joyfully-painted walls.

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Discover the World

17 Best Islands in the Philippines

By Lauren Bailey · Last updated on February 5, 2024

The Philippines is an enchanting island country in Southeast Asia. Sprinkled across the western Pacific Ocean are 7,000-plus islands, each offering their own unique allure – from volcano trekking adventures to authentic Filipino homestays and diving extravaganzas.

The islands of the Philippines are the perfect place to indulge in a get-away-from-it-all castaway experience. Spend your days lazing on picture-perfect beaches, sipping on coconuts, and snorkeling and diving in crystal-clear water around extraordinary coral reefs. Whatever type of holiday you’re looking for, active or laidback, you’ll find it in the Philippines.

Islands in the Philippines Map

17. Apo Island [SEE MAP]

Apo Island

Forming part of the protected Coral Triangle, Apo Island is a volcanic island located off the southern coast of Negros. The island’s main claim to fame is that it offers some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities in the Philippines – and that’s saying something.

The reason the diving here is so good is due to the protected marine reserve and fish sanctuary that was formed around the island back in 1985. As no fishing has been allowed here for over three decades, today, hundreds of species of coral and marine life thrive in the waters that lap the island – from colorful clownfish and enormous sea fans to hawksbill turtles.

Back on land, the beaches are gorgeous too, made from the grinding up of white coral that’s comfortable for sunbathing. If you’re feeling active, the island boasts some pleasant walking trails with a backdrop of Negros and Mount Talinis.

16. Batanes Islands [SEE MAP]

Batanes Islands

The Batanes Islands are a group of islands between Taiwan and the Philippines. Due to their remote northern location, they’re the most isolated part of the country, and perhaps one of the most authentic places to soak up the local culture; the language, the weather, and the traditions are different from the rest of the country. Visiting the Batanes is like taking a step back in time.

Just three of the Batanes archipelago are permanently inhabited: Batan, the main island, traditional Sabtang, and secluded Itbayat. Each island is a little different to the last, featuring a mix of jungle-clad volcanoes, undulating hills, rich yam and cattle farmland, and narrow stretches of silvery beach.

While the Batanes look like pure paradise in the pictures – and indeed they are – they are also beaten by frequent typhoons. You’ll notice that the buildings are all crafted to withstand these natural disasters, built on slight stilts with thick limestone walls and grass roofs.

15. Siargao [SEE MAP]

Siargao

Shaped like a teardrop, Siargao, with its lush coconut groves, tranquil lagoons, and white-sand beaches is the very definition of paradise. It was voted the best island in the world by Conde Nast Traveller, and it’s not hard to see why.

This relatively undeveloped island is as untouristy as it gets. In fact, it’s home to just a couple hundred thousand residents. Without its own airport, it’s tricky to get to, which only helps to filter out the tourists and makes it that much more rewarding when you finally sink your toes into its remote sands.

Siargao is famed as the surfing capital of the Philippines, with 15 known surfing spots, including the celebrated Cloud Nine. Surf schools and rental shops abound, and there are also opportunities for stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, and much more.

Discover the highlights back on land, from mangrove swamps and meandering rivers to dramatic rock formations, cascading waterfalls, and interesting wildlife. Don’t miss a visit to the main port town of Dapa.

14. Malapascua Island [SEE MAP]

Malapascua Island

Malapascua is an island in the Visayan Sea that’s known for its excellent snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities – particularly for seeing thresher sharks, pygmy seahorses, blue-ringed octopus, manta rays, and submerged shipwrecks.

Located just off the coast of Cebu, Malapascua is slowly getting more and more developed, and you’ll often find a local fiesta or event happening on the island. An idyllic beach holiday destination, the island offers a great choice of holiday resorts and palm-fringed beaches.

World-class dive sites include the Mona Shoal, known for its sightings of pelagic thresher sharks, and the Dona Marilyn ferry that sank during a typhoon in 1984, now a human-made reef that’s home to scorpionfish, marble rays, and white-tip reef sharks.

13. Camiguin [SEE MAP]

Camiguin

Camiguin is a tiny island province in the Bohol Sea, known for its ivory beaches, glistening lagoons, and rugged volcanic landscape that provides a true sense of adventure.

What’s interesting about Camiguin is that, despite its size, it’s home to more volcanoes per square mile than any other island in the world. While you can certainly enjoy the stereotypical Philippines water-based activities, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming, the real appeal here is the opportunity to trek to jungle waterfalls and climb the volcanic peaks, such as Mount Hibok-Hibok.

Located on the other side of the bay from the mainland, Camiguin is fairly undeveloped, and you won’t find the tourists hordes here. Instead, it offers a quiet, more authentic beach escape interspersed with adventure, should you seek it.

12. Siquijor [SEE MAP]

Siquijor

Siquijor is a tiny island province in the Central Visayas region. Nicknamed the ‘Island of Fire’ because of the abundance of fireflies, this magical island is also known for its ancient practices of witchcraft, where mountain-dwelling mangkukulam (healers) create natural ointments and treatments using ingredients sourced from nature.

But the island has developed slowly over the years and now offers a great selection of affordable luxury beach resorts. With a focus on diving, many of these tourist havens have certified diving operators that will take you out to the best local-known spots.

The best dive sites can be found around coral-rich Sandugan Point and Tambisan Point. Paliton Beach is also known for its three underwater caves, where you can spot sleeping reef sharks. Other dive spots around the island offer sightings of manta rays and barracudas.

But you don’t have to be a diving enthusiast to enjoy the perks of Siquijor. Other activities include snorkeling, cycling, waterfall trekking, caving, and sunbathing.

11. Palaui [SEE MAP]

Palaui

Palaui is a bucolic island that forms part of the town of Santa Ana in the Cagayan province. With its waterfalls, mangrove forests, farmland, and volcanic scenery, it’s no surprise that it’s been declared a national park and marine reserve. In fact, two-thirds of the island is made up of forest, providing a home for a wide variety of wildlife and birds.

Made famous when it served as a filming location for Survivor: Blood vs. Water, Palaui also stole the tenth place on CNN’s list of the world’s 100 best beaches. Hang out and enjoy the swimming, diving, and snorkeling opportunities at Siwangag Cove.

With no hotels or restaurants, the island offers a back-to-nature experience. There are no hotels or lodges, so if you’d like to stay overnight, you have a choice of a local homestay or DIY camping. Palaui is best visited during the summer months, from February to May, when the seas are calmer for getting there by boat.

Other activities include fishing and jungle trekking. There are two main hiking routes on the island, but the trail that leads from Punta Verde (the island’s only village) to Cape Engano Lighthouse (the most-visited attraction on the island) is highly recommended.

10. Malcapuya [SEE MAP]

Malcapuya

Just an hour’s boat ride from Coron Town in Palawan, Malcapuya island feels worlds away. It’s the ultimate tropical island cliché, with crystal-clear water, bobbing Filipino boats, coconut palms, cashew trees, and white-sand beaches – in short, its pure paradise!

Malcapuya is about as undeveloped as it gets. You won’t find any built-up hotels here, and the closest thing to a supermarket is a shop selling coconuts, but that’s the whole appeal. If you love the sound of staying in traditional beach huts or camping on a castaway island, Malcapuya is made for you.

Spend your days sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling with marine life. Or book a day trip to the surrounding Banana Island and Bulog Dos Island.

9. Luzon [SEE MAP]

Luzon

Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines, where you’ll find Manila (the national capital) and the country’s main airport. The island is self-sufficient before you even consider tourism, with an impressive agricultural industry for growing rice, bananas, coconuts, mangoes, sugarcane, and grains, as well as mining iron, manganese, copper, and gold.

But it’s not just its food-growing farmlands that make this lush island so attractive. There are plenty of authentic villages, beautiful beaches, dramatic volcanoes, extraordinary coral reefs, and fantastic sunsets to look forward to. Not to mention its impressive Spanish-colonial architecture, monuments, and museums.

Due to its size, Luzon is split into two – north Luzon and South Luzon. The north is built for explorers with its cascading rice terraces, wild jungles, and remote beaches. Adventure travelers come here to enjoy trekking, caving, and mountain biking.

The south is much wilder, known for its active volcanoes and white-sand beaches. Spend your time trekking volcanic craters, snorkeling with whale sharks, and surfing great waves whipped up by the island’s frequent typhoons.

8. Coron [SEE MAP]

Coron

Not to be confused with Coron Town, the largest town and fishing village on nearby Busuanga Island, Coron Island is the third-largest of the Calamian Islands in northern Palawan. It’s reached via a 20-minute boat trip from Coron Town.

Coron’s landscape is dotted with dense, almost impenetrable jungles, lakes, and lagoons. Run by the Tagbanua, an indigenous group of fishermen and hunter-gatherers, access to the island has been limited because of the worrying impact of tourism. Just two of the island’s many lakes can be visited today.

Spend your time on the island snorkeling in Kayangan Lake, diving in Barracuda Lake, sunbathing on Banol Beach and swimming in the Twin Lagoon. The surrounding Coron Bay is famous for its mysterious Japanese shipwrecks from World War II – a true diver’s paradise.

7. Bohol [SEE MAP]

Bohol

Life on Bohol, an island in a province of the same name, is as relaxed or as adventurous as you make it. Located just an hour’s flight away from Manila, stepping off in Bohol feels as though you’ve stepped back in time. Most of the island is undeveloped, but you’ll find more tourists gathering in nearby Panglao island – a popular diving destination that’s connected to Bohol via a bridge.

Characterized by rice paddies, quaint fishing villages, and deep mangrove forests, Bohol is well-known for its dome-shaped Chocolate Hills and an unusual population of endangered tarsier – supposedly the world’s smallest primate.

But that’s not all there is to do on Bohol. Visit the Blood Compact site, explore the adventure center in Danao, have lunch at a floating riverside restaurant, and discover the island’s Spanish coral-built churches. Other activities include snorkeling, diving, sea kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Psst! Visit in May and you’ll be able to witness a feast of celebrations, festivals, and beauty pageants.

6. Mindoro [SEE MAP]

Mindoro

Mindoro is a wild and largely undeveloped island in the Philippines archipelago. With heaps of protected natural beauty – both on land and underwater – Mindoro promises beautiful beaches, excellent scuba diving opportunities, and interesting wildlife.

Split into two provinces by the almost impenetrable High Rolling Mountains, the island consists of the Mindoro Occidental and the Mindoro Oriental, which is more developed. Mindoro, as a whole, offers a true island escape. Get a taste of authentic Mangyan culture in the island’s interior, dive the marine resorts around Puerta Galera, and snorkel the diving mecca Apo Reef on the west coast.

Nature lovers will be in their element with the chance to spot some rare species of wildlife, such as the Mindoro dwarf buffalo at the Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park.

5. Caramoan Islands [SEE MAP]

Caramoan Islands

Characterized by rugged cliffs, an aquamarine ocean, and slivers of picture-perfect sand that disappear at high tide, the Caramoan islands are a castaway paradise that’s been used as a filming location for Survivor. In recent years, the region has become a popular weekend escape for local Filipinos, so don’t expect to be the only one there.

Paniman is the main resort where many island-hopping boat trips begin. Spend your day visiting the tiny nearby island of Lahos, or Matukad with its secret lagoon. Nature walks and bird watching are popular activities here as the national park provides a home for the endemic green racket-tail.

Caramoan town on the Caramoan Peninsula acts as the gateway to the beautiful beaches and dramatic limestone cliffs and caves of Caramoan National Park. While it can now be reached by vehicles along a newly paved road, it is much better appreciated when you approach by boat.

4. Panglao [SEE MAP]

Panglao

Panglao, an island located in the north Bohol Sea, is one of the few islands in the Philippines that you can drive to. As it’s connected to the island of Bohol by a bridge, it’s one of the most easily accessible islands in the archipelago.

The waters around Panglao are a diver’s underwater playground with a plethora of colorful fish, nudibranchs, and anemones to discover. Most famous for its Alona Beach, a popular holiday resort on the southern coast, Panglao also offers some excellent nightlife, particularly on weekends and major holidays.

Panglao is perfectly placed for exploring Bohol, one of the largest islands in the Philippines, yet it offers a laidback spot to come home to at the end of the day. Popular activities include snorkeling, sea kayaking, and, of course, scuba diving.

3. Bantayan [SEE MAP]

Bantayan

Bantayan is a secluded island in the Visayan Sea, located west of Cebu island. It’s loved for its captivating and uncrowded white-powder beaches and laidback atmosphere, but there isn’t very much going on here at the best of times. If you’re looking for a lazy beach holiday off the main tourist track, you’ve found the perfect place.

There are few cars on the island, so exploring by scooter is a dream. Base yourself in Santa Fe, a little village that has its own beach and a variety of bars. Other attractions include Bantayan Town, the island’s administrative capital, and the tropical islets located just offshore.

Bantayan is pretty quiet for most of the year, but come Holy Week, it’s packed with people. Spend your days swimming, cliff jumping, cycling, island hopping, snorkeling, sea kayaking, and even sky diving.

2. Boracay [SEE MAP]

Boracay

Boracay is one of the most popular islands in the Philippines – so much so that it had to be closed for six months to rehabilitate the island after its huge influx of visitors. Today, it has reopened to tourists but has a limit on the number of visitors it welcomes daily.

The main allure on Boracay island is its idyllic White Beach. But there are hordes of other tiny beaches and coves where you can enjoy everything from snorkeling and scuba diving to kitesurfing.

The crazy multi-day beach parties with their beach bonfires and fire dancing performances are now a thing of the past in Boracay with its stricter rules. Bonfires, smoking, and alcohol are banned on the beach. Instead, you’re encouraged to enjoy the slow life: sipping cocktails at a beach bar, exploring the island by tricycle, or taking a cruise on the traditional paraw sailing boats.

1. Palawan [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Islands In The Philippines

Palawan, formally known as the Province of Palawan, is one of the top two islands to visit in the world, according to Travel & Leisure, beat only by Sri Lanka.

The island, with its dramatic limestone karsts, beautiful beaches, secret coral reef coves, and jungle-clad mountains, is a utopia, even by Filipino standards.

Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan, acting as the gateway to the rest of the island and the mangrove islands of Honda Bay. Other places worth a visit include the beach resort of Port Barton and Taytay with its phenomenal old fortress, the stunning sands of Long Beach, and El Nido with its spectacular lagoons.

But many parts of Palawan are still untouristy and undeveloped and just as worthy of a visit – if not more. These include the fishing village of San Vicente and the attractions of southern Palawan: the Neolithic remains in the Tabon Caves and the turtle and cockatoo sanctuaries at Narra.

While you’re in Palawan, make time to visit the Calamian island group, located just off the northern tip of Palawan. Here, you’ll find some of the best scuba diving in Asia, particularly at its World War II shipwrecks!

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She Wanders Abroad

  • Top 20 Most Beautiful Islands in the Philippines

Salagdoong Beach in Siquijor, Philippines

With more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines, it can get quite overwhelming to choose which one would be the best fit for your travel plans. If you’re planning to visit the Philippines but don’t know where to start, don’t worry – I got you covered!

Here’s a complete list of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines including tips about how to get there, what are the best things to do, and how long to stay there. Let’s dive right in!

* Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link. *

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Top 20 Most Beautiful Islands in the Philippines

Table of Contents

Most Beautiful Islands in the Philippines

Are you looking for the best places to visit in the Philippines? Don’t worry, I got you covered! In this article you will find all the most beautiful islands in the Philippines together with a bunch of useful recommendations about the best things to do on each island, how much time to spend there, and lots of other insider tips.

On the below map you can see all the islands mentioned in this article with their retrospective number. The numbers don’t reflect any ranking order, they are just simply there to make it easier for you to find all the most beautiful islands in the Philippines on the map!

You can also save this map to your Google Maps app on your phone if you click on the bracket in the upper right corner.

The view of the blue sea and the lush green mountains at Coron, Philippines

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It’s been voted the world’s most beautiful island, a fitting accolade for what is undoubtedly the jewel in the Philippines’ crown: Coron.

A short flight or a speedy ferry ride from El Nido , Coron is technically a municipality within the province of Palawan made up of parts of Busuanga Island and Coron Island as well as some small outcroppings and remote islets. It’s these islets, alongside the charming town of Coron itself, that make this a must-see destination.

Best enjoyed by hiring a private boat, you can spend your days just skipping from one beach or utopian outpost to the next, snorkeling to find bright blue corals, diving to Skeleton Wreck, or just snoozing on the front of your boat while the captain cooks your freshly-caught fish on the ship’s grill.

You’ll need at least three days to properly visit all the best tourist spots in Coron , diving into the crystal blue waters at Kayangan Lake, swimming in the Twin Lagoon, or going in search of deserted beaches like Malcapuya, Bulog Dos Island, or even Banana Island (where there isn’t a banana in sight!).

Even if you’re tired of island-hopping, you can spend your time in Coron Town at their legendary hot springs, hiking up to the viewpoint, or just chilling in one of the great cafes and restaurants sprinkled around the city.

One of the globe’s most breathtaking destinations , Coron is undoubtedly top of the Philippines bucket list, one of those islands you have to see to believe.

2. Dimakya Island

Dimakya

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Pristine white-sand beach, an island you can explore for half a day, food served fresh from the sea – it is indeed paradise. An apt description of its name – Club Paradise, the only resort in  Dimakya Island in Palawan, is the perfect place to get away for a much-needed break from the busy city life.

Dimakya is just a one-hour plane ride away from Manila to Busuanga airport in Coron. From the airport, it takes an hour traveling by jeep through the mangroves and then a boat direct to the island’s shores. It’s worth spending at least 3-4 nights on Dimakya to enjoy having such a paradise all to yourself!

Being a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Dimakya serves as a sanctuary for green sea turtles which you can see if you dive the azure waters around the island. There are a few diving tours you can book where an ample amount of colorful fish, manta, and eagle rays, even the dugongs will swim with you.

If you don’t know how to dive, you can opt to learn it with an instructor at Dimakya. The waters being shallow but full of corals, it is appropriate and safe for beginners.

The whole island is about 700 sqm, so you can explore the whole of it for less than half a day. You can even go up the peak of the smallish mountain in less than an hour!

There are also island-hopping activities you can book. For example, an island called Island Walang Tao (no man’s land) is a smallish island of pure white sand with some rock formation in it – it’s the perfect island to have for yourself.

3. El Nido, Palawan

Aerial view of El Nido, Philippines

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El Nido is in the northern part of the Palawan mainland, about a 7-hour bus ride away from Puerto Princesa. Just off the coast of El Nido lies the Bacuit Archipelago, a series of mountainous, jungle- and limestone cliff-clad islands reminiscent of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and Krabi in Thailand.

The best way to experience this stunning scenery is by taking some of the island-hopping boat trips around the archipelago. Tour operators generally offer four set routes, all of which are worth doing.

Along the way, you’ll visit many coves, beaches, and lagoons, swimming or climbing through holes in the rocks to discover further lagoons, and snorkeling with the local sea life, including sea turtles if you’re lucky. The fabulous swimming locations will likely be some of the most beautiful you’ve ever swum in.

El Nido was an undiscovered gem until recently, but its popularity with European tourists has exploded in recent years. So far, the local government has been doing a pretty good job of protecting the fragile environment that is facing increased pressure.

And with El Nido’s newfound popularity comes amenities that didn’t exist before, like some great restaurants and nightlife spots. The Philippines definitely doesn’t have one of the most vegan-friendly cuisines of Southeast Asia, but in El Nido, you can even find fully vegan restaurants.

4. Matinloc Island

Cliffs and blue water on Matinloc island, Philippines

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While the Philippines has a bevy of islands that can rival each other in beauty, Mationloc island in Palawan is probably the one that takes away your breath. It is the biggest of the 45 islands in El Nido.

The island is very rich in marine animals with crystal blue water and powdery white sand. It’s home to the Matinloc Shrine, Secret Beach, and Hidden Beach – all these covert beaches are concealed by El Nido’s iconic limestone formations.

Matinloc island used to be a spiritual and adventurous haven and has an interesting history. When you enter, you can see abandoned sculptures of Jesus and Mother Mary.

The tour guides would escort you to the Matinloc Shrine that offers some of the best panoramic views in the area but you can also go snorkeling and scuba diving off the island.

Matinloc Island is part of El Nido’s Tour C package. A lot of tour companies drop off here for lunch, each person needs to pay 100 PHP ($1.80 US) to visit it.

There is an option to stay on the island as well, although Matinloc Resort is the only resort on the island. If you choose to stay there, you can do kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking for free. They also organize spa sessions, romantic dinners, bottom fishing, and sunset cruises with reasonable fees.

The Philippines is an amazing country for tourists, digital nomads, and retirees. If you want to stay longer in the Philippines, check out the Philippines visa requirements and visa types .

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

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Famous for its Chocolate Hills and the cute-looking tarsiers, Bohol is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines. Since it’s the 10th largest island in the country the list of things to do is practically endless.

If you want to properly explore the island you’re gonna have to rent a scooter or hire a private driver to show you around so that you can do some amazing day hikes in Bohol .

Bohol is a little bit different than the other neighboring islands, it’s more about jungle life and waterfalls than beaches and snorkeling.

The Chocolate Hills are known as one of the best tourist spots in Bohol thanks to their unique shapes. There are more than 1,200 hills in the area and in the dry season, the greenery of the hills turns into a milk-chocolate color, hence the name.

Another unique thing to do in Bohol is visiting the tarsiers. These tiny, monkey-like creatures are really sensitive emotionally and they can’t really survive on their own, that’s why they’re living in a Tarsier Sanctuary.

In the middle of the island, you will also find many gorgeous rice paddies, lush green mountains, and epic waterfalls. The Dimiao Twin Falls are probably the most famous ones but if you’re looking for a little adrenaline rush, you should visit the Ingkumhan Falls where you can jump into the water from a rope.

It’s worth spending at least 3 days in Bohol to discover all the beauty the island has to offer. If you’re looking for some beach time, you can easily visit Panglao island that is attached to Bohol by a bridge, where you will find plenty of white sandy beaches.

You can also take some interesting day trips from Bohol and go for some island hopping – in this case, you can easily spend up to one week in Bohol.

6. Panglao Island

Alona Beach on Panglao Island, Philippines

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One of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines is Panglao. This small island is attached to the more famous Bohol by a bridge, and it is easy to combine a visit to Panglao with a visit to Bohol or nearby Cebu.

Panglao is famous for its white-sand beaches and diving and you will definitely want to experience both of these on your trip here. The most popular beach is Alona which is worth checking out for the vibe, food, and drink choices and to book your diving adventures.

However, there are better beaches elsewhere. Try out Dumaluan Beach (although note that only a small part is open to the public), Momo Beach, or Doljo beach. My best tip? Hire a motorbike and visit as many of the beaches as you can.

The next stop is to definitely experience some of the underwater life. Sign up for a diving or snorkeling tour.

If you prefer to stay above the water, you can go island hopping and dolphin viewing instead with trips to Balicasag and Isola de Francisco islands. There are also all the usual water sports like jet skiing, banana boats, kayaks and you can try kite surfing.

Back on dry land, you should also check out Bohol Bee Farm. Here you will find an organic farm, bees, a craft area, restaurant, and shop. You can do tours of the farm or have a wander around by yourself. I especially recommend trying some of the most delicious ice creams in the world which you can buy in their shop!

A few days is enough time to experience the best of Panglao, but if you are someone who likes chill beach time, you can easily spend a lot longer.

7. Balicasag Island

Balicasag Island from an aerial view in the Philippines

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Just a 30-minute boat ride away from Alona Beach in Panglao, Bohol, the tiny island of Balicasag awaits you. With white sandy beaches and aquamarine waters, it sounds like every other island in the Philippines.

However, if you’re willing to dive right in and explore its deep waters another magical world will astound you.

With countless turtles feeding on seagrass and colorful fishes playing in the reef, it is not surprising why Balicasag Island is considered to be one of the best places to snorkel and scuba dive in the Philippines . Declared as a marine sanctuary, it has become a haven for many sea creatures.

If swimming with sea turtles is on your bucket list, there’s a good chance of spotting one or maybe even 10 in Balicasag Island. Another favorite among divers is the massive school of jacks often found hanging around the island. And if you’re lucky a whale shark might just happen to pass by and say hi!

Because of the popularity of Balicasag, the local government has limited the number of people who plan to snorkel and dive in Balicasag. There are many dive shops or tour groups in Panglao that can get permits on your behalf. So make sure you plan ahead, especially during the peak season from November to April.

Although there is one resort and some restaurants in Balicasag itself, a day trip is more recommended to enjoy what the island has to offer. If you plan to do a day trip, you can simply bring your own food and enjoy a picnic by the beach.

After a day of fun, you can head back to Panglao where there are more accommodations and restaurants to choose from.

8. Pamilacan Island

Aerial view of Pamilacan Island, Philippines

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There is a stunningly beautiful and little-known island off the coast of Bohol called Pamilacan, where the sand is white and powdery, the water a beautiful turquoise blue, and the wildlife of sea turtles, tropical fish, and dolphins just a short swim away from shore.

It’s nothing like the tourist saturated El Nido and Coron – chances are it’ll just be you, a handful of other lucky tourists, and locals on the island.

To get to this magical island though, you’ll need to pay a local fisherman a few hundred pesos to take you. If you’re planning to arrive from Bohol, you can either take a small public boat that leaves the town of Baclayon for 250 PHP ($4.50 US) or you can also take a boat from Alona beach for 1,000 PHP ($20 US).

The water and beach on Pamilacan are absolutely lovely and the sand-colored ruins of a Spanish fort on the beach make the island even more magical.

The coral garden is really colorful and you can swim with sea turtles off the coast, but the areas are protected so you need to hire a guide for 250 PHP ($5 US). There are no dolphins right off the coast per se, but you can go out on a boat tour for 1,000 PHP ($18 US) to see them go on their tuna runs in the morning.

If you’re in Bohol, you should take at least two or three days out of your itinerary to stay on Pamilacan island. You won’t regret it!

9. Cebu Island

Kawasan Falls in Cebu, Philippines

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Cebu Island is one of the most beautiful and diverse islands in the Philippines and offers lots of unique adventures. You can easily spend a week there scuba diving, hiking, and swimming in waterfalls.

Most travelers choose the quaint little seaside town of Moalboal as their base to explore the island. Famous for its colorful reef and marine life, you’ll find dozens of dive shops in Moalboal offering daily dives where you’ll have the opportunity to see sea turtles, thresher sharks, and maybe even a whale shark!

The one dive you must do in Moalboal is the sardine run, where you be surrounded by thousands of tiny sardines all swimming in unison.

About an hour south of Moalboal you’ll find the world-famous Kawasan Falls. This waterfall has become one of the most iconic Instagram locations in the Philippines thanks to the picturesque turquoise water and rustic bamboo rafts anchored in the pool beneath the falls.

The real adventure at Kawasan Falls, however, is the canyoning tour. You’ll start with a motorbike ride through the jungle and to the top of the canyon that feeds Kawasan Falls.

You’ll then work your way back downstream – swimming through caves, sliding down natural waterslides, and jumping off cliffs into the pools below. The tour ends in a final hair-raising 40-foot leap from the top of a waterfall! But don’t worry, you can take the path down if you’d rather not jump.

In fact, you’ll find dozens of waterfalls on Cebu – all dotted along the west coast of the island. Aguinid Falls, Dao Falls, and Inambakan Falls all offer fun hiking experiences where you’ll be scrambling over rocks and wading through rivers while surrounded by tropical jungle.

And for a truly unique adventure, head to the town of Oslob on the southern tip of Cebu where you’ll be able to snorkel with massive whale sharks that feed just off of the coast. You’re sure to have an unforgettable adventure on the Island of Cebu!

10. Sumilon Island

Tourists swimming in the crystal clear blue water at Sumilon Island, Philippines

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A 20-minute boat ride from the town of Oslob in Cebu will take you to Sumilon Island , one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines, and probably one of the country’s best-kept secrets.

The beaches in the Philippines need no introduction about how stunning they are, but what makes Sumilon unique is its remote location and the fact that you can easily add it for a city break. It is the best island if you are looking for a quiet, lovely beach vacation.

Although a tiny island, there are plenty of things to do here. The most popular is deep sea diving and since it was the first protected marine park in the country it’s also among the top diving destinations in the Philippines.

The marine reserve is home to crystal clear waters with abundant coral and marine life. You can try diving in one of the four sites – Coral Landscape, Nikki’s Wall, Julie’s Rock, and Garden Eel Plaza.

Another popular attraction is the Sumilon Island sandbar, which offers stunning views of the sunset. There is a ladder that you can climb if you want to jump off the rock. You can also try snorkeling and swimming, or kayak in the nearby Sumilon Island Lagoon.

If you want to stay overnight, the only accommodation option available is Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort , which houses a fabulous infinity pool and offers spots for excellent views of the coast. You should spend a day in Sumilon at least, or maybe two days if you have time or want to enjoy diving.

11. Siquijor

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Although the small, charming island of Siquijor is located quite close to the southern coast of Cebu and Bohol, it’s not so popular among tourists therefore it’s the perfect island if you want to escape the crowds. It takes only 1.5 hour to reach Siquijor from Bohol by ferry so it’s worth combining a trip to both islands.

Pristine beaches, dramatic waterfalls, beautiful corals, and friendly locals are just a few of the many highlights Siquijor has to offer. Cliff diving in Salagdoong Beach is one of the most popular things to do on the island, where you can jump from 10 meters high into the crystal clear water.

If you’re looking for the most beautiful beach in Siquijor, head over to the white sandy Paliton Beach which is also one of the best sunset spots on the island.

Another must-visit is Cambugahay Falls – a three-tiered waterfall offering many pools to swim in and ropes and swings to let your inner child out. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in Siquijor but since it’s the most famous one as well, it can get quite crowded during the day. It’s better to get there early to have the place all to yourself!

With Siquijor being so small, you can easily explore all the best places on this island in just 2 days in Siquijor . But if your looking for a laid-back vacation with plenty of time to relax then I would recommend staying here for at least 1 week.

Most of the tourist spots in Siquijor are located on the southern coast so it’s best to book a hotel in this part of the island. All in all, Siquijor is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines and it’s definitely worth putting it on your Philippines bucket list!

12. Camiguin Island

White Island near Camiguin, Philippines

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Located in the province of Mindanao, the little island of Camiguin is not so well known as Palawan or Siargao. It’s easily accessible by ferry from Bohol or by plane from Cebu.

There are countless amazing tourist spots on Camiguin from beautiful islands to visit, places for snorkeling to even hiking. The White Island is only a 5-minute boat ride away where you will find a beautiful sand bar in the middle of the ocean.

Another must-visit spot is Mantigue Island which is a beautiful place for snorkeling with many colorful fishes around the seashore. You will also find white sand and very clear water everywhere and the island is so small you can walk around it in less than 30 minutes.

Both places can only be visited for a day trip and it’s not allowed to stay there overnight.

On Camiguin island, you can also go for a hike on Mount Hibok Hibok. You will need around 5-7 hours to complete the trek which is quite hard and it can only be visited with a guide.

You will get an amazing view of the island from the top so it’s definitely worth it! Arden Hotspring with its beautiful blue water is the best place for relaxing after the trek and it’s open until late evening.

You should stay at least 3 complete days in Camiguin Island to be able to enjoy the snorkeling spots, sunsets, islands, and delicious food. The best way to move around is to rent a motorbike but there are also tricycles and jeepneys available around the island.

13. Siargao

Aerial view of Sugba Lagoon in Siargao, Philippines

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Siargao is a must-visit on any trip to the Philippines. The laid-back island is filled with more palm trees than you could ever imagine!

There are plenty of fun things to do on the island if you’re looking to do more than just chill out on the beach and island-hop (which are great options in themselves as well). You should stay at least 3-4 days on Siargao to be able to properly explore the island.

Siargao is best known for its surfing, but there are tons to do whether you surf or not. The best way to explore Siargao is by scooter and spending a day cruising the roads through the endless palm tree roads is a really amazing experience.

One of the best things to do in Siargao is to swing on the coconut trees. If you’re making your way from General Luna up towards Magpungko Pools or Pacifico, you’ll pass over a bright red bridge. You’ll likely find a bunch of kids hanging around – let them lead the way to this fun spot! It is free to swing there but feel free to tip the kids for their assistance.

Another fun option is a day trip to Sugba Lagoon. Sugba Lagoon is a small lagoon located on Caob Island, just off the northwest side of Siargao. It is a fun day trip to spend a day on the water, boating, SUP boarding, swimming, and more!

14. Samal Island

Samal Island, Philippines

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Located just off Davao, Samal Island is the perfect getaway for anyone visiting Mindanao’s largest city. The island is easily accessible from Davao City via regular ferries and boats organized by resorts and after half an hour of a bumpy boat ride, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of the island.

Samal Island is somewhat of a hidden gem. It’s rich in natural beauty but lacks the crowds of more famous islands. If you ever get bored of sunbathing on empty white-sand beaches and swimming in the crystal-clear calm ocean, explore the island on a motorcycle!

Start with an adventurous ride up hills covered in green coconut palms all the way to the top of the island to enjoy an amazing view while eating lunch at a viewpoint restaurant.

Afterward, visit the famous Monfort Bat Sanctuary. The cave is home to around 1.8 million Geoffrey’s Rousette fruit bats, making it the largest bat colony in the world.

And if you feel like you might suffer a heat stroke under the scorching tropical sun, take a dip into the Hagimit Falls! These beautiful waterfalls are not only an amazing place to cool down but also to take some stunning shots to rock your Instagram. Of course, all this is best done with the help of a friendly local guide.

15. Boracay

Aerial view of Boracay, Philippines

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Boracay is not just one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines, but in the whole world as well. It is located near the island of Panay and belongs to the Philippine region of Aklan. It was discovered only in the eighties of the last century.

Mount Luho with its 100 meters height is the highest point on the island where you can get an amazing panoramic view. There are two main beaches on Boracay that are worth mentioning: White Beach and Bulabog.

White Beach is named after the fine, white sand that makes the crystal clear blue water and the green rainforest stand out even more. Bulabog is located on the other side of the island. The windy season runs from November to April and in this period the beach is very popular with tourists who like surfing or kitesurfing.

It is possible to rent diving or sailing equipment on the beaches and generally, all water sports are present. For those who like to enjoy a good meal or a cocktail, there are many hotels, bars, and restaurants located along the entire coast.

The nightlife in the Philippines is fantastic and you will definitely have an unforgettable time.

Talipapa Market is another must-visit where you can find many local fruits, vegetables, and souvenirs made by locals. There are also many caves and smaller beaches on the island that can be visited by boat.

You should stay at least 7 days in Boracay but even that might feel too short and you might have a hard time separating yourself from this beautiful island!

16. Seco Island

The beautiful elbow shaped Seco Island in the Philippines

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Choosing one from the many islands of the Philippines, especially without finding thousands of tourists there already can be quite hard. Your best bet is to choose a province that remains off the regular tourist map.

One such province is Antique (pronounced An-ti-ke). It’s adjacent to Aklan, the province of the world-famous Boracay Island.

If you do check out Boracay (and you should!), make sure to head to a lesser-known island in Antique that is just as beautiful: Seco Island . It is small, elbow-shaped (hence its name, Seco, which means “elbow” in the local language), and uninhabited.

One reason for it not being inundated with tourists is that it takes 2 hours to get there from the mainland. You have to leave before sunrise, so you can go back before it gets dark.

Like many well-known islands in the Philippines, Seco has very fine white sand, spectacular views, clear aquamarine waters, and rich marine life. While it’s not a diving destination, it is more than just for swimming and beachcombing, as it is also great for other watersports like snorkeling and kitesurfing.

Most of the visitors who go there for a day trip are actually kitesurfers coming from Boracay.

So if you want to spend a day on a pristine island sans the tourists, head to Seco Island. Bring a mat and a picnic basket and enjoy one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines!

17. Kalanggaman Island

Aerial view of the long sandy beach on Kalanggaman Island, Philippines

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The beauty of Kalanggaman Island is beyond words. Located about an hour away by boat from Palompon town, Kalanggaman is a tiny pristine islet – just a pile of sand with gorgeous palm trees in the middle of nowhere.

Kalanggaman’s long sandbank is what attracts visitors the most. It stretches far out into the ocean. You can walk quite far on it too until the waves connect and the ocean takes over once again. Apart from swimming in the crystal clear water and lounging on the bright white sand, it’s mostly about relaxation on the island.

Walking its perimeter takes less than half an hour of pleasant strolling along its shores and through the greener part of the islet with swaying coconut palms. As for tourist infrastructure, there’s hardly anything in the little area, which makes it even more appealing.

A few huts have been built, but hardly anybody spends the night. On and off, you can come across a rental of snorkels and other water equipment, but it’s best to bring your own if you want to engage in water sports.

