The best private islands available to buy now

Whether it’s a private island owned by a celebrity trying to escape the paparazzi, or the retreat of a superyacht owner prized for its deserted anchorages, a private island is the most exclusive holiday home that money can offer. If you're looking for an extraordinary Christmas gift to buy this holiday season, click through our edit of the best private islands available to buy now, and find your own piece of paradise.

Katafanga Island

Lau Islands, Fiji

Located in Fiji’s unspoiled Lau Islands, Katafanga has all the credentials to become a world-class luxury resort. One of the last freehold islands in the South Pacific, it has had a considerable amount of groundwork put in place. There is already a ring road, runway, reservoir and staff housing on the 90-hectare site. Twenty high-spec villas are also under construction, leaving a new owner free to come in and complete the development with their vision.

At 1.6 kilometres long and only 500 metres wide, Katafanga is covered in palm trees and tropical vegetation and is surrounded by sugar- white beaches. But it’s the 2,000-hectare turquoise lagoon surrounding the island that’s likely to be the biggest draw for future visitors. Encircled by a vast, healthy reef, it’s home to schools of tropical fish and bioluminescent organisms which light up at night.

Katafanga is an hour’s flight from Nadi International Airport, and by boat, the island is just over 200 nautical miles from Port Denarau Marina. Fortunately, there is a natural 60-metre break in the coral reef, which will allow superyachts to pass through and enjoy a sheltered anchorage within the lagoon.

Katafanga Island is listed for sale with Vladi Private Islands for $17 million.

Isola delle Femmine

Sicily, Italy

Sitting 300 metres from the shoreline, Isola delle Femmine is just a quick tender (or an ambitious swim) from the toe of Italy – but it feels like it belongs to another time and place. The 15-hectare island, which is being sold by one of Italy’s aristocratic families, boasts a landscape covered in mandrake, mallow and erba stella, and dominated by an old watchtower.There are many rumours as to how the oval- shaped islet got its name. The most popular tale is that 13 Turkish maidens were banished by their families for misdemeanours and ended up shipwrecked there for seven years. Although there is little evidence for this, there are plenty of relics from the island’s genuine history, including Ancient Greek and Roman stone basins and a well that dates back to the Middle Ages.

The old watchtower was damaged during the Allied landing in Sicily in the Second World War but could be used as the starting point for a new development. The island’s shores are predominantly white pebble but there is also a sandy beach in a cove, which provides the best landing spot for small boats. Depending on the plans, it might be possible for the new owner to apply for tax incentives and funding to help secure the future of Isola delle Femmine.

Isola delle Femmine is listed with Christie’s International Real Estate for €1.6 million.

Ethereal Island

Greece

As its name suggests, the five-hectare island of Ethereal, which sits less than a nautical mile away from the mainland town of Eretria in central Greece, is so beautiful that it has otherworldly qualities. Surrounded by crystal blue waters, its flora-covered shores are home to pomegranate, apricot, peach, almond and fig trees that were planted by its original owner. The island’s natural beauty hasn’t gone unnoticed – previous visitors include The Beatles, members of the former Greek royal family and the late Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie.

The island is already equipped with two traditional Greek homes that were built in the 1960s. The main house has four bedrooms and extra guests can be accommodated in a bungalow on the largest beach. There is also a staff house with a further two bedrooms. Additional features include a picturesque chapel with hand-painted walls, and a Venetian-style stone tower, which previously served as a studio for the former owner, who was an artist. The island may feel like it belongs in another universe, but it is only 15 minutes by helicopter, or an hour’s drive, from Athens International Airport. It can also be easily accessed from the mainland by boat and has two piers on its west side that can be used for mooring.

Ethereal is listed for sale with Sotheby’s International Realty for €7.5 million.

Nananu-i-Cake

Fiji

Just off Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, Nananu-i-Cake offers nearly 243 hectares of tropical privacy, five soft sand beaches and its own private islet, called Bua. The island has plenty of development potential, but is already perfectly set up as a private getaway.

Sitting at the top of the island to make the most of the 360-degree views over neighbouring Nananu-i-Ra and Viti Levu is a four-bedroom residence. Designed by New Zealand architect Murray Cockburn, it has stone walls, dark wood shutters and a large open-plan living space. Further accommodation is found through a covered walkway in two Fijian guest “bure” bedroom suites. A pool is located outside within mature gardens, and is complemented by an outdoor dining and barbecue area to make the most of the tropical climate. A string of mangrove-lined tracks criss-cross the island to give access to its beaches and new 110-metre jetty. All of the island’s boats and all-terrain vehicles are included in the sale.

