If your head is being turned by exotic locations this spring and summer, you might be surprised to find there are islands right on our doorstep that might just beat your dream Caribbean getaway.

While the sandy beaches of Sardinia and Barbados are a sight for sore eyes, there are islands much closer to us, which leave visitors spellbound and questioning whether they are indeed in some far flung tropical paradise.

Wales is home to plenty of picturesque spots and stunning beaches (we've made a compilation of Wales' finest beaches here or you could check out this secluded beach housing a "world-class" pub) but if you feel like venturing slightly further without flying halfway around the globe, there are some hidden gems perfect for those short breaks or summer holidays. Find out about the latest events in Wales by signing up to our What's On newsletter here

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Isles of Scilly

St Mary's Island in the Scilly Isles
St Mary's Island in the Scilly Isles
Crystal clear waters at Pentle Bay, Tresco
Crystal clear waters at Pentle Bay, Tresco
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The view across from Bryer to Tresco on The Scilly Isles, less than 200 miles from Wales

Located 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall, Isles of Scilly are a collection of marvellous islands one of which, St Agnes, earns the honour of being Britain's most southerly point. The total number of inhabitants on the islands is approximately 2,200 people, and tourism contributes about 85% to their income, reports Wales Online.

One visitor described the islands as "paradise" during his review on Tripadvisor. His words were: "The Scillies truly are idyllic. Quiet, 'everyone-knows-everyone' island life against a backdrop of Caribbean-coloured (but not temperature! ) sea, white sandy beaches and tropical flowers."

The Scilly Isles, with its white sandy beaches and slower pace of life, offers a plethora of outdoor activities for couples and families. From water sports to boat trips, there's something for everyone. The archipelago boasts over 35 beaches, with Pentle Bay on Tresco Island being named one of the most beautiful beaches in Britain and the world. Want less ads? Download WalesOnline’s Premium app on Apple or Android

Distance from Cardiff: 174 miles.


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The largest of the Channel Islands is located just 14 miles off the French coast and 85 miles south of England. It's a haven for pub-goers, history buffs and beach lovers. A Tripadvisor reviewer even compared St Brelade's Bay on the island to the Caribbean, praising its fine sand and picturesque views.

Distance from Cardiff: 230 miles.


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Often referred to as the 'crown jewel of the Channel Islands', it may be small with a population of around 600, but it more than compensates with its rugged beauty and unique historical standing, according to Holiday Extras. The island has its own parliament and laws, and cars are banned, making it a favourite among cyclists.

Walkers and flower enthusiasts can also enjoy the stunning La Seigneurie Gardens.

Distance to Cardiff: 146 miles

Hayling Island

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Nestled off the south coast of England, just east of Portsmouth, Hayling Island is a gem as per Visit Hampshire's description. It "combines all the attractions of a traditional seaside holiday with excellent sporting and leisure facilities", not to mention "miles of unspoilt coastline and countryside".

The island boasts an amusement park and holiday centres, maintaining its status as a beloved resort for nearly a century.

Distance to Cardiff: 158 miles.

The Pembrokeshire Islands

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For those who prefer to stay within Welsh borders, the Pembrokeshire Islands offer a wealth of options. Skomer, Skokholm, and Grassholm stand proudly off the southern coast of Pembrokeshire.

Skomer is renowned for its puffins, Skokholm offers a bird watching observatory and rich wildlife, and Grassholm serves as Wales' westernmost point. A Tripadvisor reviewer praised Skomer: "The island is absolutely beautiful. The bird life is spectacular, and the photo opps innumerable - particularly with the poser-puffins which are most co-operative and photogenic."

Another enthused: "Absolutely superb - add it to your bucket list! ".

Distance from Cardiff: 93 miles.