Five beautiful Atlantic islands to visit in 2022

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Stretching from the southern reaches of Svalbard to beyond the tip of Tierra del Fuego, the titanic Atlantic Ocean is the second largest body of water on Earth – and this vast expanse of seawater is home to some truly incredible destinations scattered across its borders. Islands abound in the Atlantic Ocean, offering a diverse array of natural features and climatic zones to explore. Whether you want to trek through underground caves, snorkel with friendly dolphins, or simply relax on the beach with a glass of rum in hand, these islands are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

Terceira

The Azores archipelago is known for its spectacular natural beauty, and Terceira Island is no exception, with scenic clifftop viewpoints, lush laurel forests, and long hiking trails for visitors to explore. The interior of the island is a particularly fascinating region to visit thanks to its high concentration of volcanic caves, with the Algar do Carvão and Gruta do Natal being two essential destinations for first-time visitors. While Terceira’s natural features are a major draw for tourism, don’t leave the island without visiting Angra do Heroísmo, a charming coastal city and UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in 1478.

Sao Nicolau

About 350 miles west of Senegal, the Atlantic archipelago of Cabo Verde is home to pristine beaches, towering mountains, and endemic wildlife, all of which can be seen firsthand on a trip to São Nicolau. Much less developed than neighboring islands such as Santiago and Sal, this underrated jewel of the Atlantic offers plenty of opportunity for both ecotourism and outdoor adventure. With the coastal town of Tarrafal de São Nicolau as a base, visitors can head north to find spectacular mountain views and native plants in Parque Natural Monte Gordo, or make the journey west to Carberinho, a beautiful expanse on the coast of eroded rock wall.

Saint Pierre

While the small archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon is just 20 kilometers off the coast of Newfoundland, this archipelago belongs to a nation more than 4,350 kilometers away, with the inhabitants of the region holding French passports and voting in French elections. Despite its small size, the southeastern island of Saint Pierre is a particularly fascinating summer destination, equipped with a wealth of museums, restaurants and natural attractions to explore. Visitors are welcome to book a guided architecture and heritage tour for a little insight into the history of downtown Saint Pierre, while the island’s remote Anse à Dinand is a popular hiking destination, with scenic coastal views and possible sightings of marine animals.

Barbados

Barbados is certainly a Caribbean island when it comes to culture and geopolitics, but this sovereign nation is actually completely outside the Caribbean Sea, making it an Atlantic island by geographic standards – and a particularly idyllic one. In terms of natural beauty, Barbados is a treasure trove both above and below sea level, with stunning destinations such as the surfing paradise of Bathsheba and Harrison’s Cave, a vast underground cavern composed entirely of coral limestone. Rum lovers take note: This molasses-derived spirit has played an important role in Bajan culture for centuries, with the Mount Gay Rum Distillery on the island operating since 1703.

Fernando de Noronha

Brazil may not be home to many islands, but what the country lacks in quantity it certainly makes up for in natural beauty – and Fernando de Noronha stands out as the shining example. There are plenty of eco-tourism opportunities throughout the island, with the Noronha elaenia and Noronha vireo serving as two endemic bird species for visiting birdwatchers, while the island’s wealth of picturesque beaches provide incredible snorkeling and diving opportunities. Fernando de Noronha’s high marine biodiversity earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001, with spinner dolphins, hawksbill turtles and moray eels all calling the surrounding waters home.