Not just a fly and flop, this is a luxury island hop. Turkish Airlines/Türkiye Hava Yolları, Tourism Seychelles and hotel partners welcomed members of the Irish travel trade and ITTN’s Shane Cullen to dinner at the Morrison Hotel to share what Seychelles has to offer travellers.
Turkish Airlines Flying to More Destinations than any other Airline
Star Alliance Member, Türkiye Hava Yolları (Turkish Airlines) operates flights to 329 destinations worldwide with 150 million passenger capacity. It has one of the youngest fleets in Europe with an average age of 8.3 years across its 372 aircraft. This reduces carbon emission by 20%.
Benefit from a seamless connection with flights landing in Istanbul at 23h20 and then departing at 01h55 and landing in Mahé Island in Seychelles at 10h55 the next morning. Return ticket prices start at €650 (Economy) and €2,540 (Business).
Turkish Airlines Lounge in Istanbul Airport
Miles & Smiles Lounge offers everything from Museum Experience (Business), Turkish & international cuisine, a library, lockers, a children’s playground, a technology centre (with 3D glasses etc.), golf simulators and PlayStations.
Business Lounge offers even more with piano, suite rooms, mobile massage service, interactive games, virtual reality, meeting rooms, printers, daybed style couch, showers and even ironing (Business).
Tourism Seychelles with Karen Confait (Marketing Director – Tourism Seychelles)
Karen shared what makes Seychelles so special. The Seychelles Archipelago consists of 115 islands off the East coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. The native population is under 100,000 and is a cosmopolitan blend of different races – European, African and Asian with English, French and Kreol Seselwa (Seychelles Creole) the 3 official languages.
Seychelles is one of the most pristine and uncommercialised remaining destinations. Enjoy an authentic island experience with a wide range of accessible and unspoilt islands and beaches. Seychelles is affordable exclusivity and barefoot elegance with immense diversity and variety.
It is the only Indian Ocean island destination to lie outside the cyclone belt and has a pleasant tropical climate (26-32 degrees Celcius all day) throughout the year and the water temperature is 24-30 degrees. Travel May to September for lower humidity and a dry 25 degrees Celcius while from October to April the more humid, tropical weather reaches temperatures over 30 degrees Celcius. Mid-December to February travellers can expect frequent tropical rainfall.
The Seychelles Archipelago is known as the “Islands of Love” making it ideal for both weddings & honeymoons. Civil and religious weddings are legally recognised throughout Europe.
Discover the untouched forests and bird sanctuaries and unique flora and fauna which are protected and controlled to ensure no negative impact on the islands’ ecosystem. There are over one thousand endemic species unique to the area, on land and underwater. This includes Esmeralda, the giant tortoise who is c.200 years old.
There are 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Aldabra Atoll, the World’s largest raised atoll and home to the largest population of giant land tortoises (150,000).
Need to Know
There are no visa requirements for citizens of all countries. No PCR is required but must be fully vaccinated. Mask wearing is required in public places (i.e. shops, transport (ferry trips, flights). There are no restrictions on island hopping
Stays on the Seychelles Islands
For a short stay (under 7 nights) combine the larger islands of Mahé or Praslin with an excursion to La Digue, just east of Praslin. For stays longer than 7 nights, consider combining the larger islands of Mahé or Praslin with La Digue.
The Island of Mahé
The largest island in the Seychelles Archipelago is Mahé. It offers unspoilt beaches, botanical gardens, Victoria Market and rich cultural sites including museums, monuments, art galleries and more. For those looking to explore the great outdoors, there are twelve different trails through forests and nature reserves on the lush, tropical island.
Praslin is the second-largest island at 12km long and 4km wide with a population of under 9,000. It is easily accessible from Mahé with the 40km distance serviced by hourly flights (taking 15 minutes) or by express ferry (taking 1 hour) operating 2-3 times per day. Find Vallée de Mai on the island of Praslin which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to the Coco de Mer and black parrot species.
The Island of Digue is home to the Veuve Nature Reserve, home to the Seychelles bird, Paradise Flycatcher and L’Union Estate with a traditional plantation house and colonial architecture. The neighbouring islands of Coc, Marianne and Félicité offer excellent snorkelling and diving spots.
For Spectacular Beaches try Petite Anse, Grande Anse, Anse Source d’Argent and Anse Coco for a tropical paradise – untouched lush landscape meeting white fine sands with clear turquoise waters.
There are a range of other small granitic islands with island resorts proximate to Mahé, namely Ste. Anne, Cerf, Round (Mahé), North and Silouette; and near Praslin, including Chauve–Souris, Cousine, Round (Praslin), Frégate and Félicité.
Further out. there are island resorts reached via a 30-45 minute flight from Mahé, namely Bird Island and Denis Island.
Not Just Sun, Sea and Sand – there’s Sailing, Snorkelling, Scuba Diving & More
Opt for a sailboat or yacht charter with or without skipper/crew. There are day trips or cruises and opportunities to explore several islands including secret hideaways unreachable by land.
