If you’ve ever dreamed of staying on a castaway island but rejected the idea as ridiculously expensive, think again. Of course there are tropical private islands that are the sole preserve of billionaires and rock stars, but it is possible to enjoy an authentic Robinson Crusoe experience without the silly price tag. Here, Jane Anderson, Editor of 101 Honeymoons, reveals the best affordable island getaways.Search for flights to Canary Islands
On a warm sunny day, the tiny Channel Island of Herm could easily be mistaken for a tropical castaway spot. Just a mile-and-a-half from end to end and a short ferry ride from Guernsey, there’s a real feeling of escaping real life here. There’s nothing much to do but look for shells (what else) on Shell Beach and take long leisurely lunches at The Mermaid Tavern.
The Scottish islands are among the most romantic in the world with white sand beaches and awe-inspiring scenery. McKinlay Kidd is a specialist in the area and its Scottish Island Escape offers island escapes – often including seven nights’ bed-and-breakfast accommodation and ferry travels for cars and passengers.
The company will also give you tips on finding the best-secluded beaches and top spots for seal spotting.
Croatia has an eye-poppingly beautiful coastline that stretches for 1,000km and is dotted with islands. Try Hotel Bozica on the Elaphiti Island of Sipan – it’s just an hour’s drive from Dubrovnik Old Town with the last leg of the journey by speedboat. The hotel has just 15 rooms and suites all with fabulous sea views and a private beach.
Jump on the ferry from Ibiza and you’ll soon be chilling out with a cocktail at sunset, cycling round the island and zoning out with a spot of yoga. The Gecko Beach hotel is as laid back as they come with limewashed furniture, fab Italian food in the restaurant, a beautiful pool and oversized daybeds with shady curtains.
Although familiar to British package tourists, the Canary Islands can be surprisingly exotic, not least for their unworldly volcanic landscapes.
Lanzarote has a touch of Brazil about it in the north with beautiful towns like Haria, home to the house and studio of artist Cesar Manrique. Stay in an authentic Mongolian yurt or eco-beach hut at Lanzarote Retreats.
Less than four hours’ flying time from the UK, the volcanic archipelago of the Azores offers beautiful rugged landscapes and emerald green scenery. They are also great value for money. During the summer months, you can try whale watching, swimming with dolphins, horse riding, kayaking and surfing.
Whale watching is some of the best in Europe with prices from just £48 per adult.
The focus is firmly on the outdoors, nature and wildlife with nature reserves and strict rules outlaying buildings taller than the highest palm tree. Sanibel and Captiva are the largest of the islands. The smaller islands such as North Captiva, Useppa and Cayo Costa are very exclusive.