Mahé Island Travel Guide: 14 Best Beaches & Things To DoEverything you need to know about Mahé Island in Seychelles including what to do, when to visit, where to eat and where to stay
A luxurious dilemma
Mahé, Seychelles’ largest and most populous island, is a divisive subject when it comes to tourism.
Should you stay or should you go?
Everything you could need from Seychelles is here.
The postcard-perfect beaches, the underwater life, the green peaks with jaw-dropping views, the swaying palm trees, the amazing resorts…
Mahé has it all – and more.
With limited time in Seychelles, where to spend your time is a tough dilemma. We’ll make the case here that Mahé definitely deserves a visit. From there it’s up to you!
Where to stay on Mahé:
Table of contents
Why visit Mahé
There’s no way around the fact that Mahé is the gateway to the whole Seychelles archipelago.
It’s by far the biggest island with the lion’s share of the population (around 90% of Seychellois live here) and that naturally comes with some pros and cons.
There are more beaches. More mountains. More nature. More hotels. More restaurants. More shops. More of everything, really.
What’s the price?
The price for having more of everything and more choice is obvious.
It’s still very much possible to have a laid-back holiday here, though.
What if Mahé was the only island in Seychelles?
Zooming out a bit, Mahé is after all a small paradisical island in the Indian Ocean with gorgeous stretches of sand that could easily be all there is to Seychelles and still be worth the visit.
The resorts here are some of the world’s most luxurious, nature is thriving both on land and underwater, hiking is great, the beaches are top class – and it’s incredibly safe to visit. Let’s explore!
Map and geography
Mahé is the largest island of Seychelles with an area of 157.3 km².
The length of Mahé is around 26 kilometres and the width is around 17 kilometres.
Driving from the most northernmost point to the most southernmost point of the island takes a little more than 1 hour.
The highest point of Mahé (and the whole country) is the peak of Morne Seychellois, located 905 metres above sea level.
Around 90,000 people live on Mahé (~ 90% of the population of Seychelles). Most people stay around the capital Victoria and Beau Vallon in the north.
Where to stay on Mahé
Even though Mahé is the largest island in the country, all things considered, it’s still a pretty small island.
The longest drives rarely take more than an hour and if you place yourself centrally you can go almost everywhere in 30-45 minutes.
Beau Vallon Beach is a very popular place to stay, and in general, most of Mahé’s best hotels are located by the best beaches on the western side.
The best luxury hotels on Mahé
Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa – Beau Vallon
Located in the middle of the beautiful Beau Vallon Beach, 5-starred Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa offers 163 rooms, 2 pools, 3 restaurants, a spa with fitness facilities as well as all kinds of services.
We stayed in a lovely double room with ocean views where we slept like babies in the king bed after our red-eye flight from Istanbul to Mahé.
There was also a minibar, a coffee and tea making station, a desk, a table and a sofa in the room as well as a big bathroom with a shower and a bathtub. We especially liked the spacious balcony with views over the resort and the ocean – perfect for a bit of afternoon or evening relaxation.
There’s free wifi all over the resort.
Savoy Resort & Spa’s fitness centre is well-equipped with a wide array of weights, strength training machines as well as cardio machines. It’s open 24/7. Super cool!
Eden Island Luxury Accommodation
After staying at Savoy, we checked in at our private apartment at Eden Island Luxury Accommodation.
The best thing about staying here is the fact that you get unlimited access to the spectacular private beaches of the manmade island.
The next best thing is getting a free electric buggy for your stay that you can use on Eden Island.
All of the apartments come with a kitchen but there are a lot of options when it comes to the villa size, amount of bedrooms, whether or not there is a pool etc.
(It’s also sometimes possible to book the privately owned villas when their owners rent them out. Use our adlink to search for the privately owned villas here.)
JA Enchanted Island Resort
If you’ve always dreamed of staying on a private island in the tropics, here’s your chance.
JA Enchanted Island Resort is located on the very small Round Island inside the St. Anne National Marine Park.
As if the whole private island with private beaches thing wasn’t enough, all villas also come with a private pool.
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles
We walked through the 5-star Four Seasons Resort on Mahé to get to Petite Anse Beach and can say with some confidence that this is a really cool place to stay.