Make sure to also bring food and plenty of water with you. Whatever trash you produce on the island, you’ll have to take it back with you.

I recommend anyone to visit Kalanggaman when in this part of the Philippines. Boat rides can be arranged via Palompon Tourism Office. Alternatively, boats depart also from Malapascua Island.

Spending at least half a day is vital but, if time allows, opt for a full day in paradise and rejuvenate just with the power of nature.

18. Malapascua Island

White sandy beach and palm trees on Malapascua Island, Philippines

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Malapascua is a tiny, carless island a few hours by bus then boat from Cebu City. It’s a diver’s paradise since it’s one of the best places in the world to see Thresher Sharks. Don’t dive? Don’t worry! There are still plenty of  things to do in Malapascua to stay busy, though it is a beach island, so it’s great for just relaxing.

Most people spend three or four days here, depending on how much time you have overall for your Philippines trip. I spent a week there (as a non-diver) and could have stayed longer. If you do dive, you could easily spend a couple of weeks here doing dives and courses.

Of course, one of the best things to do is dive, but you can also go snorkeling and island hopping, walk around the island, drink mango juice (so good), read on the beach, look for the lighthouse and watch the sunset there.

If you happen upon it, try out the funnel roulette game in town at night! All in all, Malapascua island is a perfect destination for a relaxing holiday.

Whale shark on Leyte, Philippines

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If you’ve been scrolling through endless amounts of content on the Philippines, there is an enormous chance that you’ve never heard of this island, known as Leyte Island. It’s dotted along the eastern side of the Philippines and makes for a fantastic couple-day pit stop between Cebu and Siargao Island.

What makes this island so much different and special than other islands in the Philippines, is that no one really comes here. Yes, really! This means you will have an entire island to explore and you get the white sand beaches all to yourself. Sounds too good to be true, right?

If you’re eager to etch this place into your Philippines itinerary, then you should set aside at least 3-4 total days here since transit times are very long.

This island is a great fit for adventurers since the top things to do here include swimming with whale sharks in Sogod Bay, diving in the Napantao Fish Sanctuary, taking in the rays at Tangkaan Beach, and hopping on a boat to explore San Pedro and San Pablo Islands!

To maximize your time and not waste a lot of time driving, you should stay in Southern Leyte (the southern part of the island near Sogod Bay). It is quite a trip to get there, but it’ll be one of the most memorable stops on your trip.

After the fast pace of some other well-known islands, this is the perfect place to dig your toes into the sand and relax for real!

20. Caramoan Islands

Caramoan islands, Philippines

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The hidden gem region of Bicol in the Philippines is home to the tropical and deserted Caramoan Islands. This off-the-beaten-track destination is characterized by pristine white beaches, jagged limestone rocks, and crystal clear waters.

This remote cluster of islands in the Camarines Sur peninsula is an ideal destination for island hopping from one deserted island to the next.

Spend three days going in search of hidden coves, secret beaches, and quiet snorkeling spots, and unlike the rest of the country, it’s unlikely you’ll come across any other people apart from a few fishermen.

This is just one of the reasons why these tropical islands have been used to film the hit US TV show, Survivor.

The Caramoan islands have stayed one of the most untouched regions in the Philippines because the journey from Manila is not for the faint-hearted. After flying one hour to Legazpi City in Bicol, you must drive three hours to Sabang Port, followed by two hours on a bumpy speed boat to the Caramoan peninsula.

However, the inaccessibility ensures that the stunning white beaches remain that way, and Caramoan stays as a destination for the adventurous.

Planning a trip to the Philippines?

Then you might want to take a look at all our other travel guides about the Philippines. I promise, they are just as awesome as this article was!

  • The Perfect Siquijor Itinerary: How to Spend 2 Days in Siquijor
  • 11 Best Tourist Spots in Siquijor, Philippines
  • The Ultimate Bohol Itinerary for 3 Days
  • The 7 Best Tourist Spots in Bohol, Philippines

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Top 20 Most Beautiful Islands in the Philippines

36 thoughts on “Top 20 Most Beautiful Islands in the Philippines”

It looks absolutely beautiful here! I would love to visit one day!!

The Philippines are really a true paradise! Hope you will be able to visit soon!

Oh wow! All of these islands with their stunning landscapes and blue waters are exactly what I’d like to see one day. Some of these islands I’ve heard of but most I’ve never heard of. I like learning about lesser visited locations too. Scuba diving in the Philippines is high up on my list!

I’ve only visited 3 islands so far but I would love to go back to the Philippines and explore more! And yeah I would love to try scuba diving as well 🙂

Love this post Kriszti! It’s so nice to have all those different voices and to see all those different places! Definitely keeping this guide for my next trip to the Philippines (one day)!

Thank you Marina, I’m so happy you liked it!

Matinloc sounds like such a nice island to visit, I’ve always wanted to see the Philippines but never had the chance to go. Now I have some islands I can go visit!

I hope you will be able to visit some of the islands, they are really so so beautiful!

What a great compilation! I have had swimming with whale sharks on my bucket list for so long!

Thank you Ashley! Oh yeah that is on my bucket list as well, maybe next time in the Philippines 🙂

The Philippines has been on my travel bucket list for ages now, but sadly, I still haven’t had a chance to go there yet. Hopefully someday! *-* Your photos are beautiful!!

The islands in the Philippines are so beautiful, I hope you will have the chance to visit them soon! 🙂

Aw great post! Our country indeed have a lot of beautiful islands to offer.. I’ve already visited some on the list, but I’m so much excited to isit Palawan soon after thr pandemic.

Thank you so much Loise, I’m so happy you liked it! Yes I would love to visit Palawan as well 🙂

Such a great guide! Exactly what I needed! We rescheduled our Philippines trip to next year.

I’m so glad you liked it Madeleine! Hope you will have an amazing trip next year!

Omg all these islands look so beautiful! I’d love to visit every single one of them 🙂

Hehe I feel the same way!! 🙂

I was supposed to go there this year! Hopefully I could plan this again soon, looks so beautiful!

I really hope you will be able to visit! I would love to go again as well!

So many beautiful islands to visit in the Philippines! I would love to visit them in the future! Swimming with whale sharks seems a very cool experience!

Oh yes it really sounds like an amazing experience! I would like to try it too 🙂

Gorgeous photos!I haven’t been yet to Philippines! Crystal blue waters and white sand ❤️ On my bucket list!

Thank you so much! Hope you will be able to visit soon!

Great inspiration to travel to the Philipines! I want to travel there in the future and it seems quite daunting to choose where to go, so this list os really helpful

Thank you Patricia! Yeah it’s really hard to choose since there are so many beautiful islands in the Philippines!

Absolutely gorgeous! Dream destination…thanks for this extremely helpful post and your pictures are just stunning. Saved on my bucket list!

Thank you Paula! I’m so glad you liked it 🙂

Oh my gosh, these photos are just stunning! I think the Philippines is the exact escape I need right now! Bookmarking for later 🙂

Ahh I would love to go again as well! 🙂

Great post! These islands are all amazing. I’d love to visit the Philippines one day! Your photos really fueled my wanderlust.

Thank you Krystianna! The islands on the Philippines are really like a dream 🙂

It is paradise like! Thank you for sharing this with all of us!

You’re so welcome! 🙂

Lovely post! I can’t wait to get back to the Philippines and explore more places. It is just magically beautiful over there:)

Ah yes I would love to go again as well! 🙂

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15 Best Places to Visit in the Philippines

Written by Anietra Hamper Updated Sep 16, 2022

The Philippines is a destination that is easy to visit multiple times due to its more than 7,000 islands. The most difficult decision you make as a traveler, is figuring out which places to visit first. The Philippines is divided into the three main island groups of Luzon , Visayas, and Mindanao , representing different regions in the country.

The scenery in each region of the Philippines ranges from mountainous and tropical to metropolitan. You can enjoy a day of walking the historical colonial streets of the capital city of Manila or catch a rare glimpse of tiny tarsier monkeys at a private sanctuary on the island of Bohol . The steep, plush mountains provide unforgettable hiking experiences.

Since you are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, it's not surprising the Philippines has some of the best beaches in Asia , and the scuba diving opportunities are outstanding.

Plan your travels around this tropical island nation with our list of the best places to visit in the Philippines.

7. Davao City

9. coron island, 11. puerto princesa, 13. apo island, 14. el nido, 15. siargao, map of places to visit in the philippines.

Boracay

There is a reason that Boracay Island is considered the beach capital of the Philippines because there are more than 12 beaches. This tiny island in the west Visayas region is ideal for beach-goers who are after simple relaxation in the sun or water activities. White Beach , on the west side of the island, is one of the best beaches in the Philippines .

Puka Shell Beach is on the tip of the island and is a favorite spot for shell collectors. Cagban Beach is a quiet spot with nearby caves that are rumored to still contain treasure chests. Diniwid Beach is a tiny beach at the north end of White Beach that has the best view of the island from a platform rock located there.

This island is known for its many resorts, so finding a place to stay is easy. For a panoramic view of the island, take a day trip to Mount Luho , its highest point.

Tarsier

The island of Bohol in the Philippines' central Visayas region runs at a slower pace, and it's a destination that showcases the country's natural beauty. One of the most unique natural wonders on the island is the Chocolate Hills in Carmen . This UNESCO -protected site is a collection of 1,200 geological formations that turn brown in the dry season, resembling a landscape of chocolate candy kisses.

Bohol is home to a family-owned sanctuary for the tiny tarsier primate, known for its large engaging eyes. For a small fee, you can take an intimate walk through the grounds, and stand inches away from the small nocturnal mammal.

The top draw of Bohol is the beach. Panglao Island features some of the best beaches in Bohol: Alona Beach and Danao Beach , which have fantastic diving; Dao Beach and Bingag Beach , which are popular resort areas; Bolod Beach, which has a large stretch of shoreline; and Doljo Beach , which is fairly remote but fantastic for finding seashells.

Snorkeling with a whale shark

The island of Cebu, in the central Visayas region, is considered the port to some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Philippines. If you are an underwater enthusiast, Cebu is one of your best options for excursions that get you up-close to whale sharks, coral reefs, and sea turtles.

Some of the most spectacular scenery from the water near Cebu are the sea caves that attract photographers and outdoor enthusiasts looking for unique diving and snorkeling sites. The Sudlon National Park , located approximately an hour from Cebu City, is a breathtaking park to explore and hike.

While Cebu's greatest draw is its water, Cebu City is a metropolitan area, with tourist attractions like museums and cathedrals that will interest history buffs.

Banaue

The rice terraces of Banaue are one of the most striking things to see in the Philippines. The emerald-green terraces are an agricultural wonder in this area. Some of the terraces are estimated to have been hand-carved into the mountainside more than 2,000 years ago.

The Batad Rice Terraces and the Bangaan Rice Terraces are protected UNESCO World Heritage sites .

For a deeper taste of this region, take a stroll through the Banaue Ethnic Village or the Hiwang Village to mingle with the Indigenous people who farm the rice terraces.

Your most impressive view of the terraces is at sunrise, when clouds and fog lift off the mountain to reveal the intricate landscape of the terraces. You can base yourself in the town of Banaue and hike or drive to the Batad rice terraces, or arrange a stay in a native hut of the Ifugao people for a more authentic experience.

Bantay Bell Tower in Vigan

The historical city of Vigan in the northern Philippines is one of the most charming towns to visit in the Luzon region. Its culture is a fusion of Chinese and Spanish influences originating from settlers to the area.

Take a ride in a horse-drawn kalesa through the streets and admire the colonial architecture, courtesy of the Spanish who colonized the area in the 18th century. Vigan is a city with many nuances to explore.

The best view of the area is from the Bantay Bell Tower , which is also a noted landmark in the area. The Calle Crisologo historic district is a walkable district, where you will encounter many local craftsman and see historical architecture.

A visit to the St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral is breathtaking and a perfect spot to sit and people-watch as you take in the local culture.

Jeepney in front of the Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, Manila

The Philippines capital of Manila, on the island of Luzon, is a bustling city with non-stop activity. Hop on board one of the colorful jeepneys, the main form of public transportation, to get a taste of local life while you visit Manila's top attractions .

Usually over-packed with locals, the bumpy ride through the streets on the iconic and kitschy jeep/bus hybrid vehicles will be one of the highlights of your visit.

Plan stops to the main park in the city, Rizal Park , and the San Agustin Church , which was built in the 16th century. Buy local fruits and handmade gifts at the public market at Quiapo Church , where you are likely to see several thousand people show up on Fridays for worship.

Philippine eagle

For a city scene outside of Manila, head to Davao City, which has a large metropolitan area. Davao City is the main city in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao .

Despite its malls and large population, Davao City features many natural elements, including the Eden Nature Park , Philippine Eagle Center, and the Davao Baywalk near the sea.

One of the best places to visit in Davao City is Mount Apo , the highest mountain in the Philippines. Davao City is a prime location for shopping, as there are several large malls, including Abreeza Mall and SM Lanang Premier Mall . For a peek into Davao City history and culture, the tiny Davao Museum of History and Ethnography is worth a visit.

Hanging coffins of Sagada

One of the most unique experiences you can have in the Philippines is in the northern tribal region in Sagada. Nestled in the rugged and remote Cordillera Mountains are tribes that embrace the occasional visitor.

This area is a paradise for the advanced outdoor enthusiast. The steep mountains and high elevation enhance the thrill and skill level required for outdoor adventure. Hiking is popular in Sagada, particularly to Mount Ampaco , which has the highest peak in the region or through Echo Valley , which has steep and rugged terrain.

One of the best places to visit in this region of the Philippines is the hanging coffins that hide deep in the mountains . It is best to connect with a local guide to take you to this incredible site because this is not a tourist area, but rather an authentic tribal region hiding an experience worthy of bragging rights.

Coron Island

One of the top diving destinations in the world , Coron Island is a tropical paradise, with electric blue and green water that almost seems unreal. The mountainous island sits on the tip of the Palawan island region, the western-most section of islands in the Philippines.

The island is popular for diving because of the numerous wrecks here. Many of the preserved shipwrecks are located in depths ranging from shallow water at just three meters to deep water at 42 meters.

Some of the wrecks require more than one dive to explore due to their size, but you can easily spend a week diving in this area. For non-shipwreck diving, check out Barracuda Lake, a former volcano with many unusual rock formations and fish.

Baguio

Baguio is a city tucked away in a mountainous region on Luzon Island. Though it is a city, Baguio is intimate and reminiscent of a cottage-type environment. Baguio is called the City of Pines for the rich pine forests and cooler temperatures that surround it.

You can explore one of the many hiking and biking trails or take in a round of golf at one of the resorts in the area. Baguio is unique to other destinations in the Philippines because the city is surrounded by trees and not water.

Parks like Mines View and Burnham let you enjoy some of the flora and fauna that are special to this region. Be sure to spend some time along Session Road , which is the main drag through Baguio, where you can take in a slice of local life.

Puerto Princesa

The rock islands, caves, and natural parks of Palawan Island are the hidden paradise of the Philippines. The coastal city of Puerto Princesa is where you should base yourself in order to explore some of these natural gems of the country.

The Subterranean River National Park is a great first stop to see a five-mile underground river and impressive limestone caves. The UNESCO World Heritage site has boat tours that take you through the national park.

Other must-see spots in Puerto Princesa are Honda Bay , which is popular for snorkeling, and Ugong Rock , where you can try ziplining and caving.

Samal

On Samal Island, also called Garden City of Samal, hiking, diving, and kayaking are a way of life. One of the top things to do on Samal Island, besides relaxing at the beach, is visit the Monfort Bat Sanctuary , which is home to millions of bats in the caves.

An enjoyable day trip away from the beach is to Hagimit Falls , where you can walk on the nature trails and cool off in one of the pools below the tropical waterfalls. Samal Island is a short distance away from Davao City, which makes a great change of pace when you want a more metropolitan scene or a broader range of dining.

Sea turtle in the waters off Apo Island

If a swim with sea turtles sounds like the experience of a lifetime then you will want to head to Apo Island in the Philippines. The reason this location lends itself to swimming with turtles and other sea life is because of the protected marine sanctuary. The Apo Island Marine Reserve is where you can take guided trips to see the sea turtles up close and snorkel at the coral reefs.

The island is an eco-traveler's dream. The protected landscape is some of the most untouched in the country. For great views of the island and the water go to the Apo Island View Deck . To get a sense of life on the island for the locals take a stroll on the Lagoon Trail through the Apo Village to see the local flora and fauna and engage with those who live on the island.

Aerial view of El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

El Nido is a stunning place to visit in the Philippines for its clear water lagoons, marine life, coral reefs, and limestone cliffs. You can even take part in cliff climbing excursions, or go to Taraw Peak to experience a canopy walk with the best views of the landscape.

El Nido is also known for its pristine beaches, like Nacpan Beach and Lio Beach , and as the launch point for island-hopping adventures. Island hopping excursions to places like El Nido Big Lagoon or Snake Island to experience the cliffs and caves from the water are a memorable way to experience El Nido.

Wooden walkway for surfers to access the Cloud 9 surf break on Siargao Island

Travelers that enjoy making an itinerary up as they go should put Siargao Island on the agenda. The small island is big with experiences, from sought-after surfing waves to unusual rock formations and stunning waterfalls.

Surfing is what Siargao is most known for. The famous Cloud 9 break is here, but there are many coastline spots that bring in large waves. So, even if you do not surf, watching some of the championship surfers that come to the island is a fun activity.

Deep sea fishing is popular out of Siargao as anglers try year-round for sailfish and mahi-mahi. Another trip option when you visit Siargao is to do a bit of island hopping to places like Bucas Grande , where you can see the Sohoton Caves and the non-sting jellyfish.

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Dive Into Philippines

Best Islands In The Philippines [2024]

Are you finding it difficult deciding which are the best islands in the Philippines to visit?  With literally thousands of beautiful islands in the Philippines, it’s no wonder it is so hard deciding which ones are perfect for your trip.  If you’re finding it almost impossible to decide which of the Philippines top islands to visit on your next trip, then you’re going to love this guide on the most beautiful islands in the Philippines.

There are over 7000 islands in the Philippines and so with the help of some great bloggers, I’ve compiled this excellent guide on some of the best islands to visit in the Philippines.  It includes some of the more famous islands in the Philipines such as Boracay, Palawan and Bohol, as well as those less visited islands like Leyte, Siquijor and Miniloc Island.

Onok Island Balabac, Philippines

Whether you’re looking for pristine beaches perfect for relaxing, the islands which have the best snorkelling or even the best party islands, in this best islands in Philippines 2024 guide, no matter what sort of vacation you’re after you’ll find the perfect island.

Table of Contents

Best Islands in the Philippines to Visit

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

When people think of the best islands to visit in Philippines, Boracay is often a firm favorite.  Boracay is a small tropical paradise, only 7 km long and 1 km wide. However this small island is full of endless powdery white beaches, a great range of resorts and hotels to suit all kinds of budgets and plenty of activities to keep your days as busy or as relaxing as you want them to be.

Despite being one of the most visited islands in the Philippines, Boracay is still stunning.  The island has 12 beaches with the most popular being White Beach and Bulabog.  Across these beaches, there are three main areas.  Station One is in the north and an area well known for its first class resorts.  For those wanting to be in the heart of it all, Station Two in the center is the ideal area, while Station Three is where you’ll find some of the more affordable accommodation options.

On Boracay, holidaymakers tend to spend their days in the crystal clear water.  Water activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, windsurfing, kite surfing and more.  Another popular activity is to go island hopping and visit the nearby islands including Balinghai Beach, Crystal Cove, Crocodile Island, Magic island West Cove and Puka Beach.

Sunsets are gorgeous on Boracay, and you must watch at least once before leaving the island.  After the sunsets, visitors flock to the bars and restaurants around the island.  Bar hopping is also a popular past time on Boracay, especially for the younger crowd.

There are no direct flights to Boracay, so you’ll need to fly from Manila into Caticlan or Kalibo Airport on Panay Island.  From here, make your way to Caticlan Jetty Port and take a short boat to the island.

If you’re looking for the best islands in Philippines for a typical beach holiday, you can’t go wrong with Boracay.

Best Accommodation : Hennan Lagoon Resort – Click here to see the latest prices and Coast Boracay – Click here to see the latest prices

Contributed by Elsa from Germany Footsteps

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Bohol is the 10th largest island in the Philippines and is the best island in Philippines for those after a  combination of gorgeous beaches as well as some great inland attractions.   As well as stunning beaches, Bohol is perhaps best known for its unique inland natural attractions including spectacular landscapes, jungle adventures, river cruises and waterfalls.  It is also reasonably easy to reach via a short flight from Manila to Tagbilaran City – Bohol’s capital.

While the beaches are superb, Bohol has some great inland attractions to visit.  One of the most popular inland places to visit is the Chocolate Hills – where you can see over 1500 mounds which were formed by coral deposits.  Another highlight is a visit to the Tarsier Sanctuary where you can see the Tarsier – the world’s smallest monkey.  Also don’t miss a relaxing lunch cruise on the Loboc River where you can see how the locals live.  You can join a day tour to visit all of these attractions.

Of course like all of the other Philippine Islands, Bohol also has some beautiful beaches which are great for snorkelling and diving.  There are many islands accessible from Bohol Island too which means you have access to a wide range of great island activities.  For the best beaches check out Panglao Island – see it’s own entry below.

If you’re after not just the most beautiful island in Philippines but one that has some of the most diverse landscapes, then definitely consider a visit to Bohol.

Best Accommodation : Bohol Beach Club- Click here to see the latest prices and Bohol South Beach – Click here to see the latest prices

Contributed by Soraya from Simply Soraya Skincare

Small Bangka Boats On Beach Of Paradise Island, Port Barton, Phi

Inaladelan is a breathtaking get-away from the island of Palawan, one of the itineraries of the island hopping tour.  I consider this one of the top islands in Philippines because there are so many things that Inaladelan offers.

There is so much to do in Inaladelan like snorkelling in the clear waters and even swimming turtles.  You can witness the hatching of these turtles during certain times of the year.

Not only is Inaladelan one of the most beautiful island, Philippines has, it is also great for adventurers who want to experience camping on an island.  Inaladelan Resort provides tents for those who reserve an overnight stay.  Imagine spending the night under the stars and the sound of local wildlife, so great.  And don’t worry, there is security on the island to keep you safe.

As you wake in the morning, a real treat awaits you.  The view is just stunning.  You’ll see all the different colours of the water, like blues and turquoises.  Nothing will prepare you for the breathtakingly beautiful view; it’s well worth the effort.

While not one of the more famous islands in the Philippines, if you want to experience a real vacation, Inaladelan is for you.  Adventures like swimming, snorkelling, camping, star gazing, napping on hammocks, playing with the wind, and much more are all waiting for you.

To reach this hidden island in the Philippines, you’ll need to fly to Puerto Princesa City, which is the capital city of Palawan.  From here it’s a two hour drive to Port Barton, from which you’ll need to take an outrigger boat to Inaladelan Island.

Contributed by Maria Elsa Jose from TravellingQuote

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Palawan is one of the most beautiful Philippines islands, located in the Mimaropa region in the province of the same name. It lies between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea and is named after its largest island Palawan.

This famous island in the Philippines has been voted as the most beautiful island in the world many times in a row. This is no surprise as apart from perfect turquoise white-sand beaches, the island boasts of some of the best coral reefs, abundant marine life, limestone mountains, caves and rare wildlife.

This Philippines paradise island is fantastic for adventurous travellers, beach lovers and those who want to drive around or relax. Palawan’s top three islands that draw most visitors include Puerto Princesa , El Nido and Coron. Palawan is an excellent choice if you’re into diving as Coron is one of the best islands for diving and snorkelling in the country.

Some of the things that you should do in Palawan include visiting the UNESCO heritage site Puerto Princesa underground river at the Subterranean River National Park. It is an 8km long gorgeous natural limestone karst landscape, considered the longest underground river in the world. For adventure lovers, ziplining is another activity that you can try at Las Cabañas Beach in El Nido, where you will cruise over the sea to reach Depeldet island, 750m away.

Palawan is one of the Philippines best islands to visit for island hopping.  You can take plenty of full-day island hopping tours, which take you to Shimizu island, Sabang Beach, Secret Lagoon, and Kayangan Lake among others. If you want to exclusively chose any of these activities, there are separate tours, like full-day diving tours or kayaking with a boat trip.

Getting to Palawan is easy with direct flights from Manila which are cheap and only take around an hour.

Best Accommodation : Golden Pension House Click here to see the latest prices.

Contributed by Reshma Narasing from The Solo Globetrotter

Leyte Island

MacArthur Landing Leyte Philippines Soul Travel Blog

One of the largest islands of the Philippines archipelago, Leyte receives far fewer visitors than most and is one of the best Philippines vacation islands.  This island is perfect for the more adventurous traveller who wants to experience the Philippines without the beach-going crowds. This is where you’ll get to experience local life in the Philippines  with none of the tourism sales pitch and probably taste some of the best mangoes of your life!

Leyte has been through more than its fair share of natural hardships and felt most of the effects of super-typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, which claimed 22,000 lives from the island. Wandering around Tacloban, the capital of the island, you can still see the ships that were brought inland by the storm surge and hear stories from many locals who lost their livelihoods as a result. Leyte – especially Ormoc Bay and the MacArthur Landing – are also good places to visit for history lovers as the island played a strategic role in world war two.

Tacloban is the main city on the island and has some of the most comfortable places to stay on the island. From here you can do a day or overnight trips to other parts of the island. Transport on Leyte is poor, so the best solution is to organise local drivers or go with a locally owned tour company who can transport you around.

Recommended spots to visit on Leyte include San Juan Ignacio bridge (the longest in the Philippines), island hopping around the Cuatro Islas, visiting Lake Danao in Ormoc, and taking a day trip to Kalanggaman island which is just one hour from the port of Palompon. Kalanggaman Island is also a nice place to stay. Kalanggaman restricts visitors to 500 per day so you’ll need to book in advance.

The easiest way to get to Leyte is to fly to Tacloban. Otherwise, there are ferry services from Cebu and Bohol that serve multiple ports on Leyte including Ormoc, Palompon. Ferry services change regularly in the Philippines and at the time of writing, there are no known ferries direct to Tacloban.

Best Accommodation: Hotel Estrella Click here to see the latest prices.

Contributed by Ellie from Soul Travel Blog

Salagdoong Beach

I’ve been to several of the popular islands in Philippines, but I have never felt so relaxed in a destination like Siquijor. Siquijor is a small island near Cebu and Dumaguete that is a laidback, low cost, less polluted, and uncrowded.  This is the perfect place if you’re looking for Philippines most beautiful island.

There are only chartered flights to Siquijor. From Cebu or Dumaguete, you can easily go to Siquijor via ferry.  Siquijor has 6 municipalities and it is recommended to book accommodation in San Juan as most of the interesting places are in this area.

The Lazy Lizard Hostel is in San Juan and is up in the hills and surrounded by a forest with $8 to $15 rate per night. The hosts are friendly and accommodating. You can easily go around Siquijor by renting a scooter that is at $7 per day.

Cambugahay Falls is the most popular spot in Siquijor with a big turquoise water pool and three tiers. A swim to the cold water of the pool plus the adrenaline of swing is the perfect way to freshen up during the dry season.

Siquijor is home to several waterfalls like the Lugnason Falls and the 4 hidden gems namely the Locong Falls, Kawasan Falls, Lagaan Falls, and Cabugsayan Falls. These waterfalls are near each other and they appeared in one row on the map.

Siquijor has a couple of white sand beaches like the Paliton Beach and Salagdoong Beach. You can do spelunking in Cantabon Cave or swim with a school of barracuda in Tulapos Marine Sanctuary. Divers love Siquijor because of its rich marine life.  Another unique thing about Siquijor is their faith healers and you can visit them.

Siquijor is an island that is highly recommended for divers and beach lovers who prefer a long and relaxing island vacation on a budget.  Certainly one of the top islands to visit in Philippines.

Find our complete guide to Siquijor here.

Contributed by Mike and Katie from The Hollapinos

Miniloc Island, El Nido

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Far from the crowds and the day trippers is a tiny private island off the mainland of Palawan called Miniloc Island. If you love active holidays with a little relaxation thrown in, you will love Miniloc, one of the top 10 islands in the Philippines.

Miniloc Island is a small resort nestled at the base of sheer limestone cliffs. This isn’t the island for you if you are looking for 5-star luxury.  It has a family friendly, casual and relaxed vibe with a focus on outdoor activities.

There is just a single restaurant to provide all meals and a beach bar to enjoy Sunset drinks each day.  The swimming pool has prime position and a small beach is just for guest use.

The resort is excellent for couples and families alike. Activities on the island include snorkelling, diving with a PADI certified instructor and windsurfing. Take a boat to the nearby Beach Club for a great day out at a gorgeous sandy white beach, or grab a kayak and paddle around the island.

On Miniloc Island you are perfectly positioned to enjoy some of the stunning sights of Bacuit Bay before the tour boats arrive from El Nido town.

There are just 50 rooms offered with full board in a range of settings from overwater bungalows to family cottages. Rooms are not overly generous in size, but all have private terraces to enjoy the views. Access to the island is via plane to El Nido town and then a 45-minute boat transfer.

If you are looking for a unique stay in a stunning location, Miniloc Island is the best island to stay in Philipines.

Contributed by Rachel Rodda from  Coffee Wise

Kalanggaman

Kalanggaman-Island-sandbar

Kalanggaman belongs to one of the most stunning little islands in the Philippines. Located about a 40 minute boat ride away from the city of Palompon, this long sandbar island offers the most picturesque views and could easily be the most beautiful island in Philippines.

Anybody who enjoys solitude, pristine nature and the ocean all around you will love Kalanggaman. It’s the best island to go in Philippines where you can take things easy, swim in the crystal turquoise waters, laze out on the bright white sand, walk along the sandbar and then just take a walk to the greener part of the island for a change of scenery.

There’s not much else to do, actually. Most people are drawn to Kalanggaman for the sand bar. It stretches far out into the ocean, so at the end of it, you almost walk on water. It’s an incredible feeling.  Snorkelling and diving can be done too, but better bring your own equipment.

You can arrange a visit to the island at the tourism office in Palompon, where they regularly send out pump boats with tourists to the island. The number of visitors to Kalanggaman is capped, because it can easily become crowded. You should carry your own food and plenty of water and take all trash back with you.

It is possible to spend the night on the island. A few huts were built there only recently. Again, the tourism office in Palompon can help you with that. A popular option, though, is just to take a day trip to the islet. If you choose to do so, you can stay at the highly rated beachfront resort called Sergi’s Resort and Hotel.

If you’re looking for a new island in the Philippines to visit, consider going to Kalanggaman.

Best Accommodation : Sergi’s Resort and Hotel Click here to see the latest prices .

Contributed by Veronika Primm from Travel Geekery

Alona Beach, Panglao

While many people consider Panglao merely an extension from Bohol, this small island has plenty to offer on its own.

Panglao is connected to Bohol by two bridges (Suarez Bridge and the Gov. Borja Bridge), so it is easy to reach.  Simply take a jeepney or tuk-tuk from Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol.

Like any of the top 10 islands in Philippines, on Panglao the beach is the place to be and Alona Beach is best on the island! For beach and sun lovers, this beautiful white sand beach is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a cocktail or two.

For more adventurous travellers, there are several dive schools located on Alona Beach which offer scuba diving courses and fun dives. If you are a diver, I highly recommend going on a few dives as the underwater world around Balicasag Island Marine Sanctuary (a few kilometres from Alona Beach by boat) is splendid.

If you don’t have a PADI (and aren’t interested in getting one), I recommend joining a snorkelling tour, which makes for a fun day out and costs around $20 (depending on your bargaining skills).

While you’re on the island, a lovely place to eat is Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant, where all dishes are organic and homemade. While the food is a bit pricy for the Philippines, it’s a nice way to support a good cause and have a great meal at the same time.

If you are looking for luxury accommodation, consider staying at the Amorita Resort, a 5-star hotel at the edge of Alona Beach. We only had drinks here as the resort was above our travel budget at the time, but it looked like a wonderful place to stay. Still, we enjoyed a cocktail and admired the view over the beach from the well-kept hotel grounds.  For the budget travellers, stay at Royal Paradise Guesthouse where you’ll find friendly staff, a comfortable and great breakfast.

If you’re looking for one of the best islands of the Philippines for your trip – consider Panglao Island.

Best Accommodation : Amorita Resort Click here to see the latest prices and Royal Paradise Guesthouse Click here to see the latest prices

Contributed by Lotte Eschbach from Phenomenal Globe

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Malapascua is a tiny island north of Cebu that is perfect for backpackers, divers, and even non-divers.  It’s super easy to get to from Cebu though it will take a good portion of the day between buses and a boat, but it’s totally worth it to have a little holiday on a holiday.

Most people that visit are divers because it’s one of the best places in the world to see thresher sharks.  If you already have certifications, that’s great, but you can also take any diving courses you need here.  But don’t worry if you’re not a diver, there are plenty of ways to stay busy.

This tiny carless island is ideal just to relax and enjoy the beach.  Some of the ways to enjoy Malapascua that aren’t diving include reading on the beach, walking around the island, reading in a hammock, playing street games at night, enjoying a fresh mango juice, or looking for the lighthouse.  If you want something a little more active, you can go on a snorkelling or island hopping tour from here, too.  No matter what you decide to do, Malapascua is a nice island in Philippines that is fun and relaxing at the same time.

There are plenty of places to stay on the island and I personally loved Villa Sandra (great for budgets) and Evolution Dive Resort (an excellent mid-range, but still affordable option.)

Best Accommodation : Villa Sandra Click here to see the latest prices and Evolution Dive Resort Click here to see the latest prices

Contributed by Megan Johnson from Red Around The World

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I hope you found this best islands in the Philippines 2024 guide helpful. Another gorgeous island to visit which we didn’t include is Bantayan Island – find out more about it here . If you’re interested in other Philippine guides, check out our 10 days in paradise guide here or if you have longer check out this 3 weeks to one month guide .

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By Sarah Gibson

Sarah first fell in love with the Philippines back in 2013 when she spent her son's first birthday on the beach in Boracay. Since then, she has visited many times and loves sharing her love of the Philippines here so you can enjoy it too. Sarah also has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies and a Certificate III in International Travel Sales. Sarah especially loves island hopping through the Philippines - it's so gorgeous and easy. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to the Philippines!

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The Philippines

The 20 best islands in the philippines for every type of traveller.

best islands to visit philippines

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With over 7,000 islands in the Philippines, how on earth to choose? Whether you’re planning to go backpacking the Philippines or taking the luxury vacation of a lifetime, the first thing you’ll want to know is ‘which are the best islands in the Philippines to visit?’ Well, it really depends on what you’re into. You might imagine beautiful beaches and crystal clear oceans when you picture the Philippines , and you wouldn’t be wrong. But there’s plenty of variety between the islands. Some are popular party islands with beach bars and boat cruises, while others are quiet and local. Some have little to do but lounge on the beach (which might be exactly what you need) whereas others are known for their bountiful sea life and exceptional snorkelling and diving opportunities. Whether you want a luxury escape or a remote adventure, you’ll want to suss out the most beautiful islands before you arrive.

Read next: 101 tips for travelling in Southeast Asia

The top islands in the Philippines

Rather than pack in island after island during a two-week trip, I’d recommend picking a select few based on what you’re into (for example, diving, snorkelling or partying) and making the most of them. You’ll also want to consider how much tourism the islands receive. If you’re the type of traveller who likes to escape the crowds and experience local culture, avoid the most famous islands in the Philippines (*cough* Boracay). Here’s my run-down of the best islands to visit in the Philippines in no particular order (although I can’t lie; number 1 is my favourite).

How to get between the Philippines islands

The Philippines is one of the harder Asian countries to travel around. There’s a clear Southeast Asia backpacking route crossing land borders between Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. You can even reach Myanmar and Malaysia without taking a flight. But the Philippines? Not so much. You’ll probably need to take a handful of internal flights. Manila and Cebu are the big hubs but many smaller islands have airports, too. In fact, there are 70 Philippines airports. If you have enough time, reduce your carbon footprint by using buses and ferries to reach the smaller islands. For example, you can fly to Cebu then catch a ferry to Bohol then, from there, a ferry to Siquijor.

Best Philippines islands

With no more ado, here are the most magical places to visit in the Philippines…

1. Malapascua – best Filipino island for diving

Girl on beach Malapasqua island Philippines

Not only is Malapascua one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines, but it’s also a diver’s paradise. Although you can take your basic Open Water qualification here if you wish, it’s more of an advanced destination because the real attraction is 30 metres below surface level… Malapascua is the best place in the world to see distinctive thresher sharks as they clean and feed. These distinctive sharks with long tail fins are harmless and inquisitive, swimming right up to you.