There are abundant snorkelling spots, even close to beaches. Try Ste. Anne Marine National Park near MAhé, Curieuse Marine National PArk near Praslin or Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue. The best season for snorkelling is April/May and October/November.
Stunning scuba diving on fabulous coral reefs, deep drops (Desroches), and whale sharks (November & January). There are numerous PADI dive centres offering diving lessons and diving excursions, and equipment rental. The best season is also April/May and October/November.
Try timing a trip around the Seychelles Oceans festival, held annually in November.
Waters are rich with fish so try customised fishing trips by boat (with crew, also overnight). The best seasons: big game fishing (June through October), deep-sea fishing (November through May) and Fly Fishing (November through May).
Golf in Praslin boasts a superb 18-hole championship golf course. Beautifully situated and surrounded by lush tropical greenery overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Accommodation across the Archipelago
Jordan from Blue Safari Seychelles explained they offer “a remote and pristine paradise”. These island resorts offer unique lodges and experiences in one of the most pristine places on the planet. They offer the ultimate island getaways on the Outer Islands of the Archipegalo on Alphonse Island, Astove Atoll, Cosmoledo Atoll, Amirantes Islands and Poivre Atoll. Their philosophy of exceptional hospitality, marine safaris and ocean experiences is to “perfectly blend sustainable tourism and luxury accommodation with marvellous experiences”.
Flora from Six Senses Seychelles shared what to discover on the private-island home of Six Senses Zil Pasyon. Coral-fringed beaches and massive granite rocks create an air of drama and beauty. Step in tune with nature, swim with turtles and enjoy an intimate destination that is a tropical ode to well-being and absolute comfort. Typically, guests take a helicopter transfer to this private island. The hotel’s villas consist of 28 1-bed with private pools plus two 2-bed catering for families. There’s even a kids club. The resort occupies a third of the island with the rest being unspoilt nature.
Wendy Tan from Berjaya Hotels & Resorts detailed that Berjaya Praslin Resort is on the northeastern coast of Praslin, the second-largest island. It is cocooned with tangled jungles and curving hills dropping down to crystal-clear waters and white sandy shores lined with palm trees. It has 79 rooms and suites offering luxury, landscaped pools, sea sports, jungle trekking, island hopping and more.
Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort & Casino is a beachfront property on the northwest coast of Mahé, the largest island, located just 15 minutes for the Airport and 5km from the capital Victoria.
Serena Di Fiore from Hilton detailed their offering
LXR Hotels & Resorts is a collection of independent luxury properties that are unique and offer a travel experience native to its place, history and tradition. The exclusive properties are commented to personalized service, and elegant yet locally immersive experiences. The collection is part of the Hilton Hotel Group. Mango House is “home to handcrafted hospitality” and is very popular with multigenerational families.
Hilton Seychelles Labriz is packed with island activities including hiking trails, sunset cruises, fishing, kayaking, diving & snorkelling, cooking and cocktail masterclasses, museum and art gallery, island and garden visits. This eco-friendly and family-friendly resort on the only resort on Silhouette Island and is surrounded by a Marine and National Park, reached by ferry, private boat or helicopter!
Hilton Seychelles Northolme is adults-only (13+) with Indian Ocean views from all villas. The eco-friendly resort with a coral nursery is ideal for couples and honeymooners offering spectacular sunsets, multiple onsite restaurants and authentically tailored experiences.
DoubleTree by Hilton Seychelles Allamanda is located on Anse Royale, South of Mahé. It is an eco-friendly resort with private access to white sand beach, Indian Ocean views from all rooms and an infinity pool.
Denis Private Island
95km north of Mahé on the Inner Islands, a domestic flight reaches this living, working island in c.30 minutes. Described as “barefoot luxury” this private coral island has 23 spacious cottages. Culinary experiences are fresh from the sea and from the island farm. The focus is on sustainability and self-sufficiency. This is a paradise for nature lovers with multiple nature conservation programs and a national maritime reserve lagoon. This is ideal for couples and families.
L’archipel Hotel in Praslin celebrates 30 years with many of the staff still with the resort since it opened. This is a Colonial-style property with “refined elegance, personalised service and Creole flair” situated at the end of the famous Côte d’Or Bay.
Carana Beach has 40 spacious chalets with wonderful sea views. A further dozen offer plunge pools. Menus are inspired by locally grown produce. The relaxed atmosphere and fantastic seaside setting make it ideally suitable for couples and families.
On the evening a host of prizes were given away. The top prize included business class flights with Turkish Airlines and a 7-night stay in Blue Safari Alphonse Island on a full board basis including transfers to the island. This once-in-a-lifetime trip went to Beverleigh Hart of Bookabed.
Other spot prizes on the night went to Deirdre Sweeny from Sunway, Sharon Harney from Cassidy Travel, Fiona Dobbyn from Classic Resorts and Travel Counsellor Lorraine Lawless.