The beach is surely one of Mahé’s finest, and the private villas look huge for the (still high) price.
Constance Ephelia Resort
Constance Ephelia located near Port Launay on Mahé’s western side consistently ranks as one of the island’s most revered luxury hotels.
The range of options on offer here is staggering; do everything and you might never have the chance to leave!
The 5-star resort is home to 5 pools, 5 restaurants, 6 bars, a private beach, a spa and a fitness centre. Each villa has its own garden.
Located on a private peninsula near Anse Boileau on Mahé’s west coast, Anantara Maia is known for its unique villas that all come with their own infinity pools.
The Luxury Collection Resort North Island is located on a remote island north of Mahé called – you guessed it – North Island.
It’s incredibly expensive to stay here. Seychelles also doesn’t get much better than this.
The best value for money and budget hotels on Mahé
There’s no way around it: Seychelles is an expensive destination.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to blow the budget completely on a comfortable place to stay.
One of the best ways to save money on Mahé is to find a place with a kitchen as eating out can be expensive in Seychelles.
Here are our top choices for value for money and budget accommodation on Mahé.
Chez Batista Villas
Located with uniquely direct access to Anse Takamaka, staying at Chez Batista Villas is all about the beach!
The comfortable rooms have A/C and private bathrooms and we can only imagine how nice it must be to catch the sunset from here.
La Nature Apartments Au Cap
At a very fair rate, you’ll get a big apartment with a private kitchen and A/C at La Nature Apartments Au Cap.
It’s located on the eastern side quite centrally so you can easily go to most beaches – especially if you rent a car.
Tropical Garden Self Catering
At Tropical Garden, you’re staying secluded in the Mahé mountains yet still very close to most beaches and attractions on the island. There’s a bus stop close by if you don’t rent a car.
The apartments all come with A/C, your own kitchen, a balcony and more.
Villa Kayola – Self Catering
For a convenient location close to the airport, look no further than to Villa Kayola. The views from up here are beautiful yet you’re still close to Anse Aux Pins Beach.
The light apartments have A/C, balconies and small kitchens so you’ll be able to cook for yourself while staying in Mahé to stay within your budget.
Anse Soleil Beachcomber Hotel and Self Catering
At Anse Soleil Beachcomber, you have the choice of either staying in self-catered chalets up a hill or with coffee/tea-making facilities just by the beach.
And what a beach!
Anse Soleil is known as one of Mahé’s most paradisical beaches. And as there’s not much else here, you’ll have it almost to yourself.
What to do on Mahé
Visiting the beaches is obviously the thing to do on Mahé, but apart from those stunning stretches of sand, there are also lots of other attractions and highlights on the island.
Here are the 14 best things to do on Mahé Island:
- Beau Vallon Beach
- Anse Royale Beach
- Police Bay
- Anse Intendance Beach
- Anse Takamaka Beach
- Petite Anse Beach
- Visit the capital Victoria
- Shop at the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke market
- Hike the Copolia Trail
- Catch the views from the Morne Blanc Viewpoint
- Take a tour at the Takamaka Rum Distillery
- Check out Eden Island
- Go on a daytrip to La Digue
- Bonus: Other things to do on Mahé
There are lovely beaches all the way around the coast of Mahé.
The best beaches are generally located on the western side of the island.
1. Beau Vallon Beach
Visiting Beau Vallon Beach (or staying here) is one of the most popular things to do on Mahé.
The beautiful half-moon-shaped beach is long, the water is swimming-friendly and there are plenty of places to find shade.
There’s a small beach promenade along the most northern/eastern part where it’s also possible to find some cheap eats, fruit and a little bit of shopping.
2. Anse Royale Beach
Anse Royale Beach (sometimes called Fairyland Beach) is located on Mahé’s eastern shores in the south of the island.
The granite stones make for great photos and when the tides are right it’s a lovely beach to sunbathe on.
For swimming, the water is very shallow here.
3. Police Bay
Police Bay is known as one of Mahé’s most beautiful beaches.
When we visited this beach located at the very southern end of the island we didn’t have much luck with the weather, but we can imagine it being lovely on a clear day.