Check out my friend’s video of our shark dive :

YouTube video

Even if diving isn’t your bag, Malapascua offers everything you’d expect from a Filipino island and a lot of local life, adding a real sense of character. The vibe is unlike any of the more developed, touristic islands. Hire a scooter and local guide in the late afternoon to catch sunset from the cliff viewpoints. How to get to Malapascua: Catch a 4-hour bus from Cebu city to the northmost tip of Cebu island (New Maya Port) and board a boat to Malapascua. These depart when full and take 30 minutes.

2. Kalanggaman – AKA paradise

Kalanggaman best islands Philippines

My idea of paradise? Kalanggaman . This tiny sandbar island measuring a matter of metres in length is shaped like a teardrop. In the municipality of Palompon in Leyte, it’s easily visited from Malapascua. You can snorkel offshore and spot colourful marine life around the reef. Aside from relaxing on the beach and swimming, there’s little else to do on Kalanggaman but that’s hardly a problem. You can bring a tent and stay overnight but note there are no facilities or electricity. That’s part of the island’s charm! How to get to Kalanggaman: The easiest option is to take an organised trip from Malapascua. You’ll pay around P800 including lunch for a return boat trip and another P500 as an island entrance fee but with views like this, you’d be mad not to.

3. Palawan – the most famous island in the Philippines

Colourful boat Palawan

Aside from Boracay and Cebu, Palawan is one of the most famous islands in the Philippines – for good reason. If you’re looking for an island with numerous points of interest, tourist infrastructure and a wide range of accommodation options, Palawan is many destinations in one. It would take 10 hours to drive the length of Palawan with a multitude of towns, villages and beaches along the way. I’d recommend at least a week (if not two) exploring Palawan. Top stops include: El Nido : This region of Palawan is gorgeous but very busy. Boatloads of tourists head off in their throngs and it’s tricky to find a secluded spot. Port Barton: This town made me feel like an intrepid explorer back in 2016. There was little tourism infrastructure and no ATMs or electricity after 9pm. My best memory is taking a trip on a local’s boat including camping on an abandoned island, swimming with luminous plankton and snorkeling in secluded spots. However, I hear things have changed considerably in a few short years. Still, Port Barton is nowhere near as busy or crowded as El Nido.

Giant cliffs El Nido

How to get to Palawan : Fly into Puerto Princesa International Airport. Although many tourists travel directly to the beach, I spent time in Puerto Princesa City visiting the famous Underground River and Iwahig Prison to gain insight into the Filipino justice system and see the inmates dance and beatbox to raise money for their rehabilitation.

4. Coron – best for diving

Coron most beautiful island philippines

Sparkling waters, colourful corals and tropical fish make Coron, just north of Palawan, a strong contender for the most beautiful island in the Philippines. Affordable boat cruises visit the various outlying islands, limestone karsts, beautiful beaches and gorgeous lakes. Snorkelling and diving are popular excursions with impressive WWII shipwrecks to see underwater. Depending on the tour you take, delicious seafood lunches are prepared while you explore, and served on the beach. There are excellent places to eat on Coron waterfront with a variety of restaurants that grill up fresh seafood, served to your table with a variety of side dish specialties from the area. Another reason to support Coron tourism? Operators are mandated to avoid plastic and recycle to protect the environment. How to get to Coron: Flights from Manila take less than one hour. Base yourself in the main city of Coron where you’ll find accommodation ranging from affordable guesthouses to Airbnbs and upmarket resorts. Coron entry submitted by Noel from California and Beyond .

Cebu is a province comprising 150 Filipino islands that surround the main island, home to Cebu city. The island’s charm doesn’t lie in this urban metropolis. Once you’ve landed, you’ll want to escape to more tranquil locations. Kawasan Falls, Moalboal and Oslob are some of the most beautiful places in Cebu. Snorkelling with an enormous living, breathing sardine shoal in Moalboal was one of the highlights of my backpacking trip. A word of warning – many tourists flock to Oslob to swim with whale sharks, however this activity isn’t carried out in an ethical way: the sharks are fed to encourage them to return to the same location each day, thus diminishing their migration skills and ability to find food. Please avoid. How to get to Cebu: Fly into Mactan–Cebu International Airport. Take buses between hubs on the island and hire a scooter to reach rural attractions.

Related read: where to stay in Cebu

6. Siquijor – best Filipino island for getting off-the-beaten-track

Sunset Siquijor

Siquijor is one of the best islands to visit in the Philippines if your objective is getting off-the-beaten-track. Shrouded in secrets, the island is home to mystical ‘healers’ and tales of witchcraft. This intriguing history dates back to a time when there were no hospitals on the island, meaning locals had to rely on their own forms of treatment. An off-beat attraction for those with an open mind is to visit a local witch doctor and receive an aura-cleansing ‘bulo bulo’ treatment. If that doesn’t float your boat, maybe beautiful beaches and waterfalls will. Despite the local feel of the island, it’s worth noting much of the coastline is owned by hotels so you may want to choose your accommodation with this in mind. Staying inland doesn’t have quite the same appeal. How to get to Siquijor: We travelled from Cebu to Bohol to Siquijor in this order. If time’s tight, take a ferry from Dumaguete Port (a 1-hour flight from Cebu city).

7. Bantayan Island

Northwest of Cebu is one of the best islands in the Philippines for escaping the crowds of Bohol and Cebu. With a name meaning watchtowers of the King , this Filipino island was once surrounded by 18 watchtowers built to ensure protection from pirates. Nowadays, the only things to be protected are the pristine beaches and corals. If you love seafood, Bantayan Island is a dream. Tuck into the catch of the day and pay considerably less than you would on one of the more touristic islands in the Philippines. How to get to Bantayan: Take a bus from Cebu’s North Bus Terminal to Hagnaya Port where you can board a ferry to Bantayan Island. The MyBus shuttle connects North Bus Terminal with Cebu airport.

8. Apo Island

diving apo best island philippines

Located in the Visayas, Apo Island is considered to be one of the best Philippine islands for divers. This volcanic island is home to around 1000 Filipinos, but what’s most extraordinary about Apo Island lies underwater.  Declared as a marine protected area, the waters surrounding Apo Island have become a sanctuary for sea creatures, especially endangered sea turtles. It’s also home to more than 615 documented species of fish and 400 coral species.  Because of the thriving coral reef system and its proximity to Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, Apo Island has become a popular attraction for tourists. It’s a wonderful place to swim with turtles or dive within a healthy reef.  While there are resorts and restaurants on the island, most visitors prefer to visit Apo Island as a day trip. How to get to Apo: There are many travel services that arrange day trips to Apo Island from Dumaguete City. These usually include transport by land and boat, snorkeling and lunch. 

9. Bohol – best for countryside

Chocolate Hills Bohol

A couple of hours south of Cebu lies Bohol. It’s known as one of the Philippine’s top islands: there are plenty of activities that don’t involve simply lying on a beach. See the famous Chocolate Hills, cruise down the Loboc River in a floating restaurant and meet tiny tarsier monkeys (the world’s smallest primate). You can also organise day trips to surrounding Philippines islands like Panglao. Tagbilaran is a convenient place to stay and you can easily organise tricycle tours around the island. However, you can find nicer and more beautiful bases, one of the best being Nuts Huts on the banks of the Loboc River. How to get to Bohol: Fly to Tagbilaran airport from Manila or catch a 2.5-hour ferry from Cebu city.

10. Panglao – best for marine life

This touristic, beachy island may not be a hidden gem but it’s still one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines with plenty of activities and lively nightlife. The best place for hostels and nightlife is Alona Beach. It’s easy to organise island-hopping boat trips with opportunities for snorkelling with sea turtles and dolphin watching. Don’t miss nearby Balicasag Island and Virgin Island if you like snorkelling and diving. How to get to Panglao: Catch a tuk-tuk over the bridge from Bohol. If you choose not to stay overnight on Panglao, you can organise day rates with a local driver in Tagbilaran City who will take you to the Panglao points of interest and back to your accommodation at the end of the day.

11. Virgin Island

Clear waters virgin island panglao

Off the coast of Panglao is this idyllic strip of white sand with no vegetation upon it. The water around the Virgin Island is so shallow you can walk around in the ocean with no waves or need to swim. Getting to the Virgin Island: This stop is included in tours from Bohol and Panglao visiting both Balicasag Island and the Virgin Island during the same day.

12. Balicasag Island

Balicasag beautiful Islands philippines

With white sandy beaches and clear aquamarine waters, Balicasag Island sounds like every other beautiful island in the Philippines. But it’s not. What makes this island special is its magical underwater world.  This tiny island is a favorite destination for both local and foreign tourists visiting Bohol. Balicasag Island is best known for island hopping, snorkeling, freediving, and scuba diving activities. From green sea turtles feeding on the seagrass to millions of colorful fishes playing in the reef, you won’t get bored underwater. Aside from the vibrant corals, a massive school of silver jacks is often found hanging around the island. It’s an impressive sight to behold, in itself worth the trip to Balicasag. 

In recent years, Balicasag has become one of the most popular islands in the Philippines and, as a result, the government has enforced a limit on the number of visitors. This is their way of protecting the island and its ocean inhabitants from over-tourism. To visit the island for beach bumming activities or to dive into the blue, plan well and secure a permit beforehand. Dive shops and island-hopping tour services in Panglao can arrange this for you.  How to get to Balicasag: It’s a 30-minute boat ride from Alona Beach in Panglao. Balicasag Island entry submitted by Ara from Philippines Dives .

MacArthur Landing leyte

If you want to get off-the-beaten-path in the Philippines, there’s no better place than  Leyte Island located in the Eastern Visayas province, not far from Cebu. Tacloban, the provincial capital, played a key role in the history of the Philippines. Learn about the MacArthur Landing, that took place when the Philippines was freed from Japanese rule in 1944 site, at the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park. There are many sites to see in Tacloban including the Leyte Provincial Capitol building and Santo Niño Shrine & Heritage Museum (once a presidential home). Go further afield to famous San Juanico Bridge and see sights on nearby islands including Sohoton National Park on Samar Island. Pay your respects at one of the sites remembering typhoon Yolanda (known as Haiyan internationally), one of the worst natural disasters in the Philippines’ history. You can see a large cargo ship thrown ashore by the typhoon that wrecked Leyte in 2013, as well as a tribute to the victims on a graffiti wall. When in Tacloban, eat at Ocho Seafood and Grill and visit the public market in Barangay (Quarter) 38. Getting to Leyte: Fly to Tacloban from Manila or Cebu. Leyte Island entry submitted by Veronika from Travel Geekery .

14. Guimaras – best for mangos

mangos guimaras island

At last count, the Philippines is comprised of 7,641 islands. Many are home to beautiful beaches but not all can claim to have the best mangoes in the Philippines. That distinction goes to just one island: Guimaras.  Guimaras is an island province in the Western Visayas region, situated in the Panay Gulf between the islands of Panay and Negros. Like many islands in the Philippines, it boasts natural wonders including sandy beaches, caves and waterfalls, but what truly sets this island apart are its mangoes.  Guimaras mangoes are known to be the sweetest in the country, which is saying a lot because the Philippines is home to arguably the best mangoes in the world! Anyone who’s tried them can tell you Guimaras mangoes have a robust, nectar-y sweetness, unlike any mango you’ve ever tasted. 

So revered are Guimaras mangoes that an annual festival called the Manggahan Festival is held in their honor every May. For two weeks, the island celebrates these magnificent fruits with parades, sporting events and a ‘Mango All You Can’ bonanza where participants get to eat as much mango and mango goodies as they can for half an hour. The cost? Just 100 pesos, which is equivalent to about 2 USD.  Festival or no festival, be sure to try the mango pizza at The Pitstop restaurant . It’s oddly delicious and a rite of passage for any first-time visitor. If mango pizza doesn’t float your boat, maybe the delicious milkshakes will. Getting to Guimaras: Take a 15-minute ferry from Iloilo City. You can fly to Iloilo City or, if visiting Boracay, board a minibus from Kalibo. Guimaras entry submitted by JB of Will Fly For Food .

15. Mararison Island

Mararison

Mararison Island  is a dreamy paradise just a few minutes off the coast of Culasi, Antique. Once a sleepy island with a quiet fishing village at its heart, it’s since come under the tourism spotlight. Although fishing remains the primary livelihood, tourism has changed the way the locals live. Many have become tourist guides and homestay hosts. Support them by staying in a friendly homestay for as little as 200 PHP ($4) per night. Trek to the hills and savour breathtaking panoramic views of the sea, nearby islets and grassy rolling hills. At low tide, a tail-shaped sandbar at Kawit Beach is visible, made of fine white sand and surrounded by vibrant blue water. A journey to this side in the Philippines kills two birds with one stone. Since the fishing trade is still thriving, tourists can savour freshly caught seafood, cooked by the locals.

Getting to Mararison Island: Catch a bus bound to Culasi from Kalibo or Caticlan costing around 120 PHP ($2.50). From Culasi Port, hire a boat for around 750 PHP ($15). The journey takes around 15 minutes. Entry submitted by Dee from How She Wanders .

16. Boracay – best for nightlife

Group on boat Boracay famous Island philippines

Boracay may once have been an unexplored island but that day is long gone. The sandy paradise receives huge volumes of Western and Asian tourists and is a popular place for Filipinos to spend their holidays. After Boracay was temporarily closed due to over-tourism in 2018, many travellers and locals turn their noses up at the idea of visiting. I decided to form my own opinions and go anyway.

If you’re looking for a peaceful spot, admittedly this won’t be the best island in the Philippines for you. However, if you’re looking to make new friends, let your hair down and enjoy the nightlife, GO. I met some fantastic people at  Frendz  Hostel and spent a week hitting up the beach bars and clubs. Be sure to head to quieter Puka Beach and watch sunset at open-air Spider Bar. Getting to Boracay: Catch a ferry from Caticlan or Kalibo. Although Caticlan is closer, the flights in and out are more expensive. The cheaper option is flying into Kalibo and purchasing a bus and boat combo ticket to Boracay via Caticlan Jetty Port.

17. Siargao – best island in the Philippines for surfing

Siargao island

Siargao, aptly known as the ‘Surfing Capital of the Philippines’, is a stunning island in the Surigao del Norte province that abounds with excellent surf spots. In fact, it’s credited with introducing the sport to the Philippines. Not only is it a haven for surfers, but there’s a myriad of activities and tourist destinations . Soak up breathtaking scenery, including thousands of palm trees, from the Coconut Viewpoint on the North to South Road. Next, stop by the rock pools and Tayangban Cave Pool where crystal clear blue waters await. For a less crowded beach, unwind at Pacifico Beach on the east coast. This is a great surfing spot for the pros, but also suited to those wanting to simply relax. Don’t miss the chance to hop on a guided mangrove tour. Usually combined with the Sugba Lagoon tour, you’ll sail through one of the largest mangrove forests in the country. Getting to Siargao: Fly straight to the local airport from Manila or Cebu. Once here, consider renting a moped which is the best way to get around, or even a tuk-tuk, which you can drive yourself. Siargao Island entry submitted by Cazzy from Dream Big Travel Far .

18. Calaguas Island

beach Calaguas Island

The appeal of Calaguas is its natural beauty. It’s one of the best islands in the Philippines for travellers wishing to escape commercialised, touristic hotspots. But, of course, things are slowly changing. The island is mostly free from development and the majority of visitors will sleep in a tent. However, the handful of modest huts scattered along the beachfront seem to increase each year as the island grows in popularity. So the first point I would make to anyone considering visiting Calaguas is to go as soon as you can! The island’s activities are limited to swimming, snorkelling, beach volleyball, sandboarding and throwing a frisbee around. There isn’t much to do except sit back and take in your surroundings. Is that a bad thing? Certainly not!

Aside from a couple of generators that tour guides operate, there’s no electricity at night. This means there’s little to do except have a few drinks on the beach, or read a book if you bring a reading light.  It’s best to let a tour operator handle everything for you. They’re fairly cheap and will arrange tents, food and boat travel to and from Daet for around $50-$70. Getting to Calaguas: Take a 2-hour boat from the town of Daet. Fly into Bagasbas Airport from Manila, Cebu and other hubs. Calaguas entry submitted by James from The Slow Traveler .

Banaue Rice Terraces luzon

Beaches are what you picture when visualising beautiful islands in the Philippines but don’t let that deter you from visiting Luzon. The biggest Filipino island (population 53 million) is home to the capital, Manila, and various other points of interest. Board a bus from Manila to Banaue Rice Terraces (dubbed the eighth wonder of the world), hike volcanos in Tagaytay, explore the mountain town of Baguio, marvel at the hanging coffins of Sagada, climb sand dunes in La Paz and visit colonial town, Vigan, preserved as it was during Spanish rule. These are just a few of the many attractions of Luzon . Rolling countryside, hiking opportunities and hospitable local villages make the island a captivating alternative to snorkelling and sunbathing.

viewpoint samal island

Samal Island is one of the Philippines’ best-kept secrets. Located just south of Davao near the Philippines’ Mindanao Island, Samal’s natural beauty matches the country’s most popular destinations – sans the crowds. The main attractions include Hagimit Falls, a terrace-like waterfall where visitors can swim (under the supervision of locals) and Monfort Bat Sanctuary, home to the world’s largest colony of Geoffroy’s Rousette fruit bats.

Enjoy a motorbike ride across the steep hills and through dense tropical rainforests, soaking up stunning hilltop views of the island. Afterward, lie back at one of the island’s many resorts and enjoy the warm water and clean white sand beaches. How to get to Samal Island: Take a 45-minute ferry ride. Depending on the tides, this ride may be bumpy (and hence adventurous). There are some public ferries to the island but visitors booked in a resort usually have private transfers to the island included in their package. There are plenty of resorts across all price ranges on Samal making the island perfect for both budget and luxury retreats.  Samal entry submitted by Arabella from Spicy Travel Girl .

Thanks for reading!

Read my other posts about the Philippines:

  • Diving with sharks on Malapascua island
  • Malapascua and Kalanggaman islands
  • Doing the Jailhouse rock: my time at the Filipino dancing jail
  • Siquijor: the Filipino island that will leave you spellbound
  • AND my complete Southeast Asia bucket list and how to spend 3 months in Southeast Asia

See you next time for more adventures,

Ps. Liked these beautiful islands in the Philippines? Pin this for later!

best filipino islands

Rose is a solo traveller from the UK who has been on the road since 2015. She wants to show other women that solo travel isn't scary and doesn't have to be expensive! Rose has lived in Mexico, Canada and all over Asia, seeking out food, bubble tea and street art wherever she goes!

3 thoughts on “ The 20 Best Islands In The Philippines For Every Type of Traveller ”

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

I only heard of two of the islands you’ve mentionned so I’m glad I found your post! The Philippines sounds amazing right now, especially since it’s winter time in Europe.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Thanks Kelly! Glad you liked it – out of interest, which were the two you heard of?

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Hello! I’m glad I found your island list of Philippines. My family and I are going back there this May and have not been back there for over 10 years + So seeing this list of yours gave me some ideas on where to go. Thinking about flying into Boracay Island and wanted to know if you really have to stay at one of the hotels there or if an Airbnb will do? While I was searching for flights from Manila to Boracay it gives me a warning that I will have to show proof I am staying at a accredited hotel and just wanted to know if this was a problem for you. Please let me know thank you.

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Best Islands Philippines

🏝️ Discover the Enchanting Islands of the Philippines: Tropical Paradises Await! 🌊

When it comes to tropical sanctuaries, the best islands in the Philippines offer a kaleidoscope of vistas far beyond the popular white sandy beaches of Boracay. An archipelago of over 7,000 islands, the Philippines presents a plethora of beautiful islands waiting to be explored. For the avid traveler or the curious explorer, the journey of discovering the top islands in the Philippines is as enchanting as the destinations themselves. From the perfect barrel waves of Siargao to the serene beauty of Palawan’s hidden lagoons , every island tells its own story.

Island hopping in the Philippines unveils a world of pristine beaches, ecologically rich marine life, and untainted nature reserves where one can indulge in pure tropical bliss. But which of these countless isles are the must-visit islands in the Philippines ? And what makes them stand out in a sea of choices? As we embark on a virtual expedition across the Philippine seas, get ready to encounter the famous islands for their legendary hospitality and the pristine islands that are the country’s best-kept secrets.

Whether you’re seeking an adventurous escape or a tranquil retreat, the islands of the Philippines beckon with a promise of unforgettable experiences. Join us as we chart a course through the dazzling waters and unveil these hidden gems in a realm often referred to as the Pearl of the Orient.

Unveiling the Splendor of the Best Islands Philippines

Amongst the archipelago’s vast constellation of isles, certain gems shine brighter with their incomparable allure and exotic charm. The beautiful islands in the Philippines offer more than just sandy retreats; they are bastions of biodiversity, cultural richness, and tropical escapism . Join us as we explore these must-visit destinations that stand as timeless testaments to nature’s artistry and humankind’s pursuit of paradise.

The Breathtaking Beauty of Palawan’s Hidden Lagoons

Picturesque and poised as the quintessential tropical paradise , Palawan’s hidden lagoons are ensconced amidst majestic limestone cliffs and aquamarine waters that sparkle under the sun. Top islands like El Nido Palawan are not only sanctuaries for marine life Philippines but also host to iconic island resorts Philippines that embody sustainable luxury and uninterrupted serenity. Whether you seek to dive into Palawan’s hidden lagoons or bask in the sun-soaked splendor, this is tropical escapism at its finest.

Boracay’s White Beach: A Tropical Utopia

Enshrined as a perennial favorite, Boracay Island resonates with the tune of waves lapping against the best beach in the world . White Beach Boracay , with its powder-like sand and idyllic vistas, promises a tropical utopia unmatched by any other. As night falls, the island transforms into a vibrant nightlife Philippines hub, where every moment is a celebration of life’s simple pleasures and shared discoveries.

The Surfing Capital: Siargao’s Exhilarating Waves

Deemed the surfing capital Philippines , Siargao Island hosts some of the best islands Philippines for surfing enthusiasts. Iconic surf spots dot the coastline, inviting adventurers to challenge the mighty waves or simply revel in the lush beauty of pristine islets. The island’s pulse beats to the rhythm of waves both in the water and across the vibrant social scene, defining Siargao as the heart of island adventure Philippines .

Coron: A Dive into Maritime Majesty

From the astounding clarity of Kayangan Lake, known as one of the cleanest lakes in the Philippines , to the mysterious depths of sunken Japanese warships, Coron Palawan offers a deep dive into maritime majesty. Here, marine sanctuaries teem with life and color, presenting some of the most exquisite diving sites Philippines and instilling a sense of awe for the archipelago’s underwater treasures.

Bohol’s Chocolate Hills: Merging Adventure with Culture

Bohol Island , with its unique geological formations and rich cultural fabric, beckons travelers to a world of natural wonders Philippines . The famous Chocolate Hills rise like emerald-clad monuments amid the landscape, luring visitors to unravel the mystery behind their creation. Meanwhile, a wildlife encounter with the Philippine primate tarsier in their natural habitat adds an extraordinary chapter to any adventure travel Philippines itinerary. Bohol is an island where nature and culture meet, creating a mosaic of experiences that resonate with the soul of the archipelago.

A Slice of Tropical Heaven: Exploring Beyond the Mainland

Island hopping Philippines

Philippines’ vast archipelago is a marvel of biodiversity and scenic landscapes, offering escapes to some of the world’s most pristine beaches and hidden natural treasures. Adventure, relaxation, and eco-tourism merge harmoniously in this tropical paradise , seducing explorers to dive deeper into the country’s rich offerings. From Pangasinan to Bohol , and Cebu to Mindanao, every island hub serves as a launchpad to a myriad of unforgettable experiences amid the serene beaches, secluded lagoons, and protected areas of the Philippines.

Island Hopping in Hundred Islands National Park

For those craving adventure sports and eco-friendly travel, Hundred Islands National Park epitomizes eco-tourism in the Philippines. With island hopping charters ready to whisk you away, you can explore the park’s myriad of natural attractions. Replete with protected areas and scenic landscapes, these formations stand as a testament to the Philippines’ commitment to preserving its natural beauty. Each island offers its own blend of adventure and tranquility, from the vera green backdrops to the crystal-clear waters perfect for snorkeling and kayaking.

Panglao Island: Bohol’s Serene Sanctuary

Nestled at the heart of Bohol , Panglao Island shines with serene beaches and vibrant tropical destinations. Renowned for its diving sites, especially near Balicasag Island, Panglao is a revered spot for underwater enthusiasts seeking intimate encounters with marine diversity. Above the surface, the island’s array of resorts offer serene beach escapes that capture the essence of idyllic coastal living.

Luring Adventurers to Cebu’s Shores

Cebu Island stands as a beacon among top island destinations in the Philippines, inviting voyagers to bask in its historical attractions and indulge in a plethora of water sports. Diving sites here are rich with marine diversity, and the island’s developed ecotourism is proof of its status as a pristine tropical destination. Whether it’s for history-infused city tours or the pleasures of white sand beaches, Cebu is a tropical exploration hub for all manner of travelers.

Siargao’s Secluded Lagoons and Mangrove Reserves

Known as the surfing capital of the Philippines, Siargao Island goes beyond to captivate with its secluded lagoons and natural reserves. The pristine mangrove forests and calm waters of Sugba Lagoon offer enchanting venues for kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. Adventurers keen on tropical exploration will find Siargao’s island getaways, complete with serene beach escapes and a welcoming local vibe, wholly satisfying.

As you venture from the serene Panglao Island in Bohol to the stunning mangrove reserves of Siargao, the Philippines invites you to unwind and reconnect with nature. These islands encapsulate the sheer variety of experiences available in this tropical haven, leaving you eager to return and discover even more of its hidden gems.

In the rich tapestry of the world’s destinations, the Philippines emerges as an exquisite mosaic of islands, seducing travelers with their unparalleled beauty and diversity. These igems illustrate a spectrum of paradisaical charm, from the legendary waves caressing Siargao’s shores to the cultural tapestry woven throughout Bohol’s landscapes. The archipelago’s pristine islands like Palawan and Coron reveal subaquatic splendors that rival any on earth, placing these destinations amongst the best islands in the Philippines .

With every form of tropical splendor imaginable, this nation’s islands span the full gamut of travel experiences, embodying the very essence of island hopping in the Philippines . Whether it’s the vibrant local hospitality that enriches the visit, or the luxurious seclusion found in upscale resorts, the Philippines offers an array of indulgences for all inclinations. It is these multifaceted experiences that anchor the country’s status as a top-choice tropical paradise , making it a shining beacon on the international travel scene.

As we conclude this journey through the Philippines’ captivating islands, it’s clear they stand as titans among the globe’s must-visit islands . Bearing the hallmarks of a quintessential island retreat mixed with adventures through both land and sea, these destinations promise an evocative and memorable escapade. For those plotting their next vacation, consider the siren call of the Philippines – a true confluence of natural wonders, cultural exploits, and the allure of the unknown, waiting to be discovered among the most beautiful islands the world has to offer.

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Go Around Philippines

Top 10 Best Islands to Visit in the Philippines

The Philippines is one of the best countries to visit in Southeast Asia and the world! With its stunning islands and beaches, less-explored waterfalls, rolling hills and hiking spots, fresh and plenty supply of seafood and friendly locals; the list is never-ending.  It is a tropical paradise waiting to be visited and explored.

Table of Contents

Related Read: How to Plan Your Trip to the Philippines: The best guide

The country has more than seven thousand islands to choose from so we know it is difficult to pick out the best ones to visit. To make it easier for our dear readers, we asked our blogger friends to recommend the best islands to visit in the Philippines.

Recommended by Peta and Jonas of  Exit45 Travels

Palawan is a stunning province in the Philippines that often gets overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbours. The island offers pristine beaches, stunning limestone cliffs, and a diverse ecosystem.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

The island of Palawan is known for its beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters. The island is also home to some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world, which makes it a great place to dive, snorkel, and explore. Palawan is also home to an amazing variety of marine life including tropical fish, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles.

The best known areas amongst travellers are El Nido on the northwestern-most tip of mainland Palawan, and Coron, just a 30 minute ferry ride away from El Nido. Travellers will be in heaven  island hopping in El Nido  and Coron, exploring massive coral gardens, underwater shipwrecks, hidden coves and deserted beaches.

Palawan is not only beautiful beaches, but is also home to some of the most lush and tropical jungles on Earth. The mountains that make up the island’s backbone are some of the most dramatic and scenic in the Philippines. There are also many interesting historical sites and attractions on Palawan, making it a great destination for travellers of all ages.

Related Read: Palawan Travel Guide : Itinerary, Things to Do, Island Hopping and Transfers

The culture is very welcoming and friendly, and the people are very proud of their heritage. A visit to Palawan is incomplete without seeing the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. There are also plenty of activities to keep you busy from diving and snorkelling, to hiking, climbing and mountain biking.

If you’re looking for an amazing tropical destination that’s still off the beaten path, Palawan is definitely worth considering. With its incredible natural beauty and friendly locals, this is a place you won’t want to miss.

Recommended by Holly of Globeblogging

Ranked multiple times as the best island in the world, Boracay needs to be on the list of any visitor to the Philippines. Featuring stunning aqua coloured water and soft sand Boracay also features amazing food and a bustling nightlife, while still offering a great holiday on a budget.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

The small island is serviced by the airport on the nearby island of Caticlan, which is s short boat trip away. It is a long island with a stretch of beach on each side. If you are seeking the tourist experience you will want to head for White Beach. This aptly named 4km stretch of beach is lined with accommodation, restaurants and at night, bars. It is a hive of activity both day and night, the daily stalls giving way to beach bars once the sun goes down. This side of the island is sheltered from the winds that are channeled onto the other, quieter side of the island, which is famous for its kitesurfing. It is about a 15 minute walk to cross from one side to the other.

Related Read: Boracay Travel Guide : Itinerary, Things to Do, Island Hopping and Transfers

Be sure to visit the D’Talipapa if you are a seafood fan. Here you can buy the seafood fresh from the fisherman in the centre of the marketplace, then choose from a selection of restaurants which line the marketplace and hand it over to be cooked to your liking. The seafood is very cheap, but be aware bargaining is expected and you will be given the tourist price to start!

Walk along White Beach at sunset to be gifted with spectacular colours stretching across the sky, or take a sunset cruise to watch it from the water. The  Boracay sunset  will rival the best you’ve seen in the world!

Recommended by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers

Bohol is one of the most popular islands in the central Visayas – mainly because of the Chocolate Hills. More than 1260 hills, some of them as high as 120 meters, cover an area of around 50 square kilometers. The hills are covered in grass that turns brown in the dry season, thus looking like chocolate balls peaking up from the lush jungle. But there are a lot of other things to do in Bohol.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

The island is famous for being home to the smallest primate on earth, the Philippine Tarsier. Unfortunately, they are widely exploited for tourism, but truth is, they commit suicide when being handled by people. So avoid any activity that includes holding them or taking selfies with them. If you go to a sanctuary to see them, make sure you do your research first to assure it is an ethical place.  Responsible tourism  is an important step towards their protection.

Related Read: Bohol Travel Guide : Itinerary, Things to Do, Island Hopping and Transfers

 Bohol is also a heaven for waterfall lovers. Rent a scooter to go waterfall chasing independently or join a tour. The island also has amazing beaches and is perfect for lazy days at the beach with a coconut in hand. Snorkeling and scuba diving is one of the best activities with a mesmerizing underwater wall that invites for diving with unique sea life both day and night.

Recommended by Arrianne of Travel Habeat

Siquijor is probably one of the underrated islands in the Philippines. You might hear the controversial witchcraft stories about the place but really, there is nothing to fear about.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Quiet and laidback, there are interesting sites you can visit around the town like the enchanting century old Balete tree where you can even try a fish spa just in front of it. Pay a visit to important historical sites like the Lazi Convent, one of the biggest convents in the country. If you’re an architecture aficionado, there is also the beautiful St. Isidore Church (also known as the Lazi Church) made of stones and wood that is situated next to the convent.

Related Read: Siquijor Travel Guide : Itinerary, Things to Do, Island Hopping and Transfers

But like most islands in the Philippines, Siquijor has its share of stunning natural attractions. Don’t ever leave the place without exploring Cambugahay Falls and Salagdoong Beach. Cambugahay Falls is a three-tiered waterfall. Small as it may be, its waters are alluring and clear. Adding more fun is a rope swing hanging from a tree that you can take to plunge into the cold waters of Cambugahay Falls. But if you’re feeling more adventurous, Salagdoong Beach has got you covered. Aside from its nice shore, you can go cliff jumping at the place.

There are no direct flights from Manila to Siquijor. You can fly to Dumaguete or Cebu and then take a ferry to the island. To make the most of your travel, you can opt to explore Siquijor together with these equally fascinating destinations.

Recommended by Noel of Travel Photo Discovery

One of the best islands to visit in the Philippines is Cebu, also the second largest city in the archipelago and one of the most historic cities. Established as a Spanish Colony, the historic district of Cebu is beautiful with gorgeous churches, civic buildings and homes that are now living museums that you can visit.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Around the city are other historic treasures worth visiting from the gorgeous viewpoints above including the Cebu Taoist temple, Magellan’s cross brought over from Spain, Fort San Pedro on the waterfront to outdoor markets at Mactan Island and the resort areas with gorgeous oceanfront areas. You can catch many local boat cruises that visit many of the nearby islands and go for snorkel or diving cruises in the region complete with a wonderful lunch experience of local food specialties prepared and served on the beach typically in pavilions.

Related Read: Cebu Travel Guide : Itinerary, Things to Do, Island Hopping and Transfers

You can also drive to different areas of the island that are unspoiled and natural with gorgeous waterfalls, coastline drives and even swimming with the giant whale sharks at Oslob where you can swim with these 15 meter sharks that stay in the warm waters in this region of Cebu and a major attraction in this region. After all those fantastic excursions, you’ll love dining at many local restaurants that serve the delicious local specialties like Cebu lechon or suckling pig, fresh seafood specialties, Pochero or beef soup and Sutukil which is typically fish prepared three ways, grilled, stewed and also cooked in vinegar offering a variety of different flavors for one dish.

Cebu is easy to get to from Manila and less than an hour flight with many regional carriers, making it a very accessible island to visit easily and you will love exploring here and the neighbor islands close by.

Recommended by Dea of HowSheWanders

This tiny island province in Northern Mindanao may not be the most popular destination, but definitely one of the best when it comes to unspoiled natural wonders, history, and adventure. Camiguin Island has an abundance of attractions from relaxing hot springs and pristine islands, to refreshing cold springs, majestic waterfalls, and mysterious historical attractions. This paradise is complete with everything a curious adventurer seeks.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

A  Camiguin Island itinerary  wouldn’t be complete without a visit to its star attraction: the White Island. It’s an uninhabitable island with nothing on it but a heap of white coral sands. What makes it incredible is the majestic view of Mt. Hibok-hibok and Mt. Vulcan and the inviting water that surrounds it — you wouldn’t see anything like it anywhere in the country!

Camiguin is small enough that you can travel over the whole circumferential road within a couple of hours. Visiting multiple attractions in a single day is also possible that’s why it’s a popular side-trip destination for travelers doing a Northern Mindanao expedition. It’s also easy to DIY even though the sites are quite spread out since many motorcycle/multicab rentals are available. For commuting, it’s possible but not that efficient.

Related Read: Top 20 Best Places to Visit in the Philippines

Camiguin may not be as massive as other island destinations but it is loaded with beauty and charm. So if you’re on the lookout for a gorgeous island that will give you an unforgettable island experience, Camiguin is the place to be!

Recommended by Greta of Gretastravels

If you’re looking for the most beautiful islands to visit in the Philippines, you have to add Siargao to your bucket list. Siargao is still relatively off the beaten track, while it is not completely undiscovered, it is much less touristy than many other islands in the Philippines.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

The island is a paradise for any outdoors, beach and nature lovers. It’s especially famous for its many surf spots, but surfing isn’t the only things to do on the island. There are many natural rock pools, pristine white sand islands just off the coast of Siargao, green lagoons, and endless palm tree forests.

Siargao has a rugged and wild natural beauty, which travellers looking to visit places away from the main tourist radar are sure to enjoy. Make sure to do a  Three Islands boat trip  while in Siargao.

This tour, on a traditional wooden Filipino boat, is the classic tour that starting in Siargao, will take you to Naked Island, Guyam Island and Daku Island. These are the three islands just off the coast of Siargao, where you can find crystal clear turquoise water, fine white sand, beaches lined with palm trees and even a unique sand bank (known as Naked Island).

Related Read: Siargao Travel Guide : Itinerary, Things to Do, Island Hopping and Transfers

Another must-see in Siargao is Magpupunko Rock Pools. Popular with both tourists and locals alike, these rock pools are the perfect place for an afternoon of dives, sun bathing and floating in the sea.

