The dreamy country made even more famous by movies Cast Away with Tom Hanks and The Blue Lagoon is home to a blend of Melanesian, Polynesian, and Indian communities and some of the most paradise-like scenery on earth.
Fiji is a breathtakingly beautiful destination on many a traveler’s bucket list and scenery includes powdery white sands, swaying palm trees, and sparkling turquoise lagoons. From jaw-dropping beaches to tranquil small islands, here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Fiji…
Tivua Island – one of the most stunning places to explore in Fiji
Tivua is a tiny coral cay in the most northerly part of the Mamanuca Islands. It is a picture-postcard paradise island with an exquisite ring of pure white sand fringed by palm trees and encircled by more than 200 hectares of coral reef in crystal blue seas.
Although only a few kilometers from the main island of Viti Levu it feels entirely remote and isolated.
The island has a few shaded waterfront bures and an occasional bar and facilities. You can only reach it by exclusive sailing yachts out of Nadi Bay.
It is well worth taking that day of discovery, even if you’re not an excursion type of person, if only for the experience of snorkeling the stunning reefs or the pure tranquillity of relaxing on the beautiful beaches.
Garden of the Sleeping Giant – a gorgeous attraction to visit in Fiji
Often described as Fiji’s best-kept secret; the Botanic Garden of the Sleeping Giant can be found nestled in the foothills of the Nausori Highlands, just a 15-minute taxi ride north of Nadi.
The gardens were created in 1977 by the American actor, Raymond Burr, to house his private collection of tropical orchids. The perfectly balanced microclimate in this cool valley has allowed the collection to thrive and expand to what is now 20 hectares with over 2000 specimens.
It’s not just about the rare and beautiful orchids. You can easily spend a day wandering the immaculate lush lawns. Take a picnic by the lily ponds with their trickling streams and explore the canopy-covered boardwalks and trails that wind through the tropical rainforest.
This fantasy garden has a breathtaking abundance of exotic flora and fauna rarely found in the South Pacific.
You can wander alone or take a free guided tour.
Allow plenty of time if you want to walk up to the stunning hilltop views or simply snooze in one of the garden hammocks. Remember, it’s rainforest – so take mozzie spray and an umbrella if it looks like rain! Easily one of the best places to visit in Fiji!
Natadola Beach – one of the most attractive beaches in Fiji
Considered to be one of Fiji’s, if not the world’s, finest beaches. Natadola beach is a long, curving pure white sandy beach edged by shady trees at Sanasana on Viti Levu.
It is popular for swimming, snorkelling, gentle surfing, or just lazing in the warmth while sea breezes lap onshore. At the end of each day, it is a famous spot to enjoy some of the most breathtaking sunsets in Fiji.
The beach is 1½km long, with just a couple of resorts, so it never feels busy. There are a few beachfront traders where you can get a massage or buy coconuts and drinks.
Don’t be afraid to haggle the prices down; it’s expected! At the south end of the beach, you will find an Intercontinental Hotel with all the up-market amenities you’d expect and a handful of small restaurants and bars.
Head to the north end of the beach for complete serenity – even the local beach traders don’t come this far.
Dravuni is an 80-hectare island more than 50km south of Suva in mainland Fiji. Although recently discovered by cruise ships its remoteness has left it undeveloped and somewhat untouched by the modern world.
Solar panels and satellite dishes have arrived for some of the locals, but roads and vehicles are still unknown. This place displays a traditional South Pacific life pretty much as it has always been. You will leave wishing the locals can keep it this way.
Dravuni sits within a huge lagoon of perfect clear waters formed by the Great Astrolabe Reef which surrounds this and other islands of the archipelago.
Cruise liners anchor off the reef and passengers are tendered directly to the village jetty alongside a white sandy beach that runs the entire 2km western side of the island.
There is only one small village with a school at the north end of the island where very friendly locals do their best to cater for tourists.
Besides the vast untouched tropical beaches and reef snorkelling, Dravuni is loved for its hiking trails that rise to views from the hilltop summit in the south of the island.
Colo-I-Suva Forest Park – one of the best places to visit in Fiji
Less than 5km north of the capital, Suva, is the Colo-I-Suva Forest Park. Established in 1872, it is two and a half square kilometers of verdant rainforests renowned for tropical flora and unique birds.
There are about four and a half kilometers of fascinating natural hiking trails ploughing through the forests and a small river with waterfalls and natural clear pools for swimming.
Popular with both locals and tourists this is a place to spend the whole day exploring, swimming, picnicking, relaxing with friends or simply watching the local youths dive from the waterfalls.
