Car free islands are probably a strange concept to those who drive every day. Can you imagine your life without a car? Probably not. Many of us will agree that car is a necessity. Although it takes money for fuel and maintenance, the overall equation is clear – a car saves both money and time. But what about a vacation without a car? Can you imagine a place without traffic noise and pollution, a place where times passes at a gentle pace and you’ve been invited to slow down too? If so, maybe you should consider choosing car free islands for your vacation. In a world with more than 500 million cars, car free places are hard to find. However, it is not impossible. If you crave peace and relaxation, here are 8 Islands Without Cars:
1. Koh Lipe, Thailand
The richly indented southwest coast of Thailand is known not only for its beauty, but also for its preserved nature and laid-back atmosphere. Koh Lipe is one in a group of islands, some 30 miles from the mainland. Kind and friendly locals will accommodate you in enchanting bungalows merged with surrounding nature. Take a walk or use a boat to explore the island beaches or join organized day trips to Ko Tarutao, the National Marine Park. Amazing coral reefs of the park are abundant with vivid underwater life and make an ideal destination for passionate divers.
2. Ven, Sweden
Situated off the coast of Scania County in southern Sweden, the small car free island of Ven is an oasis of peace and quiet. The island with less than 400 residents boasts stunning natural sandy beaches and relaxing, verdant greenery. After you have arrived by ferry, you can choose bikes suitable for you and your family. Beside the common types, you can also find bicycles adjusted to disabled people or those with trailers for your luggage. A must visit place on the island is museum dedicated to Tycho Brahe, a famous Danish astronomer. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit Ven in August, after the Swedish summer break.
3. Princes Islands, Turkey
A group of nine car free islands is found only half an hour away from crowded and bustling Istanbul. Instead of traffic noises, you can indulge in the sound of silence, interrupted only with the murmur of the breeze and clattering of the horse hooves. Rather than city smog, take a deep breath of fresh air enriched with fragrances of pine forests. After a ride on a horseback or a pleasant walk, relax and try delicious fish dishes in restaurants adjacent to harbour. It is interesting to know that the largest of the islands, Büyükada, was a place where Trotsky was exiled to for four years. Well, if he ever had a chance to choose where to be exiled, he would probably pick a place like this.
4. Sark, the Channel Islands
Sark is found just off the Guernsey coast, the ocean between England and France. Only three miles long and less than two miles wide, this tiny island will take you few steps back in time. Embark on a horse-drawn carriage and explore its pure, beautiful landscapes and rural interior. It is also easily traversable by foot or by bike. Recently, Sark was recognized as a “Dark Sky Community”, which means that it is suitable for “naked eye astronomy”, due to a low level of pollution. Sark is one of two car free islands in the Channel Isles, the other being Herm.
5. Ile De Bréhat, France
Ile de Bréhat is one of the picturesque car free islands scattered along the coast of Brittany. Take a ferry from Pointe de l’Arcouest and you will get there in ten minutes. Influenced by the warm Gulf Stream, Ile de Bréhat boasts verdant landscapes that include colourful flowers, palm and eucalyptus trees. Take a walk or ride a bike through this amazing scenery and meet puffins and other peculiar inhabitants of the island. Be sure to visit the two lighthouses for the astonishing coastal views.
6. Hydra, Greece
If you find Athens too noisy for your taste, plan your escape to Hydra, a peaceful car free island only two hours away from the Greek capital. When you get there, you might realize that those two hours are actually like two light years, since you will find a totally different world here. Instead of cars, there are mules. Instead of rush, there is an easygoing atmosphere – all you have to do is to find a nice beach and lay back. The sunset would be even more beautiful if you had a glass of ouzo, a popular Greek liquor flavoured with anise.
7. Rottnest, Australia
One of the completely car free islands, Rottnest presents a perfect escape from daily stress. Located off the coast of Western Australia and only half an hour from Freemantle, Rottnest is an easily reachable paradise for nature lovers. Hire a bike and explore numerous beaches and bays around the island. When you finally find your ideal place under the sun, leave your towel and explore the abundant underwater world, which includes friendly dolphins, seals and magnificent humpback whales.
8. Isla Holbox, Mexico
Not many people will have heard of Holbox, but it is fast gaining reputation as a wonderful vacation destination. Get there before the trappings of tourism take over and whilst it is still one of Mexico’s car free places. This is the perfect place to learn to Kitesurf with ideal conditions much of the year. It’s also a terrific destination for whale shark fishing. If your wildlife tastes are more to viewing than trapping, you’ll enjoy the birdlife that finds a home around the lagoon which includes pelicans and flamingos.
Car-free usually means stress-free. So, can you imagine your life without stress?