Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, Victoria, Mahé
The Seychelles’ capital city, Victoria, on the north-east side of Mahé island, is one of the world’s smallest – with a population just shy of 30,000 – and is where everyone lands when jetting into the Seychelles. The smell of coconut and freshly sliced papaya fills the air as you walk the streets – past the famous clock tower that’s a mini version of Big Ben and the gloriously restored Supreme Court Building that is now home to the National Museum of History – towards Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market. It may be small, but all of life is here, stall after stall of just-picked fruit, local spices and colourful patterned pareos (sarongs). Early morning is the best time to come, when the fishmongers have just dropped off their catch and the air is cool.
Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, Market Street, Victoria, Mahé; 4am-5pm, Monday to Saturday
Michael Adams Studio, Mahé
Michael Adams is probably the Seychelles’ most celebrated artist, and he works from his home, which doubles up as his gallery, at Anse aux Poules Bleues on the quiet, sultry south-west corner of Mahé. His two children are also artists and the trio can often be seen painting in the botanical gardens that Adams and his wife Heather lovingly tend to at the back of their wooden plantation home – alongside the odd blue-beaked chicken (Anse aux Poules Bleues means “Bay of the Blue Chickens”). You can pick up one of his highly collectable works – his silkscreens are especially beautiful – at the gallery most weekdays.
Anse aux Poules Bleues, West Coast Road, Mahé; +248 4 361 006
Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, Praslin
Praslin is the second biggest island in the Seychelles and just 20 minutes by dinky propeller plane from Mahé. The island’s biggest claim to fame is the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, a Unesco World Heritage Site that’s pinch-yourself beautiful, popular among bird-watchers, and home to the treasured coco de mer palm. Explore on foot or by bike, but note that if you do stumble across the distinctive coco de mer seed (they’re massive), hands off – the palm is only found on Praslin and Curieuse, a neighbouring Seychelles island, so it’s protected by law.
Grande Anse, Praslin; +248 4 236 220; 8.30am-4.30pm, Monday to Sunday
Boardwalk Bar and Grill, Eden Island
Eden Island is where the cool kids head for a spot of hedonism, Seychelles-style. Boardwalk Bar and Grill, on this manmade island right by Victoria’s harbour, is the coolest joint in town and offers alfresco dining (surf and turf is their mainstay), inventive cocktails (though shooters go down very well here when the music gets going), DJs, and an always-rotating lineup of live bands. Friday nights are particularly wild, and it’s popular with the locals, which says it all.
Eden Plaza, Eden Island; +248 4 346 622
Chez Jules, La Digue
It’s hard to top the locally sourced and lovingly prepared authentic Creole flavours at Chez Jules on La Digue Island, especially when you add in the views from the beachside tables. It’s a bit of a schlep along winding roads, but once you get here, start with a fresh mango juice, finish with the coconut cake, and go for the lobster or the fish curry in between. The best spot in the house is on one of the high stools, facing out to the ocean, where you might just spot the eponymous (and very charming) Jules catching your lunch out at sea.
Chez Jules, Anse Banane, La Digue; +248 2 584 432
Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Félicité
By helicopter is how you really need to arrive at this hotel, Six Senses’ only Seychelles outpost and arguably the archipelago’s most stunning retreat. It has the tick-box Seychelles experience: the distinctive rippled boulders emerging from the water; sand that almost blinds it’s so white; infinity pool stretching into the turquoise ocean. The spa is spectacular, and the eco-friendly villas are among the most private in the Seychelles. Plus, there’s nothing quite like sipping champagne on the “passion deck” perched over the lapping Indian Ocean.
Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Félicité; +248 4 671 000