By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
July 10, 2019
Ron Pettitt/Getty Images

Elegant wines that accompany memorable meals. Solitary hikes through forests to cliffs from which to watch migrating humpback whales. Five-star hotels and charming inns. No wonder Canada’s Vancouver Island, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton Island continue to receive accolades from our readers.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.

RelatedThe World's Best Awards 2019

Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island (No. 3), became well-known as the home of Anne of Green Gables, but it’s forging a new reputation for its restaurants. The unspoiled island is famous for its Malpeque oysters, and you’ll find them served with style at places like The Inn at Bay Fortune, where chef Michael Smith oversees an experience that involves a tour of the farm and a multicourse feast. Beyond dining, travelers can enjoy the 2,185 square-mile island’s rust-tinted sand, verdant fields, and 25 golf courses.

It’s worth a trip to Vancouver Island (No. 2) if only to taste the lauded red, white, and rosé wines that are produced by its some 30 wineries, few of which export to the U.S. Travelers can enjoy the elegance of the historic city of Victoria or spend their days exploring the miles of trails, where it’s common to spot black bears and cougars. As one reader described, “The eco-friendly residents welcome visitors to great public parks and beaches,” while another praised the ease with which one can navigate the island: “Lots to do within walking distance of the hotels.”

As for the winner, it not only claims the top spot here for the third year in a row, but a place on the Best Islands in the World.

3. Prince Edward Island

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

Score: 81.74

2. Vancouver Island

Edgar Bullon/Getty Images

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 83.54

1. Cape Breton Island

Pawel Toczynski/Getty Images

Score: 90.06

Road trip along the 185-mile Cabot Trail, which weaves through a national park along the coast, or meander through historic sites that reflect the island’s Acadian, First Nations, and Gaelic history. Take to the water for a whale-watching trip, or shop for artisanal souvenirs at Big Fiddle Market. The Resort at Cabot Links offers a plush perch from which to venture; home to two internationally celebrated golf courses, the lodge’s sleek 72 rooms and 19 villas offer sunset views of the Atlantic and are outfitted with Frette linens, L’Occitane toiletries, and marble bathrooms. Enthused one reader of the island experience, “Cape Breton has history, natural attractions, terrific food, and great accommodations,” while another wrote, “It has a laid-back vibe, and the rolling hills and water views are breathtaking.”

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2019.

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