Family holidays in the Seychelles are one of the Indian Ocean’s best kept secrets.
The archipelago of 115 little islands just a few degrees south of the equator has always been known to romantics. But now several luxury resorts have exceptional kids’ clubs, activity programmes, carefully thought out mini-menus and even their own giant turtles, on occasion.
Spacious lodges, villas, charming guesthouses and hotels all over the main islands are made for families and unusually affordable for this exotic part of the world.
Incredible beaches, clear waters and year-round sunshine make a natural adventure playground. And there are few places where kids can enjoy as much freedom as the warm, friendly and welcoming Seychelles.
There are no direct flights from the UK but, Air Seychelles from Heathrow to Mahé only stops for 1 hour and 20 minutes in Abu Dhabi.
The islands are malaria-free.
Almost right on the equator, the Seychelles are always warm and sunny with an average temperature of 27˚C.
Island-hopping between conservation reserves is a fantastic experiences for kids.
The country’s capital, Victoria, is the most densely populated island town and only 25,000 people live here.
The main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue are connected by frequent ferries so you can choose to stay on one and easily enjoy the others.
The world’s most beautiful beach, Anse Victorin, is on the Seychelles’ island of Frégate.
Where to go
Mahé is the largest island but small by most standards (28km long and 8km wide). The pretty capital of Victoria sits on a natural harbour against a backdrop of soaring mountains. And beyond that, there’s nothing but lush forest and spectacular beaches, plantation houses, old fashioned hamlets and the bluest, clearest seas.
Four Seasons, Savoy and Hilton are just a few of the luxury family resorts on Mahé.
Many traditional lodge houses are now delightful guesthouses, small hotels and self-catering apartments designed just for families.
Seychelles International Airports is just outside Victoria.
3km long Anse Intendance, the Seychelle’s most famous beach, is on the south coast of Mahé.
An hour by ferry from Mahé, Praslin is the country’s second largest island and very close to paradise – some 19th century visitors believed this was the original Garden of Eden. It’s not. But it is home to Vallée de Mai’s primeval forest of towering Coco de Mer palms. Some of earth’s loveliest beaches are here including iconic Anso Lazio. And, if your kids like pirates, plenty of that history can be found on Praslin’s dramatic Côte d’Or.
There are five-star family resorts on Praslin but beachy hotels, quaint guesthouses and villas are good options for kids too.
Vallée de Mai is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Praslin is only 10km long and 4km wide.
Anse Volbert Village on the island’s Côte d’Or has several good restaurants and friendly, local hotels.
Island hopping from Praslin takes you everywhere from neighbouring La Digue and Mahé to uninhabited conservation islands.
For total escapism, La Digue is ideal. Bikes and brightly painted ox-drawn carts are how you get about here. Traditional boat building is the main industry. And nobody needs much more than the gorgeous historic houses, white shores and friendly little villages for a blissful holiday. Older children might prefer to stay on a livelier island, but La Digue has to be visited at least once.
This is island for beautiful lodge hotels, quaint and lovely guesthouses and exquisite chalets.
Very peaceful, slow-paced and fantastic for young kids.
Extraordinary Anse Source d’Argent beach – the world’s most photographed – is on La Digue.
What to do
Cousin Island Reserve
Over 300,000 nesting seabirds, more lizards than anywhere else in the world and a protected habitat for Hawksbill turtles, this is an amazing island hop from Mahé for over 12s.
Vallée de Mai, Preslin
A primeval forest of 6000 Coco-de-Mer palms – Coco-de-Mer nuts are the world’s largest and kids are enchanted by this marvel in the heart of Praslin.
Esplanade Craft Kiosks, Mahé
An enchanting parade of stalls and pretty huts where local craftspeople sell their work along the waterfront in Mahé.
L’Union Estate, La Digue
A working copra mill and plantation house overlooking Source d’Argent beach, visitors can horse ride here too.
This conservation island is where to see the most astonishing birds and plants up close – if you’re quiet – said to be one of the loveliest spots in the Seychelles.
Morne Seychellois National Park
Taking up more than 20% of Mahé, this 3045ha park has 12 well-marked trails with varying degrees of difficulty and there are several excellent guided tours.
Kids from 8 to 11 will love an easy introduction to scuba diving with the safe and fun Bubble Maker.
Glass Bottom Boats tours
See the marine life and underwater world around Marine Park St. Anne, without getting wet.
Hire a bike on La Digue
There are places to rent bikes for a few hours, a day or several weeks on La Digue and the roads are quiet, safe and easy for kids.
Island walking trails
Walking the forests, hills and valleys in glorious weather could fill up an entire family holiday on any one of the main islands.
Educational value for kids
From sailing, swimming, diving and snorkelling to visiting conservation islands, watching turtles hatch, adventuring around marine parks and world heritage sites to picking up a few lilting Creole phrases, there are opportunities for kids to learn something new every minute in the Seychelles.
Entirely uninhabited until the 18th century, the country still has a fascinating history, start the discovery at Mahé National Museum.
La Digue has some delightful historic plantations filled with fascinating activities for curious kids.
The waters round the Seychelles are perfect for first sailing lessons.
Several resort hotels have inventive kids’ clubs where children can learn everything from cooking to local arts and crafts.
Choose an expert local guide and learn the mysteries of the island’s beaches, wildlife, national parks, botanic gardens and colonial history.
Discover Praslin’s pirate legacy on Côte d’Argent beach.
Visit local studios and galleries in Mahé where kids can often see artists and craftspeople at work.
Getting around with kids in the Seychelles
Cycling on La Digue and round Mahé and Praslin’s flat, easy coastal roads is a good way to travel with older kids. You can hire a car, but the islands have excellent local buses and a ferry service operates from early morning to evening all year round. Private water taxis are also available and, naturally, you can charter boats almost anywhere.