Though we were lucky that three cute dogs followed us down to the beach from a nearby house.
Be aware that there’s not much shade here.
4. Anse Intendance Beach
A real stunner, Anse Intendance Beach is one of those beaches where you slightly gasp when you see it in real life for the first time.
Granite boulders frame the beach on each side. The water quickly gets deep due to the lack of a coral reef and you have to be careful swimming here.
5. Anse Takamaka Beach
Anse Takamaka Beach is a favourite on Mahé.
This crescent-shaped beach is located with some shade and plenty of opportunity for swimming – just be careful as the waves and currents can be strong.
It’s possible to stay at the southern end at the budget-friendly Chez Batista Villas (adlink).
6. Petite Anse Beach
Petite Anse was one of the prettiest beaches we saw in Mahé.
While technically public, the beach is located behind the gates of the Four Seasons (adlink).
Entrance is free, but you have to first register at the gate. From there you can walk down to the beach (but not use any of the hotel’s facilities).
The beach itself is spectacular and we definitely think it’s worth visiting despite the hassle.
7. Visit the capital Victoria
Victoria is the capital of Seychelles and by far the liveliest place in the whole archipelago.
It’s still very small, though, so walking around to catch the main sights can be done in half a day.
The clock-tower miniature of the Vauxhall Tower of London (called Lorloz in Creole) is one of the top attractions in the city. While it sits quite unspectacularly in the middle of a busy roundabout, it makes for a nice subject in photos from Victoria.
One of the cool things about the capital is the religious diversity that’s on display.
Seychellois are proudly harmonious even though many different cultures and ethnicities are represented in the country and it shows when there’s not much more than a stone’s throw between the Hindu temple, the Roman Catholic cathedral, the mosque and the new Chinese pagoda.
8. Shop at the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke market
If you find yourself in Victoria, you can’t miss the daily Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke market (yes, that’s really what it’s called!)
Here you’ll find a variety of goods on sale.
While fruits, vegetables and other local produce take up the main part of the market, there are also shops on the second floor where you can shop for souvenirs.
9. Hike the Copolia Trail
One of the best things we did on Mahé was hiking the Copolia Trail.
The hike starts at the side of the road about 15 minutes from Victoria where you pay an entrance fee of 100 SCR (~8 EUR/USD).
The Copolia Trail then goes through beautiful jungle on a pretty easy-to-follow path before finally reaching the top after about an hour.
While not strenuous, hiking the Copolia Trail does require a minimum of fitness and agility.
But don’t worry, the views at the top more than make up for the huffing and puffing. It’s simply gorgeous up here!
10. Catch the views from the Morne Blanc Viewpoint
If you can’t get enough of those panoramic views over Mahé, consider hiking the Morne Blanc Trail to the Morne Blanc Viewpoint.
The trail is not easy and requires some stamina to tackle the altitude gain, but you’ll be rewarded with amazing views.
11. Take a tour at the Takamaka Rum Distillery
It’s always interesting to hear how things are made – and at Takamaka Rum Distillery you get to hear the history and process behind the famous Takamaka Rum, made right here in Seychelles.
Don’t forget to bring a designated driver if you plan to sample the goods!
12. Check out Eden Island
Eden Island sits on reclaimed land – like much of Mahé’s northeast coast – and was built as a playground for the well-off with a fancy marina, luxury condos and a (small) modern shopping mall.
Located just between the airport and Victoria, a visit to Eden Island is easy to fit in on most Mahé-itineraries.
Looking for an infinity pool? Look no further than Eden Island’s very own 5-starred Eden Bleu Hotel (adlink).
13. Go on a daytrip to La Digue
If that isn’t a possibility, the next best thing is to visit La Digue on a day trip.
Once there, the top choice is undoubtedly to visit the epic Anse Source d’Argent Beach.
You can then choose to either spend all day here (a fine choice indeed) or to explore more of La Digue’s other stunning beaches.
14. Bonus: Other things to do on Mahé
- There are so many beaches on Mahé we didn’t get to visit. One we would have loved to see is Anse Major near Beau Vallon which you can only get to by hiking.
