Technology has become such a huge part of our life that it’s unimaginable to think of a phone-free existence, or car-free islands.
Everyone wants to unwind and relax when they’re on holiday, but they’re surrounded by pollution, noise and the stress of driving. However, not every country relies on cars to get them from A to B, and they aren’t divided by roads, but rather sandy beaches. Let’s take a look at some of the most magical car-free islands where vehicles aren’t invited but tourists are.
Why Choose Car-Free Islands for Your Next Vacation?
I know what you’re thinking: how will I get around? Why would I devoid myself of transportation and then feel stuck to one resort? Car-free islands are becoming increasingly popular thanks to scientific research implying its benefits. Aside from fumes which pollute the air, researchers have found that even the noise of cars are bad for our health.
The development of car-free islands has hit historic neighbourhoods, derelict areas, and unprotected zones. Car pollutants emit a range of solid matter and gases which can contribute to global warming and acid rain. Even fuel spills and engine noise can cause pollution. As a car emits fumes, they inevitably enter our body and toxify our insides; that’s not a healthy thought!
Thankfully, car-free islands boast fresher, cleaner air, filled with residents and tourists walking freely with no sense of a rush. Space from roads is used for architectures, lakes and natural reservoirs. This allows plenty of beauty to shine through, rather than pot-holed roads. The way of life on car-free islands is a lot more chilled, because it seems like life slows down. We highly recommend visiting these destinations to get a different view on life and embrace a modern way of living.
How are Car-Free Islands Better Than Those With Cars?
Eliminating cars doesn’t feel like there’s something missing from the islands, but there are plenty of more beautiful things replacing its absence. Without roads taking up space, it enables more beauty to shine through. There’s more land to grow crops to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Sidewalks are built for pedestrians and cyclists which creates a bigger opportunity for a healthier way of life.
The citizens who live in car-free islands are much healthier than those who live in major cities where they’re surrounded by cars. The islands have been created for people, rather than cars, which opens up more activities. Studies have found that traffic-related air pollution exposure can lead to early deaths, as well as to lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases. With the elimination of the very things which attribute to these illnesses, people live a longer life.
How Do You Get Around On Car-Free Islands?
There are a multitude of advantages to car-free islands (as touched on above). The elimination of cars doesn’t mean that people have to feel stuck in the same place. Plenty of these car-free islands offer exciting, healthy modes of transportation to ensure you aren’t limited in getting around. Consequently, this doesn't harm the environment with toxic fumes.
Plenty of these islands are smaller than major cities which allows residents to walk to their destination point, and many don’t even allow bikes on the island. The paths are built smoothly to offer comfort for walkers. But, there are plenty of adventurous modes of transport. Mackinac Island gives people the opportunity to ride in a horse-drawn taxi, or you can even rent a carriage.
Fire Island is much bigger than Mackinac Island, and doesn’t expect people to get around just by foot. To hop on and off to different zones, head to the open waters via their water taxi for an inventive way of travelling and witnessing beautiful views.
Rottnest Island, which is 11 miles west of Perth doesn’t allow cars. It does have limited coaches to transport residents across the six-mile-long island. They also encourage people to rent a bike (or you can purchase your own), for $30 to $40 a day, so you can ride around where you wish. Once you’re done, just leave the bike at the bus stop, and staff will happily collect it for you.
Car-Free Islands Every Traveler Should Visit
Now that you know the advantages of these car-free islands, it's time to begin planning your trip. Be sure to consider the following options for vacation without pollution and smog.
1. Lamu Island
Lamu Island is set just off the Northeastern coast of Kenya and has become a tourist destination for many around the world. When you arrive by plane, you’re be transported via boat across the water to begin your adventure. As no vehicles are allowed on the Island, the most popular form of transportation is donkeys. In fact, there are 2000-3000 working on the Island every day.