You can reach it by bus from the main Suva terminus or by taxi. To get the full, natural experience try and avoid Sundays or national holidays when the pools get particularly busy.
If you’re lucky, during the week, you can have almost the entire place to yourselves. Wear good footwear for the walk to the beautiful natural pools – it’s rainforest, in parts the trails can get wet and slippery – and take plenty of snacks and drinking water, you will be heading into pure nature there are no cafes or bars here!
Paradise Beach (Beqa Island) – a beautiful paradise-like island
From the town of Pacific Harbour, it’s a short hop by launch to the beautiful Paradise Beach on Beqa Island.
The views on route are spectacular, and you are likely to see dolphins or if you are very lucky, a turtle swimming lazily along one of the coral reefs you pass on the way.
Once at Paradise Beach the swimming is safe, calm, and secluded, with clear, warm water and stunning sand and coconut trees for shade.
Most visitors book a day tour from Pacific Harbour to this amazing white sandy beach with crystal clear waters fringed by coconut palms, an archetypal Paradise!
There’s usually snorkeling, kayaking and a visit to the village with traditional food and entertainment. Talk to the tour operator to decide what you want on your trip to Paradise Beach.
Robinson Crusoe Island (Likuri) – a popular beauty spot in Fiji
For a genuine eco-experience visit Robinson Crusoe Island – this is definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit in Fiji. A special tourist destination on the island of Likuri which recreates beautiful Fijian customs, culture, and cuisine.
The island is just off the southwest coast of Viti Levu and is reached by a short drive from Nadi followed by a brief boat trip across the bay.
Likuri has a history dating back 3,500 years. The island is located near to Bourewa, an area that is thought to be the first site of human settlement in Fiji.
The resort offers natural and traditional accommodation for a limited number of tourists seeking a more authentic experience of the Coral Coast and its historically significant culture.
The resort follows strict, eco-sustainable guidelines around resource use and the prevention of pollution. Overnight stays, day trips, and meal and entertainment tours are available from many resorts and the island features a unique tribal fire dance distinctive to the island’s natural heritage.
There’s coconut harvesting, snorkelling, and many other activities or, just lazing on the beach.
Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park – a great place to explore
Near the mouth of the Sigatoka River on Viti Levu is the incredible Sand Dunes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with historical significance and a quite different Fiji experience from the tropical beaches.
The park is just 1.77 sq km, making it one of the smallest national parks in the world.
The utterly unique parabolic sand dunes reach heights of between 20 to 60 meters in an ecosystem that has taken thousands of years to create.
As the dunes slowly shift they reveal buried archaeological treasures from early human colonization of Melanesia.
This is a place for full nature hiking.
The park starts with trails through thick rainforest, where you can see hundreds of different birds and huge fruit bats. Eventually, the forest gives way to the sand dunes and unprotected shore where huge waves crash unencumbered by reefs.
Mamanuca Islands – stunning and peaceful islands
The Mamanuca Islands are an ancient volcanic archipelago lying west of Nadi on the Fijian mainland and a stunning destination to explore in Fiji.
There are around 20 islands in total of which seven disappear below the waves at high tide. The biggest island, with two villages, is Malolo.
All the Mamanuca islands offer clear crystal waters, luscious palm-fringed sandy beaches, and abundant coral reefs.
Many of the islands host top-end resorts and luxury hotels, but a little searching and you can find something for all budgets.
These islands are the places you see on TV and in movies with their still blue waters, pure white sand beaches, deep green vegetation, wooden huts on stilts, and dramatic sunsets.
There are ocean-side massages, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, restaurants, bars, cooking, dancing, music or just pure, calm relaxation in the stunning South Pacific.
Koroyanitu National Heritage Park – for outdoor activities and scenery
In the northwest of Viti Levu, surrounding the magnificent Mount Koroyanitu and Mount Batilamu is the National Heritage Park.
This is a great center for walking, hiking, trekking, running, cycling or simply taking a stroll in the cooler highland air. The higher you climb the more spectacular become the panoramic views of mountains, lush green countryside, and jungles.
There are six villages inside the National Park with many trails between them, hostels to stay overnight, and waterfalls for swimming.
Some of the trails up the mountains are steep and some are easier – it’s important to connect with the local guides beforehand and take their advice on which are most suited to you.
You will need a four-wheeled-drive vehicle to reach the starting point. The guides in Nadi can organize everything, including a local lunch, and stop overnight so you can experience unforgettable dawn.