- The Victoria Botanical Gardens is home to the legendary Coco de Mer palm (with the world’s biggest nuts) as well as several other of Seychelles’ endemic plants and animals. It’s located just 10-15 minutes of walking away from the centre of Victoria.
- As the name suggests, Sauzier Waterfall is a waterfall that is fortunately not too hard to reach. It’s located near Port Glaud on Mahé’s western side.
- The wonderfully biodiverse St. Anne National Marine Park is located just off the coast of Mahé. It’s the oldest marine reserve of Seychelles and home to six small islands. It’s possible to go here on boat tours.
Where to eat on Mahé
Being the biggest and most populated island of Seychelles, Mahé is also where you’ll find the biggest variety when it comes to dining (including vegan and vegetarian options).
Bravo Restaurant – Eden Island
Overlooking the impossibly blue harbour of Eden Island and Mahés beautiful mountains, Bravo Restaurant is a great choice for lunch or dinner if you’re staying in this part of the island.
We dined at Bravo Restaurant twice. The first time, we both had their vegetable curry with rice.
Second time around, Victoria opted for a salad with potatoes, beetroot and sunflower seeds while Alex had a green curry with a nice chilli kick to it.
Tamassa – Eden Island
Also located on Eden Island at Eden Plaza, the restaurant Tamassa has a big varied menu with quite a few vegan options.
Our first dinner here consisted of fried spring rolls as an appetiser followed by a tasty pasta with tomato sauce as well as a red curry with rice.
On our second night at Tamassa, we had a “regular” coconut curry in a vegan version as well as fried noodles with veggies.
There’s often live music or some other musical thing going on at Tamassa, and the location right next to the water is just great.
Grand Savoy – Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa
We were happy to see that Grand Savoy, the main restaurant of the Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa Hotel (adlink) in Beau Vallon, offered a few vegan dishes on the menu.
The vegan and vegetarian dishes weren’t clearly marked but the staff helped us pick out the creole vegetable curry, which we both had for lunch.
The curry was tasty and full of vegetables like eggplant, okra, mushroom, bell pepper as well as some sort of root vegetable. It was served with a bowl of rice.
For dinner, the Grand Savoy restaurant turns into a buffet with a daily changing theme.
When we tried it, the amount of vegan options wasn’t overwhelming (apart from the salads), but the chef helped us pick out a few things and even made us some custom dishes from the kitchen which was much appreciated!
Pescado – Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa
Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa’s (adlink) restaurant Pescado is located in the middle of the resort by the pool, and as we visited in the evening there was a live band playing some relaxing tunes in the tropical night.
The staff was very attentive and although there weren’t any marked on the menu, they did offer a few vegan dishes.
We ordered the quinoa salad with fresh veggies and a mango dressing from the starters.
The chef agreed to veganize the risotto for the main dish which got served with fresh vegetables and a light tomato flavouring.
The starter and main dish combo left our bellies satisfied without feeling heavy at all.
Gecko Bar – Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa
The third café/restaurant of Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa (adlink) is called Gecko Bar, located right next to the Beau Vallon Beach.
We both had their veggie burger with fries and ketchup (remember to ask for no mayo if you want to make it vegan – we got guacamole instead).
There were so many fries that we could easily have shared just one portion.
The interior is beautiful and so is the view to the lush surrounding plants – as well as to the lovely beach.
If you’re in the mood for some vegan comfort food while in Mahé, don’t miss Gecko Bar.
Located deep in the mountains of southern Mahé, Perry’s Grillz is a homestyle restaurant where we had a delicious cheap vegan curry and great views.
The service and hospitality was unbeatable.
It’s also possible to order vegan ratatouille and grilled vegetable skewers. The fresh passion fruit juice was heavenly.
It’s not easy to get here, though!
First of all, Google Maps doesn’t give the right directions. You have to follow the signs posted on the road.
Secondly, we don’t advise you to drive up the final hill before reaching the restaurant. It’s very steep, bendy, and most importantly of all, slippery (at least if it has been raining).
We drove up there and made it without any scratches or accidents by pure luck. We wouldn’t do it again.
Instead, we recommend you park lower down and walk the final bit. Or do the even more comfortable thing and order in as takeaway instead.