Peaceful, laid-back and tropical, there are plenty of things to do on Lamu Island. Escape your worries and take a walk along the many deserted beaches for impeccable views to the open oceans. Or, visit its Town – the oldest inhabited Swahili town in Kenya – to witness the town’s charm and authenticity.
2. Hydra, Greece
One of the most beautiful car-free islands is Hydra. Just two hours south of Athens, it’s an easy commute via ferry and worth the visit. Hydra is small in size and has no real roads, cars, and doesn’t welcome bikes.
Travelers use water taxis to explore the Island and its isolated beaches, hence it's extremely popular. Donkeys are a popular mode of transportation and are heavily relied on to transport business goods. From sandbags, to bathtubs, to bottled water, it’s not unexpected to see a traffic jam of donkeys working tirelessly. Embrace yourself with nature and beaches in paradise. Or, absorb the Greek culture with historical museums and an array of beautiful churches.
3. Little Corn Island
Little Corn Island is a drop of paradise in the Caribbean, 45 miles off the coast of Nicaragua. The best mode of transport to arrive is via ferry, and once here, locals travel by foot to get around the 1.1-square-miles Island.
Thanks to the lack of cars, the air is deliciously pure, and you can spend most of your adventure in the water, relaxing, or embarking in activities. The Island offers stunning Caribbean sunsets above the forest canopy for the perfect end to a long day. Face your fears and dive in with hammerhead sharks, or scuba dive in sheer natural beauty.
4. Fire Island
Fire Island lies off Long Island’s south shore and is the perfect destination for New Yorkers to escape the city frenzy and traffic jams in the summer. 32 miles in length, it’s a quaint escape offering protected white sand beaches and sandy board walks.
Unbelievably, Fire Island is within two hours by ferry of downtown Manhattan. To venture in the 32 miles, take advantage of the water taxi. You can also walk around the beautiful Island for stunning views and peace. Relax with golf, or channel your calmer side by watching the waves gently lap or visit the Sunken Forest for a fun adventure.
5. Monhegan Island
Monhegan Island is just 12 miles off the coast of Maine, and this small and rocky stretch of hosts a Lighthouse – built in 1824 which nearly lights up the entire space. Leave your bike at home, and venture the Island by foot. There are no pathed roads, and with everything within 1.5 miles, everything is within walking distance.
Explore the Meadow and embrace nature with acres of greenery and colourful flowers. Or for some more activity, enjoy the beach for a safe place to swim. The water is cold and the beach is very intimate, hence it's the perfect hideaway for a few hours.
6. Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is 11 miles west of Perth and is a stunning haven with beaches and tropical fish. Unlike the other car-free islands, you can use a bus here to traverse the six-miles on the Island, or rent a bike to get around easily. Residents love to be outdoors and keep fit here, obviously because of the aerial views.
Students love to visit here to party and unwind, whilst people from around the world love to explore the shipwrecks off the cost. There’s plenty to keep you busy on one of the most beautiful car-free Islands on earth. This includes swimming, diving, snorkelling and of course, surfing. Additionally, there are plenty of spa salons to keep you looking healthy and confident.
7. La Digue Island
La Digue Island is a beautiful inhabited island in the Seychelles. To reach the other side of the Island, it’d only take you an hour to walk, however, you can also ride a bike. The Island exudes charm and beauty especially with its stunning beach.
Witness culture and traditional local industries in the past and watch how foods and products were once made. Thanks to the spectacular scenery, there are numerous outdoor activities to take part in. Or, you can try a handful of restaurants and stay in a stylish hotel for the ultimate getaway.
Car-Free Islands: The Way of The Future
There’s nothing more magical than a technology detox and these stunning car-free islands are the ideal locations for that. Kick back and relax, breath in fresh air, and spend time with your loved ones. We all need technology, however, a break does you the world of good. The yesteryear feel is worth abandoning our modern ways of living, and you’ll feel so amazed at how easy and quick it is to navigate without a car.
Have you visited car-free islands? Do you enjoy this way of living? Let us know your experience in the comments.
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