A helipad near the main house means the island can be accessed by chopper from Nadi International Airport in just 35 minutes. Those arriving by boat can make use of the sheltered jetty, which can house vessels with a draught of up to five metres at low tide. With all the benefits of owning your own island, coupled with easy access and a ready-made home, the new owner of this particular isle can have their Cake and eat it.

Nananu-i-Cake is listed for sale with Knight Frank for $12 million.

Lumber Cay

Exumas, The Bahamas
Credit: Frangipani Photography

Made up of nearly 10 hectares of pure white sand and lush vegetation, Lumber Cay is a Bahamian blank canvas. Despite its wild appearance, the island’s optimal location makes it an enticing bolthole for any superyacht owner. Surrounded by deep aquamarine waters and with a protected bay to the west, the cay’s watery perimeters are ideal for anchoring and provide an easy hop from ship to shore. For those who prefer to travel by air, Lumber Cay is also primed for a helicopter or seaplane landing.

The Exumas may be known for their Robinson Crusoe aesthetic but this estate is just 200 metres from Staniel Cay, the region’s biggest yachting hotspot. With a marina that accommodates yachts of up to 65 metres, sunglass-shielded VIPs are regularly found propping up the bar at its yacht club. The Bahamas’ most famed Instagram stars, the swimming pigs of Big Major Cay, are also neighbours, while the bustling Bahamian capital of Nassau is only 70 nautical miles away. An ambitious owner has the opportunity here to create from scratch a personalised island paradise. With picturesque landscapes and a tropical climate, it’s no surprise that Nicolas Cage, Shakira and country-music power couple Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have created similar idylls nearby.

Lumber Cay is listed with Knight Frank for $9.3 million.

Pumpkin Key

Florida, US
Credit: Vladi Private Islands

Less than 50 minutes by boat from Miami and just 10 minutes by chopper from the city’s South Beach, Pumpkin Key is perfect for those seeking privacy without the castaway vibe. Lying in Florida Keys’ Card Sound Bay, the island also comes with dockage at the ultra-exclusive Ocean Reef club (just 10 minutes by tender), which has a private jet airstrip, two championship golf courses and 13 restaurants. The gated community is home to billionaires and celebrities.

The lush 10 hectare island has a main house, built in 1985, with three bedrooms and bathrooms and two caretakers’ cottages. Perfect for yacht owners, it has a 20-slip marina, which can berth a superyacht, and its own dockmaster office. It also has a tennis court that doubles as a helipad for easy arrival and departure.

Ripe for development, the new owner could create a family compound with several large bay-front homes or turn the island into a rival club, with 12 homes sitting on 6,000 square metre lots.

Pumpkin Key is listed for sale with Vladi Private Islands for $95 million.

Little Pipe Cay

Exumas, The Bahamas
Credit: Knight Frank

Few private islands offer quite so much scope for combining the privacy of an island retreat with the luxury of having your superyacht nearby quite like Little Pipe Cay. This jewel of the Exumas island chain in the Bahamas spans 38 acres and offers access to no fewer than four pristine beaches surrounded by the crystal clear waters for which the Bahamas is known. Shallow draft superyachts can moor at the island's many private docks but, with five houses and cottages on the island offering nine bedrooms, the new owner should never be short of space for guests.

Carefully designed by its current owners, who bought the island over 15 years ago, key features at Little Pipe Cay's numerous homes include large terraces overlooking the ocean, a variety of hosting and entertaining areas, opulently decorated living spaces including formal dining rooms and bars, a spa, chapel and a staff village. A sea barn also offers plentiful storage for smaller boats, Jet Skis and other water toys while a large infinity pool offers an alternative sunbathing spot.

Little Pipe Cay is listed for sale with Knight Frank for $100 million.

Big Darby Island

Exumas, The Bahamas

Romantic long weekends in the Bahamas have long been a popular pastime among superyacht owners and if you fell in love with the yachting hotspot on your most recent trip why not put down roots at Darby Island? The 554 acre private island is located in the Exuma Cays, around 95 miles from Nassau, and boasts over 6.5km of white sandy beaches. The only development on the island consists of a 7,000 square foot castle built in 1938 by former owner Sir Baxter, which has the potential to be transformed into a stunning residence, while the island could also support an airstrip up to 5,000 feet in length.

Darby Island is listed for sale with Coldwell Banker for $39 million.

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