Best Things to See and Do in the Seychelles
Even if you’re not really familiar with the Seychelles, you most certainly have seen glimpses of this archipelago nation popping up in your social media feeds. Made up of 115 islands that rise out of the Indian Ocean, it is three islands which receive most of the attention. Mahé, La Digue, and Praslin all offer a wide range of activities and beautiful tropical beaches.
The nation’s capital is Victoria and is found on Mahé, the largest island in the Seychelles. The city is bursting with life and energy, boasting busy markets, colonial architecture, delicious cuisine, lush botanic gardens, and a decent nightlife scene.
You’ll find countless world class beaches around the islands, all of which have been made public by law. The nation protects roughly one third of its ocean area and there are a number of marine parks to explore the colorful world that awaits beneath the surface. Along with its diverse and abundant sea life, the islands provide numerous parks and reserves that account for roughly half of the country’s land area. It is here where you’ll encounter rare and endemic plants and animals, making the Seychelles a top destination for nature enthusiasts.
There are so many incredible things to see and do around the Seychelles and the best way to experience everything is to book a Far and Wild Travel Seychelles tour. Whether you’re looking for a romantic island hopping adventure or a Seychelles family beach holiday, you’re guaranteed to find an itinerary that suits your travel style.
Let us take you beyond the swaying palms and powdery white sand to bring you some of the top things to experience on a Seychelles holiday. From relaxing on uncrowded beaches to seeking out the world’s largest nut and heaviest tortoise, there a number of wonderful adventures to be had. Check out the top reasons why you need to visit this archipelago paradise today as we reveal the most notable attractions found on the Seychelles’ three most popular islands.
What better way to start of your Seychelles vacation than by visiting the capital. While the first recorded landing in the Seychelles can be credited to the men aboard the English East India Company ship Ascension in the early 1600s and its title Victoria would be given by the English, it was actually the French that first claimed and colonized the archipelago in the late 18th century.
A visit to Victoria allows you to relive the rich colonial history of the Seychelles. You’ll notice a great deal of French architecture which includes the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, but there are also British influences as seen by the London Vauxhall Clock Tower replica that was erected in Victoria in memory of Queen Victoria. The best way to gain a thorough understanding of the nation’s history is by exploring the National Museum of History.
You’ll find delicious Creole cuisine being served throughout the city and can experience bustling markets due to the fact Victoria is home to a third of the nation’s population.
Seychelles National Botanical Gardens
Just outside the capital, you’ll find the stunningly beautiful Seychelles National Botanical Gardens. Within the gardens, you have the chance to view the coco de mer palms, which produce nuts that can weigh up to an astonishing fifty pounds. While the palms are endemic to Praslin Island, the Duke of Edinburg planted the trees in Mahé’s botanic garden during his 1950s visit. There are also Aldabra giant tortoises roaming the grounds.
The 15-acre gardens were created in the early 1900s and include a range of unique and beautiful plants such as jellyfish trees, heliconia, frangipani, cannonball trees, and ylang-ylang. The many varieties of plants attract numerous bird species including blue pigeons, kestrels, and bulbuls. You may also catch site of Seychelles flying foxes overhead or hanging from the trees.
Le Jardin du Roi Spice Garden
Mahé is also home to a 90-acre spice garden which was created in the 18th century by Frenchman Pierre Poivre. Visitors can tour the grounds where various spices are grown including vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Purchase spices from the gift shop to take home and sample dishes in the onsite restaurant which use spices that are sourced from the garden. The vanilla ice cream is a must try.
Morne Seychellois National Park
Mahé‘s highest point is Morne Seychellois and hikers can tackle the five-hour journey to the summit within Morne Seychellois National Park. If you’re not an experienced hiker, you may want to check out some of our hiking tips for beginners before attempting the climb since it will take you roughly 3,000 feet above sea level. The park makes up one of the largest protected natural areas in the Seychelles and features numerous other trails. You may also want to check out the Mission Lodge which once taught the children of African slaves after slavery was abolished.
Beaches of Mahé
Mahé is home to a number of great beaches, but Beau Vallon is by far the longest and most popular. The beach provides great facilities and offers numerous water sports and beach activities. While it may not be a secluded beach, it’s one of the country’s safest beaches. This makes it perfect for families who can relax knowing there are lifeguards on duty.
Both Anse Intendance and Anse Major are more secluded beaches, Anse Major requiring a bit of effort to reach. Anse Intendance can be found along Mahé’s southern coastline. The beach is popular with both surfers and sea turtles that come ashore between October and February each year to lay eggs. You can hire a taxi to take you to the start of the trailhead that leads to Anse Major. The hike takes you through Morne Seychellois National Park and will take you roughly an hour to reach the beach. Your reward is often having a gorgeous beach all to yourself.
Praslin Island Attractions
Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
Coco de mer palms grow naturally on Praslin Island and one of the best places to see them is in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve. This 50-acre reserve can be experienced by hiking several different trails. You can take a self-guided hike or book a tour with a local guide to gain a better understanding of the reserve’s importance. Wildlife that may be spotted includes tiger chameleons and Seychelles black parrots.
Curieuse Marine National Park
Escape civilization by taking the short boat ride from Praslin to Curieuse Island where you can explore Curieuse Marine National Park. While it may only be two square miles, the park offers an abundance of wildlife including sea turtles and Aldabra giant tortoises that were reintroduced to the island. You may even be able to witness baby tortoises at the hatchery that’s located on the island. There is also an old colonial doctor’s house left over from the time the island was once a leper colony. It has since been converted into a museum.
Beaches of Praslin
Located on the northwestern coast of Praslin, Anse Lazio can be easily reached by shuttle service which can be arranged through most of the hotels on the island. Anse Lazio is arguably the most beautiful beach on Praslin and therefore also the most visited. Anse St. Sauveur is much more peaceful albeit much smaller. It offers calm shallow waters which make it ideal for families and snorkelers.
And while Anse Georgette may not be readily advertised, you can gain access to this beautiful beach by scheduling a visit through the Constance Lemuria resort. They limit the number of outside guests not staying at the resort, so you are wise to ring them up several days in advance. However, if you are feeling adventurous, the beach can also be reached by way of an arduous one to two hour hike through the jungle from Anse Lazio.
La Digue Attractions
You can tour a restored 19th century Coconut Plantation House by visiting La Digue’s L’Union estate. The estate once farmed coconuts for decades to produce coconut oil. This lasted until palm oil became more popular. The historic ox-powered coconut oil mill can still be viewed.
Seychelles coconut crabs and Aldabra giant tortoises also call the estate home and the cemetery on the estate is where many of the island’s first settlers were laid to rest. There’s also a vanilla plantation, the 700 million-year-old Giant Union Rock, and access to Anse Source d’Argent which many say is the most beautiful beach in the world.
Veuve Nature Reserve
La Digue’s interior is one of the last strongholds for one of the world’s most endangered birds. There are only a few hundred highly endangered Seychelles paradise flycatchers left and the Veuve Nature Reserve hopes to protect and provide the critical habitat they need to survive. The birds nest within the reserve and visitors often get to see them thanks to the manmade water tanks that lure the birds out of hiding.
Beaches of La Digue
While most beaches in the Seychelles are free to visit, Anse Source d’Argent is an exception. We touched on this beach earlier when talking about L’Union Estate. To get to Anse Source d’Argent, you have to pay the reasonable estate entry fee which at last check was $8. This of course allows you to not only step on the beach but also tour the estate and onsite museum. You most likely have seen shots of Anse Source d’Argent in your Instagram feed, showing off its pink sand and large granite boulders. The crystal clear waters here are home to an abundance of easily-spotted sea life.
The island’s longest beach is Grand Anse. While the large swells and strong currents make it a little more dangerous for swimming, it offers a much more secluded atmosphere. You can also reach the nearly equivalent in size Petite Anse from Grand Anse. Together, these two beaches offer plenty of space to claim that perfect sunbathing spot. Grand Anse offers up a beachside restaurant while Petite Anse has a beachside bar.