Victoria is the capital city of Mahé, the largest island in the Seychelles and home to most of the small nation’s population. The colorful architecture and bustling crafts market make the town worth a visit, but the true draw is Mahé's tropical forests, postcard-perfect beaches, and otherworldly Indian Ocean waters, where visitors can swim, dive, hike, and soak amid jaw-dropping scenery.
What We Love
Seychelles National Botanical Gardens: Exotic orchids, fruit bats, and suggestively shaped coco de mer nuts are among the highlights at this seven-acre park on the outskirts of Victoria. The true stars, however, are the Aldabra giant tortoises, some of which are over 150 years old.
Morne Seychellois National Park: Tear yourself way from the beach long enough to explore this lush mountainous swath, which covers 20 percent of the island. For incredible coastal views, take a bus or taxi to the tea plantation on Morne Blanc, and hike the trail to the peak.
Best Known For
The Beaches: With powdery sand and aquamarine waters, the Seychelles' strands are legendary for a reason. Mahé has more than 60 to choose from, including the popular Beau Vallon.
Creole Traditions: Ninety percent of the Seychelles' people live on Mahé, making it the perfect place to take in the island chain's unique blend of cultures — African, Malagasy, Indian, Chinese, and French — plus local crafts, music, and dance.
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Who It's Best For
Foodies: Spice lovers swoon for the local Creole cuisine. Think fresh grilled seafood prepared with garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and coconut milk, served with rice.
Nature Lovers: With mangroves, rain forests, amazing snorkeling, and more than 50 dive sites, Mahé is a paradise of flora and fauna, both on island and off. Come between August and November and you can even swim with whale sharks.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
You Might Get Wet: This is the tropics, after all. Expect the heaviest rainfall and highest humidity during the northwest monsoon season (November through March).
Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.