In Siargao you won’t find countless tourist resorts, but a more genuine and wild island experience. It’s without a doubt one of the best islands to visit in the Philippines, especially if you’re searching for something unique.

Kalanggaman

Recommended by Veronika of Travelgeekery

Kalanggaman  is a little speck of paradise in the Visayan Sea. The small remote island is ideal for those who want to just relax on a perfect white sand beach and enjoy the shade of tall palm trees. 

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Kalanggaman features a long sand bar that runs far out into the sea. Strolling along it comes highly recommended. You can swim on one side of the beach, watch crabs on the other side, walk around and enjoy the peace and quiet. You need to bring your own food and take all your trash back with you. On and off, there’s a rental of water equipment for snorkeling. There’s hardly any signal and the remote location means also no insects!

Related Read: Top 20 Best Things to Do in the Philippines

Kalanggaman is ideal as a day trip destination or, if you feel adventurous, you can spend the night under the stars. Since Kalanggaman is so tiny, the number of people who can get there per day is limited. The local Palompon tourism board in Leyte province takes care of that. If you don’t take an organized tour, you need to arrange your visit with the tourism board as well and get a traditional Filipino pump boat to get you to the islet from Palompon. The boat ride takes about 40 minutes and you may even spot dolphins on the way!

Panay Island

Recommended by Irish of TravelMoments

Not many tourists have heard of Panay Island as it is located in the western part of central Philippines. Although the most popular destination is Boracay, Panay Island actually has more to offer in terms of beaches, waterfalls, and rich eco-tourism destinations. It has also earned the 20th spot in TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards for Popular Destinations in Asia category in 2020.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Panay Island is composed of a group of islands in the Western Visayas region, including four provinces Aklan, Antique, Iloilo, and Capiz. Each of these provinces has unique tourism attractions that would cater to any travelers interest. In Antique you can find one of the world’s largest vertical springs; Malumpati Cold spring. It measures 30 meters (94 feet). In Iloilo, you can find old and ancestral houses in the suburbs and enjoy the different cuisine being offered in the city.

Related Read: Best ways to get from Caticlan (Panay Island) to Boracay

Guimaras Island which famous of the sweetest mangoes in the country can also be visited a short ferry away from Iloilo. It’s a small area with caves, empty and pristine beaches, and fresh seafood. If you’re into hiking and nature, visit Antique and Capiz too!

So if you’re visiting Boracay, go to its main island and you’ll surely find something truly special — a hidden gem of an island.

Hundred Islands National Park

Recommended by Eloise of SocialsCo

The Philippines has more than seven thousand islands, and it is definitely hard to choose which one to visit. What if I told you that you can visit more than one island at a time? That’s a hard pass!

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

The Hundred Islands National Park is composed of 124 islets which are scattered in Lingayen Gulf. It is also the first national park and protected area in the northern part of the Philippines. Only four of these islands have been developed for tourism, but you can island hop to many of them.

To go around, you can rent your own boat for a day tour or a couple of nights hopping to some islands. They also have lots of water activities to choose from. You can also climb the 263 steps to see the 56-foot Christ the Savior statue atop Pilgrimage Island (formerly Martha Island). Don’t miss the scenic viewpoint at the Governor’s Island!

Did we miss anything else? Let us know in the comments!

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Angie is a travel consultant and blogger who has started by writing her travel memoirs on her blog and then got published  on international travel sites. She’s now focused on creating in-depth travel itinerary and articles about planning trips to the Philippines.

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top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog

5 Islands to Visit in the Philippines & How To Visit Them All in One Trip!

Categories Asia , Philippines

There are so many places and islands to visit in the Philippines it’s hard to know which ones to visit! It’s also hard to plan a trip around the Philippines as most places are hard to get to and involve flying, buses and boats. Plus most of the most popular places to visit in the Philippines are far away from each other.

So in this Philippines travel blog are 5 amazing places in the Philippines that you can visit together as they all flow easil from one to the next (well as easily as travel can flow in the Philippines.. I’ll warn you now that the travel days are long!) so there’s no reason why you can’t visit all these islands on one trip to the Philippines!

My friend helped me with this post, she gave me details of  what she really thought of the places , what she did there and where she stayed whilst travelling on a backpacker budget!

Islands to visit in the Philippines

islands to visit in the Philippines

Keep Reading for the best islands to visit in the Philippines!

1. Malapascua

Getting there: Cebu city to Malapascua by Bus

Start in Cebu City which is the main city and has a major airport.

Catch the Ceres Bus from Cebu Bus Terminal to Maya Port. The 1st bus is at 3:00 am.

Get a Boat from Maya Port to Malapascua. The 1st boat is at 7:00 am and the last boat about 5:00/6:00 pm.

Where to Stay in Malapascua :

Budget Inn – Nice Accommodation. They play films every night & it’s a sociable place.

Activities to do in Malapascua:

Day trip to Kalanggmann Island  to visit Leyte and the Sand Bar. It’s a beautiful day trip with lunch included.

Incredible Diving

Enjoy the Beautiful Beaches

Islands to Visit in the Philippines, Kalanggaman Island Leyte

Kalanggaman Island, Leyte.

Getting there: Malapascua to Bohol by bus and boat

Catch the local boat from Malapascua back to Maya Port. Get the Ceres Bus again back to Cebu City Bus Terminal.

Take a taxi to the Ferry Terminal and the Ferry to Bohol.

Take a taxi/tricycle from Tagbilaran Port to Panglao on Panglao Island.

Where to stay in Bohol :

Moonfools Hostel  – It’s a popular choice in Bohol in a good location to the beach although slightly overpriced.

Activities to do in Bohol :

A Day trip to the Chocolate Hills is the most popular activity in Bohol.

Visit the Tarsier Monkey Sanctuary.

Take a lunch river cruise.

If you’re confident enough then hiring a scooter and exploring yourself is a good idea here.

Overall thought:

Not a fan of Panglao. It doesn’t live up to the Instagram photos but the Chocolate Hills are good and worth visiting for!

(Side note: Oslob which is a famous place for swimming with Whale Sharks is very close to Panglao however DO NOT do this. There are so many articles why,  here’s one article  by a Dive Centre in Bohol and here’s a video by Aly at Psycho Traveller which is a great, passionate video!)

Islands to Visit in the Philippines, chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills!

3. Siquijor

Getting there: Bohol to Siquijor by boat

Take a taxi/tricycle back to Tagbilaran Port and Ferry Terminal.

Catch the Ferry to Siquijor. Note that these ferries are not regular. More info here .

Take a Tricycle from Siquijor Port to San Juan.

Where to stay in Siquijor:

Charisma Resort – Budget accommodation, fairly old in style but it’s on the beach and it has a swimming pool! It has one bog dorm room which means it’s very sociable. There are some private rooms available too.

Activities to do in Siquijor:

Go Waterfall chasing! – There are lots of Waterfalls on Siquijor island that you can visit. The most popular are Cambagahay Falls. There’s also Lagaan Falls and Lugnason Falls too.

Zodiac Falls is a free Waterfall Adventure Ecopark in the jungle which has waterfalls for each zodiac sign which seems quite unique!

Visit Paliton Beach in San Juan at Sunset. Siquijor Island is known as the Island of Fire and its sunsets may be why!

Be a beach bum on its many incredible beaches: Salagdoong beach, Kagusuan beach.

Snorkelling in Coco Grove and pop into Coco Grove Beach Resort which is the best hotel on the island.

Siquijor is popular among locals for folk healing and its known to have many stories about witchcraft on the island so a visit to a Sharman is possible.

Go up Mount Bandilaan for Sunset.

Go Cliff jumping at Salagdoong Beach.

Where to spend your evenings in Siquijor:

Thursday night- Cecilia’s Guest House where there’s a live reggae band and disco.

Friday night- Czar’s Place

Saturday night- The Sylvia for a band night.

Sunday night- Baha Bar to chill.

Visit Dagsa in San Juan for dinner, it’s a bit pricey but delicious!

Overall Thought:

Sarah – I LOVED SIQUIJOR IT IS INCREDIBLE!!!!!

Islands to Visit in the Philippines, Siquijor sunset

Mount Bandilaan at Sunset!

Islands to Visit in the Philippines, Cambagahay Falls

SCambagahay Falls!

4. Isla Gigantes

Getting there: Siquijor to Isla Gigantes by boat and bus

From San Juan take a tricycle back to Siquijor Port.

Take a Boat to Dumaguete. From there take the Ceres bus to Bacolod (be prepared for this to take a while).

Stay the night in Bacolod. The Hostelry is a good place to stay and contactable on Facebook here .

Sarah visited Isla Gigantes on a trip that she booked with Rye Art travel and tours (contactable on Facebook here ) whilst in Bacolod and they organise travel from Bacolod.

What does the Isla Gigantes tour involve:

Boat transfers

Accommodation

Island hopping to 6-7 beautiful islands

Endless seafood (literally, endless!)

Karaoke and some drinks in the evening if you feel like it.

Overall thought: Amazing Tour! This trip is not touristy yet enough to survive.

Islands to Visit in the Philippines, isla gigantes

Getting there: Isla Gigantes to Boracay by bus and boat

Take the local Bus from Carles to Kalibo.

Catch a Minibus from Kalibo to Caticlan Pier.

Jump on the Boat to Boracay.

Take a Tricycle to where you’re staying in Boracay.

Where to stay in Boracay:

Friendz Resort & Hostel . Sarah and I stayed here in 2016 when we visited and she has stayed here each time she’s been to Boracay.

Activities to do in Boracay:

There are soo many things to do on the island of Boracay!

Riding an ATV around the island

Parasailing

Boat Trips to go Island hopping

Scuba Diving

Paddleboarding

Walking up and down Boracay’s Famous White Beach!

Watching the sunset from White Beach

Where to party:

Boracay is a good place to party, although it’s also good because if you don’t want to party then you can avoid it easily enough too! We loved – Our hostel Friendz Resort for pre-drinks and then going onto Exit, Coco Mangas, Epic and Summerplace.

Related Post: How I spent 1 week in Boracay.

Islands to Visit in the Philippines, boracay

From here:  You can go to Manila or over to Palawan to visit El Nido and Port Barton.

Read my post on how to get from Boracay to El Nido which will help you get to Palawan, El Nido and to Manila as you need to go via Manila to get to Palawan!

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Home » Southeast Asia » Philippines » 8 AWESOME Islands in the Philippines (2024)

8 AWESOME Islands in the Philippines (2024)

If islands are what you’re after, then you’ve come to the right place. With over 7,000 islands (no, that’s not a typo), the best islands in the Philippines will under-promise and overdeliver every time.

Although the country has a brutal history of colonization and war, its islands have remained a steadfast source of beauty and wonder. Thank God, humans don’t ruin everything, am I right?!

I don’t even know if anyone has seen all 7,000+ islands, but there are definitely a handful that rank as some of the best islands in the world.

Everywhere you look, there is out-of-this-world nature, hundreds of thousands of palm trees, rice paddies, and an insane number of smiles. I mean, people in the Philippines must do some serious cheek exercises because they are *constantly* smiling.

Whether you’re into diving, surfing, or just lounging on the beach with a cocktail in hand (me!), these 8 AWESOME islands in the Philippines need to be added to your Southeast Asia tour.

best beaches in Siquijor

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Best Islands in the Philippines

Final thoughts on the best islands in the philippines.

The Gatorade blue waters and the bright green palm leaves are the main reasons why the Philippines’ islands rank as some of the best in the world. It’s not because I say so; it’s just a fact.

One that is backed up by every traveler who has ever ventured to these tropical paradises, and you’ll be backing it up too—soon enough.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

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1. Palawan Island

For anyone backpacking in the Philippines , Palawan Island is a must-visit. The island is the epitome of a tropical paradise, with crystal-clear blue waters, towering limestone cliffs, and lush green forests. It’s no wonder that Palawan has been named the “Best Island in the World” by various travel magazines.

Palawan Island

  • Why visit: One of the best places for island hopping and unique experiences like Puerto Princesa.
  • When to visit: November to May
  • How to get there: Fly direct to either Puerto Princesa or El Nido from Manila.

Pro tip: Puerto Princes might be the best destination in the Philippines for budget backpackers since it’s usually cheap!

Palawan is home to some of the most iconic island-hopping destinations in the Philippines, including El Nido and Coron . These two places alone are worth the trip to Palawan. You can island hop through crystal-clear lagoons, go kayaking through caves, or just take your towel and head down to the soft white sands.

I have to recommend Frendz Hostel El Nido if you’re staying here too. Although hostels don’t suit everyone, they have amazing private rooms too! They offer read good bang for your buck.

If you’re a nature lover, the unique wildlife found in Palawan is such a unique experience. It’s a haven for Mother Earth. The little furry Palawan bearcat might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

The island is also home to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World. You can take a boat tour through an underground river—it’s epic!

2. Cebu Island

Cebu Island easily takes the top spot on my list of favorite islands in the Philippines. Every day was an absolute blast, and I didn’t even scratch the surface of all it has to offer. If you’re a busybody like me, then staying in Cebu will give you more than enough things to do and discover.

Cebu Island

  • Why visit: Incredible snorkeling in the bluest waters with some of the healthiest coral. You can also quite literally chase thousands of waterfalls.
  • When to visit: December-May
  • How to get there: Catch a fast ferry from Manila.

Whatever your  Cebu itinerary  consists of, you will be have an amazing time here. Do you know those who choose their own adventure books? That’s exactly what Cebu is like. Every morning offers something new, and you can decide what it is.

In the jungles of Cebu, you can find over 1,000 waterfalls to play in and splash in. If you want to swim with the fish, you’ll find some of the best snorkeling around the island.

You can swim with turtles and whale sharks and even watch a sardine run (it’s like a fish tornado!). And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, try canyoneering through Kawasan Falls.

3. Coron Island

If you are a fan of history and diving, I have the perfect Philippine island for you. Coron Island needs to be moved to the top of your bucket list of adventures ! Here, you’ll find multiple Japanese WWII shipwrecks that have become popular dive sites.

Coron Island

The sunken warships are now home to some of the most thriving, colorful coral reefs and diverse marine life.

  • Why visit: Shipwreck dives!
  • When to visit: April-May
  • How to get there: Coron is accessible either by ferry or direct flight from Manila or El Nido.

Coron Island also has some really cool lakes and lagoons, including Kayangan Lake, which is said to have the clearest water in Asia.

And you have to check out the Twin Lagoons. It’s two lagoons that look alike (hence the name, lol) and are connected by a narrow passage. You can snorkel from one to the other, or get a lightweight kayak if you prefer to stay on top of the water.

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4. Apo Island

Apo Island is one of the smallest islands on this list, and it’s definitely the most peaceful. The island has been a part of one of the longest-lasting community-based marine protected areas in the Philippines .

This has resulted in an abundance of stunning coral and diverse marine life, making it a great option for divers and snorkelers.

Apo Island

  • Why visit: Snorkeling and diving paradise for those who like to get off the beaten path.
  • When to visit: November-June
  • How to get there: Take a 45-minute ride from Dumaguete to Malatapay and wait for a boat to take you over. Be prepared to wait, though. There isn’t too much of a schedule, and sometimes it requires hitchhiking on a local’s boat. But I have faith in you!

If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and want an experience that few other travelers have, then you have to make your way to Apo.

The volcanic island is only 7km long, and there’s some serious island life here. No fancy resorts or big hotels, just the local community and a few basic places to stay.

Swimming with the sea turtles on Apo Island is a major core memory for me. You can just take your own snorkel off the coast, and BAM, you’re face-to-face with one of these giant, gentle creatures. It was one of the best days of all of my Philippine travels.

5. Siquijor Island

Siquijor may be known for its mystic and supernatural tales, but don’t let that scare you away. This island has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines.

It’s smaller than other popular islands like Boracay and Palawan, allowing for an intimate Filipino backpacking experience for a few days (or weeks in my case… oops!)

tubod beach siquijor philippines

  • Why visit: Perfect for those who want to escape the crowds but still want the infrastructure and amenities of a more developed island.
  • When to visit: November-May
  • How to get there: Access it by ferry from the nearby Filipino islands of Cebu, Bohol, and Negros Oriental.

Siquijor Island is often referred to by its Spanish name, “Isla del Fuego,” or Island of Fire. It may sound intimidating, but it’s actually one of the most peaceful islands in the Philippines. Legends say it was given that name because of the abundance of fireflies lighting up the beaches every single night.

But the island shines its brightest during the day with its amazing natural wonders. Swing off the ropes at Cambugahay Falls , cliff jump at Salagdoong Beach , or visit the centuries-old Balete Tree . Staying in Siquijor is never a bad idea.

Siquijor has a huge variety of places to stay for every budget – from broke backpacker goodies to flash packer funsies. My favorite place to stay on the island is Nakabalo Guesthouse for the amazing sunsets from the infinity pool.

To get the full Siquijor experience, you have to close out the day with a sunset hang while watching the little fireflies light up the beach.

6. Bohol Island

Okay, all the Philippines is a nature lover’s playground, but it really doesn’t get much better than Bohol Island.

The island will leave your jaw on the ground with its dreamy Chocolate Hills, national parks, and the ever so creepy but cute tarsier. I mean, I’ve always been told I have big eyes, but this little guy has got some peepers on him!

If you’re visiting the Philippines in the hopes of seeing some of the most vibrant marine life in the world… you’re in luck. Diving from Bohol is pretty epic, check out my fav dive school – Diving Squad . They honestly made my time diving from Bohol 1000/10.

Bohol Island

  • Why visit: to see unique landscapes and visit the Tarsier monkey sanctuary.
  • When to visit: December to May
  • How to get there: Take a flight from Manila or Cebu City to the Bohol Airport.

Bohol is one of the most diverse islands in the Philippines. Every day is filled with different landscapes, animals, and adventures.

Most people head here for the unique Chocolate Hills . Sadly, Willy Wonka does not live in the Philippines, and these are not hills made out of chocolate.

There are approximately 1,300 hills within a 20-mile patch of land that turn brown during the dry season, giving them their very misleading name but nonetheless a breathtaking sight.

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Boracay is undoubtedly the most famous and developed island in the Philippines and is perfect for those who are craving nightlife. The small island is full of delicious restaurants, comfortable places to stay , and some hard-core beach clubs to let loose at.

Boracay Philippines

Outside of the nightlife, the island is most known for its White Beach. It has powdered sugar-like sand and the clearest blue sea.

It’s a little slice of heaven, and while popular islands aren’t always my jam, Boracay is perfect for an EPIC sun-soaked break !

  • Why visit: A resort island for days in the sun and nights out on the town.
  • When to visit: November-April
  • How to get there: To reach Boracay from Manila, you can choose between Kalibo Airport or Caticlan. Caticlan is the more convenient option, just 30 minutes away from Boracay. While flights to Kalibo are usually cheaper, it takes about 2 hours to reach Boracay.

Boracay is often included in the conversation of islands that are overrated, but I surprisingly disagree! It is definitely a resort island, and loads of tourists make their way here, but you can still find some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world.

Plus, with the number of island-hopping tours available within 30 minutes of the island, there’s no excuse not to explore beyond White Beach.

8. Siargao Island

Get totally pitted on Siargao Island. This island is home to Cloud Nine, one of the world’s best surfing spots . The waves are some of the best in all of Southeast Asia, and over the past few years, all the surf bros have caught on. It’s one of the most gnarly islands in the Philippines.

Daku Island Siargao

  • Why visit: The epic Cloud Nine surf break, dude!
  • When to visit: March – October
  • How to get there: To get to Siargao Island, there are two options. You can either take a flight to Siargao airport or opt for a ferry ride from the neighboring Philippine Islands.

As most surf spots are, it’s super chill and a great place to hang out for a few days and make great friends. You can island hop, discover some massive waterfalls, and even adventure into some cave pools. Most of the island is still untouched, making it perfect for the explorer who wants to find more than what they’ve read online.

Siargao has always been a hub for surfers. But if you prefer to stay on the shore, the island is still a fantastic option. I couldn’t leave without recommending staying at Tropical Temple Siargao Resort , either – this is boogie without costing the Earth!

Don’t Forget Insurance for the Islands!

Do you need travel insurance ? ABSOLUTELY! Before you head off on the trip of a lifetime, make sure one mistake can’t ruin it all. Get that travel insurance and enjoy the trip.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

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For a really long time, I left the Philippines off of my travel bucket list because I felt like the part of me that loves to discover cultures would be disappointed. But after visiting these glorious islands, my opinion has changed completely! I was blown away by the sheer beauty and diversity of each island I visited.

If you consider yourself a nature enthusiast and love to explore unique landscapes, then you’re going to absolutely thrive in the islands of the Philippines.

From the stunning limestone cliffs and turquoise lagoons in Palawan to the lively white sand beaches in Boracay , each island offers a unique experience that will leave you wanting more.

But for that one island that’s going to alter your brain chemistry, you have to travel to Cebu Island . It’s an island to get lost on and fall in love with the people, culture, and scenery.

The vibes are primo, the nature is indescribable, and the days fly by. Before you know it, you’ve been there a month, and your friends are calling, wondering when you’re coming home.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

  • Get set for your inevitable arrival and find out where to stay in Manila .
  • Let’s get you ready for your next adventure with our backpacking Southeast Asia guide .
  • Surf your little heart out as you stay in one of Siargao’s best hostels .
  • Plan your adventures with our useful (and expertly crafted) El Nido itinerary .
  • If you’re heading to the Philippines, you should bring a good travel drone – trust me.
  • Why not treat yourself to a nice Airbnb in Cebu ? You deserve it.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

Rhenz Caguioa

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Our Top 10 Islands in the Philippines

With 7000 islands, picking the best islands to visit in the Philippines could be pretty overwhelming. Unless you’re planning to stay for a few months, there are only a limited number of islands you’re likely to visit. Some islands are easily accessible through ferries and flights. However, there are some which are so remote that it takes 3 to 4 different modes of transport to get there. So if you’re looking for the best islands in the Philippines, not too remote, yet gorgeous in every aspect, this article is your go-to guide.

Each of these top 10 islands in the Philippines helps you discover how unique, vast and beautiful the country really is. All these islands have different types of tourism setups and adventures to indulge in. The one thing they all have in common is the friendly locals and unforgettable experiences. Make sure these top 10 islands in the Philippines make it to your list of places to visit for the ideal itinerary.

The perfect escape while basking in the midst of nature and the definition of a tropical paradise , Batanes definitely tops our list of the best islands in the Philippines. Batanes is actually a group of 10 adjacent islands that make up the province of Batanes. Amongst these, the island of Batanes is definitely our favourite.

Because it’s harder to get to, the island has minimum tourists and untouched beaches. Batanes is the northernmost group of islands in the Philippines, over 150 kms from the tip of Luzon. Getting to the island is a challenge itself, but that’s what makes the visit even more worth it. There are flights from Manila that get you there but they’re expensive and often unreliable due to unforeseen weather changes.

The islands of Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat are the inhabited ones. You can tour around these by renting a bike. More importantly, apart from empty white beaches and beautiful coasts, the warm-hearted locals are the absolute highlight. This is why Batanes is an adventure worth embarking on. 

Palawan is a series of breathtaking islands. Which include El Nido, Coron and Balabac . During the peak season, Palawan has tons of tourists visiting the island and rightly so! All the islands are paradise on earth. It has everything, white beaches, and island-hopping tours to excellent dive spots . Apart from this, there’s much more to experience on this island from waterfalls and treks

There are daily flights to El Nido and Puerto Princesa and you can even take a ferry from Coron directly to El Nido. If you want to make the most of your time in Palawan, the best time to visit is between November and June. But make sure you time it well according to the best time to visit the other destinations on your itinerary.

Siargao is one of the best islands in the Philippines for surfing . Siargao is wonderful green paradise with endless roads surrounded by palm trees and stunning empty white beaches. Moreover, you can find cute little spots to grab fresh fruit bowls, warm coffee and some amazing traditional Filipino food. Apart from being a perfect getaway, Siargao also has quite a few diving spots and island-hopping tours. You can get direct flights to Siargao through Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines.

When it comes to surfing, the best time to visit the island is from August until November , when the winds are swelling up the tides. But if you’re just looking for a relaxed getaway, then you should probably come here between January and May.

Bohol is an island covered by a dense and marvellous jungle . It is a convenient 2-hour ferry ride away from Cebu city. We recommend spending multiple days here, as there’s tons to do. You can rent a motorbike and ride around the entire island, stopping at many local villages. From stunning waterfalls, to the lovely Loboc river, Bohol literally has everything for a adventure tourist. Bohol is very popular for its Chocolate Hills and the smallest mammal in the world, the tarsier . Albeit a little touristy, spending time in Bohol is worth it and it deserves to be on our top 10 islands in the Philippines.

Many parts of the Philippines are known for their relatively inexpensive nightlife. There’s no better place to experience this other than the party-island of Boracay. After sunset, people from all over the world gather on White Beach and party through the night.   Beyond the partying, it is one of the whitest beaches with crystal blue water. It is one of the most popular destinations amongst tourists, but the beach is long enough to find your silent spots. Diving is amazing here and we recommend going to the site of Yapak. Although, it is physically intense and not recommended for beginners.

The Bulabog and Puka Shell Beaches are much more peaceful and you can enjoy the light blue water there. Boracay is accessible by boat from the towns of either Caticlan or Kalibo (which are in turn, accessible by air from Manila, Cebu, etc).

6. Camiguin

Camiguin is a gem of an island located south-east of Bohol and off the northern coast of Mindanao. With 7 volcanoes dominating this island’s landscape, there are also quite a few hot springs as a result of this , making the island perfect to relax. Camaguin is really small and it shouldn’t take over 2 days to explore. Not only is this island blessed with great beaches but there are cold springs and waterfalls too. We highly recommend swimming in the refreshing waters of Katibasawan Falls, probably in the afternoon when it’s the warmest. Mt. Hibok Hibok, a volcano, has a rejuvenating hot spring nearby and you must visit, along with the scenic White Island beach.  With so much to do, it has a definite spot on our list of top 10 islands in the Philippines.

The best way to get to Camaguin is by air. But you can also take a ferry from Bohol (north) or Cagayan de Oro (Mindanao). Once here, you can rent bikes, cars and vans or use public transport to get around.

A large island in the center of the archipelago, many tourists go to Cebu and frankly, we’re not surprised. There are hundreds of waterfalls all over the island – several of which are hidden and you need to trek to get there. Canyoneering in Kawasan Waterfalls is probably the most sought-after activity among tourists who don’t have much time on this island. Cebu is also home to Moalboal which is a small beach town. Here you can witness the yearly Sardine Run, and if you get lucky you could also see whale sharks.

Technically, Coron is a part of Palawan but it’s an island that deserves its own spot on our list  of top 10 islands in the Philippines. There are some fantastic dive spots, and exploring the underwater mysterious rock formations of Barracuda Lake is an experience by itself. Island hopping around Coron to Bulog and Banana islands is magnificent but this can get a bit expensive too. Experienced divers should definitely explore the reefs of Coral Garden. Relaxing in the waters with the view of cinematic, tall limestone cliffs around Coron Bay is incomparable. If you do go to Coron, don’t miss out on the Maquinit Hot Springs too.

The best time to visit Coron is between November and June. And it’s easy to get here, with frequent direct flights or overnight ferries from Manila.

9. Apo Reef Islands

Diving here, and witnessing the colourful biodiversity of Apo Reef is something you’ll never forget. If you’re in the country to dive, you have to get to Apo Reef Island. There’s a reason that it’s one of the best dive spots in the country and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can’t really stay on the island but you can choose to live on board, which is basically sleeping aboard the boat and then just jump off to explore the reef. Popular choices to live are on the coast of Sablayan (on Mindoro Island, one of the closest major islands to Apo Reef), or on Pandan Island. You can get here on boat from Coron or Sablayan.

Negros Islands are lesser known but a hidden beauty of the Philippines nonetheless. Honestly, it’s not really hidden, since it’s one of the largest islands of the country. But you won’t find large herds of tourists visiting here, like the other places and islands. There are tons of beautiful diving spots around the island, especially from the funky town of Dumaguete. Sipalay has multiple beaches which are hidden gems. Mt. Kanlaon, an active volcano , offers a different experience of the rugged interiors of Negros and the underwater coral gardens makes Negros worth your time! You can get here through ferries from Cebu or flights to Bacolod City on specific days.

Narrowing down on the top 10 islands in the Philippines was a task ; if we had to, we’d pick at least 20 islands. Batanes, at the top of the list, is one of the favourite islands of our co-founder and Philippine expert, Harsh Sonawala. But the Philippine islands have so many amazing places to visit, to the point that not even all locals would be aware of certain islands. If you’re looking to visit some of the lesser known hidden gems, get in touch with us, because we can definitely help you plan your offbeat island hopping vacation! Travelling in the Philippines  is indeed something to wrap your head around, as are details like acquiring a visa , and navigating the currency . However, it’s all worth the planning, so click on Plan Your Trip to get started!

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top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

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Badian canyoneering in Cebu

20 Best Things to Do in the Philippines: Explore Islands, Beaches, Festivals, Food and More

Jessa Tek-Ing

20. Join Sightseeing Tours

19. visit museums, 18. go on a pilgrimage tour, 17. discover wakeboarding, 16. explore nature at national parks, 15. experience river tubing, 14. join boat tours or river cruises, 13. caving and spelunking, 12. relax in natural hot springs, 11. try 4x4 atv rides.

  • 10. Try Canyoneering

9. Go Surfing and Ride the Best Waves

8. immerse in historical and heritage tours, 7. go hiking in the best mountains, 6. plunge into majestic waterfalls, 5. diving and snorkeling in incredible underwater spots, 4. join food tours to try philippine cuisine, 3. dance in colorful festivals.

  • 2. Lounge at the Best Beaches
  • 1. Join Island Hopping Tours

Malapascua Beach in Cebu, Philippines

As a holiday destination, the Philippines boasts unique experiences and exciting adventures wherever you go. Through the years, it has become known as one of the most popular tropical hideaways globally - making it the go-to place for beach lovers, adventure seekers, food lovers, thrill chasers, and everyone who wishes to satisfy their wanderlust. The many romantic destinations in the country also explain why many couples choose to have their honeymoon in the Philippines .

Loboc River Cruise in Bohol, Philippines

The Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. From North to South, there’s so much to see and do around the country that fits whatever type of traveler you may be. It’s jam-packed with diverse activities, unforgettable escapades, and even laid-back, relaxing experiences that can truly inspire wanderlust. 

From  Palawan 's and Boracay 's world-renowned islands and beaches to Cebu ’s rich history to Siargao ’s magical island vibe and surfing oasis – the Philippines will never fail to amaze you. With so much to cover, deciding on where to go can be quite a challenge. 

Local travelers at the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao

Photo by the Philippine Department of Tourism

There’s an endless list of reasons to visit the Philippines. To make sure that you won’t find yourself saying, “So many things to do, so little time,” here are some of the top Philippines activities that you should add to your itinerary:

See our popular Top Tours in the Philippines

Boracay island hopping shared tour with lunch & snorkeling package, coron island hopping tour to kayangan lake & barracuda lake | palawan super ultimate package, shared puerto princesa underground river tour in palawan with lunch & hotel transfers.

Vayang Rolling Hills in Batanes

You don't have to try extreme activities to enjoy the best of the Philippines. The country is filled with beautiful tourist spots that anyone can enjoy regardless of age and physical condition.  A sightseeing tour is an easy and relaxed way to see the best of the Philippines and discover why it's a popular destination for many travelers. 

You'll be able to make the most out of your trip by joining some of the country’s top  sightseeing tours . Hop in a van and do a countryside tour around the island of Bohol where you can see the Chocolate Hills and cruise along Loboc River .

Walk or bike around the walled city of Intramuros in the Philippine capital city of Manil a and learn of its rich colonial heritage. Visit the old mansions of Bacolod with their storied past. For an experience closer to nature, try strawberry picking in La Trinidad, Benguet, a popular tour from Baguio , or visit the awe-inspiring rolling hills of Batanes , which is a landscape unlike any other within the country. 

See our popular Sightseeing Tours

Bohol chocolate hills countryside private tour with transfers & add-on loboc river cruise lunch, bohol countryside private tour & shared loboc river lunch cruise with transfers, shared coron palawan top land attractions afternoon tour with transfers.

National Museum of the Philippines in Manila

The Philippines has a rich heritage and visiting museums lets you learn how its culture developed and manifested throughout history. It also gives you a glimpse into the life and times of Filipinos from different eras. 

If you're in Manila, there is no need to travel far since there are a number of museum tours  worth checking out, including Manila museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, The National Art Gallery at the National Museum of the Philippines, Calvo Museum, and the Casa Manila Museum in Intramuros.

Other must-visit museums outside the metro are Balay Negrense Museum in Silay, Negros Occidental, Palawan Special Battalion WW2 Memorial Museum, Museum Sugbo in Cebu, and Davao Museum of History and Ethnography in Mindanao. 

See our popular Museum Tours

St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Quiapo, Manila

The Philippines is one of the few predominantly Christian countries in Asia. As a Spanish colony for over 300 years, the Philippines' culture has largely been shaped by religion. You see this influence in traditions, festivals, and even architecture. Clearly, this influence of Christianity is one of the main reasons the Filipino culture is unique from its neighboring countries. It also does not come as a surprise that the country is a top destination for religious or faith-related travel.

All over the country, there is no shortage of churches, basilicas, and shrines - each with its own story to tell. Joining  religious pilgrimages around the country allows you to visit these and learn about their history and significance to local culture.

Some famous pilgrimage destinations include St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Quiapo, Cebu’s Simala Shrine, Minor Basilica of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Manaoag, San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church in Obando, Bulacan, Baclaran’s National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Pink Sister’s Convent in Tagaytay.

See our popular Pilgrimage Tours

Iloilo city top heritage attractions & garin farm day tour with transfers, cebu simala shrine & churches pilgrimage private tour with transfers, pangasinan churches pilgrimage tour with lunch & transfers.

Wakeboarding in Camarines Sur, Philippines

Wakeboarding has been gaining popularity in the Philippines the past few years and there are now more wakeboarding tours to help you get started in this sport. There are no age restrictions for learning this water sport if you know the basics of swimming. 

Camarines Sur is the Philippines' wakeboarding capital due to the success of the 2009 WWA Ultimate Wakeboard Championships held at CamSur Water Sports Complex.

Lago de Oro in Batangas is also perfect for a quick getaway with family and friends since it’s just a two-hour drive from Manila. Like Batangas, Republ1c Wakepark in Nuvali is also a great option for a weekender to enjoy wakeboarding. 

Finally, DECA Wakeboard Park is dubbed as the largest wakeboarding park in Southeast Asia and is just a 30-minute drive away from Davao City International Airport.

See our popular Water Activity Tours

Private siargao tri island hopping tour with hotel transfers | guyam, naked, daku islands.

Hundred Islands National Park in Pangasinan

The Philippines is best experienced outdoors and is a haven for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. With its many national parks, there are plenty of spots to explore.

Ranking high on the list is a tour to Hundred Islands National Park  in Pangasinan , which is perfect for family outing and nature tripping as you marvel at the exquisite beauty of more than a hundred mushroom-like islands in front of you.

Another crowd favorite is the Caramoan Peninsula National Park. This one is a little harder to get to, but its serene view of white sand beaches, sparkling rivers, and magnificent limestones makes the trip worth it.

Meanwhile, for those that enjoy wildlife spotting, a tour in Calauit Safari Park  in Busuanga, Palawan is surely the experience to go. Apart from being home to Somali giraffes from a controversial translocation project in the 70s, the place also boasts of diverse indigenous flora and fauna for you to witness and appreciate.

See our popular Adventure Tours

Get wet and wild! River tubing will give you a heart-pumping experience as you go through the river rapids using the interior of big tires or commonly referred to as the tube.

Somehow similar to water rafting, the main goal is to not fall off the tube until you’re able to conquer all the possible rapids before the main destination. 

Pangi River in New La Union and Maitum in Sarangani Province are some the popular destinations for water tubing. Check out river trips for a complete experience.

Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Puerto Princesa's Underground River  or Subterranean River National Park has been granted the UNESCO World Heritage award due to its spectacular limestone and awe-inspiring landscape with an underground river. By joining boat tours , you get to see up close the longest navigable underground river in the world.

Likewise, Ihawig River in Puerto Princesa offers an enthralling firefly river cruise experience at night. Imagine staring at the beauty of the night sky and breathing in the cold breeze as you cruise. If that’s not enough to melt your heart, you’ll also be treated with a magical light show of fireflies that look like dancing stars. Another popular river cruise is the Loboc River cruise in Bohol , where you experience dining on local cuisine while getting serenaded by a world-class children's choir.

