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Home » Seychelles: Travel Guide to the Jewel of the Indian Ocean

Seychelles: Travel Guide to the Jewel of the Indian Ocean

Envision an escape where luxury aligns seamlessly with nature’s raw beauty, where crystalline turquoise waters lap against the edges of the world’s most captivating beaches, annually recognized for their splendor. This is the Seychelles, an island paradise that lavishes its visitors with the richness of its endemic flora, the marvels of its diverse underwater universe, and the unparallel hospitality of its local inhabitants.

It’s not merely the consistently pleasant weather that sets Seychelles apart, but also the unparalleled safety it offers. Forget the worries of encountering venomous reptiles or snakes, as they’re non-existent here. Although, while exploring the island’s wonders, one should be mindful of the sharp corals and potentially prickly sea urchins.

The inviting beaches of Seychelles, which are freely accessible to all visitors, offer an array of experiences so diverse that singling out the best would be a Herculean task. Some serve as perfect backdrops for memorable photoshoots, others offer the most captivating sunset views, a few are ideal for a relaxed family getaway, and still others are tailored for swimming and snorkeling enthusiasts.

The beach infrastructure varies with location. There are ones with rentable loungers, typically found near hotels, while others offer the rhythm of atmospheric reggae bars, serving up coconuts and fruits accompanied by the island’s favorite cocktails. Yet, there are beaches untouched by the hands of modernity, their pristine wilderness only adding to their allure. Consequently, one can venture to a new beach every day in Seychelles, with each providing a distinct, unforgettable experience.

Seychelles holds an irresistible charm for those seeking the luxury of solitude on deserted islands. Yet it simultaneously caters to the curiosity of nature enthusiasts. They can find the perfect balance of a classic beach holiday and an exploration of the island’s unique fauna and flora, ensuring that no day in the Seychelles will ever be mundane.

History of Seychelles: A Brief Overview

Nestled in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles was first encountered by the esteemed Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama during his voyage to India in 1502. By 1756, the islands had been colonized by France and christened after the French Finance Minister, Viscount Moreau de Seychelles. It was during this period that the islands began to flourish, with the labor of hundreds of slaves transported from Africa and Madagascar put to work on the lush plantations of sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and coconut.

The fecundity of the Seychelles and its strategic economic and geographic position within the Indian Ocean did not escape the attention of the British. The tides of ownership began to shift with Napoleon’s defeat in Europe, prompting a gradual handover of the French colonies. By 1814, the British had taken possession of the Seychelles Islands. The British governance saw an influx of settlers from neighboring Mauritius, populated predominantly by Arabs, and from another British colony, India.

The present-day Seychelles, with a population of approximately 100,000, is a fascinating cultural mosaic. Its diverse population is an amalgamation of Franco-African mulatto, Europeans, African Americans, Indians, and Arabs. Reflecting this cultural richness, the islands boast three official languages – Seychellois Creole, a language that evolved from French, French itself, and English. A testament to the multicultural roots of Seychelles, all residents have an impressive command of these languages.

In Seychelles, no one is in any particular hurry, everyone (not just tourists) is in a relaxing and positive mood. Photo: Dario Didon / Unsplash.com
In Seychelles, no one is in any particular hurry, everyone (not just tourists) is in a relaxing and positive mood. Photo: Dario Didon / Unsplash.com

The Seychelles, a mesmerizing collection of 115 islands, only 33 of which are inhabited, stretches across the Indian Ocean. These islands can be classified based on their geological origins into granite, the result of ancient volcanic eruptions, and coral islands, often uninhabited. In terms of location, they are distinguished as outer and inner islands—the latter seeming to cluster around the archipelago’s heart.

The inner islands are renowned for their popularity among tourists, with Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue leading the pack. Mahe, home to the capital Victoria and a host of attractions and activities, is the most frequented. Praslin, just an hour away from Mahe via catamaran, and the neighboring La Digue, the smallest of the Seychelles’ “big three,” also hold a substantial allure for visitors.

Other islands, such as Teresa, St. Anne, Cerf, Anonymous, Silhouette, North, Felicite, Fregat, and several others, while less visited due to their higher costs, offer exclusive getaways. These islands, hosting small hotels and villas, have made appearances on popular television shows and serve as idyllic retreats in national marine reserves.

For the more adventurous visitors, such as ocean-going yacht travelers or professional divers and fishing enthusiasts, the outer islands of the Seychelles archipelago present the ultimate secluded experiences. These islands, often referred to as the “outer islands,” are categorized into five groups: Amirante, the South Coral Islands, the Alphonse Islands group, the sparsely inhabited Farquar Islands, and Aldabra.

A mere 230 kilometers from Mahe, the Amirante islands house the Four Seasons Hotel on Deroche Island, a beloved getaway for Arab sheikhs and European celebrities. The Farquar Islands, about 700 kilometers from Mahe, offer specialized tours for passionate fishermen and bird-watchers. Aldabra, a stunning 1150 kilometers away, is the world’s second-largest coral atoll. The outer islands, though remote, deliver unique experiences that complement the richness and diversity of the Seychelles.

Seychelles consists of 115 islands, of which only 33 are inhabited. According to their origin, they are divided into granite – the consequences of volcanic eruptions many millions of years ago and coral, often uninhabited. Photo: Paweł Wielądek / Unsplash.com
Seychelles consists of 115 islands, of which only 33 are inhabited. According to their origin, they are divided into granite – the consequences of volcanic eruptions many millions of years ago and coral, often uninhabited. Photo: Paweł Wielądek / Unsplash.com

A Comprehensive Google Map Guide

Before we dive in, here’s the highlight of this guide – a comprehensive Google Map pinpointing all the attractions, eateries, and points of interest.

Top Attractions in Seychelles

Mahe Island and Victoria City Highlights

Mahe, the largest island in Seychelles, is home to the bustling capital, Victoria. A walk around the city provides glimpses of the Seychellois way of life.

Victoria – the capital of Seychelles

Victoria, one of the world’s tiniest capitals with a population of around 25,000, makes up a third of the Seychelles’ total populace. Founded in 1841, the city center is compact enough to explore at a leisurely pace in half a day.

Victoria is one of the smallest capitals in the world with a population of about 25,000 people

The cityscape is characterized by low-rise, somewhat haphazard buildings reminiscent of Asian villages, albeit lined with paved roads. Among the religious edifices, the Cathedral of St. Paul (1850) stands out with its stunning mosaics depicting local themes such as fishing, coconuts, and turtles. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1892), the largest Catholic church in Seychelles, is another noteworthy site. Victoria also houses a Hindu temple built in 1992, reflecting its estimated five thousand Hindu followers. The eight-meter-high Clock Tower, a replica of Little Ben Tower in London, punctuates the cityscape, distinguishing itself from the rest of the structures.

St. Paul’s Cathedral, built in 1850, and the eight-meter clock tower, built in the city center in 1903, are a replica of the Little Ben Tower in London. Photo: David Stanley / Flickr.com

A visit to the Seychelles History Museum unveils the country’s rich past with artifacts like the oldest map of Seychelles from 1517, the smallest statue of Queen Victoria, ancient fishing tools, and various objects recovered from shipwrecks. Entrance fee – 150 rupees (11.65$). A quirky crocodile sculpture, a remnant of the species exterminated in the 19th century, greets visitors at the museum entrance, currently under renovation since May 2023. Local artist George Camille’s Kaz Zanana gallery offers an insight into contemporary Seychellois art.

For nature enthusiasts, the Botanical Garden, open from 8:00 to 17:00, is a haven spread across approximately 10,000 hectares. A leisurely stroll through the garden will reveal over 100 species of orchids and the famed Seychelles turtles endemic to the islands. Entrance fee – 100 rupees (7.76$).

You can see more than 100 species of orchids and, of course, meet the famous Seychelles tortoises, the endemic of the islands, during a walk through the botanical garden. Photo: Dan Maisey / Unsplash.com

The Royal Garden of Spices (Jardin du Roi) offers a fascinating education on the cultivation of tropical spices like vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper. The map handed out at the entrance helps visitors identify the plants. The garden is also home to several bird species and turtles. Entrance fee – 150 rupees (11.65$)

For those seeking a hands-on experience, the Sir Selvin Clark Market, named after Seychelles’ ruler, is a must-visit. The market offers a plethora of exotic fruits, vegetables, and an array of spices, making it the perfect place for souvenir shopping. Freshly caught fish such as tuna, marlin, and red bass are cleaned and prepared on the spot, ready to be cooked. It’s worth noting that local herons frequent the fish and seafood counters, allowing for some vibrant photo opportunities.

Fresh fish, bought at the city market, will be cleaned and cut up in front of you – the only thing left is to cook it. Photo: Nenad Radojčić / Unsplash.com

Adjacent to the lively Sir Selvin Clark Market is the Camion Hall shopping center. A treasure trove of souvenirs and a variety of unique, and often charmingly naive, creations by local designers, it provides an opportunity to take a piece of Seychelles home with you.

For those with an insatiable appetite for shopping, the Eden Plaza, the largest mall in Seychelles, awaits on the artificial Eden Island, linked to Mahe via a designated causeway. The mall caters to a luxurious shopping experience with a selection of high-end international brands. Additionally, it hosts various yacht company offices and luxury real estate sales offices. While access to Eden Island is limited to residents with passes, the shopping center welcomes all.

Eden Plaza boasts its own well-maintained infrastructure, creating an entire microcosm of luxury and comfort. It offers several immaculate beaches, stylish bars, and high-end restaurants. Leisure and wellness facilities include tennis courts, swimming pools accompanied by a relaxation area, a gym, and a spa. In addition, it provides parking spaces for boats, golf carts, and cars, further enhancing the convenience and luxury of the shopping experience at Eden Plaza.

Mahe Beaches: An Array of Sandy Havens

Anse Royale, sheltered under a canopy of palm trees, stretches for over two and a half kilometers. This serene beach is seldom crowded, attracting tourists from the northern parts of the island primarily for its picture-perfect setting.

For those in search of thrills, Anse Intendance is a must-visit. This two-kilometer-long beach, characterized by emerald waters, is a surfer’s paradise due to its often strong waves.

Intendance Beach often has strong waves, which is why this beach is loved by surfers. Photo: dronepicr / Wikimedia.org

On the west side of the island, Anse Takamaka takes its name from the evergreen takamaka tree. However, nearby lies Rock Pool, arguably the most hazardous beach in Seychelles. High tides and powerful waves can trap tourists in a small lagoon, leading to numerous fatalities. A twenty-minute trek through the jungle is necessary to reach this beach.

Petit Anse, a part of the Four Seasons hotel, showcases perfection in its finest form. The beach, with its crystal clear waters and devoid of stones and algae, offers an idyllic setting for relaxation. Access to the beach is unrestricted.

If your idea of a beach getaway involves lively activities and stunning views, head to Beau Vallon. This bustling beach, extending over three kilometers, is renowned for its breathtaking sunsets. With an array of bars and restaurants, Beau Vallon hosts an active nightlife, making it a popular choice among tourists. This beach is also one of the few in Seychelles where visitors can indulge in watersports such as jet skiing and water skiing.

Praslin

Praslin, Seychelles’ second-largest island, is an enchanting destination that can be reached in just an hour by catamaran or a swift ten-minute helicopter ride from Mahe. While one could technically tour the entire island in a matter of hours, the abundance of stunning natural attractions and world-class beaches demands at least two or three days to fully appreciate.

Anse Georgette is a hidden gem that offers a picture-perfect beach setting, sandwiched between majestic boulders and a clear, stone-free sea. To ensure the beach maintains its serene ambience, visitors must make a reservation one or two days in advance through the reception of the Hotel Constance Lemuria. A 20 to 25-minute walk through the scenic golf courses leads you to this tranquil retreat.

Anse Georgette is a secluded beach, framed on both sides by beautiful boulders and an ideal water entrance without stones. Photo: Svein-Magne Tunli / Wikimedia.org

Anse Lazio is another must-visit beach, recognized as one of the top 10 beaches in Africa. Here, you can rent a transparent-bottomed kayak, providing a unique perspective of the vibrant marine life below.

Anse Lazio is one of the top 10 beaches in Africa. Photo: Alin Meceanu / Unsplash.com

From Praslin, the most popular day trip takes you to the nearby island of Curieuse, which serves as a national park. For around 80 euros per person, you can spend a full day interacting with around 400 Seychelles giant tortoises, exploring the mangrove forests along the shore, indulging in a traditional Creole-style lunch, and enjoying top-notch snorkeling and swimming. The island, once a leprosarium, now attracts daily throngs of tourists, though it remains devoid of hotels, stationary restaurants, or bars. Fans of “Pirates of the Caribbean” might recognize Curieuse as the backdrop for the scene where Captain Jack Sparrow finds himself stranded on a deserted island.

There are about 400 Seychelles giant tortoises living on Curieuse. They can be freely stroked on their shells and fed with fruit. Photo: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen / Wikimedia.org

A boat trip to the island of Curieuse, turned into a national park, is the most popular excursion from Praslin Island. Photo: Remy Juan / Wikimedia.org

Praslin is renowned for the endemic coco-de-mer palm, an iconic symbol of the Seychelles that is depicted on the country’s coat of arms. These towering trees, which reach up to 30 meters high, can bear as many as 70 nuts each. The female tree produces distinctively shaped fruits that weigh up to 30 kilograms, making them the heaviest seeds in the world. These extraordinary trees bear fruit exclusively on Praslin and, to a lesser extent, the nearby island of Curieuse.

To safeguard this unique species, the UNESCO-protected Vallee de Mai National Park was established. Despite the admission fee of 500 rupees (38.82$), and an additional 1,000 rupees (77.65$) per person for a guide, the park regularly attracts numerous visitors. It is home to 110 bird species, including the kestrel, bulbul, salangan, and Indian owl. Other rare and endangered animals and insects include the great bat, tenrek, Seychelles flying fox, bronze gecko, and black parrot.

The Vallee de Mai National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has 110 bird species as well as many unusual and endangered mammals and insects. Photo: Vallee de Mai

The island of Praslin is also famous for its endemic species of coco-de-mer palm. It is the symbol of the Seychelles, and the coconut palm is depicted on the country’s coat of arms. Photo: Jerzy Strzelecki / Wikimedia.org

For a more intimate exploration of the island’s nature, Fond Ferdinand National Park offers a trek through the jungle that culminates in a climb up seven hundred steps. From the summit, visitors are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the neighboring islands and the emerald ocean. Entrance to the park is a more affordable 300 rupees (23.29$), with tours starting at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.

If you need a break from the beach, the Constance Lemuria hotel offers golfing opportunities on its 18-hole course for a fee of 2,100 rupees (163.06$) (or 1,350 rupees (104.82$) for the nine-hole course). Golf lessons are also available, making it an excellent way to mix up your standard beach holiday.

La Digue

La Digue, with its ten square kilometer area, is the smallest of the three popular Seychelles islands. This idyllic island is renowned for its role in the famous 1974 erotic film “Emmanuelle,” with the film’s bungalow still standing on its shores. Automobile transport is practically non-existent here, with most visitors moving between beaches on bicycles, which can be rented for 100 rupees per day. Those who prefer a leisurely pace might opt for transportation by golf carts. The island’s life pace is even more relaxed and unhurried than on Mahe or Praslin, making it an ideal destination for those seeking tranquillity.

On the miniature island of La Digue there is almost no automobile transport – all tourists move between the beaches on bicycles. Photo: TourBookers

The incredibly beautiful and consistently deserted Anse Coco beach is one of La Digue’s gems. This beach, peppered with large boulders where crabs and flying fish bask, is only accessible through guided hiking tours that span around five to six hours. The journey there involves traversing through dense jungle, clambering over enormous boulders, and wading through waist-deep waters.

For an unforgettable guided tour experience, consider booking with Gerard Niole (+248 253 5457), a charming guide and former member of the Seychelles national volleyball team. Despite conducting tours barefoot, Gerard expertly navigates the landscape, uncovers crabs from the beach sand, hosts master classes in coconut dissection, crafts stunning baskets from palm leaves, and treats his guests to local fruit. His in-depth knowledge and passion for the island make for a truly unique and memorable experience.

Koko Beach can only be accessed by signing up for a trekking tour (about five to six hours). Photo: dronepicr / Wikimedia.org

Anse Sourse D’argent is not only one of the most photographed beaches in the world according to National Geographic, but it’s also one of La Digue’s most enchanting spots. The beach is characterized by sprawling palms growing directly in the water and distinctive gray granite outcroppings that take on a pinkish hue in the evenings. However, the bay floor is often covered with sharp corals, necessitating special shoes for swimming. Access to this beach costs 100 rupees via Union Estate Park, but some visitors choose to enter free of charge along the beach to the left of the heliport.

Anse Sus de Argent is one of the most photographed beaches in the world according to National Geographic. Photo: dronepicr / Wikimedia.org

Grand Anse and Petit Anse are stunning beaches recommended for confident swimmers due to their frequent strong waves and undertows. Despite this, the exceptional ocean views and lack of crowds make these spots worth visiting.

Grand Anse and Petite Anse are beaches for confident swimmers, as there are almost always strong waves and reverse current. Photo: Alin Meceanu / Unsplash.com

For a more terrestrial experience, L’Union Estate National Park offers an immersion into the island’s lush natural environment. For a 100 rupee entrance fee, visitors can wander through the jungle, visit a vanilla plantation, and even encounter the iconic Seychelles turtles. For those desiring a trek, the trail to Nid D’Aigle, the island’s highest point at 339 meters, is a worthwhile venture.

To further explore La Digue’s marine life, many travel agencies offer kayaking with transparent bottoms for around 45 euros for a three-hour tour. Stand-up paddleboarding and diving excursions near Ile Cocos, located seven kilometers from La Digue, are also popular aquatic adventures on offer.

Many travel agencies offer kayaking with a transparent bottom – costs from 45 euros for three hours, as well as diving near the island of Il Cocos. Photo: TourBookers

Bird Island and Its Feathered Residents

For birdwatchers and those intrigued by wildlife, Bird Island is a haven. It is home to thousands of sooty terns, and if timed right, visitors can witness turtle hatchings on the beaches, a true spectacle of nature.

Silhouette Island and Its Marine National Park

A diver’s paradise, Silhouette Island has a rich underwater world with vibrant corals and diverse marine life. The island also offers lush rainforests teeming with rare species, making it a perfect blend of sea and land adventures.

Best Beaches of Seychelles

  • Anse Lazio, Praslin. Frequently touted as one of the most beautiful beaches globally, Anse Lazio is the perfect blend of soft white sands, clear turquoise waters, and magnificent granite boulders. The calm waters make it ideal for swimming, while the nearby Takamaka trees offer comforting shade.
  • Anse Georgette, Praslin. A hidden gem, Anse Georgette is a secluded beach accessible by a scenic trek or through Constance Lemuria Resort. Its untouched beauty, quiet ambiance, and gentle waves make it a perfect spot for relaxation and romantic getaways.
  • Beau Vallon, Mahe. One of the most popular beaches on Mahe Island, Beau Vallon is a hive of activity. With a long stretch of silvery sands and calm waters, it’s perfect for families and offers numerous water sports, including snorkeling, jet-skiing, and parasailing.
  • Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue. Iconic for its stunning granite rock formations, Anse Source d’Argent is a postcard-perfect beach. The shallow, crystal-clear waters are great for wading and snorkeling. As the sun sets, the pinkish hue of the sands coupled with the silhouette of the rocks creates a surreal atmosphere.
  • Petite Anse, La Digue. A more secluded counterpart to the bustling Anse Source d’Argent, Petite Anse offers tranquility amidst the backdrop of granite rocks and azure waters. It’s a bit of a trek to get there, but the reward is a serene beach experience away from the crowds.
  • Anse Intendance, Mahe. For those seeking a more adventurous beach outing, Anse Intendance with its strong waves is a surfer’s delight. The long stretch of beach is surrounded by lush greenery, making it a picturesque spot for sunbathing and picnics.

Each of these beaches has its unique charm, offering visitors a taste of Seychelles’ diverse coastal beauty. Whether it’s the allure of the azure waters, the thrill of water sports, or simply the desire to lay on the sands with a good book, Seychelles’ beaches promise unforgettable moments.

Accommodation in Seychelles: From Luxurious Resorts to Modest Apartments

Seychelles isn’t just a playground for the wealthy. In addition to package deals from travel agencies, independent travelers can also find suitable accommodations, from modest apartments costing 60-70 euros a day to more luxurious villas that range from 150-200 euros per day.

Despite the stereotype of the “resort for billionaires” in the Seychelles is quite possible to rent a modest apartment for 60-70 euros per night or a villa for 150-200 euros. Photo: Datingscout / Unnsplash.com

Mahe Island hotels

Mahe Island hosts nearly all of Seychelles’ international five-star hotels, offering an array of options:

  1. Constance Ephelia: This luxury hotel located on the island’s west coast is nestled within a 120-hectare tropical garden near Grand Anse Beach and Morne National Park. A double room with a tropical garden view starts from 435 euros per night.
  2. Four Seasons: One of Seychelles’ two Four Seasons hotels (the other is on Desroches Island), the most affordable villa here offers a garden view and a private pool, starting from 2100 euros a day, inclusive of breakfast.
  3. Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa: Near the popular Beau Vallon Beach in the island’s north, a room with a private panoramic pool costs 500 euros per night.
  4. JA Enchanted Island Resort Seychelles: A private 130-square-meter villa with a private pool will set you back 1,000 euros per day, but the price includes a 24-hour butler service.
  5. Savoy: Rates start from 400 euros per day with breakfast.
  6. Kempinski: A room with an ocean view and breakfast costs 550 euros per night.

Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa

For those looking for a more budget-friendly option, several apartments and villas offer a comfortable stay:

  1. Flora’s Self Catering: Located 400 meters from Anse-à-la-Mouche beach, a fully equipped two-bedroom villa with a kitchen-living room and terrace costs 180 euros per day in a quiet location.
  2. Venlia: One kilometer from popular Beau Vallon Beach, you can book an equipped apartment with its own small pool and a bay view for 180 euros per day.
  3. Mer Riviere: A new apartment near the popular Beau Vallon Beach costs about 110 euros per night. Bookings require a minimum stay of three days.
  4. Shanaz Beachside Retreat: This small complex of four villas offers a family atmosphere in the south of the island, overlooking Anse Royal beach. The hostess, known for her excellent cooking, helps solve even the smallest of problems. An equipped room with a sea view costs 170 euros per night.

Venlia Apartments with its own small swimming pool is located one kilometer from the popular Bo Valon beach. Photo: Venlia

Praslin hotels

  1. Constance Lemuria, famed for its 18-hole golf course and privileged access to Anse Georgette, one of Seychelles’ most serene beaches, is an epitome of a tropical paradise. Here, dwellings under thatched roofs offer panoramic vistas of the expansive ocean, enveloped by luxuriant gardens that whisper tales of exotic tranquility. Prices for this edenic retreat commence at a notable 950 euros per day.
  2. Face Mer presents a considerably more affordable alternative at 170 euros per day, without compromising on the allure of the Seychelles. Its expansive terrace provides captivating sea views, and as an added bonus, the locale is known for its famous turtle residents. It’s an intimate encounter with nature at its best, inviting travelers to experience a less manicured, more authentic slice of island life.
  3. Ruffles, in close proximity to Anse Lazio, acclaimed as one of the finest beaches, offers a heightened sense of luxury. Here, a plush villa complete with its own swimming pool commands a price tag of 1,000 euros per day. This exclusive property also boasts an open-air spa, where private treatment rooms promise indulgent relaxation against a backdrop of the Indian Ocean. The promise of such unparalleled opulence compels discerning travelers to surrender to the enchantment of Seychelles.

Ruffles – a luxury villa with its own pool from 1000 euros per day. Photo: Ruffles

La Digue hotels

  1. Chez Mera Self Catering is a delightful option for the budget-conscious traveler. Nestled 400 meters from the pier, slightly inland on the picturesque island of La Digue, it is enveloped by its vibrant, flower-laden garden. This hidden gem, priced at a modest 100 euros per night, offers an inviting, intimate experience of Seychelles life.
  2. For those craving an oceanfront experience, Le Nautique Waterfront Hotel La Digue delivers on the promise. This charming, Mediterranean-style hotel rests on the edge of the Indian Ocean. The property boasts a refreshing swimming pool and an exquisite restaurant, complete with a Russian menu catering to international guests. A double room inclusive of breakfast is reasonably priced at 300 euros per night.
  3. Swaying toward the more opulent end of the spectrum, Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie Resort and Spa delivers a tastefully adorned villa, just two minutes’ stroll from Anse Severe beach. This luxurious stay, costing 650 euros a night, includes breakfast and dinner. These meals are served in a lofty restaurant that provides sweeping views of the ocean, adding to the dining experience and turning every meal into a feast for the senses.

Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie Resort and Spa is an elegantly furnished villa in an elevated position overlooking the ocean. Photo: Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie Resort and Spa

Food

In terms of cuisine, Seychelles offers a culinary playground that caters to both the sophisticated food connoisseur and the casual diner, with an array of dining establishments ranging from high-end restaurants, where a single dinner can start at a hefty 250 euros, to more modest, wallet-friendly places, offering a fulfilling meal for two at 60 euros. Regardless of the price range, the palate can expect a delightful encounter with Creole cuisine, a captivating fusion of French, Indian and Asian influences, predominantly featuring fish and seafood, seasoned with a potpourri of spices, including the ubiquitous curry sauce.

Renowned for its freshly caught marine delights, the staple dish in Seychelles is ‘Pwason ek diri,’ which comprises the freshest catch of the day – bonito, mackerel, parrot fish, or tuna – accompanied by saffron-infused rice and a fiery sauce of chili peppers, lemon juice, and vegetable oil.

Seafood aficionados will also be thrilled by the traditional Seychellois delicacies on offer, including tek-tek shells, trou-lou-lou crabs, and lemon-sauced lobsters. The omnipresent octopus salad, marinated and served with onions and a side of green salad, is a must-try, albeit the recipe tends to vary from one restaurant to the next.

For those in search of exotic flavors, there’s an abundance of intriguing dishes to try: stewed breadfruit, patoli (a unique local cucumber variant), mashed giramon (round pumpkin), mashed bilimbi (cucumber fruit), as well as brigella (a type of eggplant). And let’s not forget the numerous ways Seychelles serves up bananas – an astonishing 15 varieties grow on these islands.

A popular accommodation option in Seychelles is self-catering apartments, which invariably feature fully equipped kitchens and designated barbecue areas. This enables guests to flex their culinary muscles using fresh ingredients sourced from Indian supermarkets (open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and beachfront markets, where one can purchase fresh fish – cleaned and cooked to your liking for a mere 50 rupees.

Mahe Island. Where to eat?

Boat House: Offering tried-and-true Creole cuisine since 1993, this popular dining spot near Bo Valon beach serves up an enormous seafood platter for two for just 800 rupees.

Delplace: Dive into Creole-style tapas for 460 rupees or savor the famous Creole red perch soup for 250 rupees. Their cocktail selection starts at 250 rupees.

Jardin du Roi: Located within the vibrant Garden of Spices, this venue promises a colonial ambiance with an array of smoothies and more.

Kafe Kreol: Providing a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, enjoy stunning views and local cuisine, including seafood pizza for 230 rupees and an octopus salad with mango and cucumber for 250 rupees.

Kafe Kreol – beautiful view and local dishes like octopus salad with mango and cucumber. Photo: Kafe Kreol

La Perle Noire: Reminiscent of a family-run coastal Italian restaurant, the standout here is lobster cooked in a whiskey-based sauce for 750 rupees. Also notable is their impressive whiskey selection, arguably the finest on the island.

La Scala: As one of Mahe’s oldest family restaurants, La Scala exudes an elegant ambiance with white tablecloths and evening candlelight. Try the Creole fish for 400 rupees or choose from a diverse range of steaks starting at 500 rupees. Reservations are recommended.

Maria’s Rock Cafe: For a unique dining experience, visit this small pirate-themed café near Baie Lazare beach and the Four Seasons Hotel, where you can cook your own seafood on heated stones for 375 rupees.

At Maria’s Rock Cafe you can cook your own seafood on hot rocks. Photo: Maria’s Rock Cafe

The Station Seychelles: Located at the entrance to the Copolia Trekking Trail, this intimate venue is a haven for vegetarians. It also features a small hotel and an eco-souvenir shop.

ZEZ: For those seeking Asian haute cuisine and exceptional service, ZEZ delivers with a diverse menu: kimchi tofu for 270 rupees, red perch tempura for 340 rupees, wasabi shrimp for 350 rupees, and wagyu beef for 575 rupees. Beluga vodka is available for 240 rupees for 50 grams, accompanied by a fine selection of wines and cocktails.

Praslin Island. Where to eat?

Café des Arts: Nestled in Hotel Le Duc de Praslin, Café des Arts appeals especially to French tourists. It charms visitors with vibrant décor, original artwork adorning the walls, and impeccable service—though, naturally, all this comes at a price. A seafood platter for two goes for 1,150 rupees, while a South African beef steak in green pepper sauce costs 580 rupees.

Curieuse: Situated in the Raffles Hotel and boasting an incredible view of Anse Takamaka beach, Curieuse is deemed one of the top restaurants on Praslin Island, and perhaps throughout Seychelles. Expect tables to be booked weeks in advance and prepare your palate for refined Pan-Asian cuisine. The menu includes a shrimp salad with mango for 355 rupees, Mongolian chicken for 565 rupees, Thai duck in curry sauce for 655 rupees, and a coconut milk crème brûlée for 200 rupees.

Curieuse, a restaurant in the Raffles Hotel, is considered one of the best restaurants on the island, and possibly in all of Seychelles. Tables are booked weeks in advance. Photo: Curieuse

Coco Rouge: This family-run café delivers an authentic local atmosphere paired with incredibly fresh fish at budget-friendly prices—each dish ranges from 100 to 150 rupees.

Les Lauriers: Within a hotel of the same name near Côte D’or beach, this restaurant offers a seafood-heavy buffet (featuring exotic options such as shark and barracuda fillets) for 450 rupees.

L’Archipel: Another hotel-restaurant experience, L’Archipel provides certain tables directly on the beach, allowing guests to dine amid the ocean’s melody, feet nestled in the sand, while observing the scurrying crabs along the beach. Expect a fish dish to range between 300 and 500 rupees.

L’Archipel – a hotel restaurant where some tables are served right on the beach: you can dine under the sound of the ocean, with your feet buried in the sand, and watch crabs running along the beach. Photo: L’Archipel

La Digue Island. Where to eat?

La Nautique: Renowned for its superior service and food presentation, La Nautique is an excellent spot for indulging in locally sourced dishes. The Trio of Fish, crafted from three types of local fish, and the octopus in curry sauce—each about 500 rupees—are crowd favorites.

La Repaire: Ideal for a romantic Italian-style dinner with a backdrop of the Indian Ocean and Praslin Island, La Repaire takes pride in its innovative cocktail list. The menu features classic cocktails revamped with a local twist—like the La Digue Ice Tea, a flavorful reinvention of the Long Island Ice Tea, enriched with the local spiced rum, “Takamaka.”

Ray & Joch Takeway: Reputed as the best café on the island, Ray & Joch Takeway promises generous servings, friendly staff, and the freshest of seafood. It also boasts an expansive selection of local Seybrew and Turtle Cider beers. No wonder it’s always bustling with tourists and locals.

Chez Jules: Situated with a view of Anse Banane beach, Chez Jules is a hidden gem for those exploring the west side of the island. Serving hefty portions of Creole cuisine, the café’s fried octopus is a steal at 280 rupees.

Chez Jules is an intimate café with Creole cuisine and large portions. Photo: Chez Jules

Beyond the Beaches: Activities in Seychelles

Those seeking alternatives to the classic beach vacation will find an array of opportunities in Seychelles:

Embark on a grand catamaran boat trip to the Sainte Anne Marine National Park and Moyenne Island, a protected area established by journalist Brandon Grimpshaw in 1962. This Englishman devoted his life to preserving the island’s unique nature. Alongside an assistant, he cultivated the small island (0.9 square kilometers), planted new flora, and engaged in conservation efforts for Seychelles turtles and birds. As per legend, at the end of his life, Grimpshaw donated his multi-million dollar island paradise to the Seychelles government, provided it would become a national park. His wish materialized, and now thousands of tourists flock to the park each year.

The Reef Safari excursion not only offers a catamaran ride with lively Rastafarian sailors, on-deck dances, and Creole-style lunch but also includes a half-hour leisurely trek on Moyenne Island. Here, visitors have the opportunity to encounter the Seychelles’ giant turtles, one of the world’s largest species. These friendly creatures are unafraid of human interaction – you can pet them and even scratch their necks. Besides trekking, the tour provides snorkeling and a 30-minute ride on a boat with a transparent bottom. This all-inclusive adventure costs 120 euros.

In addition to trekking around the island of Moyenne, the Reef Safari tour includes snorkeling and a 30-minute trip on a boat with a transparent bottom. Photo: Masons travel

For water sports enthusiasts, Seychelles offers a variety of activities like SUP-surfing, fishing, snorkeling, diving, and surfing. Equipment rental and organizing these activities can be facilitated through offices found in hotels, reception areas, and main beaches.

For those who prefer land-based adventures, trek to the top of Morne Blanc for a breathtaking view of Mahe and the surrounding islands, or hike up to Trois Freres via the verdant Copolia jungle. Be sure to pack water and sunscreen, and it’s advisable to commence trekking after 3 pm to avoid the hot and humid midday weather.

A stunning view of Mahe and the surrounding islands from Mount Morne Blanc. Photo: Njohn5188 / Wikimedia.org

tour of Takamaka Rum Distillery offers a unique immersion into Seychelles’ spirited tradition. While the tour itself is complimentary, rum connoisseurs can indulge in a tasting session of six different varieties of locally-produced rum at a nominal fee of 125 rupees (9.71$).

Journey to the Artisan Village, also known as Domaine de Val des Pres, a mere 15-minute drive from Victoria. Here, you’ll find an array of quaint cottages nestled around a beautifully restored colonial-style planter’s house. Each cottage is a buzzing hub of local craftspeople creating unique souvenirs and crafts in the authentic Creole style.

For adrenaline junkies, embark on an exhilarating zipline adventure. With eight different lines stretching between 80 to 120 meters, you’ll navigate through the jungle in a buggy, flying high above lush foliage and small gorges. Children under 12 can enjoy a jump from a small bungee cord, while older thrill-seekers can take on the adult course. A single trip will set you back by approximately 80 euros per person.

For those wishing to indulge in a taste of luxury (and perhaps reinforce the stereotype), Seychelles offers an array of high-end entertainments. Private yacht tours, starting at 600 euros per day, allow you to chart your own course across the azure waters. Expert fishing expeditions, priced from 1000 euros, beckon angling aficionados. For an unforgettable experience, book a helicopter tour over the Indian Ocean, with packages beginning from 1500 euros.

Private yacht tours cost from 600 euros per day depending on the route, fishing – from 1000 euros. Photo: Alessandro Russo / Unsplash.com

Island Hopping

With 115 islands in the archipelago, there’s always a new island to explore. Each holds its unique charm, from the granite rocks of La Digue to the bird sanctuaries of Cousin Island. Use ferries, charter boats, or even helicopter rides to hop from one island to the next.

Hiking and Nature Walks

For those who wish to remain on land, Seychelles offers numerous hiking trails, each revealing a different facet of the islands’ beauty. Trails like the Morne Blanc on Mahe or the Glacis Noir on Praslin provide panoramic views of the azure ocean and lush landscapes. Along the way, encounter diverse flora and fauna, including the rare Seychelles black parrot and the carnivorous Seychelles pitcher plant.

Water Sports

The warm Indian Ocean waters are perfect for a range of water sports. From kayaking in the calm lagoons to surfing on the robust waves of the outer islands, there’s something for everyone. Windsurfing, jet skiing, and paddleboarding are also popular choices among visitors.

Cultural Experiences

Immerse yourself in the rich Seychellois culture. Participate in local festivals, learn traditional dances, or engage in Creole cooking classes. The islands have a storied past, with influences from Africa, Europe, and Asia. Exploring local villages, visiting historical sites, and interacting with the locals provides insight into this melting pot of cultures.

Fishing Excursions

The deep waters surrounding Seychelles are rich with game fish like marlin, tuna, and sailfish. Embark on deep-sea fishing trips, or try your hand at fly fishing in the shallower waters. Many resorts offer fishing expeditions, complete with equipment and guides.

Whether you’re soaring in a zipline through the lush canopy of Mahe, sailing on a catamaran against the backdrop of a fiery sunset, or simply basking on a secluded beach with a book in hand, Seychelles offers a spectrum of activities and adventures, promising memories that last a lifetime.

Unique Souvenirs from Seychelles. What to bring home?

Coco de Mer Coconut: Unique to Seychelles, these coconuts can be purchased at the reserve store or Duty Free shops, where they carry a special hologram—required to prevent customs issues. These peculiar souvenirs range in price from 300 to 1000 euros each.

Coconut-Based Products: Seychelles offers a plethora of beautifully packaged cosmetics and oils derived from coconuts. They are widely available and make for a delightful memento or gift.

Local Spices: The market in Victoria is a treasure trove for spice aficionados. Here, you can buy an array of local spices that encapsulate the flavors of Seychelles’ Creole cuisine.

Kreolor Jewellery: For lovers of pearls and corals, consider jewelry from Kreolor, a local brand known for its exquisite designs.

Takamaka Rum: Almost synonymous with Seychelles, Takamaka rum is sold nearly everywhere, from local stores to the rum manufacture on Mahe and in the Duty Free shop at the airport.

Seychelles Merchandise: Look for practical yet fun items emblazoned with the Seychelles logo. These include beach towels, sunglasses, and waterproof backpacks of various sizes, perfect for remembering your time on these idyllic islands.

Takamaka Seychelles rum is sold in almost every store, at the production facility on the island of Mahe and in the duty free shop on the second floor of the airport. Photo: Datingjungle / Unsplash.com

Navigating Seychelles: Transportation Options

By Air: Air Seychelles operates flights from Mahe to Praslin, a swift 20-minute journey, with ticket prices starting from 98 euros. For the more discerning traveler, Zil Air provides helicopter services to the islands. A flight from Mahe to Praslin for four people will cost around 800 euros.

By Ferry: The preferred mode of transport for many tourists and locals alike, Cat Cocos ferries operate spacious catamarans between the islands. A voyage from Mahe to Praslin takes approximately one hour and 15 minutes, costing 66 euros, or 84 euros for business class. The journey from Praslin to La Digue is a brisk 15 minutes and comes to 14 euros per ticket. Tickets can be booked online, and can also be purchased at the marina ticket office or by arranging for your hosts to make payment.

Most tourists and locals use Cat Cocos ferries to travel between islands. Photo: Radosław Botev / Wikimedia.org

By Bus: For the budget-conscious, regular bus services run along the main routes. The fare is a mere ten rupees, but the low price is offset by a schedule that isn’t strictly adhered to, and you may find yourself waiting one or two hours at the bus stop.

By Car: On Mahe and Praslin, renting a car is a viable option for those looking for freedom of movement. The daily rate starts from 40 euros, with insurance costing an additional 1000 euros, which may be held as a block on your credit card. Keep in mind, the islands feature left-hand traffic on narrow, winding roads. Use Discover Cars search tool to find the best price:

By Cab: Each journey will set you back around 25 euros, but it’s worth noting that there’s no centralized taxi ordering service or online aggregators. If you’re planning to explore different beaches and aren’t keen on waiting for buses or maneuvering narrow, serpentine roads, taxis are the way to go.

Practical Information for Travelers

Visiting Seychelles promises a truly unforgettable experience. To ensure your journey is smooth and hassle-free, here’s some essential practical information every traveler should be aware of before embarking on their Seychellois adventure.

Visa and Entry Requirements

Most nationalities can enter Seychelles without a visa. Upon arrival, visitors are granted a tourist permit, typically valid for up to 30 days, provided they possess a valid passport, onward/return tickets, proof of accommodation, and sufficient funds for their stay.

Currency

The official currency of Seychelles is the Seychellois Rupee (SCR). It’s advisable to have some local currency for small purchases, though major credit cards are widely accepted at hotels, restaurants, and shops.

Seychellois Rupee current exchange rates

  • $1 = 13.49  Seychellois Rupee
  • €1 = 14.61  Seychellois Rupee

Language

While Creole is the national language, English and French are also widely spoken. Most signs, menus, and official documents are available in English.

Health and Safety

Seychelles is free from many tropical diseases, and no vaccinations are mandatory for entry. However, it’s wise to have standard vaccinations up to date. It’s also recommended to use mosquito repellents as a precautionary measure against mosquito-borne diseases.

Tap water in major hotels and resorts is safe to drink, but it’s advisable to consume bottled water, especially when traveling to more remote areas.

Seychelles is generally safe for tourists, but like anywhere, it’s essential to be cautious. Avoid deserted areas at night and always safeguard your belongings.

Best Time to Visit

With temperatures consistently hovering between 28 to 30 degrees Celsius, Seychelles is a year-round tropical paradise. However, there are certain factors to consider when planning your visit. The archipelago experiences two rainy seasons, from November to December and from March to April. These periods, although characterized by brief yet heavy downpours, typically don’t deter tourists due to their quick dissipation. The rainy season can even add a fresh, cleansing feel to the islands, making them more serene and lush. Furthermore, you may find hotel rates to be somewhat lower during these periods. It is worth noting that the Seychelles maintains high humidity levels throughout the year.

Seychelles is a year-round resort

Time Zone

Seychelles operates on Seychelles Time (SCT), which is 4 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+4).

Electrical Plugs and Voltage

The standard voltage is 240V, and the frequency is 50Hz. Seychelles primarily uses the G type plug, which has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern.

Useful Websites

  • www.seychelles.travel – The official tourism website for Seychelles. It provides comprehensive information on attractions, accommodations, events, and other travel-related details.
  • www.airseychelles.com – The official website for Air Seychelles, the national carrier. Useful for checking domestic flight schedules, booking tickets, and getting information on flight deals.
  • www.seyferry.com – Offers information on ferry schedules, routes, and online booking options for traveling between the main islands.
  • www.natureseychelles.org – Nature Seychelles is a leading environmental organization in the country. This site provides information on conservation initiatives, best practices for eco-tourism, and details about protected areas.
  • www.seychellesweather.com – Gives current weather conditions, forecasts, and climate information, ensuring travelers can plan activities accordingly.
  • www.seychellesnewsagency.com – A reliable source for local news and updates. Helpful to stay informed about any local events or updates that might affect travel plans.
  • www.exploreseychelles.com – A comprehensive travel guide with information on activities, attractions, and local tips to get the most out of your Seychelles experience.
  • www.seychelles-ecotourism.com – Focused on sustainable travel in Seychelles, this site provides insights on eco-friendly accommodations, activities, and best practices for responsible tourism.

Seychelles, with its mesmerizing beaches, rich culture, and diverse activities, truly stands as a jewel of the Indian Ocean. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, this archipelago promises an experience that lingers in memory long after the journey concludes.

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