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US News and World Report’s 10 most gorgeous islands on the planet



US News and World Report is known for its “best college” and “best high school” lists, of course. But their travel editors do rankings too, including a list of the most stunning islands in the world. It’s a rough job, but someone has to do it — evaluate the clarity of the turquoise water, the softness of the sand and the snorkeliest of recreation possibilities.

The recently released list for 2024 gives shout-outs to 24 incredible destinations, starting with Palawan in the Philippine archipelago, where beaches beckon and abundant sea life and reefs draw divers and snorkelers. The diversity of wildlife on Madagascar helped the world’s fourth largest island snag the No. 6 spot, while a heady mix of sandy beaches and ancient ruins puts Cyprus at No. 7.

It’s a globe-circling list that includes French Polynesia (Tahiti, Bora Bora) and Europe (Sardinia, Santorini), the African coast and the Caribbean Sea. And the Hawaiian island of Kauai provides the sole U.S. representation at No. 24. (We’re not quibbling with that. Alcatraz is pretty spectacular, but it’s no Zanzibar.)

Here’s a peek at the top 10. Find the full 24 — along with all the reasons these islands belong on your bucket list — at You can cast your vote there, too, on whether their choices belong on the list.

Top 10 islands in the world

1 Palawan, Philippines

2 Sardinia, Italy

3 Zanzibar, Tanzania

4 Mauritius

The Greek island of Santorini is illuminated by the setting sun. (Thinkstock) 

5 Santorini, Greece

6 Madagascar

7 Cyprus

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