See our popular Yacht and Boat Tours

Bohol island hopping private tour to balicasag & virgin islands with dolphin watching & transfers, boracay sunset cruise with snorkeling gear, kayak, paddle board & mermaid tail.

Hinagdanan Cave in Bohol, Philippines

Enchanting, captivating, and exciting – just some of the words that come to mind to best describe the experience in some of the Philippines must-visit caving tour sites .

Samar is known to be the Caving Capital of the Philippines as it houses the Sohoton Caves and Natural Bridge Park, which features picturesque caves, subterranean rivers, and limestone formations.

On the other hand, a tour in Callao Cave, located in the province of Cagayan, offers 300 cave systems that will let you see the grand attraction of huge limestones and rock formations. Hinagdanan Cave tours in Bohol will also reward you with unexplored beauty as remarkable stalagmites, and the cave’s striking beauty welcomes you upon entering the site.

See our popular Cave Tours

Maquinit Hot Spring in Coron, Palawan

If you want to tweak your next holiday trip and skip the beach, why not try some of the country’s hot springs tours  at the best natural hot springs in the Philippines .

Ardent Hot Spring is located in Camiguin and is one of the main tourist attractions in the area. It is found at the foot of Mt. Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano, and a popular hiking destination.

Another top option in this category is Maquinit Hot springs in Coron. Take the  Maquinit Hot Springs tour  to explore one of the few saltwater hot springs in the world. Saltwater hot springs are said to be more beneficial than freshwater variants due to the presence of more minerals in the water.

The Puning Hot Springs tour in Pampanga is another local favorite. It has eight pools of 40 degrees and up water, a soothing way to spend your day after a 4x4 ride through Mt. Pinatubo 's spectacular landscape.

Natural springs are known to be therapeutic. If you’re looking for a trip that’s equal parts adventure and rejuvenation, consider these options, especially as rainy season activities in the Philippines .

See our popular Hot and Cold Spring Tours

Palawan coron town tour to mt. tapyas, maquinit hot spring & cashew factory with transfers, coron palawan kayangan lake island hopping tour with lunch & transfers.

4x4 ATV ride in Angeles, Pampanga

This activity will definitely take your adventure junkie self a notch. This isn’t your typical boring theme park ride because ATV tours take you off the beaten path.

A trip to Mt. Balabag, in the province of Rizal, will transport you into an instant action scene. Due to its wide and nearly flat trail, you can take your 4x4 truck all the way to the summit and submerge it in the water as you cross the rivers. 

An off-road 4x4 ride to Puning Hot Springs in Angeles, Pampanga should also be on every explorer’s bucket list. Imagine passing through unique rock formations caused by lahar mudflows and running over puddles of water through a gorgeous landscape. It's definitely an experience that excites multiple senses.

See our popular ATV Tours

10. try canyoneering .

Badian canyoneering in Cebu, Philippines

For adrenaline junkies who want to try something different, canyoneering or canyoning will surely make waves. If you’re looking for an extra dose of outdoor fun and adventure where you get to enjoy the natural scenery and test your limits, then you must try going on a  canyoneering tour .

A  tour to Kawasan Falls in Cebu is the ultimate must-do for travelers who want to experience the thrill and excitement of canyoneering due to its stunningly clear waters and picturesque canyons. A short trek brings you to multiple levels of this waterfall, where you can cliff dive from ledges as high as 6 meters.

Some of the other recommended places for canyoneering are Mt. Isarog National Park in Camarines Sur, Bangon Falls in Samar, and Sampao River in Biliran.

See our popular Canyoneering Tours

Cebu kawasan falls canyoneering, moalboal island hopping & sardine run tour with lunch & transfers, cebu badian kawasan falls canyoneering private tour with lunch & transfers, cebu oslob whale shark watching & kawasan canyoneering tour with safety gear, lunch & transfers.

Surfers at Cloud 9 in Siargao, Surigao del Norte

The Philippines' surfing spots  have grown in popularity in recent years. Siargao Island is considered the best surf destination in the country and has become a must-visit site for international surfers.

It has surf breaks and spots for different levels – whether you’re a newbie who wants to catch your first wave or a professional who wants to take your surfing skills to new heights. Not to mention that the island’s inexplicable charm has caught the attention of international tourists.   Cloud 9 tours  offer a year-round way to explore Siargao. Though for surfing, it's best to visit between September and November.

La Union and Baler are two other destinations known for surfing. Both located in Luzon, these are a few hours' drive away from Metro Manila.

Both have taken their spots in the hearts of the surfing community with their laidback island vibe, friendly locals, and impressive waves that will surely leave you stoked for days.

See our popular Surfing Tours

Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Norte

What better way for tourists to appreciate the Philippines' rich culture than to get immersed in its history? From its indigenous roots to more than 300 years of colonial influence, the Philippines' has developed one of Asia's most unique cultures.  Be transported back in time and discover the country's ethnic and colonial history by joining  heritage excursions .

One of the top activities to do in Manila is to go on a  trip to Corregidor . Here, you're brought to the site of the epic Battle of Corregidor, which was the culmination of the Philippines' Japanese conquest during the Second World War.

The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras in Ifugao, the historic town of Vigan , San Agustin Church in Intramuros , Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, and Miag-ao Church in Iloilo will surely awaken your curiosity and fascination of the events that molded the country’s history.

See our popular History Tours

Bohol countryside private tour with loboc river cruise lunch & transfers from cebu city, cebu city top attractions half-day private tour with transfers.

Hikers at Mt. Pulag Summit

The Philippines is not just about islands and beaches. For nature lovers looking for a different type of adventure, a hiking or trekking tour allow you to explore the country's varied terrains and impressive mountain ranges. 

Pack your bags, put on your hiking shoes, and escape the bustling city by hiking in the Philippines . The Philippines is famed for a long list of breathtaking hiking trails, catering to enthusiasts with various skill and experience levels.

Popular among amateur hikers is Mt. Batulao , which is just a few hours from Metro Manila. If you want to unwind amongst wonderful, easy-to-access scenery, then this is the perfect choice for you.

Hiking Tarak Ridge in Mariveles is a bit more challenging but will surely be worth it once you’re soaking up the great views of Bataan, Manila Bay, and its surrounding islands.

Sea of clouds at Mt. Pulag Summit

Last but not least is the famed Mt. Pulag , which is the highest peak in Luzon. Being at the summit of Mt. Pulag, standing above a sea of clouds, is another mind-blowing experience. If you’re lucky to see it during sunset, these clouds seem to catch fire in the afterglow – such an awe-inspiring view that’s marked in your mind forever.

See our popular Hiking Tours

Scenic 2-day treasure mountain rizal camping package with daranak falls side trip & transfers, rizal treasure mountain day pass with breakfast, obstacle course, giant seesaw & bosay falls trek, breathtaking 2-day treasure mountain rizal camping package with breakfast.

Kawasan Falls in Cebu, Philippines

More than the sun, sand, and sea - there are also many hidden gems in the form of waterfalls tucked in some of the country’s most famous tourist spots. Some may require a bit of hiking to reach, but their unique charm and beauty will truly make the journey worth your while.

Natural beauties such as Kawasan Falls in Cebu, Ditumabo Falls (also known as Mother Falls) in Baler, Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor, and Aliwagwag Falls in Davao Oriental top the list of most sought-after attractions included in waterfalls tours . 

You will not just find yourself chasing them; you’ll surely fall for them too.

See our popular Waterfalls Tours

Wreck diving in Coron, Palawan

There’s something magical about discovering the underwater world. Scuba diving lets you see a whole new dimension to our planet. It's both calming and exciting at the same time, and the Philippines is one of the best places in the world for this activity.

Divers from all over the globe can attest to the beauty and rich marine biodiversity of the Philippines. From the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tubbataha Reef to the accessible dive spots in Anilao, Batangas, the country promises to spoil you with many choices for your diving adventures .

Regardless of your skill level and interest, there are various dive experiences available. For beginners, there's an abundance of dive shops where you can get your dive certification. For experienced divers, you can choose from day trips to liveaboards and customize your experience. 

Different destinations cater to different interests as well.  Coron offers wreck diving; Anilao is known as the Nudibranch Capital of the Philippines; Malapascua in Cebu gets you close to thresher sharks. Other popular dive destinations are Verde Island in Batangas and Balicasag Island in Bohol.

See our popular Philippine Scuba Diving Packages & Courses

Boracay island scuba diving with instructor & equipment, boracay introductory scuba diving with divemaster, gear & underwater photos, boracay discover scuba diving with gears & padi instructor.

Local cuisine in the Philippines

Is your trip really complete without tasting the best local cuisines in the country? Many people may not have heard about Filipino cuisine, let alone taste it. However, for those who have, the verdict is clear - it's incredibly good!

There’s no better way to experience the Philippines' gastronomic scene than to eat like a local. Fortunately, there are several food tours that not only offer you the chance to try the best local dishes but also provide insight to its culinary and cultural history.

Be ready to feast over the most authentic, homemade delicacies in the country and the fascinating tales of the various hometowns.  You’re in for a serious food coma (in a good way) when you join food experiences.

See our popular Food Tours

Sinulog Festival in Cebu, Philippines

Filipinos are known for their happy and positive nature. They always find reasons to celebrate colorful festivals , also known as “fiestas,” which have been a part of the Filipino culture through the years.

Part of the Philippines' culture is its known respect for religion which is evident in the celebration of various patron saints throughout the country. Sinulog Festival in Cebu is one of the most popular Catholic festivals. Tourists from different parts of the world join the festivity to witness its street parties, native dances, and colorful costumes.

Other well-known festivals include MassKara Festival  in Bacolod, Moriones Festival in Marinduque, Panagbenga Flower Festival, Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals in Leyte, Davao’s Kadayawan Festival , and Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan.

2. Lounge at the Best Beaches 

White Beach in Boracay, Aklan

The Philippines has the 5th largest coastline in the world. This coastline stretches thousands of miles dotted with many beautiful beaches , making it a slice of heaven for all sun and sand lovers. Its beaches are also consistently included in lists for the best beaches in the world in international publications. 

If you're looking for the most idyllic unspoiled beaches with crystal clear waters for a relaxing getaway, the Philippines has to be on top of your list.

Must-add beaches in your list should include the famous White Beach of Boracay , Nacpan Beach of El Nido in Palawan, Alona Beach of Bohol, and Long Beach (the longest beach in the Philippines) in San Vicente , Palawan. 

See our popular Beach Tours

Boracay island hopping package private tour with lunch, snorkeling gear & kawa hot bath, palawan coron malcapuya, banana & bulog dos islands shared tour with lunch & transfers, 1. join island hopping tours .

Secret Lagoon in El Nido, Palawan

Its islands are what makes the Philippines the ultimate dream destination. As a tropical archipelago, the Philippines doesn’t disappoint when it comes to pristine postcard-worthy islands. The Philippines' islands are recognized worldwide as some of the best in the world, with Palawan  consistently earning the number 1 spot for years. 

Island hopping tours are a must-add in any Philippine itinerary. These are usually done on a full day where you visit at least 2-3 islands. Some tours can even take you to as many as 5-7 islands in a day. Now that's an island lovers' dream getaway.

You'll get to visit islands with powdery white sand underneath your feet, with the salty air kissing your face as you savor the clear blue water surrounding you. It’s like a scene in a movie where you’re in an unbelievably beautiful island, but instead of just one, you get to experience this in different islands that each offers a unique beauty.

Top island hopping destinations in the Philippines include Palawan's El Nido and Coron, Cebu, Bohol, Siargao, Boracay, and Bohol, to name a few. But wherever you are in the Philippines, as long as you're near the ocean, you're sure to find islands to explore. These will surely take your breath away and leave you speechless, and ignite your dream of living the island life.  

See our popular Island Hopping Tours

Plan Your Ultimate Philippines Holiday

Badian canyoneering in Cebu

There’s a lot to love about the Philippines, and there are plenty of reasons to keep coming back for more. From island hopping to diving and snorkeling in crystal clear waters to experiencing its rich culture and history, you will surely find something to make your traveler’s heart skip a beat. 

Exploring this country is like meeting a potential lover. It intrigues you; it piques your interest, and as you get to discover more about it, the more you’ll fall in love with it. 

Discover and explore what this country offers by checking out Philippines tours and activities that will surely make you fall with the Pearl of the Orient Seas!

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Best islands in the Philippines – which to visit?

Loboc River, Bohol, Philippines

Narrowing down the best islands in the Philippines is a difficult task. There are thousands to choose from, each offering something different. You can reach most by air, making island hopping in the Philippines a popular pastime amongst travellers.

For many people, a Philippines island is all about sand beaches and snorkelling. Yet there’s so much more to discover if you venture beyond the hotspots. Some islands have bustling cities with world-class restaurants, whilst others focus more on heritage and wildlife.

One thing to note is that the country is becoming increasingly popular, so booking a hotel in the Philippines well ahead of your visit is super important. This is especially true if you have your eye on some of the famous beach resorts and want to come during peak season.

Best islands in the Philippines – how to choose

People often ask what is the most popular island in the Philippines? The answer to that really comes down to personal preference, and whether you’re looking for barefoot beach bliss or to indulge in a bit of local language , culture and history. Out here, there are no such thing as best islands. Philippines holidays are all very different, so it’s important to pick your locations according to your interests. From the tiny volcanic Apo island to the vast Luzon, there is a lot to whittle down but it’s not hard so long as you have an idea of the activities you want to experience.

Rice terraces in the Philippines

If you’re wondering what are the top 5 islands in the Philippines, you’re in the right place. In fact, in this travel guide, we’ve added a couple of bonus islands to give you a bit more choice. For dreamy pictures of the Philippine islands and advice on where to find the most scenic spots, read on.

What islands make up the Philippines?

Wondering how many islands are in the Philippines? This southeast Asian nation is made up of over 7000 individual islands, handily divided into different archipelagos or areas to make it easier to understand.

In a nutshell, the three main regions are Luzon, which is the biggest island of the pack; the Visayas, which include favourites like Cebu and Bohol; and finally, Mindanao, down in the south. The popular Palawan lies over in the wests of the Philippines, which is also where you’ll find El Nido and Coron.

Palawan Island

Known for: beaches, caves and cliffs.

Palawan Island is famous for its secret lagoons and beautiful beaches. Easy to reach from Manila, Palawan is probably the first place that visitors consider when coming up with their Philippines itinerary, and it’s a popular spot with honeymooners .

El Nido is the shining star of Palawan and is a whole archipelago in itself! It’s made up of over 40 islands with towering limestone cliffs clad in jungle foliage lining turquoise lagoons. When you think of the best islands in the Philippines to visit, this is it! The ideal way to explore the secret coves and hidden islets is on a boat tour, many of which last for several days to fully immerse you in the landscape. We’re often asked, “what is the best island hopping tour in the Philippines” and the answer is nearly always the ones here in El Nido.

Beach at El Nido, Philippines

Adventure junkies should head to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Park in Palawan to explore the mysterious limestone caves by boat. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site with ethereal karst landforms and ancient forests making you feel like you’re travelling back through time. The Puerto Princesa national park is also a great place for wildlife spotting, with everything from monkeys to starfish just waiting to be spotted. Snorkelling is world-class, with Honda Bay being the cream of the crop. The coral reef here is colourful and accessible, with no deep diving required.

You might want to shy away from visiting one of the most famous islands in the Philippines because everyone else will be there too. Yet Palawan deserves a slice of your holiday time, and despite it being popular, there are always secluded spots and remote discoveries to be had.

Coron Island

Known for: diving, sandbars and shipwrecks.

Island hopping tours around beautiful Coron Island are all about pristine sand and crystal clear water, with dramatic cliffs making the scene feel a little Jurassic. This spot is far off the beaten track, which makes it all the more worthwhile to visit. If you’re not a fan of rubbing shoulders with hordes of other tourists, Coron hits the right notes.

Coron is similar in appearance to El Nido, but here you’ll feel like a true explorer, venturing through fields and over hills in search of the sublime. In fact, many people think it’s one of the best islands to visit. Philippines tours don’t get more picture-postcard than here in Coron.

Kayangan Lake on Coron in the Philippines

The snorkelling and scuba diving in Coron is some of the best in the Philippines, and even better than in El Nido. There are sunken shipwrecks from World War II for experienced divers, and plenty of coral reefs and marine life for everyone to explore.

The iconic highlights of any trip here are the Kayangan Lake and the Twin Lagoons, which frequently pop up in glossy travel magazines. Kayangan Lake boasts some of the clearest water in the country, and there’s a popular viewpoint that’s a must for Instagram fans. Meanwhile, the Twin Lagoons offer quintessential Philippine island scenery, with karst cliffs plunging into the aquamarine coves.

Boracay Island

Known for: beaches, water sports and bars.

The gleaming turquoise jewel of Boracay is known for having some of the world’s most idyllic beaches. It’s one of the most visited resort islands in Philippines with easy access and a range of hotels and guest houses to suit all budgets. If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday with all the amenities you could wish for, Boracay is the real deal. The nightlife scene is vibrant too, so if you want to party this is a great place to come. The scenery on Boracay isn’t bad either, so you’re really onto a winner with this idyllic Philippine island whatever you’re looking for in a holiday.

Boracay, Philippines

The main draw on Boracay is the sand, with the famous White Beach enticing visitors from near and far. Restaurants and bars line this long stretch of coast, although there are quieter sections too for those who prefer a more tranquil vibe. Crystal Cove is another superb spot for swimming, while windsurfers should head to Bulabog Beach for some serious fun in the sun.

Boracay is pretty popular so is often quite busy compared to some of the other Philippines islands, but there are always hidden beaches and pockets of calm to be found if you look for them away from the main resort sites.

Luzon Island

Known for: history, rice terraces and hanging coffins.

Home to the capital city, Manila, Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. The landscapes and experiences here are varied, and you could easily spend your whole holiday just focusing on this island alone. The inland scenery is largely agricultural, with swathes of rice terraces and fields of maize lining the roads. The Batad Rice Terraces are amongst the most famous – and the most photogenic. You can enjoy hikes through the valleys for a closer inspection and visit rural settlements and meet some of the friendly locals. There are lots of homestays here, so if you’re after a culturally immersive experience, this is a great place to come.

Another reason for Luzon being one of the best islands in the Philippines is the Hanging Coffins of Sagada. Anyone wanting to explore beyond the beaches and experience something unique should come up here to this remote mountain province. Rather than burying their dead, the people of Sagada used to hang coffins high up on the cliff faces so that their ancestors are closer to the spirits. Today, the tradition is dying out, but curious visitors can still walk up the valley from the town and see this strange sight for themselves.

Hanging coffins of Sagada in the Philippines

In the centre of Luzon Island, the city of Bataan is a prime spot for history buffs to discover more about the country’s heritage. This is where the infamous Bataan Death March occurred during the Second World War, and there’s a museum dedicated to the prisoners who suffered here. There are also churches to visit, as well as a heritage park focusing on the island’s Spanish heritage. Bataan is an affordable place too, so ideal for those on a budget. If you’re looking for the cheapest island in the Philippines, you can’t go wrong with Luzon. Having said that, the country as a whole is relatively cheap compared to other places in southeast Asia and even around the world, so wherever you end up will be fairly easy on the wallet.

Luzon is also known as the best island to live in the Philippines, thanks to its infrastructure, amenities, and scenery. If you’re considering stopping by on your digital nomad journey , then Luzon Island is a popular place to base yourself.

Bohol Island

Known for: chocolate hills, wildlife and diving.

Is Bohol the best Philippine island? Maybe, if you like a bit of variety in your holiday itinerary. Shimmering seas and deserted beaches are all well and good, but some of the Philippines top islands offer something a little different. Located in the central Visayas region, Bohol is one such island and a must for nature lovers and explorers who want to experience the unusual. The main event here is the Chocolate Hills site, where otherworldly conical mounds burst from the forest like giant green molehills. It’s bizarre yet beautiful, and you won’t find anywhere else like it on earth.

Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines

There are lots of waterfalls and remote rivers to explore, where wildlife rules the roost. It’s the sort of place best seen on a guided tour, so you can make the most of your experience and discover places far from the crowds.

Found just off Bohol, Panglao Island is a popular spot for scuba diving. The biodiversity here is staggering, and it’s another of the beautiful Philippine islands that have made it onto the UNESCO World Heritage list. Sunbathing and snorkelling are the order of a day at the beach here, which is easily accessed by boat or bridge from Tagbilaran City on Bohol.

Siargao Island

Known for: mangroves, wildlife and rock pools.

One of the most eastern Philippine islands, Siargao is less developed than some of the other locations, which means it’s less crowded too. Siargao Island is the spot to go if you’re wanting to surf – it’s the best place in the Philippines to catch a barrel wave and show off your moves. Yet there’s more to Siargao than surfing. You can also take a tour into the mangroves and discover a miniature paradise at Sugba Lagoon , where the colour of the water matches the trees.

If you want to get your palm tree fix, Siargao might just be the best island in Philippines. The palm swathes stretch as far as the eye can see, with the famous Palm Road being a must if you’re on a driving tour. There are viewpoints and coconuts along the way, so don’t forget your camera.

Palm trees in Siargao, Philippines

The Magpupungko Rock Pools are another top attraction on the island. Philippines scenery so often concentrates on cliffs and lagoons, but these emerald pools are a way to get even closer to nature. Make sure you time your visit for low tide otherwise you might be disappointed!

There are several tiny islets dotted around the coast, which make for great picnics and offer excellent swimming. Visit the Naked Island sand bar for those Robinson Crusoe feels, or head over to Guyam Island for palm trees and your own private stretch of beach.

Cebu Island

Best for: whale sharks, heritage and water sports.

Cebu ticks all the boxes when you’re searching for the best islands to visit in the Philippines. Nestled in the heart of the archipelago, Cebu has all the elements of a well-rounded holiday. In Cebu City, you’ll find historical sights dating to the 16th century when Spanish colonial rule was in full flow. Don’t miss exploring the 18 th -century Fort San Pedro in the Plaza Independencia, which tells stories of local conquest and revolution.

Cebu Island is a great place for water sports and is geared up for international favourites like parasailing and banana boating. There are heaps of superb snorkelling sites and hidden cascades like Tumalog Falls where intrepid adventures can enjoy a jungle dip. Hiking to scenic viewpoints is another fun activity here in Cebu, with Busay Hill being one of the most famous locations. Make sure you pack the sunscreen!

Snorkelling with whale sharks in the Philippines

When it comes to wildlife, Cebu comes into its own. If you’ve ever wanted to swim with a whale shark, visit Oslob beach and snorkel alongside these majestic marine giants. Manta rays and thresher sharks are regular visitors too.

Travel around the Philippines Islands

On your search for the best islands in Philippines it’s important to take transport into consideration. If you look at a Philippines island map , you’ll notice that these destinations are strung out across the sea, so it’s not possible to just hop from one to the other without some careful planning.

Luckily, Philippines travel is well established and geared to tourism, with flights and ferries connecting all the major islands. Just remember to factor in a little extra time when arranging your itinerary in case transport schedules change or boats are delayed due to the weather. The Philippines is all about slow travel, which gives you the opportunity to do more than just scratch the surface during your visit.

Tarsier on Bohol Island in the Philippines

So, which are the best islands to visit in the Philippines for you?

There are lots of different islands in the Philippines so it can seem a little daunting trying to whittle down your options into one manageable itinerary. Hopefully, we’ve given you some food for thought by highlighting some of the top Philippines vacation islands beloved by visitors from around the world.

Whether you want to swim with whale sharks in Cebu, admire the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, or snorkel with Nemo in Coron, the beautiful islands of the Philippines are waiting to welcome you.

Heather Cole

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5 Best Islands To Visit in The Philippines

Mel Legarda

What Are The Best Islands To Visit in The Philippines?

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So you’re thinking about travelling to The Philippines? Brilliant. Keep reading.

“We want to backpack around the Philippines, but we don’t know where to start!”

“I’ve heard the Philippines is amazing, can you recommend anywhere for us to go and stay?”

“I’ve only got two weeks holiday, which are your favourite islands to travel around?”

These are the questions I’m most often asked by friends, family, and lovely strangers planning to visit The Philippines. Where to go? What to see? The sheer number of places, locations, and islands can be overwhelming – I totally get it!

As a UK-born Filipino who has also lived in The Philippines, I’ve been lucky enough to view the country both as a tourist and local. This dual perspective has given me an insight into the westernised areas as well as places off the beaten track.

In this post, I’m going to share my Top 5 Best Islands to Visit in The Philippines (2023) for those who have never been to the country before, and give some recommendations on what to do and where to stay. Make a cuppa and settle in.

Note: this page contains affiliate links.

Mel (illumelation) in a yellow kayak, paddling in Secret Lagoon, Palawan, Philippines — photography by Jordan Hammond

What and where is The Philippines?

Based in Southeast Asia, in the Pacific Ocean, The Philippines is an amazing archipelago filled with stunning beaches, beautiful terraces, rich biodiversity and diverse culture. ‘Archipelago’ means that the country is made up of multiple islands (7,641 to be exact). Don’t be fooled by the use of the word ‘island’ either. Each main island in The Philippines is surrounded by its own little cluster of even smaller islands!

The Philippines has rapidly risen in popularity and, probably thanks to Instagram, TikTok, and Conde Nast Traveller, has shot to global travel fame over the past decade for its stunning islands and wonderfully varied cultures.

Every island I’m about to recommend you is genuinely filled with waterfalls, caves, lagoons and beautiful beaches, each with their own unique twist on nature. So when you start booking your trip, remember that you’ll be able to experience all of the above wherever you go.

Coconut trees, turquoise water and white sands: a slice of paradise at Naked Island, Siargao, Philippines

Coconut trees, turquoise water and white sands: a slice of paradise at Naked Island, Siargao, Philippines

First things first… should you visit The Philippines?

Like, dude, is The Philippines safe?

From natural disasters to whispers that it’s ‘unsafe’, there’s always so much controversy about travelling around The Philippines. But on the whole, it’s very safe, and Filipinos are some of the kindest, most generous cultures on the planet. Most of my travels around the country have been completely on my own. I’ve always felt comfortable.

There have been volcano explosions, typhoons and kidnappings in the news lately. But you’re about as safe there as you are anywhere. Crime rates in major cities are probably significantly higher than out on small tourist beach islands.

Basically: life is short, go and visit, you won’t regret it.

Hello Adventure

When is the best time to go to The Philippines?

When is the philippines weather nice and warm.

The Philippines is generally warm and humid all year round. But there are two seasons: dry and wet! People always assume that the weather in the country is the same across all the islands. In actual fact, the weather varies from north to south, usually with the south in monsoon while the rest of the country stays dry. The climate differs wherever you are in the country. In Luzon, January to June is usually fairly dry, while monsoon season begins from July to December. During monsoon, expect rain!

Try to avoid travelling during local and domestic holidays.

Holiday season is super busy and filled with local travelers and families escaping city life in favour of a more… beachy location. The Philippines is also a deeply Catholic/Christian country, meaning Christmas and Easter are always teeming. Consider travelling in low season, though the monsoons can be unsettling if you’re not used to such heavy rain and thunder. I’ve found that travelling in monsoon season is still just as good as dry season — you can get lucky with the weather, plus there are less crowds.

Keep an eye on natural disasters that might occur.

Keep an eye on earthquakes and typhoons wherever you’re planning to go, and plan to avoid those as well. ( typhoon2000.ph )If you’re travelling to areas or islands that have been affected by natural disaster, be sensitive and do your research before going. You might even be able to help in some way. Be open to the idea that certain travel plans may not happen because of natural disasters or weather issues.

Do you need to have a plan for travelling in The Philippines?

Getting in and out of the country.

You’ll need to check whether you need a visa to enter the Philippines. There are 151 nationalities that can enter the country without a visa and stay for a maximum of thirty (30) days, as long as their passport is valid at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines. You might also need to have a return or outbound ticket back home or to another destination as they can be strict about this. Plan everything as much as you can to avoid any hassle at the airport.

Booking tours in advance

The Philippines is perfect for spontaneous plans. I wouldn’t worry about booking tours in advance, unless you want to be very organised and plan a detailed itinerary. You can look up tours to go on – like SUP stand-up paddle boarding tours which look very zen, or  Tao where you’ll be with other folks and sail around sipping beer (though I’m not sure how much local exposure you’ll get). I personally prefer arranging things myself on the fly depending on time frames and budget!

Booking flights or ferries in advance

If you’re flying to Manila, you’ll have to fly to Cebu internally from there to go to other islands as that’s the connector island 🙂 flights are relatively affordable and there are quite a few per day, depending on where you’re flying to. Ferries are fairly frequent too, though they can be a little bit unreliable sometimes, so make sure you leave plenty of travel time.

Turtle swimming underwater in the ocean with coral reef below

What are the Best Islands To Visit in The Philippines for First Timers?

Top 5 islands to visit in the philippines.

Aerial shot of traditional boats at a lagoon in El Nido, Palawan in the Philippines

1. Palawan – Voted World’s Best Island

Beautiful archipelagic Palawan, with its clear turquoise waters and diverse seascapes, was voted World’s Best Island not once, but twice. No big deal!

If there’s only one island you start with… make it Palawan. Home to a rich biodiversity of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, this special place has boomed in travel popularity in recent years. I feel a special affinity with Palawan because my great-grandma was from a small town called Cuyo there. I’d love to spend a few months there someday… sorry, I digress.

Fun fact about Palawan

Palawan is the island that Alex Garland originally based his novel The Beach on. The movie adaptation of The Beach starring young Leonardo DiCaprio became one of the most popular travel-based Hollywood movies ever — and they moved the film location to Thailand. Which was great, because it meant that Palawan stayed secret for a little bit longer.

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by MEL LEGARDA | UK Travel Blogger 🌍 (@illumelation)

What is Palawan known for?

  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Island hopping
  • Stand-up paddleboarding
  • World class pearls
  • Rich biodiversity
  • Turquoise lagoons

Where should you stay in Palawan?

There’s a huge variety of accommodation options in Palawan, especially in the bustling main northern town of El Nido, where nightlife and food options abound. From off-track luxury sea bungalows to budget hostels, you’ll be able to find a place that suits your travel style.

El Nido is a chaotic and lively town, so if you want a relaxed and quiet experience, consider accommodation outside of the main city. Maybe a beautiful Maldives-style hut on the water? Or a room in a house on a remote island?

Top Spots to Visit In Palawan

  • Coron Island
  • Nacpan Beach
  • Port Barton
  • Bacuit Archipelago
  • Calamian Islands
  • Kuyawyaw Falls
  • Miniloc Island
  • Cadlao Island
  • Puerto Princesa National Park

Mel’s #1 Palawan Tips:

Palawan is for explorers and beach lovers. If you’ve got two weeks to spare, consider spending all your time on Palawan. You can start in the North and travel down South, stopping by places like Buena Vista or Port Barton, or vice versa. You might want extra time to visit Coron, too.

Rent a motorbike if you can, as some of the best beaches (Nacpan Beach, for starters) are a little bit out of the way.

Palm tree lined river in Siargao Island, Philippines - paddling on a yellow canoe whilst local kids climb the trees behind me!

Palm tree lined river in Siargao Island, Philippines – paddling on a yellow canoe whilst local kids climb the trees behind me!

Siargao, an island almost entirely covered in coconut trees. This surfing mecca was voted World’s Best Island 2019. It’s the definition of island life.

Siargao (pronounced sharg-ow ) is one of my favourites. I first went in 2015 before the development boom, and last visited in 2018. It was originally best known for its world class surfing in warm clear waters, but now it’s “The New Bali”.

Flying over the island of Siargao is like watching Earth’s green lungs breathe. Trees are in luscious abundance. People call Siargao the ‘Bali of the Philippines’ because of the waves, the surf, the sea, and the westernisation. But it’s more than that.

Siargao-palm-trees-motorbike-illumelation.JPG

Sunset surf-spotting at Cloud 9 in Siargao, Philippines

Fun fact about Siargao

In 1992, a surf photographer named John Callahan published images of the then-unknown island with famous surfers riding waves in Cloud 9. Since then, tourists have been flooding in.

What is Siargao known for?

  • Kite surfing

Where should you stay in Siargao?

From the bustling, jam-packed main town of General Luna to the remote paradises that can be found in the North and South, you’ve got plenty of options. There’s budget, mid-range and luxury accommodations galore.

If you’d like to be close to everything on foot (or you’re planning to avoid renting a motorbike), stay in General Luna. It’s buzzing with cafes, restaurants, yoga spots, tours, market stalls and nightlife (Jungle Disco!), so you’ll be all set.

If you want a more ‘unplugged’ experience, then research accommodation that is a little bit more remote. I’d recommend renting a vehicle, though, as General Luna is a solid hour’s drive if you’re staying somewhere like Allegria.

Top Spots to Visit In Siargao

  • Magpupungko Rock Pools
  • Sugba Lagoon
  • Naked Island
  • Guyam Island
  • Secret Spot
  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by SinoPinas (@sinopinas)

Mel’s Top Siargao Tips:

Siargao is for slowing down and reconnecting with yourself. If you have time in your schedule, try to stay on the island for as long as possible. Rent a motorbike or, if you don’t drive, hire a tricycle to take you all around the island on the days you feel like exploring. Schedule in a day or two to do nothing but exist and enjoy your surroundings.

The sunsets here are amazing and watching the surfers catch waves is a beautiful experience. In terms of tours, I recommend island hopping with lunch and drinks included. If you’re planning to visit Sugba Lagoon, save money and ‘carpool’ by sharing a boat with other passengers. Sharing not only saves energy and fuel, but it’s cheaper and you’ll have fun striking up a friendship with strangers. There’s always someone to share a boat with, so don’t worry if you’re alone.

A bahay kubo hut on stilts along Loboc River in Bohol, Philippines - image by @karenaileen

A bahay kubo hut on stilts along Loboc River in Bohol, Philippines – image by @karenaileen

Ready to live that jungle life ? Head to Bohol, full of incredible biodiversity , tropical beaches and rivers, chocolate hills, and groves waiting to be explored.

An oldie but a goodie: Bohol, home to the tiny nocturnal Tarsier monkey and legendary chocolate hills . I first visited Bohol when I was ten-years-old and fell in love with the tiny Tarsier monkeys after visiting a sanctuary. Cute!

Bohol is one of the best islands in the Philippines. From its winding green Loboc River , stunning terrain with hiking opportunities, to clear blue waters filled with marine life, Bohol has so much to offer.

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Jerry (@jerry_dream_travels)

Fun fact about Bohol

The Philippine Tarsier monkey, one of the smallest primate species in the world, is endemic (uniquely located in) to the southern Philippines — and Bohol is best known for them.

What is Bohol known for?

  • Loboc River cruises
  • Stand up paddleboarding
  • Tarsier monkeys

Sailing down the blue-green Loboc River in Bohol, with coconut tree jungles lining the riverside - photo by Karen Aileen

Sailing down the blue-green Loboc River in Bohol, with coconut tree jungles lining the riverside – photo by Karen Aileen

Where should you stay in Bohol?

There are plenty of private island resorts here. Bohol tends to get very touristy, especially in local holiday seasons, so it’s worth paying to get away from the crowds if you can afford it.

Top Spots to Visit In Bohol

  • Chocolate Hills
  • Loboc River
  • Panglao Beach
  • Dimiao ‘Twin’ Falls
  • Cadapdapan Rice Terraces
  • Anda Cave Pools
  • Balicasag Island

Swingin’ into 2020! Frolicking at Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor Island, near Cebu, Philippines

Swingin’ into 2020! Frolicking at Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor Island, near Cebu, Philippines

Discover life underwater in Cebu, the central hub for the Visayas region. From white-sand beaches to world-class diving and waterfalls, this island and the smattering of smaller islands around it can give you some of the best experiences in the entire the country.

Cebu, as a main island and the flight connector for all southern travel, can be a little bit of a tourist trap. In the region of Cebu there are loads of other islands which offer different experiences – people often pass through Cebu to go whale shark spotting (which can be unethical) and diving.

Don’t let the traffic and the cars of Cebu city fool you, though – just hours away are some of the most beautiful natural phenomenons in the country. From here, you can explore other islands and regions such as Oslob, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Mactan Island, Malapascua, Poro Island, Moalboal and more.

Fun fact about Cebu

Cebu is home to one of the oldest schools in the Philippines – and the whole of Asia! University of San Carlos (USC) traces all the way back to 1595 when it was founded by Spanish Jesuits.

Cebu is known for…

  • Whale sharks

Siquijor_Cambugahay-illumelation.JPG

Where should you stay in Cebu?

It really depends on where you go and what your budget is. Cebu is one of the main islands in the Visayas region, and it’s absolutely teeming with accommodation, hotel, homestay and tour options to suit your needs.

Top Spots to Visit In Cebu

  • Kawasan Falls
  • Mactan Island
  • Poro Island
  • Carnaza Island

Fiery sunset over the ocean and floating boats in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas - Luzon Island, Philippines / image by @karenaileen

Fiery sunset over the ocean and floating boats in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas – Luzon Island, Philippines / image by @karenaileen

Manila isn’t the only place in Luzon , you know. This main heart island is full of amazing beaches , from Baler to Batangas , and is home to some of the most stunning geographical phenomenons on Earth.

Luzon is where capital city Manila is, but venture just two hours out and you’ll find yourself near to dormant volcanoes like Taal Volcano (which recently exploded in January 2020) and Mount Pinatubo. Drive further north and you’ll be in the famous Banaue and Sagada Rice Terraces , home to the world’s oldest tattoo artist, Whang Od.

There are hundreds of beaches and waterfalls too. You won’t even need an airplane to get there. Luzon has got some incredible oceanscapes, and whilst they might not all be white sand, even the rockiest ones can offer you some of the richest marine life and geographical phenomenons like sandbars. Plus there are fabulous resorts to chill out at.

Admiring Taal Volcano and Taal Crater Lake in Tagaytay, Cavite, Luzon

Admiring Taal Volcano and Taal Crater Lake in Tagaytay, Cavite, Luzon

Fun fact about Luzon

Some of the country’s most popular and most active volcanoes are located in Luzon, including: Mount Pinatubo , Mount Mayon, Mount Bulusan, Didicas Volcano, Babuyan Claro, Deguey Volcano, and the recently erupted Taal Volcano.

What is Luzon known for?

  • Hiking and trekking

Where should you stay in Luzon?

This one is hard to answer, because it’s like asking where to stay in a whole country. My advice is, research where you want to visit and what kinds of things you want to see first. Then get granular and start researching places. I’m happy to recommend some places if you need advice on Luzon!

Top Spots to Visit In Luzon

  • Tagaytay / Cavite

White bangka boat floating in a crystal clear sea in Siargao Philippines

Which Philippine island should you start with?

It’s tough to choose the best island in the Philippines to visit, I know!

There are literally thousands of islands to choose from, but the islands I’ve shared above — Palawan, Siargao, Bohol, Cebu and Luzon — are the ones I think that first-time visitors usually enjoy and appreciate the most.

Each of these islands will give you a fantastic mix of island life, local culture, adventure and watersports, and the feeling of discovering something amazing.

If you’re only going for a week or two, then you will have an amazing time on any of these islands. That’s the beauty of the Philippines. Everything is guaranteed to be beautiful – no matter what your itinerary.

Two Filipina girls in flip-flops on Islas de Gigantes in the Visayas, Philippines

Need some advice about travelling to The Philippines?

No matter which island you choose, you’ll have an enriching and unique experience. Do your research, learn about local politics and sustainability issues, and when you’re ready – book your flights! Jump into it with both feet first.

Where in The Philippines are you travelling to next?

  • 15 Things You Need To Know Before Travelling To The Philippines
  • 5 Best Islands To Visit In The Philippines
  • 12 Epic Things To Do In Boracay
  • 14+ Best Things To Do In Baler
  • 10 Authentic Things To Do In Manila
  • 5 Best Weekend Getaways Near Manila
  • See all Philippines posts

Are you interested in learning about how I edit my photos? Check out my Mobile Editing Masterclass where I teach you all my tips for editing gorgeous travel photos on Lightroom!

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Mel Legarda

Melissa Legarda is the founder of illumelation . She has worked as a travel blogger, creator and writer since 2015, and has collaborated with well-known brands worldwide. She has helped over 1,100+ students improve their travel photography skills since launching her creative courses. Her mission is to encourage and empower others to travel and create more. Find her on Instagram .

15 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting The Philippines – Travel Tips

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turquoise sea

How to plan the ultimate island-hopping adventure in the Philippines

In this archipelago of over 7,000 islands, bamboo boats can take you almost anywhere — a neon-streaked city, an underwater shipwreck or a forest village where fireflies twinkle with the stars 

Filipinos have long referred to their country as a pearl. And yes, you can find pearls here — but that’s not the only reason why. It has everything to do with the Philippines’ natural riches: among them, jade-green rice terraces, looming limestone mountains and sunsets so vivid they seem to set the sea ablaze. Add to this the country’s cities, with oceanside skyscrapers, a diverse street food scene and charming, mini-bus-like jeepneys, and you have the makings of a world-class break.  

Because the Philippines has no mainland to speak of, most trips here tend to involve hopping between some of its 7,641 islands and islets. Those craving a more laidback beach getaway are well catered for: in popular destinations like Palawan, bangkas (bamboo outrigger boats) line up by the shores, ready to whisk you to your choice of sandbar. Some are backed by barefoot bars, some are famous for snorkelling, while others are reclaimed by the water at high tide.  

But the best visits to these islands include time spent inland. Filipinos flock to the cities of the Central Visayas, where ancestral houses and museums tell tales of national heroes — revolutionaries whose names are uttered with a reverence usually reserved for saints. On less frequented landmasses like the Bicol Peninsula, on Luzon island, you’ll find forests crisscrossed with streams and dotted with crystalline lagoons, and villages built from bamboo and wreathed in woodsmoke. Motorised tricycles putter from one of these villages to the next, carrying anything from chickens and pigs to an entire family of eight.  

Diving opens up a whole new world beneath the waves, too, where coral chapels house congregations of angelfish and wrasse, while shoals of silvery sardines dance above. Some sites are frequented by bigger beasts — barracudas, manta rays, whale sharks and thresher sharks — and advanced diving credentials can bring them into view, while also giving access to the Philippines’ renowned shipwrecks. Down at those depths, you might discover creatures such as the ghost pipefish, which make their homes in the banks of black coral. And, who knows, perhaps you’ll find a shining pearl or two.  

Itinerary 1: Central Visayas

Start: Mactan •   Finish: Apo Island   Distance: 183 miles • Time: 16 days

The Philippines can be divided into three areas: Luzon, the biggest, northernmost island, home to the capital, Manila; the Visayas, an archipelago scattered at its centre; and Mindanao, the second-largest island to the south. The Central Visayas are the heart of the country, with as much culture and history as leisure and adventure.  

Begin on Mactan island. Lapu-Lapu City is named after the 16th-century chief who ordered the killing of explorer Ferdinand Magellan, whose arrival paved the way for Spanish rule. To learn more about the country’s past, cross the 5.5-mile Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway to Cebu island, where history looms large in both Catholic churches and capiz shell-encrusted ancestral houses.  

Reserve about a week for both. Then, the real island-hopping begins, with fast and frequent ferries making transfers easy. Take one to Bohol island; once there, drive straight to Tagbilaran city, on Bohol’s southern shore, and across a bridge to Panglao Island. After a couple of days recharging on Panglao, retrace your way to Bohol to explore its limestone hills. Beyond lies Negros island, where Dumaguete city is the jumping-off point for discovering Apo Island.

chocolate hills, philippines

1. Mactan Seaside resorts line Mactan’s southeastern shore — as do dive shops , positioned to make the most of a vertiginous reef wall that’s home to sea snakes and green turtles. Lapu-Lapu City, which covers most of the island, is the Philippines’ guitar-making capital: take a tour of Alegre Guitar Factory , which sells instruments made from tropical wood.  

2. Cebu Ferdinand Magellan spent his final days on Cebu, one of the region’s biggest islands. This is where you’ll find Magellan’s Cross, planted by the explorer after his arrival, and the Santo Niño de Cebu. While they were still on good terms, Magellan gifted local tribespeople this carved wooden image of the baby Jesus, now housed in the Basilica del Santo Niño. It’s honoured every January during Sinulog , a folk dance festival.

3. Panglao Island There’s a beach to suit every visitor to Panglao . While most like to party on Alona, the local favourite is Dumaluan, a quiet stretch of powdery coral sand. If neither appeals, take a boat trip to the round island of Balicasag. On the way there, you may spot bottlenose and Risso’s dolphins.

4. Bohol Bohol’s undulating Chocolate Hills are one of the Philippines’ most photographed sights, but they’re not the island’s only attraction. Spend the night in a nipa palm hut in the forest village of Loboc, paddleboarding by day and firefly-watching by night.  

5. Dumaguete This university town sits on the east shore of Negros, an island known for its tangy inasal (barbecued chicken). Try it at Jo’s Chicken Inatô, then head to Lab-as Seafood Restaurant for liempo kinilaw, vinegar-cured tuna chunks topped with crispy pork belly. Spend the evening bar-hopping along Rizal Boulevard, sampling rums made from Negros sugarcane.  

6. Apo Island This coral cornucopia is one of the country’s best-loved dive spots . Beginner-friendly sites include the Chapel, where moray eels slither among sea fans and leather corals. For experienced divers, Coconut Point has schools of trevally and the occasional hawksbill turtle.

Itinerary 2: Palawan

Start: Puerto Princesa •   Finish: Coron Town Distance: 310 miles • Time: 14 days

Although a map might convince you it’s one giant mass of land, Palawan is a quintessential island-hopping destination. Around 1,780 islets are scattered around the shores of Palawan Island — the archipelago’s biggest by far — ranging from jagged peaks to blinding white sandbars. But it’s the sea itself, and what lies within, that truly dazzles.  

The best place to start is the provincial capital of Puerto Princesa, on Palawan Island. It faces Honda Bay, a smattering of islands that sink and reemerge with the ebb and flow of tides. Riding a bus through Palawan Island’s interior, you’ll find bamboo villages full of crowing cockerels, set against the silhouette of indigo mountains. It’s a fine taster for the UNESCO-listed Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, which draws visitors from the Cabayugan River’s brackish mouth into a shadowy cathedral of caves.  

Palawan’s northeastern tip is a limestone wonderland, its chiselled karsts attracting climbers, kayakers and photographers. From here, take a multi-day boat trip to Coron Town, your last stop and base for reaching the waters of Coron Bay. It’s a world-renowned wreck-diving destination: Japanese warships lie in shallow graves, with coral and sea turtles claiming their rusting hulls.

1. Puerto Princesa Palawan’s capital is your base for the first few stops of this itinerary. Pay a visit to the Palawan Heritage Center, an interactive museum that houses both ancient artifacts and modern arts and crafts. In the evening, head to the seafront Baywalk promenade, where you’ll find a variety of laid-back, family-owned restaurants and bars. Don’t miss the Palawan honey-infused beer at Palaweño Brewery , the Philippines’ first female-owned craft brewery, a 20-minute walk into town.  

island

2. Honda Bay The islets in Honda Bay, north east of Puerto Princesa, are blessed with biodiversity. On an island-hopping day tour from the city, operator Corazon Travel & Tours will have you swim among horned sea stars, damselfish and iridescent wrasse, pausing for a picnic lunch of freshly caught fish. On the larger islands, coconut vendors ply their trade on many beaches and will gladly hack open a freshly fallen fruit for you to drink from.

3. Mount Magarwak The beginner-friendly trek up Mount Magarwak — a cluster of hills between Honda Bay and the taller peaks of Puerto Princesa — is best done as a half-day trip from the city. Most guides will pick you up before sunrise; this way, you’ll reach the summit in time to see the sun’s first golden rays skim the bay below. On the way up, you’ll encounter native ironwood and katmon trees, as well as some of Palawan’s 445 species of butterfly.

4. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park In this national park on the western coast of Palawan Island, an underground river winds for five miles through a mountain. Small-boat tours from the nearby village of Sabang take you up to its halfway point, gliding through echoing caves where bats chatter overhead. Although most travellers will visit on an organised day trip from Puerto Princesa, it’s worth staying overnight in Sabang to explore the surrounding forest, home to endemic species such as the Palawan peacock pheasant and Palawan porcupine.  

5. El Nido This town is the base for visits to the Bacuit Archipelago — 45 craggy limestone outcrops that rise from the sea like mountains. To escape the day-trippers, it’s worth booking a tour through an operator such as Tao , which takes you to Coron Town for several days of snorkelling in the furthest-flung islands, eating and sleeping by the sea in bamboo huts.

6. Coron Bay During the closing stages of the Second World War, the US Air Force launched a surprise attack on 12 Japanese warships anchored in Coron Bay, sinking them in a matter of hours. Their wrecks — particularly that of the Okikawa Maru, with its cavernous propeller room and resident population of neon nudibranchs — are now popular locations for experienced divers .

Related Topics

  • CULTURAL TOURISM
  • PEOPLE AND CULTURE
  • FOOD CULTURE
  • HISTORY AND CIVILIZATION
  • MODERN HISTORY

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5 Islands You CAN’T Miss in The Philippines

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Imagine you’re doing a visual meditation and the person tells you to think of your happy place, somewhere you’d consider paradise. Well, when I first went to The Philippines , I realised that what I think of as paradise is real!!! I just hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes until I visited The Philippines.

So on your trip to paradise, you need to make sure you hit all the top spots. While all of The Philippines is absolutely beautiful, we thought we’d tell you the 5 Islands in The Philippines that you reaaaally CAN’T miss!

To be honest, we’d even include Palawan on our top 5 islands you can’t miss in the world . It really is stunning and it’s no surprise that this island attracts tourists with its perfect balance of stunning white beaches, luscious green jungle, and unbelievable marine life. Palawan is the ideal island for adventure lovers and beach-goers alike. Most of the top attractions in Palawan are its incredible beaches and stunning blue lagoons, but it’s also home to top-class scuba diving, huge caves and underground rivers so there’s something for everyone whether you’re a chilled out beach-goer or an adventure-seeking adrenaline junkie. At the tip of Palawan Island is the stunning El Nido, which has the most vibrant coral reefs, striking small and big lagoons, stunning limestone cliffs, and geological formations. There are so many stunning sites in El Nido, you really can not miss it. There are 4 different island tours to choose from, each one focusing on an El Nido speciality, whether it is the impressive lagoons or the breathtaking white beaches. Whichever you do, you'll be impressed with El Nido's unique natural beauty and you really won't wanna go home! Palawan is also home to the Puerto Princesa Underground River and the idyllic and unspoilt fishing town of Port Barton! So plenty to do in this stunning island hopping haven. On our Philippines West tour and our Philippines Island Hopper , we hit the BEST of this stunning island so no worries if you're on our tour!

Technically a municipality of Palawan, but separated from the main island is Coron! it's not the easiest to get to but god damn, is it worth it (and don't worry - we sort out the transport for you, so no stress!). Considered as one of the best islands in the Philippines by many, Coron Island is famous in part for its insane beaches, lagoons and lakes, but what it is really  famous for is its wreck dives. Coron is the perfect destination for anyone who loves chilling on the beach or people who love to snorkel or scuba diving (and exploring cool old abandoned shipwrecks). For travellers who wanna go exploring, you can go hiking to witness a famous Filipino sunset (they really are the most beautiful sunsets we've ever seen!) or take a dip in a hot spring.

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

If you've ever been on Instagram (which we know you have), you'll have seen the shots of the unbelievable Palm Tree Road and that insane vista can be found in the one, the only - Siargao. Siargao is a dream destination for tourists because it has the most perfect white sand beaches, impressive lagoons and huge mangrove forest reserves. However, the biggest reason for travellers to flock to this incredible island is the waves. Whether you surf a lot or are yet to take on a wave, this island is known as a surfer paradise. On our Philippines East and our Philippines Island Hopper , you'll have the chance to have a surf lesson in this world-class surfing hub! This cool lil island town also has shops, resorts, restaurants, etc. but it's still got that chilled out but also lively surfer vibe to it making it the perfect little island to visit on your trip.

Philippines Island Hopping waterfalls

As with many of the other Filipino islands, Cebu is known for its pristine beaches and gorgeous clear blue seas BUT Cebu is mostly famous for what happens under the water instead. Cebu has an incredibly diverse marine life that lives in its brightly coloured coral reef, meaning that it is a dream-come-true destination for scuba divers. Moalboal, a small town in Cebu, is home to the impressive Sardine Run, lots of turtles (there's a diving spot called Turtle Point... go figure!?) and a whole host of colourful marine life that'll make you wish you could miraculously turn into a mermaid... no fear though! Scuba diving and snorkelling is the next best thing, and we do a shed load of it when we go to Cebu in our Philippines East tour and our Philippines Island Hopper tour . Cebu is also where the insta-famous Kasawan Falls is, and a whole host of other impressive, winding waterfalls that lead to it, so if you fancy seeing the most stunning lush forest and bright pastel blue waters (it looks like people have let off 100 bath bombs in there BUT IT'S NATURAL!)... Cebu is the one for you! Don't listen to TLC, let's go chasing those waterfalls baby!

More specifically, you’ll be guided through narrow crevasses filled with waterfalls, tropical foliage, natural pools of water and natural waterslides. At the end of your day-long journey, you’ll come to Kawawan Falls- a waterfall that you have to see to believe.

Boracay has lots of natural beauty... it has about 17 different beaches, which for such a small island is impressive and you'll never be stuck if chilling on a beach is your main aim on Boracay. BUT it's most well-known for its insane beach clubs, which makes it one of the most popular islands in the Philippines. Surrounded by stunning white-sand beaches and clear water, Boracay is an ideal place to enjoy a range of nautical activities on beaches, including snorkelling, kiteboarding, surfing, or simply relaxing on the soft sand.

You probably already know this but The Philippines  is going through a really tough time right now because of Typhoon Odette. Hundreds have been killed and there are thousands of other people who have been affected, with many of the victims being our TruFam. All victims of this horrible event need our help! If you want to support the recovery of this incredible country, please donate to our GoFundMe page . Donations of any size will make all the difference! Together, we can help support the victims of this awful event and help them get back up and running so that in the second half of 2022 and into 2023, we can visit these incredible destinations and enjoy them to the fullest.

We hope to be back in these unreal destinations and this beautiful country ASAP! Remember guys, don't quit your daydream...

See you on the beach,

top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

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  • 16 Best Islands To Visit In The Philippines

16 Best Islands to Visit in the Philippines

16 Best Islands to Visit in the Philippines

The Philippines is famous as an archipelagic nation in Southeast Asia. Officially called the Republic of the Philippines, the country is located in the western Pacific Ocean. Featuring around 7641 islands, the Philippines is famous as an island-hopping destination in the Southeast Asian peninsula. The aesthetic charm of these beaches lies in the coral reefs, natural beauty, crystal clear water, and mountainous tropical rainforests in the surroundings. With so many natural wonders and sporty vibes, the islands are the best places to visit in Philippines . However, most of these islands are like gems hidden from sight, untouched and undiscovered by tourists. Here we help you to discover some of the most beautiful islands in Philippines.

Palawan

One of the most beautiful islands in the world, the Palawan Island in the Philippines, attracts tourists with beautiful beaches, Jungle Mountains, and lush wildlife. Located just off the western flank of the country, Palawan is a long island and a heaven for nature and adventure lovers. Also famous as one of the most popular resort destinations of the country, Palawan in the Philippines is just an 80-minute flight away from Manila. It is an ideal place when you are all set to go for a long-awaited island getaway.

El Nido

Next up in the list of the best islands in Philippines, El Nido is on the tip of Palawan Island. El Nido is said to have a world of its own, having the most striking natural beauty and landscapes. This is the island, considered to be the gateway to the Bacuit Archipelago, featuring more than 45 islands and islets. Here, each islet or island has a distinct attraction, including vibrant coral reefs, small and big lagoons, stunning limestone cliffs, and geological formations.

Bohol

Situated in the Central Visayas region, Bohol attracts tourists with its striking and diverse attractions, including the Chocolate Hills as the most popular spot. It is comprised of one major island and 75 smaller islands, giving you the opportunity to select your favourite one. Bohol in the Philippines is filled with many hidden natural spots such as fisherman-only rivers, local grilled seafood spots, secret waterfalls, handicraft markets, and more.

Coron

Considered as one of the best islands in the Philippines by many, Coron Island is mainly famous for its stunning beaches, Kayangan Lake, twin lagoons, small lagoons, and Barracuda Lake. It is a small group of islands in the region, located at just 30 minutes of boat drive from Busuanga. The Coron in the Philippines is a perfect place to enjoy beach camping, snorkelling, scuba, or wreck diving. Also, you can go hiking to witness stunning sunset or take a dip in a hot spring. When you plan to visit Coron Island, make sure to enjoy a short boat ride to Malcapuya Beach, located at a close distance.

Boracay

Another one of the most popular islands in the Philippines, Boracay has both natural and manmade points of interest. Located around 300 km south of Manila, Boracay Island in the Philippines is a small island, yet it has around 17 beaches and coves of all sizes and shapes. Surrounded by stunning white-sand beaches and clear water, Boracay is an ideal place to enjoy a range of nautical activities on beaches, including snorkelling, kiteboarding, surfing, or simply relaxing on the soft sand.

Luzon

Luzon is one of the largest islands in the Philippines, especially popular for beach vacations. Located in the northern part of the Philippine archipelago, Luzon is a perfect pick for nature and adventure lovers. Also, you can go camping atop the mountain hill on Luzon Island in the Philippines. Some highlights include Taal Volcano, Batad rice terraces, Pahubad, WWII Era Corregidor Island, and a Private getaway to Magalawa Island.

Siargao

A dream destination for tourists, Siargao is located at the northeastern tip of Mindanao, around 800 kilometres in South Manila. It’s a place with perfect white sand beaches, mesmerizing lagoons, mangrove forest reserves, and exotic wildlife. However, one of the biggest attractions for travellers here is surfing. This beautiful island town also has shops, resorts, restaurants, etc. yet, maintaining the vibe and charm of a small beach town. Siargao Island in the Philippines offers tourists a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

8. Bantayan

Bantayan

Located at the northernmost tip of Cebu, Bantayan is one of the off-the-beaten-path tourist destinations. With eco-tourism sites and striking beaches, this beautiful island in the Philippines attracts travellers from all over the world. Here you can enjoy swimming, exciting water activities, skydiving, sightseeing, and gastronomic seafood adventures.

Negros

Known as the 4th largest island in the Philippines, Negros is home to both calm, beautiful beaches and active city centers. A boot-shaped island, that is 35 to 79 km wide and 217 km stretched, Negros is the main producer of sugar and organic products in the Philippines. The island attracts tourists with stunning beaches, underwater coral gardens, a rugged mountain interior, and some nature reserves.

10. Dumaguete

Dumaguete

Next on the list of best islands in the Philippines is Dumaguete, a perfect spot for island exploration or relaxation. Dumaguete is a laid-back destination, famous for natural beauty in its surroundings and many water sports such as dolphin-watching, swimming, and trekking adventures on nearby mountains. Some key attractions here are waterfalls adventure, red rock hot spring, Sidlakang Negros village, and forest camp. However, the natural volcano Crater Lake and majestic waterfalls are the highlights of this island.

11. Mindanao

Mindanao

The second-largest island in the Philippines, Mindanao, is located in the southern part of the archipelago, with the Bohol, Celebes, Sulu, and Philippine seas in its surrounding. Some of the major attractions in Mindanao include the tropical beaches of Samal Island, the laidback surfing hotspot called Siargao Island, and the small yet striking island of Camiguin, blessed with many waterfalls and white-sand beaches. If you wish to experience a relaxed and comfortable vacation, Mindanao Island may be the right place for you.

12. Malapascua

Malapascua

Located around 7km off the northernmost area of Cebu Island, Malapascua is a small, calm, and remote island in the Philippines. The island is a perfect spot to have a once-in-a-lifetime diving experience. It is a tropical Island featuring crystal clear water, coconut trees, and white sandy beaches. Malapascua is known worldwide for being one of the few places to spot the very rare Thresher Shark.

13. Britannia Island

Located in the village of Britannia in Surigao del Sur province, Britannia Island is a group of 24 beautiful and serene islands. This group of islands is in proximity to the southern tip of the Philippines. Famous for powdery sand beaches and crystal-clear water, Britannia Island is an ideal tourist destination to enjoy Mountain biking and Catamaran cruising. Also, the island is known for hopping adventures, allowing you to visit four renowned islands - Hagonoy Island, Hiyor-Hiyoran Island, Naked Island, and Boslon Island.

Panay

Surrounded by the Sulu, Visayan, and the Sibuyan seas, Panay is one of the best islands in the Philippines. Known as the gateway to the Boracay, the island is one of the most preferred beach destinations in town. The highlights of this island are white sandy beaches, Beachfront guest houses, Gigantes and Guimaras islands. Panay Island is also famous for its 4 provinces, including Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, and Antique.

15. Calaguas

Calaguas

Situated in the Philippine province of Camarines Norte, the Calaguas Island is a group of some striking islands in the Philippines. It is an off-beat beach destination, earlier known as the quiet coastline. However, the island is now beaming with magnificent structures, rich marine life, surreal natural beauty, and water adventures. Also, the outstanding views, isolation, and pristine white shore make it an ideal camping spot for beach enthusiasts.

16. MoalBoal

MoalBoal

A quaint town situated in the south of Cebu, Moalboal Island is a popular tourist destination among travellers around the world. Famous for its beaches and the vibrant underwater world, Moalboal is a perfect weekend getaway, mainly known for its snorkelling site. The highlights of this island include Sardines watching, Sea turtle watching, and Snorkelling. Also, the Tuble Marine Sanctuary of MoalBoal Island offers views of the fishes and teeming corals, harbouring deep into its shallow water.

The Philippines has a lot to offer, from island beauty to scrumptious food and the islands that provide unforgettable experiences for visitors. When planning a vacation to this country of islands, make sure you choose the best Philippines tour package to enjoy a perfect holiday.

Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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15 Incredible Places to Visit in the Philippines

Updated September 19, 2023

With over 7,000 islands to choose from, deciding where to go in the Philippines can be overwhelming. Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered with 15 of the most incredible places to visit on your Philippine sojourn, divided by the country’s three main regions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Go beyond the guidebook and connect with a local to plan your trip. They’ll help you navigate the islands like a pro. Basically, it’s like having a best friend in the Philippines. Learn more .

Located in the northernmost end of the country, Luzon is the most populated group of islands in the Philippines and home to many of its most populous cities and attractions. 

#1: Manila  

Take a day or two to explore Manila, the Philippines’ bustling metropolitan capital. Manila is the densest city in the world and the two million people living there create an exciting, non-stop energy. You’ll find no shortage of things to do, like trying the best seafood of your life at the  Pasay Seafood Market or strolling down the palm tree-lined Manila Baywalk (a two-kilometer promenade packed with cafes and jaw-dropping views of the sunset). 

Definitely swing through the neighborhood of Makati, it’s a great place to explore and people watch via the Salcedo Market . And don’t leave without visiting the National Museum —the museum hosts some amazing exhibitions on Filipino art, archaeology, and natural history that will really help set the stage for your experience in the Philippines.

Pro tip : Manila is big —and full of hidden gems! Definitely connect with a local to get a unique look at this exhilarating city.

#2: Vigan 

Vigan is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines

The Spanish came and went, but their influence on Vigan’s architecture remained—as you wander Vigan’s streets, you’ll definitely notice the European influence. On the west coast of Luzon (about 6 hours north of Manila), Vigan offers tons of great historical attractions—and it’s also an ideal starting point for cruises down the Mestizo River. 

With tons of unique fusion between Filipino and Spanish food, Vigan is also a foodie’s paradise. If there’s one thing you need to try, it’s Vigan Longganisa, a type of chorizo that’s the star of the local cuisine. Wander down the cobblestone main street, Calle Crisologo , where you’ll find great restaurants, tons of ice cream trucks, and even horse-drawn carriages.  

Pro tip : There are tons of great local eateries in Vigan, so  ask your local for recs about their favorites.

#3: Adams 

Adams, nestled in the jungle-covered mountains at the northern tip of the Philippines, is packed with adventure potential. You’ll find wildlife, wooden bridges, and twisty dirt trails that you can only navigate on foot. (This gorgeous village is remote —so definitely connect with a local for advice on how to enjoy Adams, from where to stay to what to eat to what to explore!)

One of the main draws of the village is its waterfalls, eighteen of which are scattered throughout the nearby jungle. Anuplig and Kanayupin Falls are among the most popular, but we also love the hike the Lovers’ Peak, which offers a gorgeous sunset view.

Pro tip : Adams is awesome—but it takes some advance planning to get there. The trip involves a chain of buses and motorcycles from nearby villages. To avoid travel stress, get some local advice on how to navigate it.

#4: Mount Mayon in Legazpi 

Mount Mayon in southern Luzon is an adventure hotspot in the Philippines— literally . Mayon is an active volcano! It’s so active that visitors aren’t allowed to hike to the summit—however, you can still camp and hike pretty far up. If you prefer to keep your distance, you can still admire the majesty of Mount Mayon from Legazpi. It's a quaint coastal town that offers diverse activities:  admire local art at the Albay Capitol Atrium Art Gallery  or rent an ATV and tear off into the surrounding countryside!

#5: Batad Rice Terraces 

The Batad Rice Terrances are one of the best places to visit in the Philippines

You’ll recognize this spectacle in the Ifugao Province from those gorgeous Windows 95 screensavers from back in the day. (Are we dating ourselves? Oh dear). Here, the countryside is transformed into an amphitheater of rice fields known as The Batad Rice Terraces —and they will take your breath away. Not only are the formation of the rice fields incredible in themselves, but they offer a great hike that gives a close look into how the rice is harvested, dried, and processed. 

If your legs are still feeling good after the hike in, you can also explore the area a bit more and try to track down the 230-foot high Tappiya Falls . Since you can’t reach the terraces by car, they are a great option for getting off the beaten path. From the nearby town of Banaue, it’s a 45-minute hike into the village of Batad and its stunning views of the terraces.

From Luzon we jump to Visayas, the smaller central region of the Philippines known for its beautiful mosaic of beaches, exotic wildlife, and vibrant indigenous culture.

#6: Cebu City 

Cebu City has it all: amazing nightlife, fascinating history, and easy accessibility to some of the Philippines’ most gorgeous beaches. Explore the city during the day—we recommend checking out sites like the impressive 18th-century Fort San Pedro —and enjoy Cebu City’s electric nightlife once the sun goes down. Mango Square and IT Park are hotspots for great nights out. 

Cebu City is also a great launching point to the rest of the island! From there, it’s easy to jump in the water and enjoy activities like scuba diving and swimming with whale sharks (don’t worry, they don’t eat people).

Pro tip : If you’re in Cebu City, hop over to  Mactan Island : the stunning azure waters make you feel like you’ve landed in paradise.

#7: Tagbilaran City 

Tagbilaran, the capital city of Bohol Island, is beautiful and laid-back—the perfect place to relax at cafes, enjoy incredible views, and explore the nearby national parks. However, Tagbilaran isn’t always so chill! In July, the city transforms into an enormous party for the Sandugo Festival . It’s a pretty incredible experience. The festival, which celebrates the infamous, 16th-century blood pact between the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez and Lord Sikatuna of Bohol, features street dancing, beauty contests, parades, and more! 

Pro tip : Pretty awesome, right? If you can tear yourself away from the party, check out the town’s blood pact monument . 

#8: Boracay 

Boracay is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines

Boracay, a small island in the central Philippines, is home to some of the most famous beaches in the Philippines: White Beach on its west coast, and Bulabog on its east coast. White Beach awes with palm trees and crystal-blue waters, whereas Bualabog is all about those waves, man . 

If you ever need a break from beach life—hey, no judgment, it happens!—learn how to cook like a Filipino by signing up for a cooking class , eat lots of “lechon” (roasted pork), and make your Instagram followers green with envy with all your panoramic posts. 

#9: Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor 

A trip to Cambugahay Falls is like an afternoon at the swimming pool—a pretty spectacular one. Cambugahay Falls is a natural waterfall-fed pool located on Siquijor Island just outside the town of Lazi. The trip to the falls is super easy—just a short drive from Lazi and a 15-20 minute walk from the parking area—but once you reach them you won’t want to leave. Ever . The Falls are relaxing, beautiful, and provide hours of fun cliff-jumping and exploring the multiple tiers of warm-water pools.

Pro tip : There aren’t any restaurants at Cambugahay Falls.  Talk to your local about where you can grab dinner after a day of adventure!

#10: The Chocolate Hills 

The Chocolate Hills are one of the best places to visit in the Philippines

The Chocolate Hills aren’t edible, but they are a feast for the eyes. The 1,200+ hills in the Bohol form wave after wave of gorgeous, chocolatey brown landscape—at least during the dry season, when the hills take on their famous hue. You can’t climb the hills—they’re a protected UNESCO site —so admire them from afar. Then, get to the next stop on your itinerary! The gorgeous Panglao Island and the enchanting Hinagdanan Cave are just about an hour away. 

Pro tip: The best way to get to the Chocolate Hills is by taking a ferry from Cebu City to Tagbilaran City then hitching a ride via bus or renting a car from there. 

Mindanao is the southernmost group of islands in the Philippines and is known for its incredible biodiversity and rich variety of natural landscapes. 

#11: Davao City 

Davao City is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines

Davao City is one of the Philippines’ most populated cities, and it has something for everyone . Spend your days exploring the city’s great cultural sites, like the *always free* Museo Dabawenyo and the People’s Park , which is full of indigenous-inspired art. The nightlife is wild— get some local advice on which of the many bars and nightclubs to check out—and the city also provides easy access to Mount Apo , the Philippines’ highest peak. Awesome culture, amazing nightlife, and a mountain to climb?? We’re sold. 

Pro tip : Davao City is the place to try Durian, a smelly but delicious fruit that grows in abundance around the city.

#12: Siargao Island 

Secluded and pristine, Siargao Island is so spectacular it was once voted the best island in the world . Surf, explore cave pools, or just soak in the vibes on the pier—whatever you do, set your mind to island time and forget about the rest of the world for a while. That’s the beauty of Siargao.

Pro tip : The island is easily accessible by boat or plane! 

#13: Iligan City 

Whatever that song meant by “don’t go chasing waterfalls”, forget it when you go to  Iligan City . This place is all about chasing waterfalls . In fact, Iligan, in northern Mindanao, is called the “City of Majestic Waterfalls.” We’re sure you’ve guessed why: It’s surrounded by 23 different waterfalls to explore! The most well-known is Maria Cristina Falls , but all are awesome destinations for hiking or swimming. After exploring the falls, rocket through the forest canopy on a zip line or explore the local  Botanical and Zoological gardens .

Pro tip : Visiting Iligan on limited time? Reach out to a local about which waterfalls they love to visit.

#14: Hinatuan River 

Hinatuan River is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines

The Hinatuan River is actually commonly called the  Hinatuan Enchanted River . It won’t take long to understand why—the 80-foot deep, saltwater river enchants all who set eyes on it. Visit in the afternoon to watch the river’s caretaker call the fish to feed by playing the “Hymn of Hinatuan.” 

#15: Cagayan de Oro 

Cagayan de Oro spreads out along the coastline, creating a compelling fusion of city and coastal life. It’s a must-stop  if you’re traveling through northern Mindanao. The city is really beautiful, and it makes a great home base to nearby adventures like white water rafting and exploring Mapawa Nature Park . 

Pro tip : I f you love Lord of the Rings, a trip to Mt. Kitanglad Agro-Eco Farm is definitely worth it. Escape from the city bustle and see some Filipino-style Hobbit holes .

No matter which places you visit in the Philippines, get the most out of your trip by connecting with a local . They’ll design an itinerary based on your travel style and interests—whether you want to get off the beaten path or spend your vacation exploring a dynamic city like Manila. No matter what, they’ll help *you* see *their* country like a local, not a tourist. Why see it any other way? Learn more . 

  • Connect With a Local to Plan Your Trip
  • Transportation in the Philippines: A 2024 Guide
  • Philippines Travel FAQ
  • Are the Philippines Safe for Travel?
  • The Best Things to Do in the Philippines in 2024
  • Where to Stay in the Philippines?

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  • World's Best

Travel + Leisure Readers' 25 Favorite Islands in the World of 2023

Looking for an unforgettable island getaway? Here, the top 25 islands in the world, as part of our annual "World’s Best Awards" survey for 2023.

How Voting Works

What readers loved, the full list.

Laura La Monaca/Travel+Leisure

Island vacations can be a blissful combination of thrilling adventures, sun-kissed beaches, and vibrant cultures. Some islands offer adventure and water activities, others offer a tranquil escape. But the best islands are a marriage of the two.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Nearly 165,000 T+L readers completed the 2023 survey, an increase of nearly 25 percent over pre-pandemic voting levels. A total of more than 685,000 votes were cast across over 8,500 unique properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).

Islands were specifically rated on the criteria below:

  • Natural attractions/beaches
  • Activities/sights
  • Restaurants/food
  • People/friendliness

For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses.

The top three favorites are iconic island getaways: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Islands, The Maldives, and Indonesia’s Bali. Greece, which has more than 6,000 islands and islets, has three winners on the list: Paros (No. 11); Rhodes and the Dodecanese (No. 19); and Santorini (No. 25). Portugal had two (Madeira at No. 4 and the Azores at No. 17) and Thailand had two in the top 10 (No. 5 Phuket and No. 7 Koh Samui.)