More plant-based dining on Mahé
We didn’t have the chance to go there ourselves, but supposedly, the Indian restaurant Mahek at Beau Vallon Beach has some nice vegan options.
There’s also an Indian restaurant in Eden Island called The Maharajas. Indian food is often naturally vegetarian and can easily be veganized.
We heard good things about dining at Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa. We’re guessing it’s not cheap, though.
It might also be worth checking out Adam & Eve Restaurant as well as Del Place Restaurant on the west coast.
How to get around Mahé
Rent a car
Driving around Mahé is easy as all of the main roads are in good condition.
As long as you remember to drive on the left, you’ll be fine.
Parking is free next to most beaches and we didn’t have any trouble finding parking spots.
Most rental cars in Seychelles are automatic.
If you don’t rent a car on Mahé or go on private tours, it is still possible to go around the island by bus.
This way you won’t be as flexible, but at least it’s a very cheap way to travel.
Private airport transfer
If you wish to travel in comfort on a private transfer to and from Seychelles International Airport to any hotel on Mahé, you can book your transfer here (adlink).
When to visit Mahé
The weather on Mahé is very similar to the weather on Praslin and La Digue.
Seychelles is a year-round destination, but there are some seasonal weather variabilities which might be worth knowing about it.
The sun almost always shines and the temperatures consistently hover between 24°C and the low 30s (it very rarely gets hotter than 32°C).
The best time to visit is generally considered spring or autumn when tourism is at its lowest and the weather is at its best.
High season is the summer months of July and August and over Christmas and New Year in December and January. Autumn is also a popular time to visit.
The warmest months are February, March, April and May.
The sea breeze is at its strongest between May and October, which isn’t ideal for snorkelling or diving. The best visibility is found during April, May, October and November.
It rains all year (it’s the tropics, after all), but often just in short bursts. The average humidity is 80%.
The south-east-trade wind picks up between May and September, while the north-west trade wind blows between December and February. In-between there’s almost no wind.
Mahé very rarely gets hit by tropical storms because of its lucky location.
The ocean temperature stays around a very comfortable 26°C year-round.
Tips for visiting Mahé
- There is free wifi in many hotels, but it’s usually not as fast as using 4G.
- We can easily recommend buying a sim card with data for internet access. We bought ours from Airtel. They have shops all over the country.
- Downloading or carrying an offline map is a good idea, especially when hiking.
- The standard electric plugs in Seychelles are type G (like in the UK). Many hotels have adapters, and some even have standard European plugs (type C) and/or USB chargers installed.
- Checking the tides is crucial for visiting many beaches and natural pools at their optimal times.
- The tap water is drinkable (on both Mahé, Praslin and La Digue as far as we could tell) but doesn’t taste good. Consider bringing a water filter or buying water in 5-litre containers to save money and plastic. A few hotels offer free water refills.
- Bring euros or dollars to easily exchange for Seychelles rupees once you’re in the country. There are many banks where you can exchange money but they might be closed at weekends, so check the opening hours.
- Credit cards are widely accepted in shops, hotels and restaurants but some smaller businesses prefer cash – like for takeaway shops.
- Bring a flashlight or at least a phone with a flashlight. If you come back from a hike late or leave the beach after sunset, it can come in handy.
What to bring to Mahé
- Travel insurance (adlink). Never travel without it!
- A good camera – here’s a guide to the gear we use.
- Sunscreen (adlink).
- Hiking shoes.
- Swimwear and a towel.
- Water and snacks.
Minimise your impact
To minimise your impact during your visit, follow these guidelines:
- Bring your own drinking water in a refillable bottle.
- Avoid single-use plastics, including straws.
- Dispose of waste properly. While putting your trash in a nearby trashcan is convenient, wrappers and other small items are prone to get taken by the wind and end up in the ocean.
- Check your sunscreen before going in the water. Many brands contain oxybenzone and other chemicals that are harmful to the ocean.
- Take only photos, leave only footprints. Let everything stay in its natural place.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
- Respect wildlife.
Thanks for reading
We hope you’ve found this travel guide to Mahé Island in Seychelles practical.
What do you think about Mahé?
If you’ve been to Seychelles, it would be great to hear your thoughts (and tips) in the comments.