It’s easy to see why the British Virgin Islands are so popular

There are a whole lot of travellers who rate the British Virgin Islands at the very top of the list when it comes to choosing a holiday destination. The great thing is you won’t find all of them there when you arrive; compared to the neighbouring U.S. Virgin Island, the British Virgins are relatively undeveloped. You’ll discover the meaning of the word Limin’ (pronounce it lime-in) – it’s the BVI word for ‘relaxing’.

The biggest island in the group and centre of most commercial activity is Tortola, so it’s the most populated, busiest and commercialised of the group. That said, Tortola is also considered to be a back-water in terms of the usual touristy establishments, and the real attractions are the beaches and crystal-clear, warm waters, mild steady breezes and gentle currents that surround the island.

As with the other islands in the BVs, the relatively dry climate means little run-off, so the conditions for diving and snorkeling are about as good as it gets, and sailing is more popular than shopping. The BVs consist of about 60 islands, some completely uninhabited, and chartering a boat is the way to go if you care to explore.

Virgin Gorda is not to be missed; it’s the jewel in the BVI’s crown, with some amazing scenery including the Copper Mine National Park and the Baths, a natural attraction like no other. Pools and grottoes formed by huge boulders sunk in white sand beaches make this a paradise for swimmers, snorkelers and divers. You can get snacks and cold beer on the beach or luxury dining with stupendous views from the hill.

Other notable islands are Jost Van Dyke, with a bevy of delightful restaurants and bars in addition to fabulous beaches, and Anegada, with nothing much except sun, sand and serenity. Anegada is exceptional in the BVIs for being almost perfectly flat, rising only 28 feet above the sea at its highest point. Diving on the numerous shipwrecks is a favourite pastime.