TV3 of France recently featured the “Islands of Gold” – Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Le Levant – in a segment of itsThalassa show. Located off the Cote d’Azur – yes, the same Cote d’Azur known for the Cannes Film Festival – this archipelago is referred to in the title of the program as the “Mysterious Islands”, collectively known as the Iles d’Hyères.

With some 300 sunny days a year, superb beaches, vineyards and even a jazz festival in July, Porquerolles draws the most tourists. However, Port-Cros is a national park, so designated in 1963 and including the surrounding maritime zone.

Also in the Mediterranean, the Aegadian Islands of Levanzo and Marettimo are recommended for a sense of history dating back to the First Punic War (264-241 BC), spectacular nature as well as quaint and charming villages.

According to Travel + Leisure, Southeast Asia also offers some hidden island treasures such as Con Dao, an archipelago off the southeastern coast of Vietnam where “sheer granite cliffs border deserted beaches and crystal-blue water” or for diving enthusiasts, “the secret island of Mabul, off the northeastern coast of Malaysia, where the marine life is on a par with the Galapagos.”

And if you are in the market for a private island, don’t despair. Not every island costs as much as billionaires and stars spend on their hideaways. Known for HGTV’s Island Hunters show, Chris Krolow is CEO of Toronto’s Private Islands Inc., which lists islands from $100,000 or so and up. Better yet, this site also provides resources on what’s involved in actually buying a private island which provides a reality check for the fantasy.

How about some island hopping during your summer holidays?

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