Read on to discover why Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Islands claimed the No. 1 spot and which other islands were crowned the world’s best.

1. Great Barrier Reef Islands, Australia

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The Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches for 1,400 miles off Australia’s northeastern coast, is home to the world’s largest collection of coral reefs – almost 3,000 in all. It’s also home to a group of roughly 900 islands that T+L readers have voted their favorite in the world. A T+L reader who has more than once stayed on Hamilton Island said, “The physical beauty of the area is without equal. Just love the island and the people of Australia.

Reader Score: 96.11

The physical beauty of the area is without equal.

2. Maldives

Lauren Breedlove/Travel+Leisure

The Maldives is made up of 1,192 islands — and only 200 of those are currently inhabited. Home to about 3 percent of the planet’s reefs, the Maldives is also known for its clear emerald waters, luxurious overwater bungalows, and providing travelers with an isolated retreat. According to a T+L reader, it’s “heaven on Earth.” The best time to visit is the dry season , which typically runs from November through April.

Reader Score: 95.68

3. Bali, Indonesia

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From the bustling streets of Ubud and the trendy beach clubs of Seminyak to the serene retreats of the north shore, there’s something for everyone on Bali . Also called the "Island of the Gods,” Bali is renowned for its world-class resorts, luxury spas, and wellness retreats. The island is deeply rooted in spirituality and tradition, so visitors can also immerse themselves in the island's culture, whether it be exploring ancient Hindu temples, participating in a melukat ceremony, or witnessing a traditional dance performance. 

Reader Score: 94.40

4. Madeira, Portugal

Travelers are treated to idyllic scenery at every turn on the Portuguese island of Madeira , whether they’re hiking alongside the famous levadas (irrigation channels), exploring the enchanting Laurissilva Forest , or simply taking in the panoramic vistas from Pico do Areeiro . One T+L reader said, “The diversity of the island, from rocky beaches to fogged-in mountains, has something for everyone.” And no visit would be complete without indulging in the fortified wine and the fresh seafood for which the island is famous. 

Reader Score: 94.33

5. Phuket, Thailand

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Known as the “Pearl of the Andaman Sea,” this tropical paradise offers stunning white-sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and boundless adventures. Travelers can relax and soak up the sun on its world-famous beaches or do more outdoorsy things like snorkeling around vibrant coral reefs and exploring the hidden coves. Phuket , known for its nightlife, is a two-hour boat ride from the nearby Phi Phi Islands. Among the many hotels, an honorable mention goes to Amanpuri , which readers voted their third favorite resort in Southeast Asia this year.

Reader Score: 94.21

Book Now: Tripadvisor

6. Skye and the Hebrides, Scotland

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The archipelago, off the western coast of Scotland, offers white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and ancient ruins. Skye, known as the "Misty Isle," boasts dramatic cliffs, majestic mountains, and picturesque lochs. One T+L reader said the islands are “nature at its best.” Whisky enthusiasts can embark on a distillery tour to savor the renowned Scottish spirits, while music lovers can sit in on a cèilidh — a sort of Gaelic jam session – at one of the local pubs

Reader Score: 94.13

7. Koh Samui, Thailand

Tucked away in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui has it all: idyllic beaches, culture, and luxurious retreats. You can unwind on popular beaches like Chaweng and Lamai, or explore the island’s spiritual traditions at Wat Plai Laem or the Big Buddha Temple. And for a glimpse into the local lifestyle, there’s no better place than the bustling night markets. According to one T+L reader, Koh Samui is “the most beautiful and paradisiacal island on the planet.” As for where to stay, Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort readers favorite resorts in Southeast Asia. 

Reader Score: 93.89

Book Now: Hotels.com | Expedia | Tripadvisor

8. Dominica

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When it comes to untouched landscapes in the Caribbean, Dominica — nicknamed the “Nature Island” — stands apart from other islands. Its lush landscape includes volcanoes, hot springs, waterfalls, and black sand beaches. Where to stay? Secret Bay in Portsmouth secured the No. 1 spot for Best Hotel in the Caribbean this year, too.

ReaderScore: 93.66

9. Langkawi, Malaysia

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One of Malaysia’s most popular islands, Langkawi has something for everyone: beaches, a great food scene, diving spots, and vibey nightlife. Visitors can take the SkyCab to the top of Gunung Machinchang, where they’ll be rewarded with dramatic 360-degree views; visit Pantai Pasir Hitam, the island’s black sand beach; or experience the impressive Seven Wells Waterfall.

Reader Score: 93.65

10. Boracay, Philippines

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More than 7,000 islands make up the Philippines, and Boracay still manages to stand apart from the rest. The tiny island — just 4.5 miles long — is known as “the island that never sleeps” for its parties and nightlife. One T+L reader called the island “the best leisure vacation destination.”

Reader Score: 92.94

11. Paros, Greece

Nestled in the heart of the Cyclades , Paros offers a perfect blend of picturesque landscapes, idyllic beaches, enchanting whitewashed villages, and rich cultural heritage. It’s also a hit with history buffs, as it has ancient ruins like the Sanctuary of Apollo and the Venetian Castle. Mix in pristine sandy shores, delicious Greek cuisine, and vibrant nightlife, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best islands to visit.

Reader Score: 92.47

12. Fiji Islands, Fiji

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Tucked away in the crystal-clear waters of the South Pacific, these islands boast lush tropical landscapes and vibrant coral reefs. Fiji is a slice of paradise for all, but especially so for those who enjoy cliff jumping, zip lining, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Beyond its beaches, travelers can immerse themselves in the local culture by visiting crafts markets and participating in traditional kava ceremonies.

Reader Score: 92.29

13. Golden Isles, Georgia

Courtesy of Goldenisles.com

The Golden Isles in Georgia — encompassing Jekyll Island , St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Sea Island — is a captivating destination with pristine beaches, natural beauty, and rich history. Jekyll Island, once a private retreat for America's wealthiest families, offers a glimpse into the opulent Gilded Age with its historic mansions. Little St. Simons Island is a secluded paradise, providing an exclusive escape for nature enthusiasts, with its diverse ecosystems and unspoiled beaches. Meanwhile, Sea Island is known for its luxurious resorts and offers world-class amenities, including golf courses, spas, and fine dining experiences. St. Simons Island is home to a charming coastal village with a stunning lighthouse and a vibrant arts scene.

Reader Score: 92.15

14. Moorea, French Polynesia

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Known as the “Magical Island,” Moorea is an unforgettable tropical getaway. It has hiking trails through its tropical forests with panoramic viewpoints, like Mount Rotui, and secluded waterfalls. The island's rich Polynesian culture can be experienced through traditional dance performances and visits to local markets. One T+L reader raved that it’s one of their favorite islands of all time. 

15. Zanzibar, Tanzania

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Pristine beaches and picturesque sunsets are a guarantee in Zanzibar . Travelers can also visit one of the many local spice farms to learn about the role that cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon played in the island's history. Whether you’re walking through the historic Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site , or trying to spot the Zanzibar red colobus monkeys at the Jozani Forest Reserve, Zanzibar offers travelers an experience that merges relaxation, adventure, and history.

Reader Score: 91.53

16. The Seychelles

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The Seychelles , an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, is known for its powdery white-sand beaches. The islands also boast lush tropical forests and nature reserves, such as Vallée de Mai , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where rare Coco de Mer palms can be found. Hikers can follow trails to breathtaking viewpoints, cascading waterfalls, and hidden coves. Seychelles is also home to unique flora and fauna, including giant tortoises, rare birds, and exotic plant species. 

Reader Score: 91.47

17. The Azores, Portugal

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The Azores are a hidden gem in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that some call the “Hawaii of Europe.” The archipelago comprises nine lush volcanic islands, each offering a unique experience. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy São Miguel's picturesque lakes, waterfalls, and forests. Hiking trails lead to breathtaking viewpoints, such as the Sete Cidades crater, where visitors can marvel at the contrasting colors of the twin lakes. The local cuisine is also a highlight, with fresh seafood like rockfish and barracuda, São Jorge cheese, and sweet pastries like filhóses to tantalize the taste buds. 

Reader Score: 90.92

18. Bora-Bora, French Polynesia

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Known as the "Pearl of the Pacific," Bora Bora is a dreamy destination with turquoise lagoons and iconic overwater bungalows. It comes as no surprise that the island's crystal-clear waters offer world-class snorkeling and diving experiences, but there’s a variety of other thrilling activities, like Jet Skiing, parasailing, and helicopter tours. Local guides can arrange workshops that teach visitors about Polynesian traditions, dance, and cuisine. A T+L reader called the island "otherworldly," while another said it's an "amazing location for anyone."

Reader Score: 90.80

19. Rhodes and the Dodecanese, Greece

Rhodes, known as the "Island of the Knights," is steeped in history, with its medieval city , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, showcasing ancient ruins, fortified walls, and grandiose architecture. Beyond history, Rhodes offers stunning beaches, like those in Faliraki and Lindos. Travelers can also venture to the other Dodecanese islands, each with its own unique charm. 

Reader Score: 90.67

19. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Mackinac Island is unique in that cars and trucks are banned, so residents and visitors rely on horse-drawn carriages and bicycles for transportation. Its historic downtown has cozy cafes, quaint shops, and plenty of well-preserved Colonial, Georgian, and Greek Revival architecture. One T+L reader sums up the destination perfectly: “there’s no place like it.” (Mackinac is home to three of T+L readers' 10 favorite midwest resorts: Hotel Iroquois , Island House Hotel , and Grand Hotel .)

20. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galápagos Islands , in the Pacific Ocean, are famed for their extraordinary biodiversity. Exploring the islands offers up-close encounters with remarkable creatures (think giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies ) in their natural habitats. Visiting the Galápagos also gives travelers a chance to gain a deeper understanding of evolution and the fragility of ecosystems through educational programs and guided tours. 

Reader Score. 90.60

22. Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands, Croatia

Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands in Croatia offer travelers a unique Mediterranean experience. Hvar, known as the "Queen of the Dalmatian Islands," has lavender fields, vineyards, and magnificently clear waters. Visitors can explore the charming old town of Hvar, which has picturesque squares, historic buildings, and a medieval fortress offering panoramic views of the harbor and the Adriatic Sea. Hvar's vibrant nightlife scene is also a draw, with trendy beach clubs and bars energizing the evenings. 

Reader Score: 90.20

23. Sicily, Italy

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Steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty, Sicily is a must-visit destination. Not only is it home to rich historical sites (like the Greek Theatre of Syracuse , the Villa Romana del Casale , and the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento ), but it also has stunning nature, between Mount Etna and the beaches overlooking the crystal-clear Mediterranean. The island’s culinary scene is equally exciting: visitors can sample delicious street food like panelle and crocchè, and indulge in local dishes like pasta alla Norma . 

Reader Score: 90.13

24. Anguilla

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Anguilla, a British territory in the Caribbean, is a secluded getaway with 33 beaches. Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla and Frangipani Beach Resort both ranked as two of the best resorts in the region. Hike to the top of Crocus Hill for views, go on a self-guided walking tour of the Anguilla Heritage Trail, and don’t forget to try a Johnny Cake — a staple in Anguilla's local cuisine.

Reader Score: 90.10

25. Santorini, Greece

Adhithya Nataraj/500px/Getty Images

Often touted as one of the most romantic islands in the world , Santorini is known for its whitewashed buildings with blue domes. Overlooking the Aegean Sea, the volcanic island is home to several picturesque villages like Oia , Fira, and Imerovigli. One T+L reader raved that the island has “beautiful sunsets” and “wonderful views,” plus excellent food and friendly locals.

Reader Score: 89.51

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St. Lucia Mountains in the Caribbean

SOAK IN THE VITAMIN SEA

Caribbean cruises.

Lose yourself in the tones of Calypso steel drums and the majesty of Mayan ruins with a cruise to Caribbean.

Cruise to Caribbean and discover the cliff-diving, breeze-swaying, sand-between-your-toes, no-worries pace of island life. Hundreds of years of history have left jungle ruins from ancient times and vibrant colonial towns with brightly painted buildings reflecting a fascinating history. Discover the white-sand beaches and rugged cliffs of Barbados. See towering mountains like Petit Piton in St. Lucia, explore the lush rainforests of Belize, or boost your adrenaline as you zip-line through the treetops of Labadee or Honduras. If calm, contemplative nature is more your thing, spend the day admiring cascading waterfalls in Jamaica and the vivid coral reefs of Bonaire, home to manta rays and parrot fish. Discover the magic with a Caribbean cruise.

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PACK YOUR WET SUIT

The best Caribbean cruises will take you to dive into the aquamarine water and see the beautiful underwater life up close and personal with a snorkeling or scuba diving adventure and to discover captivating coral reefs and unique species of jellyfish like the orange Moochers, Loggerhead sea turtles and the red cushion sea star, which can be seen in shallow waters. 

SAND-WRITE YOUR ADVENTURE 

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PERFECT DAY AT COCOCAY

Old Fort in Historic Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO

Bermuda King Wharf Sandy Beach Cliffs

STUMBLE INTO HISTORY

Immerse yourself in the culture in some of the oldest cities in the Americas — the Caribbean has been shaped by a diverse history, with Africans, Europeans and Asians all leaving their mark. See the cathedrals and Spanish colonial architecture of Santo Domingo, the lively street festivals of Barbados or the citadels and brightly colored buildings of San Juan with your cruise to the Caribbean. 

PLUNGE INTO THE THRILL HEAD-FIRST 

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A cruise to Caribbean is filled with exciting destinations, each with its own style and vibe. Discover Caribbean onboard the Best Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships.

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Your Caribbean cruise will take you to beaches with unique features like pink and black sand, so make sure to pack organic and natural sunscreen so not only you can stay protected, but the coral reefs can too.

There are several UNESCO Heritage Sites located in the Caribbean that you can explore, ranging from missionary churches to rainforest national parks.

It's always wise to book your shore excursions in advance of your cruise to the Caribbean. You get the best deal and can plan your days easily.

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You will find your favorite Caribbean cruise ports no matter what direction you go. Travel the Southern side and wander down the colorful streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Or trek the rainforests of Saint Lucia. On the Western, dive into the crystal clear waters of Grand Cayman or explore the ruins of Tulum when arrive in Cozumel. Eastern Caribbean cruises will bring you to St. Thomas, where you can take in stunning panoramic views of the island at Government Hill or to St. Maarten, where you can dine on some of the region's best cuisine.

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Discover 5 Amazing Things to Do in Cavite, Philippines

Posted: May 10, 2024 | Last updated: May 10, 2024

<p class="has-text-align-center"><strong>Looking for fun and unique things to do in Cavite?</strong></p> <p>Just south of Manila lies the exciting province of Cavite, with its charming coastal towns and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. </p> <p>I’m sharing my top 5 recommendations for how to make the most of your Cavite trip. Cavite has something for every type of traveler, from its colorful history sites to under-the-radar beaches perfect for swimming and relaxation. </p> <p>So, if you’re planning a few days in the area and want insider tips, keep reading for the five best things to do that will give you an unforgettable Filipino experience off the beaten path.</p>

Looking for fun and unique things to do in Cavite?

Just south of Manila lies the exciting province of Cavite, with its charming coastal towns and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

I’m sharing my top 5 recommendations for how to make the most of your Cavite trip. Cavite has something for every type of traveler, from its colorful history sites to under-the-radar beaches perfect for swimming and relaxation.

So, if you’re planning a few days in the area and want insider tips, keep reading for the five best things to do that will give you an unforgettable Filipino experience off the beaten path.

<p>Boracay de Cavite is a beautiful and peaceful place perfect for a holiday break. It is located in the Gregorio Lim Marine Base in Calumpang, Cavite, not too far from Manila. </p><p>It’s like a hidden paradise with soft gray sand and clear waters, offering stunning views of Corregidor Island and Mount Mariveles in Bataan. The area is surrounded by greenery and a big stone wall on one side of the beach, making it feel like a unique adventure spot. </p><p>Even though it’s on a marine base and you might see marines around, it has everything you need for a fun day out, like places to grill food, bathrooms, showers, a volleyball court, and parking. There’s also a shop nearby to grab drinks and snacks and even pick up some souvenirs.</p>

5. Boracay de Cavite

Boracay de Cavite is a beautiful and peaceful place perfect for a holiday break. It is located in the Gregorio Lim Marine Base in Calumpang, Cavite, not too far from Manila.

It’s like a hidden paradise with soft gray sand and clear waters, offering stunning views of Corregidor Island and Mount Mariveles in Bataan. The area is surrounded by greenery and a big stone wall on one side of the beach, making it feel like a unique adventure spot.

Even though it’s on a marine base and you might see marines around, it has everything you need for a fun day out, like places to grill food, bathrooms, showers, a volleyball court, and parking. There’s also a shop nearby to grab drinks and snacks and even pick up some souvenirs.

<p>The Imus Cathedral is a significant and historic Roman Catholic church in Cavite. Its walls are made of bricks and stones, and you can see Latin words written on its arches, making it look similar to the famous Manila Cathedral in Intramuros. </p><p>Imus, where the cathedral is located, is a mix of green spaces and busy city life, offering a calm spot in the middle of everything. Visiting the Imus Cathedral is about seeing a place of worship, enjoying its stunning architecture, and learning about the history of Cavite. It’s an excellent spot for anyone touring the area.</p>

4. Imus Cathedral

The Imus Cathedral is a significant and historic Roman Catholic church in Cavite. Its walls are made of bricks and stones, and you can see Latin words written on its arches, making it look similar to the famous Manila Cathedral in Intramuros.

Imus, where the cathedral is located, is a mix of green spaces and busy city life, offering a calm spot in the middle of everything. Visiting the Imus Cathedral is about seeing a place of worship, enjoying its stunning architecture, and learning about the history of Cavite. It’s an excellent spot for anyone touring the area.

<p>The Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine and Museum is a key historical spot and a popular place in Cavite. </p><p>It was the home of Emilio Aguinaldo, the very first President of the Philippines, and it’s where the country’s Independence was first declared on June 12, which we now celebrate every year. Inside the Museo ni Emilio Aguinaldo, you can learn all about what Cavite was like when Spain ruled the Philippines and about Aguinaldo’s life. </p><p>The second floor shows how people lived back then, with rooms like the living room, bedrooms, dining area, and kitchen filled with old furniture and decorations from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. </p>

3. Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine and Museum

The Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine and Museum is a key historical spot and a popular place in Cavite.

It was the home of Emilio Aguinaldo, the very first President of the Philippines, and it’s where the country’s Independence was first declared on June 12, which we now celebrate every year. Inside the Museo ni Emilio Aguinaldo, you can learn all about what Cavite was like when Spain ruled the Philippines and about Aguinaldo’s life.

The second floor shows how people lived back then, with rooms like the living room, bedrooms, dining area, and kitchen filled with old furniture and decorations from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. 

<p>Malibiclibic Falls is a beautiful spot hidden between the towns of General Emilio Aguinaldo, Maragondon, and Magallanes Cavite. It is the perfect escape for those seeking adventure and a place to cool off. </p><p>It’s a great place for anyone wanting to swim and dive in cool, clear, refreshing water. Getting there is part of the adventure, you’ll hike for about 30 minutes. </p><p>The path down is pretty straightforward at first but gets tricky when you have to move around big rocks and slippery, mossy boulders. The Falls is free, but don’t forget to be responsible and adhere to the “Leave No Trace” principles. This adventure is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Cavite.</p>

2. Malibiclibic Falls

Malibiclibic Falls is a beautiful spot hidden between the towns of General Emilio Aguinaldo, Maragondon, and Magallanes Cavite. It is the perfect escape for those seeking adventure and a place to cool off.

It’s a great place for anyone wanting to swim and dive in cool, clear, refreshing water. Getting there is part of the adventure, you’ll hike for about 30 minutes.

The path down is pretty straightforward at first but gets tricky when you have to move around big rocks and slippery, mossy boulders. The Falls is free, but don’t forget to be responsible and adhere to the “Leave No Trace” principles. This adventure is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Cavite.

<p>And the number one on the list is Corregidor Island, situated close to the entrance of Manila Bay and under Cavite’s jurisdiction, is a top-day trip spot near Manila and one of the most historic <strong><a href="https://www.flannelsorflipflops.com/romantic-places-for-couples-in-the-philippines/#1-el-nido" rel="noreferrer noopener">islands in the Philippines</a></strong>. This battleground during World War II, also known as Fort Mills, offers a unique journey back in time. </p><p>Visitors can explore the island’s rich history on a tram ride. The tour includes visiting the Malinta Tunnel, General McArthur’s headquarters, and a hospital during the war. </p><p>Don’t forget to check out the remains of Middleside Barracks, where over 2,500 Filipino and American soldiers lived before it was bombed. Another highlight is the Mile-Long Barracks, a three-story building that’s 1,520 feet long.  Another Highlight is the Pacific War Memorial Complex, featuring a marble dome memorial and museum. The US government created this to pay tribute to the `Filipino soldiers who fought in World War II.</p><p>There you have it, folks! The top 5 best things to do in Cavite, Philippines. From exploring historical sites to indulging in delicious local cuisine and taking in the stunning natural beauty, this province has something for everyone. </p><p>Whether you are a history buff, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, Cavite will not disappoint. Happy Travels! 🌴</p>

1. Corregidor Island

And the number one on the list is Corregidor Island, situated close to the entrance of Manila Bay and under Cavite’s jurisdiction, is a top-day trip spot near Manila and one of the most historic islands in the Philippines . This battleground during World War II, also known as Fort Mills, offers a unique journey back in time. 

Visitors can explore the island’s rich history on a tram ride. The tour includes visiting the Malinta Tunnel, General McArthur’s headquarters, and a hospital during the war. 

Don’t forget to check out the remains of Middleside Barracks, where over 2,500 Filipino and American soldiers lived before it was bombed. Another highlight is the Mile-Long Barracks, a three-story building that’s 1,520 feet long.  Another Highlight is the Pacific War Memorial Complex, featuring a marble dome memorial and museum. The US government created this to pay tribute to the `Filipino soldiers who fought in World War II.

There you have it, folks! The top 5 best things to do in Cavite, Philippines. From exploring historical sites to indulging in delicious local cuisine and taking in the stunning natural beauty, this province has something for everyone.

Whether you are a history buff, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, Cavite will not disappoint. Happy Travels! 🌴

<p class="has-text-align-center"><span><strong>When it comes to beaches, you simply can’t talk about paradise without mentioning the Philippines. </strong></span></p> <p><span>As an archipelago nation made up of over 7,641 islands with seemingly endless shorelines, the Philippines truly is a beach lover’s dream. </span></p> <p><span>From the famous white-sand beauty of Boracay to the hidden coves and bays waiting to be discovered, the country has some of the most stunning beaches in all of Southeast Asia. </span></p> <p><span>In this post, I’ll be sharing my personal list of 15 must-visit beaches that should not be missed when you travel to the Philippines. </span></p> <p><span>These beaches have stood out to me as some of the best for clear waters, soft powdery sand, lush backdrops, and overall natural beauty and vibrancy. </span></p> <p><span>Let’s get right to it and I’ll tell you why each of these spots is a true tropical paradise found.</span></p>

The 15 Best Beaches in the Philippines to Visit in 2024

Plan your next tropical getaway with our guide to the 15 best beaches in the Philippines to visit in 2024, perfect for sun, surf, and sand.

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<p>Unveil the natural beauty of the Philippines through its most stunning national parks, where pristine landscapes and diverse ecosystems create a tropical paradise.</p><p><strong><a href="https://www.flannelsorflipflops.com/a-journey-through-the-philippines-most-stunning-national-parks/" rel="noreferrer noopener">Read more</a></strong></p>

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UEFA EURO 2024: Meet the 24 teams

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Article summary

Get the full lowdown on the 24 teams competing for glory in Germany.

Article top media content

The UEFA EURO 2024 contenders

Article body

How they qualified, top scorers, pedigree, key players and the coach – all you need to know about the 24 teams competing for glory at UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany.

Group A fixtures vs Scotland (Munich, 14 June, 21:00) vs Hungary (Stuttgart, 19 June, 18:00) vs Switzerland (Frankfurt, 23 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Qualified automatically as hosts

Pedigree EURO best: Winners 1972, 1980 (both as West Germany), 1996 EURO 2020: Round of 16, lost 2-0 to England

Coach: Julian Nagelsmann Nagelsmann has been on something of a roller-coaster ride since succeeding Hansi Flick in September 2023, but friendly wins against France and Netherlands in March seem to have sparked optimism and belief. The tactically astute 36-year-old selects players based on form, and convincing Toni Kroos to return from international retirement could turn out to be his best move yet.

Key player: İlkay Gündoğan It will be up to the likes of Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sané and Florian Wirtz to provide the attacking spark, but Gündoğan will be the man charged with instilling balance. Nagelsmann sees Gündoğan as a No10 who can make the players around him shine, and although the experienced captain may sometimes keep a low profile on the pitch, his team-mates benefit greatly from his intelligence and vision.

One to watch: Maximilian Mittelstädt Regarded as one of the best left-backs in the Bundesliga in 2023/24, the 27-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable rise since being relegated with Hertha Berlin last term. Now at Stuttgart, Mittelstädt is set to enhance Germany's options in the full-back position with his high work-rate and selfless attitude.

Did you know? Germany are appearing at a record 14th EURO. They did not qualify for the first three editions (1960, 1964 and 1968) but have not missed a finals since.

Group A fixtures vs Germany (Munich, 14 June, 21:00) vs Switzerland (Cologne, 19 June, 21:00) vs Hungary (Stuttgart, 23 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group A runners-up: P8 W5 D2 L1 F17 A8 Qualifying top scorer: Scott McTominay (7)

Pedigree EURO best: Group stage (1992, 1996, 2020) EURO 2020: Group stage

Coach: Steve Clarke Scotland have reached back-to-back European Championships under Clarke, the first Scotland manager to achieve that, and have qualified directly for a major finals for the first time since 1998. If they can reproduce their fine qualifying form, the next target for Clarke and company will be to make further history by becoming the first Scotland squad to progress beyond the group stage at a finals tournament.

Key player: Scott McTominay With seven goals in qualifying, look no further than McTominay. At a time when he wasn't a regular starter at Man United, Scotland became McTominay's 'happy place' with Clarke urging him to play "with a smile on his face". His memorable double in the 2-0 Hampden win over Spain certainly had all of Scotland smiling, and the Tartan Army will be hoping McTominay can reproduce his goalscoring form come mid-June.

One to watch: Tommy Conway With previous wildcard Ben Doak withdrawn from the provisional squad through injury, attention now turns to his replacement, Bristol City striker Tommy Conway. The 21-year-old scored ten Championship goals for his club last season and has found the back of the net three times in seven games at Under-21 level. A strong runner and good finisher, Conway could be a key player off the bench.

Did you know? This is the second time Scotland have qualified for back-to-back European Championships.

Group A fixtures vs Switzerland (Cologne, 15 June, 15:00) vs Germany (Stuttgart, 9 June, 18:00) vs Scotland (Stuttgart, 23 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group G winners: P8 W5 D3 L0 F16 A7 Qualifying top scorer: Barnabás Varga, Dominik Szoboszlai (4)

Pedigree EURO best: Third place (1964) EURO 2020: Group stage

Coach: Marco Rossi Having led Hungary from Nations League C to A, come agonisingly close to progressing from a EURO 2020 group containing Germany, France and Portugal, and now, unbeaten, reached EURO 2024, Rossi's popularity is sky high among players and fans alike. The Italian appears equally smitten, taking Hungarian citizenship. The togetherness, discipline and belief he has instilled among his squad is remarkable, with Hungary looking increasingly capable of springing a surprise or two.

Key player: Dominik Szoboszlai Parallel to the meteoric rise of Hungary under Rossi has been that of Szoboszlai. Still only 23, Hungary's midfield maestro is fast approaching 50 international appearances. Always a game changer, he and Hungary are thriving under his captaincy. A dead-ball specialist and box-to-box midfielder who offers athleticism, intensity, work-rate, pace, vision, creativity, goals, assists and a steely sense of purpose, Szoboszlai has taken his game to another level as on-field leader of this tightly knit Hungary side.

One to watch: Milos Kerkez Twenty-year-old Kerkez came through the Rapid Wien and Milan academies before a breakthrough campaign at AZ and a transfer to the Premier League, where he's had a fine first season with Bournemouth. At international level, Kerkez has quickly established himself as Hungary's first-choice left wing-back since debuting against Germany in September 2022. Tough and reliable defensively, Kerkez possesses great technique and vision, and is also a tireless attacking threat on the overlap.

Did you know? Hungary's 14-match unbeaten run in the lead-up to the finals was their longest sequence since Ferenc Puskás and the Mighty Magyars – 18 games between July 1954 and February 1956 – under Gusztáv Sebes.

Group A fixtures vs Hungary (Cologne, 15 June, 15:00) vs Scotland (Cologne, 19 June, 21:00) vs Germany (Frankfurt, 23 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group I runners-up: P10 W4 D5 L1 F22 A11 Qualifying top scorer: Zeki Amdouni (6)

Pedigree EURO best: Quarter-finals (2020) EURO 2020: Quarter-finals, lost 3-1 on penalties to Spain (1-1 aet)

Coach: Murat Yakin The 49-year-old has been at the 'Nati' helm since summer 2021. He oversaw Switzerland's run to the last 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where they reached the knockout phase for a fifth straight major tournament. After a low-key end to their EURO 2024 qualifying campaign, Yakin will want his team to regain their famed consistency as they bid to extend that impressive run.

Key player: Granit Xhaka Switzerland's most-capped player will head into this tournament with confidence sky-high, having been a key part of Leverkusen's astonishing season. The captain and midfield stalwart not only brings leadership qualities and a steely mentality, he also possesses excellent vision and a superb passing range. His position at the heart of midfield helps his team-mates tick in perfect rhythm.

One to watch: Ruben Vargas The 25-year-old has evolved into a key player for Switzerland, scoring two typically crucial headers in qualifying draws against Israel and Kosovo to seal their finals spot. This will be the third major tournament for the winger, who is known for his skill on the ball, ability in one-v-ones, and goal threat.

Did you know? EURO '96 was Switzerland's first European Championship finals; this year marks their sixth finals appearance in the last eight editions.

Group B fixtures vs Croatia (Berlin, 15 June, 18:00) vs Italy (Gelsenkirchen, 20 June, 21:00) vs Albania (Düsseldorf, 24 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group A winners: P8 W7 D0 L1 F25 A5 Qualifying top scorers: Joselu, Álvaro Morata (4)

Pedigree EURO best: Winners (1964, 2008, 2012) EURO 2020: Semi-finals, lost 4-2 on penalties to Italy (1-1 aet)

Coach: Luis de la Fuente A likeable Basque who won the Spanish Liga as a full-back with Athletic Club, the Spain boss has the winning habit. His side beat Group B rivals Italy and Croatia as they won the UEFA Nations League last summer, and he previously led national teams to EURO glory at under-age levels – the U19s in 2015 and the U21s in 2019. The levels he can summon from his big players after brilliant club seasons will dictate Spain's trajectory.

Key player: Rodri Midfielders tend not to get the garlands they deserve, but Rodri is possibly the best player in the world right now. Naturally gifted, athletic and competitive, he is at peak age and has the necessary knowledge. Used to winning trophies at Man City, he is inspirational in word and deed.

One to watch: Lamine Yamal A magical, mercurial talent, Yamal is huge fun whether you support La Roja or not. He turns 17 the day before the EURO final but comes into the tournament with six caps, two goals and two assists for Spain. He has played over 50 times for club and country, and home-town team Barcelona rate him as a massive prospect. Left-footed, he is usually deployed as an inverted winger. Pedri lit up EURO 2020; Lamine could be the wonderkid this time.

Did you know? Spain are the only national team to have won three continental and world titles in a row: EURO 2008, the 2010 World Cup and EURO 2012.

Group B fixtures vs Spain (Berlin, 15 June, 18:00) vs Albania (Hamburg, 19 June, 15:00) vs Italy (Leipzig, 24 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group D runners-up: P8 W5 D1 L2 F13 A4 Qualifying top scorer: Andrej Kramarić (4)

Pedigree EURO best: Quarter-finals (1996, 2008) EURO 2020: Round of 16, lost 5-3 aet to Spain

Coach: Zlatko Dalić Since taking over in 2017, Dalić has guided Croatia to astonishing achievements, including back-to-back World Cup medals by reaching the final in 2018 and securing third place in 2022. Defeats in the EURO 2020 round of 16 and 2023 Nations League final, both by Spain, have set up a highly anticipated rematch in their opening game here.

Key player: Luka Modrić The question of whether Modrić is approaching his swansong seems to occur at every major tournament, but Croatia hope his magic continues to endure. The midfield maestro remains essential to their success, with his ability to control the pace of the game and his vision undiminished. His charisma, passion and leadership not only underline his talent but affirm his status as Croatia's greatest player and captain.

One to watch: Joško Gvardiol Gvardiol has quickly blossomed into one of Europe's top defenders. Known for his solid defensive ability at both centre-back and left-back, Gvardiol's tactical acumen and physical prowess are expected to develop further under the guidance of Pep Guardiola at Man City. Though only 22, he should play a pivotal role in Croatia’s campaign.

Did you know? Croatia have qualified for seven out of eight EURO final tournaments as an independent nation, and have proceeded to the knockout stage in four of their six appearances to date.

Group B fixtures vs Albania (Dortmund, 15 June, 21:00) vs Spain (Gelsenkirchen, 20 June, 21:00) vs Croatia (Leipzig, 24 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group C runners-up: P8 W4 D2 L2 F16 A9 Qualifying top scorer: Davide Frattesi (3)

Pedigree EURO best: Winners (1968, 2020) EURO 2020: Winners

Coach:   Luciano Spalletti The much-travelled Tuscan took over from Roberto Mancini in August, just after leading Napoli to a historic Scudetto title. He wasted little time in conveying his football philosophy to the Azzurri squad, helping them reach the finals in Germany and starting to rebuild the national team by mixing veterans of the EURO 2020 triumph with a new generation of players.

Key player: Nicolò Barella The Sardinian was already a key member of the Italy midfield trio that helped the Azzurri win the trophy in 2021, but the 27-year-old is now at a career peak after reaching the UEFA Champions League final with Inter in 2023 and winning the Scudetto with the Nerazzurri this season. With boundless energy, technique, creativity and leadership, Barella is a valuable asset in several respects.

One to watch: Alessandro Buongiorno Replacing old lions like Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci was never going to be easy, but Italy are discovering new names to marshal their defence and Buongiorno is one of them. The Torino captain made his Italy debut in the Nations League finals last June, with his second cap coming in November's crucial 0-0 draw with Ukraine. Rock solid and elegant in defence, the young man with the cheerful surname has a degree in Business Administration, just like Chiellini.

Did you know? The Ukraine stalemate which confirmed Italy's place in Germany was then 24-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma's 60th appearance for the Azzurri. His predecessor, Gianluigi Buffon, reached the same milestone as a 28-year-old in another goalless draw with Ukraine, ending his career with a record 176 caps.

Group B fixtures vs Italy (Dortmund, 15 June, 21:00) vs Croatia (Hamburg, 19 June, 15:00) vs Spain (Düsseldorf, 24 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group E winners: P8 W4 D3 L1 F12 A4 Qualifying top scorers: Jasir Asani, Nedim Bajrami (3)

Pedigree EURO best: Group stage (2016) EURO 2020: did not qualify

Coach: Sylvinho Sylvinho's appointment in January 2023 heralded a new era for the Albanian national team. With his background in elite football, the Brazilian has succeeded in rejuvenating the side's playing style and instilling a winning mentality. His leadership has brought unity and cohesion, creating a team capable of surprising their opponents at EURO 2024.

Key player: Berat Djimshiti The imposing Atalanta centre-back adds defensive solidity and leadership, with his aerial prowess, tactical intelligence and strength in the tackle making Djimshiti a commander at the back. His top-level experience in Serie A is also an asset, inspiring confidence among team-mates. Indeed, Djimshiti's presence brings a composure which could prove vital for Sylvinho's squad.

One to watch: Ernest Muçi Despite having played only nine times for Albania by May, Muçi inspires great expectations given his skillset and versatility. Renowned for his pace, technical prowess and ability to create goalscoring chances, the Beşiktaş forward is a dynamic force. With his knack for producing decisive moments in front of goal, Muçi could prove a key performer in Germany.

Did you know? Under Sylvinho, Albania have never lost a game after taking the lead – a sequence of six matches into the Brazilian's tenure.

