Currency: Seychelles Rupee
Time Difference: GMT +4 hours
Flying Time: Around 12 hours (usually stopover in Abu Dhabi)
Visa: None required for Irish passport holders
Vaccinations: None compulsory, but check with your GP before travelling
Language: Seychellois Creole, English and French
Lying 1000 miles east of Africa in the Indian Ocean, the stunning archipelago that is the Seychelles comprises of 115 islands altogether, which are split into 2 distinct groups. One is the granite islands or Inner Islands, which are the oldest islands in the world, with their tall peaks interspersed with flat, fertile plains.
The second group is the coral islands or Outer Islands which are primarily low lying and sparsely populated by people. They are rich in flora and fauna and truly beautiful. Their many unique species mean that vast tracts of its land are designated as conservation areas and are hence unspoiled.
The Inner Island of Mahé is the largest of the Seychelles and together with its neighbours La Digue and Praslin is home to 98% of the population. These are the most popular islands with tourists too, as international flights arrive at Mahé airport. Domestic flights operate from there to neighbouring islands; journey times average between 15-30 minutes. There are also ferry services between these three islands.
Like Mauritius, the Seychelles is a veritable cultural melting-pot. First settled by French, Indians and Africans, it was later ceded to the British from whom it gained its independence in 1976. These cultures have all shaped Seychellois cuisine. Because of its geographical remoteness, there is a strong reliance on locally grown and locally farmed food and food quality is high.
Seafood, coconut, chilies and breadfruit are their staples and fish curries and grilled seafood served with salads of fresh fruits and vegetables are popular on menus.
Things to do
Lie on one of the innumerable beaches of powder white sand, and bathe in crystal clear waters – Anse Source D’Argent pictured above is the Seychelles’ quintessential beach
Visit the capital, Victoria, on Mahé island - this pretty colonial city has the best dining and shopping
Visit Vallée de Mai nature reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site
Visit one of the many National Parks – Silhouette Island, Sainte Anne’s, Curieuse, Ile Cocos…
Take a trip to Cousin Island and get up close with nature
Visit L’Union – home to an old plantation house, a colonial-era graveyard, a boatyard and a pen of giant tortoises
Visit Grann Kaz – a traditional Seychellois homestead
Rent a bike
Take a pleasure cruise, fishing trip, or charter a boat
Try one of the many water sports on offer
Rent a car and explore – they drive on the left like we do, or use local buses to get around
For example, 4 nights at the Constance Ephelia Resort in a junior suite with breakfast and dinner each day, a full day reef safari, a full day discovery tour of Mahé, followed by 4 nights at the Constance Lemuria Resort in a junior suite with breakfast, a half-day Vallée de Mai guided tour and a full day Praslin and La Digue tour, including all flights and transfers: from €2595 per person.
Dubai / Abu Dhabi and The Seychelles
As most flights from Dublin to the Seychelles go via Dubai or Abu Dhabi, these make an excellent place to stop over, combining the relaxation of a beach holiday with a city break in an exciting and cosmopolitan city.
Approx flight times:
Dublin to Dubai / Abu Dhabi: 7.5 - 8 hours
Dubai / Abu Dhabi to the Seychelles: 4h30
Weather and Climate
Lying around 4 degrees south of the Equator, the Seychelles boasts an idyllic climate with temperatures hovering around 30C all year round. The wettest months are our winter months. Humidity is generally high, but breezes can keep things comfortable.
Written by Samantha Gavigan.