When it comes to downsizing your life, you may just want to sell up your belongings and make a clean break to one of the many exotic and remote islands around the world. What better way to while away your time and relax from the hustle and bustle of a busy life than sunbathing under the fronds of coconut palms, or swimming in the crystal clear waters of the tropics? Or maybe sunshine is not for you, but the remoteness and close-knit community of one of the more northerly rural island appeals? Here is a list of the top 5 best islands to live on, for those that want to change their lifestyles for the better:
5. Isla Mujeres
this is a lovely tropical island just off the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, and combines the vibrancy and joy de vivre of South America with the exotic white beaches and crystal waters of the Caribbean. If you enjoy fishing and diving then this is the ideal place for you as it has some of the cleanest, most abundant waters along the Riviera Maya. The island is also only 8 miles away from the hustle and bustle of Cancún, so when you tire of swinging lazily in your hammock you can pop back to the mainland for a bit of shopping or a wild night out on the town. Isla Mujeres is only 5 miles long and still has some wonderfully unspoilt areas, and property prices are still relatively low compared to other Caribbean island destinations. You should buy soon though as the charms of this small island are attracting new visitors all the time and property prices are beginning to slowly rise.
4. Koh Samui
Thailand has a whole host of beautiful tropical islands, but Koh Samui is a real treasure. Roads were not built on the island until 1940’s and to this day most of the island remains wild and unspoilt, still mostly dense mountain ranges and tropical forests. Thailand is a very popular tourist destination, but Koh Sumui has remained largely untouched, and the inhabitants are mainly simple fisherman with a few Buddhist temples dotted here and there.
Croatia is one of the hidden gems of the Mediterranean and Hvar is a beautiful little island tucked away in the Adriatic coastline. The scenery is full of old stone cottages, olive groves, rolling hills and vineyards, and the heady scents of lavender and rosemary fill the air in the summer. Hvar is a wonderful mix of cultures, having being settled in the past by the Spanish, Venetians, Greeks and Croats and the cuisine is excellent, with some of the freshest seafood in the world. There are plenty of little cafes in the main town to meet up with friends and enjoy a good meal and a few bottles of local vino, and also plenty of beautiful walks in the surrounding mountainous regions. Property is still very affordable in Hvar, and you can pick up delightful 17th century stone cottages at very reasonable prices. There are regular ferries to Dubrovnik, one of the best examples of a Renaissance city in Europe and also ferries to Ancona and Pescara in Italy during the summer.
this little island is deep in the Mediterranean Sea, and is a part of Malta. It is a wonderful place, with beautiful scenery and a stunning coastline and is also rich in history with examples of Ggantija Neolithic temples, which are the world’s oldest freestanding religious structures. Gozo has a relatively small population, and although it is popular with tourist it is much more relaxed and laid back than Malta, and you can easily find some private beaches and places to enjoy even in the height of summer. Property prices in Gozo are not cheap, but you do get a lot for your money and there are some lovely old farmhouses that have been restored to a high quality and also newly built rustic homes that are full of character and have all the modern conveniences.
the Island and Lochalsh – although the islands off Scotland are not bathed in sunshine or boast tropical waters, they are among some of the most stunning and unspoilt places in the world. Skye is a particular treasure, rich in lush green scenery and rugged coastlines, and the recognition and celebration of the Celtic cultural heritage of the island is very strong with traditional art and music highly celebrated. One of the best aspects of Skye is the close knit community and real sense of belonging, and the locals embrace and welcome new comers with a great sense of hospitality and friendliness. Skye has a surprisingly mild climate, and this is because of the Gulf Stream, which passes nearby the island. Unlike the rest of Scotland snow and heavy frost rarely settle at sea level, but winds do batter the islands fairly regularly, and rainfall is higher than average across the UK. Property in Skye is affordable, mainly because of the remoteness and there are also plenty of building plots available if you are interested in designing and building your own home.