Fiji holidays offer the best of both worlds: thrilling adventures and pure beach bliss. With 333 islands to choose from, scattered throughout the dazzling blue waters of the South Pacific Ocean, there’s certainly no shortage of shores. