The 6 Islands to See in 2020

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Turks & Caicos Islands | Nina Siegenthaler & Joe ZahmTurks & Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty

There are three elements to almost every ideal destination vacation: sun, views of sparkling waters, and vibrant cultural experiences. Is it any wonder, then, that islands have always made for the greatest escapes? Here are six where you can stage your next getaway—and then take up permanent residence surrounded by the sea.

The Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands | Brittainy Slade & Jonathan SparrowCayman Islands Sotheby’s International Realty

The breathtaking trio of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac brings a bit of everything to the lucky vacationer On Grand Cayman, you can go from snorkeling through a reef-wrecked ship to browsing the boutiques in the span of an afternoon. Finish off your day swimming amongst the phosphorescence of glowing plankton.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands | Brittainy Slade & Jonathan SparrowCayman Islands Sotheby’s International Realty

Gorgeous homes line the beaches of the nation’s capital, George Town, but some of the most spectacular residences stand apart from the bustle, like this modern masterpiece on Grand Cayman’s south coast. Commanding six acres of property with 500 feet of private shoreline, this home is comprised of three buildings all with deluxe living quarters and oceanfront vistas—though the centerpiece may very well be the double-height living room overlooking the boundless Caribbean blue.

The ABC Islands

Willemstad, Curaçao, photo courtesy of Matthew T Rader / Unsplash

Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao: “ABC” is the perfect mnemonic device for these isles, a place where adventures begin. Like the Caymans, they’re a trifecta of paradises in the Caribbean Sea. Unlike the Caymans, these jewels used to belong to the Dutch crown, and they’re still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Dutch aesthetic is evident throughout the islands—especially in Curaçao, whose pastel-toned capital of Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Willemstad, Curacao | Ray SeijsCuracao Sotheby’s International Realty

This villa in Jan Thiel, a short drive from Willemstad city center, beautifully showcases the appealing variety of living on Curaçao, where residents can indulge in the best of indoor and outdoor living. Airy, light-filled interiors are complemented by spacious balconies and a poolside bar. For adventures outside the home, retail, restaurants, bars, and beaches are all within walking distance.

Sri Lanka

The Fort Galle, Sri Lanka, photo courtesy of TRphotos / Shutterstock Inc

If you’ve never taken a railway journey alongside Sri Lanka’s picturesque coastline, rolling tea plantations, and postcard-perfect trestles, now is the time. A small island nation hosting eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Sri Lanka offers much to explore. The city of Galle, for instance, is a Dutch-colonial trading port where meandering 17th-century lanes are home to chic boutiques and ancient temples, with world-class surfing to be had on the nearby beaches.

Walliwala, Weligama, Sri Lanka | Vedran BostandzicSri Lanka Sotheby’s International Realty

Take the train 45 minutes out of town to visit Weligama, whose gentler swells and soft sands are also worth the trip. It’s in these lesser-known yet remarkable locations that you can discover homes like this one—a vintage villa whose colonial-style architecture surrounds a lush courtyard and crystalline mosaic pool.

Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos Islands | Nina Siegenthaler & Joe ZahmTurks & Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty

There are approximately 100 named islands and cays among the Turks & Caicos Islands, yet only nine are actually inhabited. So there’s plenty of pristine nature to navigate, while below the radiant waters, the world’s third-biggest barrier reef is a beacon for adventurers. Any Turks & Caicos sojourn should begin with Providenciales, the island-turned-culture-hub that’s home to the majority of Turks & Caicos’ population and remains free of cruise ship ports.

Turks & Caicos Islands | Nina Siegenthaler & Joe ZahmTurks & Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty

Owning property on Providenciales grants you a gateway to a world of towering jungles seeded with overgrown ruins and plunging coral ravines steeped in pirate lore. This tranquil home not only borders a national park, but is part of the acclaimed Amanyara Resort. It features four private pavilions surrounding a reflective volcanic rock pool, with services that include a personal villa attendant and a dedicated chef.


Korcula island, Dalmatia, Croatia, photo courtesy of Kite_rin / Shutterstock Inc

If you’re a natural-born globetrotter, you might appreciate the fact that Korcula is believed to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. But this Adriatic island is much more famous for the striking views from its rugged promontories, its sun-swept vineyards produce two of Croatia’s most popular white wines, and an Old Town that looks like Dubrovnik—sans crowds.

Korcula, Croatia | Marko PažaninCroatia Sotheby’s International Realty

With views over the town’s historic terracotta roofs and sapphire sea, a home like this one makes for a one-of-a-kind vacation. With its minimalist architecture, this sculptural villa is accompanied by terraced gardens and spa amenities, including a gym, sauna, and hydromassage tub.


Faraglioni isles view at Capri, Italy, photo courtesy of Boris-B / Shutterstock Inc

It may be a new decade, but Capri continues to make the list of must-see islands. Because its mountainous terrain drops dramatically to a pebbly coast, a spot on the Capri seashore comes at a premium. Share the view with celebrities at the iconic beach clubs of Marina Piccola, or take a ferry to Bagni di Tiberio to swim amid Roman ruins.

Capri, Naples, Italy | Sabrina MajelloItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

To experience everything Capri has to offer, venture forth from this bright three-story villa. Its classic Caprese style provides a truly authentic retreat—and with its proximity to the center of town and views of the surrounding seascape, it’s the sort of relaxed vacation home that calls to travelers near and far.

If you’re looking for the perfect island escape in 2020, these destinations have everything you’re looking for in a vacation—and a vacation home. Bid arrivederci to your cares, and set sail for an island horizon.

Your vacation home awaits on one of these luxury private islands.

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