A fifteen minute flight from Mahé will whisk you over to Praslin, the second largest island in the Seychelles. The small, colourful villages and white sandy beaches rise up into densely forested granitic hills, so when you’ve had enough of the fantastic snorkelling and digging your toes into the sand, you can take a hike in the Vallée de Mai National Park, home to the extraordinary coco de mer palm. If you have itchy feet, Praslin’s the perfect place to base yourself for a little island-hopping: step back in time as you step off the boat to La Digue, snorkel in the waters around Curieuse and look out for hawksbill turtles off Cousine.
There are several very good resorts on Praslin, but we’d also like to tempt you with a secret that seems largely to be known only to French guests: some of the truly Seychellois boutique hotels and guesthouses here. The service won’t be the fastest, or the air-conditioning the coldest (if it’s there at all), but for charm, and some of the most glorious beaches on Praslin, they’re well worth considering.