Nausori Highlands – an area steeped in intriguing history
The Nausori Highlands in the deep interior of the west of Viti Levu, Fiji, is an area of national significance and a great place to learn about Fijian culture with twisting roads leading to picturesque villages full of the history of cannibals and Christianity.
You can take a tour or, if you’re feeling adventurous you can hire a four-wheel-drive vehicle to seek out the stunning views in the Valley of a Thousand Hills or some of the dramatic waterfalls that form pools in the mountain valleys.
All of these remote villages abound in hospitality, showing you their farms, hoping you will stay for food or just directing you to the local points of interest.
Described as the best-kept secret; this is the Fiji that you don’t see in brochures. The high, refreshing lands with stunning scenery, where agriculture is the main industry, not tourism.
Denarau Island – an upscale island getaway in Fiji
At the extreme west of Viti Levu at the end of a small peninsula joined by a bridge to the mainland is Denarau Island. A complex of resorts, hotels, and spas surrounding a central golf club.
Here you’ll find Sheraton, Sofitel, Hilton, and Radisson Blu resorts, apartments, and villas alongside many smaller hotels, restaurants, bars, shops a marina, and even a waterpark.
The area is built on mangroves so the beaches here are darker sand and the sea not the clear blues you find elsewhere, but there are a wealth of water sports available and all the hotels have magnificent pools alongside all the services you would expect to discover.
Denarau is the perfect family anchor for exploring Fiji or just relaxing around the many facilities on the island.
Qalito Island (Castaway Island) – perfect for snorkeling
Qalito Island, also known as Castaway Island, is a private resort on the Mamanuca archipelago to the west of Viti Levu, Fiji.
It is about 20km from the mainland port of Nadi and takes around 2 hours to reach by boat across crystal blue oceans passing many other islands on the way.
The 70-hectare island is a family-friendly resort with plenty of activities for all ages and a beautiful white sandy beach fringing a lush green interior and reefs for snorkeling.
There is a choice of accommodation, a choice of restaurants and bars and even an adult-only swimming pool, for when you need a little peace.
Biausevu Waterfall – a popular attraction to visit in Fiji
The Biausevu Waterfall is a charming and accessible waterfall on the Coral Coast Drive inland from Warwick on the south coast of Viti Levu, Fiji.
The villagers at Biausevu do their best to make your visit an experience, beginning with their traditional hospitality, before you take the 3km walk through the forest from the village to the falls.
There are even horses available for the 20-minute journey if you want to add a special memory.
The waterfall is impressive, tall, and pure. The pool it has created is cool and clear. The perfect, tranquil place for swimming. Avoid Sundays and national holidays when the falls are busy with local families.
Try to go during the week when you might be lucky and get the whole place to yourselves.
Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool – a must-see spot in Fiji
A short distance from the town of Nadi in west Viti Levu are the Sabeto Hotsprings and Mudpool, a natural geologic formation made easy to use by the local family who owns and maintain it.
It’s a simple therapeutic experience – you coat yourself in the soft mineral mud. Let it dry in the sun for 20 minutes, then rinse away in a series of pools set at naturally different temperatures. If you fancy, you can finish with a relaxing massage.
The natural volcanic minerals in the mud are claimed to revitalize and rejuvenate skin, although this place probably owes its position as a top attraction more from the fun of getting covered in mud with friends. It’s one of the few spa experiences that kids will enjoy as much as adults.
Travel tip: take a towel and slippers, maybe some shampoo. Be prepared to laugh like a kid. Haggle with the taxi driver and don’t let them take you to any similar sites – it’s the Sabeto Hot Springs and Mudpool.
What is the Best time to visit Fiji?
The most beautiful time of year to visit Fiji is from August through October when most of your diving will be great, but the humidity is a lot less than in mid-year.
You can also look forward to dryer weather leading up to September. As a fringe benefit most dive boats are still operating then so you may get more days out on the water than at other times during the year.
Make sure that if you plan to arrive in early June that you book accommodations well ahead of time; most hotels do not have vacancies after Easter unless they are catering for large groups.
If you are looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, Fiji is a perfect getaway. Whether you want to take in some jaw-dropping beaches or relax on one of many tranquil small islands, this country has something for everyone. There’s no reason not to add it to your travel bucket list!
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Michael Cowley – writer and photographer
Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always had an affinity for adventure. Growing up he was lucky enough to live in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s continued seeking out new places and cultures. In his spare time he explores everywhere from the sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, trying all kinds of street food, playing carrom with random strangers, and fine wine – he knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Indonesia, Goa, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations. Find Michael on Instagram or Twitter.