Group C fixtures vs Denmark (Stuttgart, 16 June, 18:00) vs Serbia (Munich, 20 June, 15:00) vs England (Cologne, 25 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group H runner-up: P10 W7 D1 L2 F20 A9 Qualifying top scorer: Benjamin Šeško (5)

Pedigree EURO best: Group stage (2000) EURO 2020: did not qualify

Coach: Matjaž Kek Back for a second finals after steering Slovenia to the 2010 World Cup, the former centre-back resumed command in November 2018, leading his country to promotion from Nations League League C before overseeing a successful EURO qualifying campaign. The 62-year-old is confident his side can give their Group C rivals a run for their money.

Key player: Jan Oblak Rated one of the planet's premier shot-stoppers, the Slovenia captain has made over 300 appearances for Atlético de Madrid and boasts considerable Champions League experience. Nicknamed 'The Octopus of Škofja Loka', the 31-year-old can expect a busy tournament, so should be pivotal to Slovenia's success.

One to watch: Benjamin Šeško The lofty Leipzig forward was not even born when Slovenia played at their last EURO in 2000, but it was his penalty against Kazakhstan – his tenth goal for his country – that secured his side’s passage to these finals. Šeško moved to Salzburg aged 16, scoring regularly for the Austrian club before switching to Germany last summer.

Did you know? Slovenia met England at the 2010 World Cup, Jermain Defoe scoring the only goal in a narrow defeat which cost Kek's men a last-16 place. They face the Three Lions in their final Group C game in Germany.

Group C fixtures vs Slovenia (Stuttgart, 16 June, 18:00) vs England (Frankfurt, 20 June, 18:00) vs Serbia (Munich, 25 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group H winners: P10 W7 D1 L2 F19 A10 Qualifying top scorer: Rasmus Højlund (7)

Pedigree EURO best: Winners (1992) EURO 2020: Semi-final, lost 2-1 aet to England

Coach: Kasper Hjulmand Hjulmand led Denmark to the semi-finals at EURO 2020 – their best result since winning the tournament in 1992. The coach played an important role as the nation came together after Christian Eriksen's on-field cardiac arrest, and following a disappointing World Cup the former Lyngby, Nordsjælland and Mainz boss will aim to give Denmark fans another summer to remember.

Key player: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg Other players may catch the eye more than Højbjerg, but a good performance from the 28-year-old midfielder tends to be central to Danish success. The Tottenham man binds together defence and midfield, always stepping up when he pulls on the red shirt. When Højbjerg is at his best, he lifts the whole team.

One to watch: Rasmus Højlund Højlund has been Hjulmand's go-to man for goals, scoring seven in qualifying – including a hat-trick on his first Denmark start against Finland in March 2023. In his first season at Man United, the 21-year-old became the youngest player to score in six consecutive Premier League games.

Did you know? To date, Denmark have taken part in eight EUROs since the introduction of the group stage, advancing to the knockout phase on four of those occasions.

Group C fixtures vs England (Gelsenkirchen, 16 June, 21:00) vs Slovenia (Munich, 20 June, 15:00) vs Denmark (Munich, 25 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group G runners-up: P8 W4 D2 L2 F15 A9 Qualifying top scorer: Aleksandar Mitrović (5)

Pedigree EURO best: Runners-up (as Yugoslavia, 1960, 1968) EURO 2020: Did not qualify Coach: Dragan Stojković Having played at EURO '84 with Yugoslavia and at the 2000 finals with Serbia and Montenegro, 'Piksi' has steered his nation to their first EURO in 24 years – and their first as Serbia. One of the best midfielders in Serbian history, he took charge of the national team on his 56th birthday in 2021. His charisma and desire have propelled the Eagles to the 2022 World Cup and now EURO 2024.

Key player: Aleksandar Mitrović 'Mitrogol' has had a great season with Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia. The powerful striker from Smederevo is Serbia's all-time top international scorer and something of a national hero for his persistence, ability to score from near-impossible situations and will to fight until the end. Don't be surprised if you hear supporters singing the "Mitro's on fire" song in Germany.

One to watch: Strahinja Pavlović Serbia have good forwards and great goalkeepers, but 23-year-old defender Pavlović can go under the radar. A tireless worker who has been making a name for himself with Salzburg in the Champions League, he made his Serbia debut in 2020 and comes into the finals with over 30 caps. Impressive at the 2022 World Cup; he may be even better in Germany.

Did you know? Yugoslavia were runners-up at the first-ever EURO in 1960; the Soviet Union denied them the title with an extra-time winner in Paris.

Group C fixtures vs Serbia (Gelsenkirchen, 16 June, 21:00) vs Denmark (Frankfurt, 20 June, 18:00) vs Slovenia (Cologne, 25 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group C winners: P8 W6 D2 L0 F22 A4 Qualifying top scorer: Harry Kane (8)

Pedigree EURO best: Runners-up (2020) EURO 2020: Runners-up, lost 3-2 on penalties to Italy (1-1 aet)

Coach: Gareth Southgate After reaching a EURO final as well as a World Cup quarter-final and semi-final in his three major tournaments in charge, Southgate will be desperate for this to be fourth time lucky. The former Three Lions centre-back, a hugely popular figure with his players, will seek to get the best out of the vast amount of talent at his disposal in Germany.

Key player: Harry Kane England may have a glut of attacking options but it is their captain and talisman who makes them tick. His country's all-time leading scorer, Kane has enjoyed a highly impressive first term at Bayern and will attempt to take his fine form in Germany onto the international stage. With lethal finishing, incredible vision and strong link-up play, Kane can pose a headache for any defence in the world.

One to watch: Cole Palmer The attacking midfielder has been Chelsea's best player this season, providing a consistent supply of goals and creativity. His unflappable demeanour and composure on the ball have earned him the nickname 'Cold Palmer'; it really does seem nothing fazes him. If Southgate can find a spot for him in the front three behind Kane, he could take the tournament by storm.

Did you know? England have lost just once in their last 65 European Championship and World Cup qualifiers: a 2-1 defeat to Czechia in the EURO 2020 preliminaries.

Group D fixtures vs Poland (Hamburg, 16 June, 15:00) vs France (Leipzig, 21 June, 21:00) vs Austria (Berlin, 25 June, 18:00)

Qualifying Group B runners-up: P8 W6 D0 L2 F17 A7 Qualifying top scorers: Cody Gakpo, Calvin Stengs, Wout Weghorst (3)

Pedigree EURO best: Winners (1988) EURO 2020: Round of 16, lost 2-0 to Czechia

Coach: Ronald Koeman Koeman had a stuttering start to his second spell in charge of the Oranje, losing three of his first four matches – against France, Croatia and Italy. However, he steadied the ship, with the Dutch winning all their group qualification games bar those against the French. A EURO winner as a player in 1988, the 61-year-old would achieve immortality in the Netherlands if he repeated the feat as coach.

Key player: Memphis Depay The Atlético de Madrid ace has had a frustrating run of injuries in recent seasons, but when fit he's the undisputed spearhead of the Dutch attack. Only six goals short of Robin van Persie's all-time record of 50, Depay averages a goal every two matches for the national team – and supplies plenty of assists too.

One to watch: Jeremie Frimpong Frimpong hasn't featured much in an orange shirt yet but he's knocking on the door after a spectacular season with Leverkusen. The 23-year-old was the most productive defender in Europe's top five leagues in 2023/24, having been involved in 18 Bundesliga goals at the time of writing. An attack-minded right-back with boundless energy, Frimpong's ability to round off his forward surges with a decisive pass or telling finish could be invaluable.

Did you know? Wim Kieft's fortuitous effort against the Republic of Ireland during Oranje's victorious EURO ‘88 campaign was the Netherlands' first headed goal at a major finals. It was also the only one of the eight Dutch strikes in West Germany that was not finished or created by Marco van Basten.

Group D fixtures vs Austria (Düsseldorf, 17 June, 21:00) vs Netherlands (Leipzig, 21 June, 21:00) vs Poland (Dortmund, 25 June, 18:00)

Qualifying Group B winners: P8 W7 D1 L0 F29 A3 Qualifying top scorer: Kylian Mbappé (9)

Pedigree EURO best: Winners (1984, 2000) EURO 2020: Round of 16, lost 5-4 on penalties to Switzerland (3-3 aet)

Coach: Didier Deschamps One of the most decorated figures in world football, Deschamps will be eager to get his hands on the one trophy that has evaded his clutches as a coach. He came agonisingly close in 2016, and that heartbreak should stoke the fire within this fierce competitor. A cool character and a measured communicator, the World Cup winner looks well placed to lead his side to glory.

Key player: Kylian Mbappé France boast an embarrassment of riches up front but the mercurial Parisian is a cut above the rest. At just 25, there's not much left for him to achieve in the game yet a EURO trophy is certainly one of those objectives. Destructive, powerful, omnipotent... the mere mention of Mbappé's name strikes fear into opponents. Since taking the armband following Hugo Lloris's retirement, the former Monaco youth has grown in stature and assumed responsibilities with aplomb. Expect him to challenge for both the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament.

One to watch: Warren Zaïre-Emery A revelatory figure for Paris this season, Zaïre-Emery became, at 17, the youngest player to appear and score for France since 1914 when fielded against Gibraltar in November. Possessing physicality, professionalism and tactical maturity beyond his years, the Parisian could use this tournament as a springboard and become a fixture at the heart of the French midfield.

Did you know? France's Antoine Griezmann holds the record for most consecutive appearances in international football history, after featuring in 84 games between August 2017 and November 2023.

Group D fixtures vs Netherlands (Hamburg, 16 June, 15:00) vs Austria (Berlin, 21 June, 18:00) vs France (Dortmund, 25 June, 18:00)

Qualifying Group E third place: P8 W3 D2 L3 F10 A10. Qualified via play-offs after beating Estonia and Wales Qualifying top scorer: Robert Lewandowski (3)

Pedigree EURO best: Quarter-finals (2016) EURO 2020: Group stage

Coach: Michał Probierz Probierz replaced Fernando Santos in September and steered his nation through the play-offs to ensure participation in his first major international tournament. Probierz spent his playing days in Poland and Germany, while his best coaching achievement in club football has been winning the Polish Cup with Jagiellonia Białystok and Cracovia.

Key player: Robert Lewandowski The captain, the player with the most caps and the all-time leading scorer by some distance, Lewandowski is Poland's talisman. One of the best strikers in world football of the past decade, the veteran will play his fourth EURO finals in familiar surroundings, following spells at Dortmund and Bayern.

One to watch: Jakub Piotrowski This has been the best season of Piotrowski's career. The 26-year-old has scored goals aplenty from defensive midfield, not only in the Bulgarian league for Ludogorets but in their UEFA Europa Conference League campaign. Blessed with a powerful long-range shot, Piotrowski has also delivered for Poland, scoring against Czechia in qualifying and against Estonia in the play-off semis.

Did you know? Poland have regularly appeared at World Cup finals yet did not qualify for their first EURO until 2008. Since then they have not missed a single edition of the tournament.

Group D fixtures vs France (Düsseldorf, 17 June, 21:00) vs Poland (Berlin, 21 June, 18:00) vs Netherlands (Berlin, 25 June, 18:00)

Qualifying Group F runners-up: P8 W6 D1 L1 F17 A7 Qualifying top scorer: Marcel Sabitzer (4)

Pedigree EURO best: Round of 16 (2020) EURO 2020: Round of 16, lost 2-1 aet to Italy

Coach: Ralf Rangnick Known as one of the godfathers of 'gegenpressing', Rangnick has left an indelible mark on modern football and Austria's current crop of players. No longer a side inhibited by a defensive mindset, Rangnick's charges have produced some eye-catching attacking performances. Belief is growing that Austria can make the knockout stage, like they did in 2021.

Key player: Marcel Sabitzer A devastating ACL injury to talismanic captain David Alaba means his contemporaries will have to shoulder more responsibility this summer. Chief among them is midfielder Sabitzer who, fresh from playing a key role in helping Borussia Dortmund to the Champions League final, will hope to enjoy a similar fairy-tale run in Germany. Boasting tenacity, vision and an eye for goal from distance, Sabitzer is a vital cog in Rangnick's engine room.

One to watch: Nicolas Seiwald Praised by Rangnick for his qualities on and off the ball, EURO 2024 could be a breakout tournament for Seiwald, the Austrian Bundesliga Player of the Season for 2022/23, who has been in and out of the Leipzig team this term. The knee injury suffered by Xaver Schlager was bittersweet for Seiwald, giving the 23-year-old more game time with Leipzig but costing him his partner-in-crime in the Austrian midfield.

Did you know? Christoph Baumgartner grabbed international headlines in March when he scored the fastest international goal of all time after just SIX seconds against Slovakia.

Group E fixtures vs Romania (Munich, 17 June, 15:00) vs Slovakia (Düsseldorf, 21 June, 15:00) vs Belgium (Stuttgart, 26 June, 18:00) Qualifying Group C third place: P8 W4 D2 L2 F11 A8. Qualified via play-offs after beating Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland Qualifying top scorer: Viktor Tsygankov (3) Pedigree EURO best: Quarter-finals (2020) EURO 2020: Quarter-finals, lost 4-0 to England Coach: Serhiy Rebrov One of Ukraine's best-ever forwards, Rebrov formed a formidable partnership with Andriy Shevchenko in the late 1990s. He started his coaching journey at Dynamo Kyiv in 2014, winning the league and the Ukrainian Cup twice before taking charge of the national team during EURO 2024 qualifying, following successful spells in Saudi Arabia, Hungary and the United Arab Emirates. His side narrowly missed out on second place in Group C but got to Germany via the play-offs.

Key player: Illia Zabarnyi It may seem unusual to highlight a central defender in a team featuring La Liga's top scorer Artem Dovbyk and a slew of other talented attackers, but 21-year-old Zabarnyi anchors the side with his excellent anticipation and precise passing. Having gained Champions League experience at Dynamo Kyiv, he has enjoyed an outstanding 2023/24 in England with Bournemouth.

One to watch: Volodymyr Brazhko Not as well known as fellow youngsters Zabarnyi, Georgiy Sudakov and Mykhailo Mudryk, 22-year-old Brazhko has huge potential. The defensive midfielder reached double figures for goals and assists in the Ukrainian league with Dynamo Kyiv, and he proved his worth to the national team in the play-offs. Many expect the Under-21 captain to cement a starting place in Germany. Did you know? Due to the ongoing Russian military invasion in Ukraine, the national team played all of their nominal home matches abroad in qualifying: two in Poland and one each in Slovakia, Czechia and Germany.

Group E fixtures vs Belgium (Frankfurt, 17 June, 18:00) vs Ukraine (Düsseldorf, 21 June, 15:00) vs Romania (Frankfurt, 26 June, 18:00)

Qualifying Group J runners-up: P10 W7 D1 L2 F17 A8 Qualifying top scorer: Lukáš Haraslín (3)

Pedigree EURO best: Winners (as Czechoslovakia, 1976), round of 16 (as Slovakia, 2016) EURO 2020: Group stage

Coach: Francesco Calzona Calzona took the reins in August 2022, replacing Pavel Hapal. He started with a home stalemate against Luxembourg in EURO qualifying but has not looked back since, guiding Slovakia to victories in all their remaining games other than those against table-topping Portugal. Since February, he has combined the national team job with the head coach position at Napoli.

Key player: Milan Škriniar A strong-tackling centre-back and born leader on and off the pitch, Škriniar took the captain's armband following Marek Hamšík's retirement in 2022. An ankle injury forced him to miss the first three months of this year, but he returned for Paris Saint-Germain in April, well rested and champing at the bit. It was a welcome sight for Calzona – it's hard to imagine the Slovakia defence without Škriniar this summer.

One to watch: Leo Sauer A winger who scored on his Feyenoord debut aged 17 last August, Sauer became Slovakia's youngest-ever player in March when deployed off the bench in a friendly against Norway. Bratislava-born Sauer is one of the most promising players to emerge from Slovakia in recent times, a precocious talent already with big-tournament experience – as his nation's youngest player, naturally, at the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina.

Did you know? EURO 2016 was Slovakia's first European Championship finals since the separation of Czechoslovakia in 1993. Ján Kozák's team reached the round of 16, being eliminated by Germany.

Group E fixtures vs Slovakia (Frankfurt am Main, 17 June, 18:00) vs Romania (Cologne, 22 June, 21:00) vs Ukraine (Stuttgart, 26 June, 18:00)

Qualifying Group F winners: P8 W6 D2 L0 F22 A4 Qualifying top scorer: Romelu Lukaku (14)

Pedigree EURO best: Final (1980) EURO 2020: Quarter-final, lost 2-1 to Italy

Coach: Domenico Tedesco Born in southern Italy, Tedesco played in the German lower divisions before moving into coaching. In 2017, as a 31-year-old, he took charge of German second-tier club Erzgebirge Aue, helping them avoid relegation. He later managed Schalke and Spartak Moscow before winning the German Cup and reaching the Europa League semi-finals with Leipzig. Now ready to take on his biggest challenge yet.

Key player: Kevin De Bruyne Blessed with extraordinary vision, laser-precise passing and goalscoring ability, De Bruyne is the creative linchpin of the Man City team that have dominated English football of late. Despite missing games through injury this term, De Bruyne nonetheless moved second in the list of Premier League assist providers both this season and all time. He is also among Belgium's top ten goalscorers historically, having represented his country at five major tournaments, including the last two EUROs.

One to watch: Johan Bakayoko Rated one of the best dribblers in Europe, the 21-year-old Bakayoko has been PSV Eindhoven's shining light in an astonishing Eredivisie-winning campaign. For Belgium, he has one goal and two assists, not to mention rising expectations from supporters who have seen Eden Hazard depart and are looking for that dynamic winger to drive them to glory.

Did you know? Since replacing Roberto Martínez, coach Tedesco is unbeaten in his first year directing the national team.

Group E fixtures vs Ukraine (Munich, 17 June, 15:00) vs Belgium (Cologne, 22 June, 21:00) vs Slovakia (Frankfurt, 26 June, 18:00)

Qualifying Group I winners: P10 W6 D4 L0 F16 A5 Qualifying top scorers: Nicolae Stanciu, Valentin Mihăilă, Denis Alibec (3)

Pedigree EURO best: Quarter-finals (2000) EURO 2020: Did not qualify

Coach: Edward Iordănescu Son of Anghel Iordănescu, Iordănescu Jr's Romania side came through qualifying unscathed to book their place at this EURO following an eight-year absence. Synonymous with a modern and meticulous approach to match preparation, Iordănescu's goal is to build an exciting new generation for the national team. He will strive to get the most out of his players in Germany and give the travelling Romania fans plenty to cheer about.

Key player: Nicolae Stanciu Stanciu is Romania's captain and one of just two players in the current squad with previous experience of a major international tournament. The 31-year-old is considered the talisman of the team and has the ability to be a real difference maker. Hugely popular among his team-mates, he will endeavour to lead his side through these finals with courage and confidence.

One to watch: Radu Drăgușin Drăgușin is Romania's leading light, having joined English Premier League club Tottenham in January. A totemic figure at the back despite being one of the younger players in the set-up, the 22-year-old is one of the country’s surest hopes of boasting a long-term superstar; EURO 2024 presents the ideal platform.

Did you know? Edward Iordănescu's father Anghel coached the team to the World Cup quarter-finals in 1994 – their best performance at a major championship.

Group F fixtures vs Czechia (Leipzig, 18 June, 21:00) vs Türkiye (Dortmund, 22 June, 18:00) vs Georgia (Gelsenkirchen, 26 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group J winners: P10 W10 D0 L0 F36 A2 Qualifying top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo (10)

Pedigree EURO best: Winners (2016) EURO 2020: Round of 16, lost 1-0 to Belgium

Coach: Roberto Martínez Fernando Santos's replacement has made an impressive start as Portugal boss, overseeing a perfect qualifying campaign for the EURO 2016 winners. The Spaniard has also won over fans and players by learning to communicate in excellent Portuguese. He has built a group that will form the core of his squad in Germany, while also introducing new tactical ideas in the hope of extracting the max from the preternaturally talented players at his disposal.

Key player: Bruno Fernandes Portugal, in truth, have two key players: Fernandes and Bernardo Silva. The Man United man registered six goals and eight assists in qualifying, and Martínez seems to know how to make him tick – mainly through his partnership with Silva. They are the team’s maestros, cleverly combining, setting the tempo and bringing the best out of the players around them.

One to watch: João Neves The 19-year-old is widely regarded as Portugal's latest wonderkid. According to Martínez, the teenager took just two days to earn the respect of the Portugal dressing room, something he had "never seen before" in his career. Neves is a complete midfielder who can pass, press and dictate the pace, displaying maturity and character that have not gone unnoticed by Portugal's more experienced stars.

Did you know? Cristiano Ronaldo is in line for his sixth EURO finals appearance. The 39-year-old holds the record for most goals (14) and appearances (25) at the tournament. João Neves was not even born when Ronaldo started to shine for the Seleção at EURO 2004.

Group F fixtures vs Portugal (Leipzig, 18 June, 21:00) vs Georgia (Hamburg, 22 June, 15:00) vs Türkiye (Hamburg, 26 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group E runners-up: P8 W4 D3 L1 F12 A6 Qualifying top scorers: Tomáš Souček, Václav Černý (3)

Pedigree EURO best: Winners (as Czechoslovakia, 1976), runners-up (as Czechia, 1996) EURO 2020: Quarter-finals, lost 2-1 to Denmark

Coach: Ivan Hašek A former central midfielder who captained Czechoslovakia at the 1990 World Cup, Hašek won 56 caps, scoring five goals. He also lifted six league titles with Sparta Praha, later playing in France and Japan. His coaching career includes spells at Sparta as well as clubs in France, Japan and the Gulf States, along with the Gabon and Lebanon national teams. The 60-year-old wants his charges to play positive attacking football.

Key player: Patrik Schick Joint-top scorer at the last EURO, Schick is capable of scoring with either foot and with his head, and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He has plenty of experience and confidence, as demonstrated by his incredible long-distance strike against Scotland, which was voted Goal of the Tournament at EURO 2020. Schick will look to carry the momentum from his fantastic season with Bayer Leverkusen into these finals.

One to watch: Pavel Šulc The 23-year-old midfielder only made his senior international debut in March but is a hugely promising prospect. An agile and creative playmaker, he has scored regularly in the Czech league and was one of the key players in Viktoria Plzeň's run to the Europa Conference League quarter-finals. Hašek has labelled Šulc one of the future stars of his side.

Did you know? Czechia have won all three EURO penalty shoot-outs they have been involved in (including as Czechoslovakia). They have also converted all 20 spot kicks taken in those shoot-outs.

Group F fixtures vs Türkiye (Dortmund, 18 June, 18:00) vs Czechia (Hamburg, 22 June, 15:00) vs Portugal (Gelsenkirchen, 26 June, 21:00)

Qualifying 4th place in a Group A: P8 W2 D2 L4 F12 A18. Qualified via play-offs after beating Luxembourg and Greece Qualifying top scorer: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (4)

Pedigree EURO best: Debut

Coach:   Willy Sagnol   A multi-decorated player at club and international level, Sagnol takes a major step forward as a coach at this tournament. Using his enormous big-match experience, he found the right words to motivate his team for their qualifying play-offs. The 47-year-old has an air of authority and will give Georgia the confidence to travel to this EURO with a sense of ambition beyond merely being there.

Key player: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia The winger's acclaimed first season with 2022/23 Scudetto winners Napoli made Kvaratskhelia a role model for all his country's players. He reached double figures for goals in his second campaign too, at the vanguard of a group of Georgian players operating in top-five European leagues. One of the best dribblers in modern football, he plays as a left attacker for Napoli, but for Georgia often starts as a second striker with freedom to roam.

One to watch: Georges Mikautadze Georgia are far from being a one-man team. Alongside Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili, Sagnol can count on creative midfielder Giorgi Chakvetadze from Watford and Karlsruher striker Budu Zivzivadze. But there is an extra sprinkling of stardust provided by French-born forward Mikautadze, who finished the season on loan at Metz from Ajax.

Did you know?   Georgia have qualified for the first time as an independent country, although three representatives of the nation won this competition's inaugural edition in 1960. That USSR team included Givi Chokheli, Mikhei Meskhi and Slava Metreveli, with Zaur Kaloev an unused substitute. Metreveli equalised in the final against Yugoslavia, also setting up the clinching goal. Overall, 11 Georgians have played at EUROs, including Murtaz Khurtsilava, Revaz Dzodzuashvili and Givi Nodia, runners-up in 1972, and Tengiz Sulakvelidze, likewise in 1988.

Group F fixtures vs Georgia (Dortmund, 18 June, 18:00) vs Portugal (Dortmund, 22 June, 18:00) vs Czechia (Hamburg, 26 June, 21:00)

Qualifying Group D winners: P8 W5 D2 L1 F14 A7 Qualifying top scorers: Kerem Aktürkoğlu, Cenk Tosun (2)

Pedigree EURO best: Semi-finals (2008) EURO 2020: Group stage Coach: Vincenzo Montella After two successful seasons in charge of Adana Demirspor in the Turkish Super League, Montella was named national team coach with three EURO 2024 qualifying matches still to play, leading Türkiye to the finals with victories over Croatia and Latvia and a draw against Wales. Having helped Italy reach the EURO 2000 final as a player, Montella will make his first appearance as a coach at the European Championship.

Key player: Hakan Çalhanoğlu Türkiye captain and one of the squad’s most experienced players, Hakan helped Inter win Serie A in 2023/24 after losing out to Man City in the 2023 Champions League final. The midfielder is preparing for his third EURO and could play a key role with his set-piece expertise, strong link-up play and fighting spirit.

One to watch: Arda Güler A precociously talented graduate of Fenerbahçe's youth academy, Güler joined Spanish giants Real Madrid at the beginning of the 2023/24 season. Born in 2005, the tournament debutant is poised to become one of EURO 2024's most exciting players thanks to his creativity, exquisite dribbling, vision and eye for goal.

Did you know? Türkiye were in the same group as Portugal and Czechia at EURO 2008. They defeated the latter in their final group matches in both 2008 and 2016, triumphing 3-2 and 2-0 respectively.

Selected for you

TV channels and live streams

TV channels and live streams

EURO 2024 match schedule

EURO 2024 match schedule

EURO 2024 fixtures by team

EURO 2024 fixtures by team

EURO 2024: Host cities

EURO 2024: Host cities

Download the official app

Download the official app

Your in-depth guide to EURO

Your in-depth guide to EURO

Pick your EURO Fantasy team!

Pick your EURO Fantasy team!

Six games to look out for

Six games to look out for

IMAGES

  1. 5 Best Islands To Visit in The Philippines

    top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

  2. 25 Best Islands to Visit in the Philippines

    top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

  3. 7 Most Beautiful Islands in the Philippines

    top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

  4. 10 Beautiful Philippines Islands To Visit Unlike Anything You've Seen

    top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

  5. Palawan, Philippines name as "BEST ISLAND in the world" in 2020

    top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

  6. 7 Most Beautiful Islands in the Philippines

    top 5 islands to visit in the philippines

VIDEO

  1. Top 5 Philippines Islands to Visit

  2. This is Why The Philippines is My Favorite Country!!!

  3. South East Asia's Top 5 Islands: Here's WHAT You Must Experience!

  4. Philippines 🇵🇭: Top 10 MUST TRAVEL Destinations You Can't Miss!🇵🇭

  5. Best Place to Visit in Philippines

  6. Philippines Unveiled: The Top 10 Must-Visit Places in the Philippines

COMMENTS

  1. 25 Best Islands to Visit in the Philippines

    Let's explore the best islands to visit in the Philippines: 1. Palaui Island. Source: Gloss Girl / Flickr. Palaui Island. Palaui Island perfectly represents why most travelers come to the Philippines- to find a paradise where it feels like you're the first human to ever step foot.

  2. 7 Most Beautiful Islands in the Philippines: Palawan, Boracay, Siargao

    One of its most popular attractions is called the Hundred Islands National Park, a protected area and the Philippines' first national park. Pangasinan Hundred Islands island-hopping tours will give you access to some of the 124 islands and islets off Alaminos, Pangasinan.. Some recommended islands to visit during a Pangasinan Hundred Islands tour include Marcos Island where you can jump 20 ...

  3. 15 Best Islands In The Philippines

    1. For beaches and wildlife: Palawan. The Philippines' eco-island remains a firm backpacker favourite. Palawan's capital, Puerto Princesa is carbon-neutral, while the island and its beaches have collected countless accolades - particularly for the jaw-dropping Nacpan Beach near El Nido.For many, a visit to Palawan is all about getting out on the water.

  4. The best Philippines islands: a local's guide to the 10 prettiest

    1. Boracay, Aklan. Boracay Island is hailed as having the best beach in the world across countless reader polls - this is the Philippines' most famous island for a reason. Famous though it may be, the caster-sugar beaches, crystal waters and vivid sunsets make it well worth a stop-off. Unlike some of the smaller, more off-grid isles ...

  5. 17 Best Islands in the Philippines (+Map)

    17. Apo Island [SEE MAP] Forming part of the protected Coral Triangle, Apo Island is a volcanic island located off the southern coast of Negros. The island's main claim to fame is that it offers some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities in the Philippines - and that's saying something.

  6. 10 Best Islands in the Philippines to Visit (2024)

    3. Malapascua Island. Malapascua Island is a tiny island of just 2.5 by 1 kilometres (1.55 by 0.62 mi) in size. It's located just 6.8 kilometres (4.2 mi) across the shallow strait from Maya, on Cebu Island (number 1). Malapascua is famous for its incredible scuba diving, and there are dive shops all around its shores.

  7. Top 20 Most Beautiful Islands in the Philippines

    6. Panglao Island. Recommended by Sharon from Dive Into Philippines. One of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines is Panglao. This small island is attached to the more famous Bohol by a bridge, and it is easy to combine a visit to Panglao with a visit to Bohol or nearby Cebu.

  8. 15 Best Places to Visit in the Philippines

    Diniwid Beach is a tiny beach at the north end of White Beach that has the best view of the island from a platform rock located there. This island is known for its many resorts, so finding a place to stay is easy. For a panoramic view of the island, take a day trip to Mount Luho, its highest point. 2. Bohol.

  9. 22 Best Island-Hopping Destinations in the Philippines

    6. Boracay. As one of the best tourist spots in the Philippines, Boracay still is one of the best beaches for island hopping in Philippines and one of the summer destinations in mind when it comes to fine white-sand beaches and magical sunsets. Many 5 star hotels in the Philippines can also be found here.

  10. Best Islands In The Philippines [2024]

    Boracay. When people think of the best islands to visit in Philippines, Boracay is often a firm favorite. Boracay is a small tropical paradise, only 7 km long and 1 km wide. However this small island is full of endless powdery white beaches, a great range of resorts and hotels to suit all kinds of budgets and plenty of activities to keep your ...

  11. The 20 Best Islands In The Philippines For Every Type of Traveller

    7. Bantayan Island. Northwest of Cebu is one of the best islands in the Philippines for escaping the crowds of Bohol and Cebu. With a name meaning watchtowers of the King, this Filipino island was once surrounded by 18 watchtowers built to ensure protection from pirates.

  12. Discovering Paradise: Top 10 Must-Visit Islands in the Philippines

    Luring Adventurers to Cebu's Shores. Cebu Island stands as a beacon among top island destinations in the Philippines, inviting voyagers to bask in its historical attractions and indulge in a plethora of water sports. Diving sites here are rich with marine diversity, and the island's developed ecotourism is proof of its status as a pristine ...

  13. Top 10 Best Islands to Visit in the Philippines

    Panay Island. Recommended by Irish of TravelMoments. Not many tourists have heard of Panay Island as it is located in the western part of central Philippines. Although the most popular destination is Boracay, Panay Island actually has more to offer in terms of beaches, waterfalls, and rich eco-tourism destinations.

  14. 5 Islands to Visit in the Philippines & How To Visit Them All in One

    There are so many places and islands to visit in the Philippines it's hard to know which ones to visit! It's also hard to plan a trip around the Philippines as most places are hard to get to and involve flying, buses and boats. ... Keep Reading for the best islands to visit in the Philippines! 1. Malapascua. Getting there: Cebu city to ...

  15. 8 AWESOME Islands in the Philippines (2024)

    7. Boracay. Boracay is undoubtedly the most famous and developed island in the Philippines and is perfect for those who are craving nightlife. The small island is full of delicious restaurants, comfortable places to stay, and some hard-core beach clubs to let loose at. Boracay is a bit touristy - but for good reason!

  16. Our Top 10 Islands in the Philippines

    1. Batanes. The perfect escape while basking in the midst of nature and the definition of a tropical paradise, Batanes definitely tops our list of the best islands in the Philippines. Batanes is actually a group of 10 adjacent islands that make up the province of Batanes. Amongst these, the island of Batanes is definitely our favourite.

  17. 20 Best Things to Do in the Philippines: Explore Islands, Beaches

    The Philippines' islands are recognized worldwide as some of the best in the world, with Palawan consistently earning the number 1 spot for years. Island hopping tours are a must-add in any Philippine itinerary. These are usually done on a full day where you visit at least 2-3 islands. Some tours can even take you to as many as 5-7 islands in a ...

  18. Best islands in the Philippines

    If you're wondering what are the top 5 islands in the Philippines, you're in the right place. In fact, in this travel guide, we've added a couple of bonus islands to give you a bit more choice. ... In fact, many people think it's one of the best islands to visit. Philippines tours don't get more picture-postcard than here in Coron.

  19. 5 Best Islands To Visit in The Philippines

    What and where is The Philippines? Based in Southeast Asia, in the Pacific Ocean, The Philippines is an amazing archipelago filled with stunning beaches, beautiful terraces, rich biodiversity and diverse culture. 'Archipelago' means that the country is made up of multiple islands (7,641 to be exact).

  20. How to plan the ultimate island-hopping adventure in the Philippines

    4. Bohol. Bohol's undulating Chocolate Hills are one of the Philippines' most photographed sights, but they're not the island's only attraction. Spend the night in a nipa palm hut in the ...

  21. Philippines Travel Guide: The Ultimate 3-Week Itinerary

    Day 2 - 3: Coron. The small fishing village Coron is all about hopping from one stunning island to the other. On the morning of day 2, fly from Manila to Busuanga island, followed by a 30-minute drive to Coron town. Once you arrive, relax, hike up Mt. Tapyas before sunset, and go island hopping by boat ( book online) on day 3.

  22. 5 Islands You CAN'T Miss in The Philippines

    1. Palawan. To be honest, we'd even include Palawan on our top 5 islands you can't miss in the world. It really is stunning and it's no surprise that this island attracts tourists with its perfect balance of stunning white beaches, luscious green jungle, and unbelievable marine life. Palawan is the ideal island for adventure lovers and ...

  23. 16 Best Islands to Visit in the Philippines

    Also, the island is known for hopping adventures, allowing you to visit four renowned islands - Hagonoy Island, Hiyor-Hiyoran Island, Naked Island, and Boslon Island. 14. Panay. Surrounded by the Sulu, Visayan, and the Sibuyan seas, Panay is one of the best islands in the Philippines.

  24. 15 Incredible Places to Visit in the Philippines

    Don't worry—we've got you covered with 15 of the most incredible places to visit on your Philippine sojourn, divided by the country's three main regions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.Go beyond the guidebook and connect with a local to plan your trip. They'll help you navigate the islands like a pro. Basically, it's like having a best f.

  25. Our Readers' Favorite Islands in the World of 2023

    What Readers Loved. The top three favorites are iconic island getaways: Australia's Great Barrier Reef Islands, The Maldives, and Indonesia's Bali. Greece, which has more than 6,000 islands ...

  26. Caribbean Cruises: Cruise to Caribbean

    Cruise to Caribbean and discover the cliff-diving, breeze-swaying, sand-between-your-toes, no-worries pace of island life. Hundreds of years of history have left jungle ruins from ancient times and vibrant colonial towns with brightly painted buildings reflecting a fascinating history. Discover the white-sand beaches and rugged cliffs of Barbados.

  27. World Map / World Atlas / Atlas of the World Including Geography Facts

    The Best State Parks to Visit in Wisconsin. Animals . Top 11 Largest Spiders in the World. ... Philippines. Ghana. Sweden. Spain. Brazil. Colombia. Turkey. Honduras. El Salvador. Panama. Dominican Republic. Peru. Macedonia. ... Rhode Island's Best Small Towns for a Weekend Escape. See More. Cities 7 Best Places to Live in New South Wales.

  28. Discover 5 Amazing Things to Do in Cavite, Philippines

    3. Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine and Museum. The Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine and Museum is a key historical spot and a popular place in Cavite. It was the home of Emilio Aguinaldo, the very first President ...

  29. UEFA EURO 2024: Meet the 24 teams

    How they qualified, top scorers, pedigree, key players and the coach - all you need to know about the 24 teams competing for glory at UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany. Pedigree EURO best: Winners 1972 ...