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Undiscovered island gems

Just off the Côte d'Azur, in the gulf of Hyères, Ile de Porquerolles, is small (7km by 3km) but special, complete with superb beaches, great snorkelling, pine forests and vineyards. Most of it is a national park and there's a strict limit on visitors, although you can reserve your place in advance by booking in at one of the hotels.

Ryanair flies to Toulon-Hyères from Stansted, followed by 10-minute bus ride to La Tour Fondue, and half-hour ferry to the island.

The Kvarken archipelago, Finland, is a collection of 7,000 islets stretching across 150km that Finns delight in canoeing between! The land is rising, by 8mm each year, meaning the shapes and sizes of islands are constantly changing. Scientists estimate that it'll be one solid (if slightly soggy) landmass in 2,500 years. Don't expect glamour, do expect to bond with your midge spray, but the scenery is stunning, the sense of peace tangible.

<FinnAir, from Heathrow or Manchester via Helsinki to Vaasa where bridges link the two main islands, Replot and Bjorko.

For something a little closer to home, head for Gigha, Scotland, the most southerly of the Hebrides and just seven miles long by half a mile wide, blessed by unusually good weather for the area produced by its proximity to the North Atlantic Drift. The mild climate has helped create the world-famous Achamore Gardens.

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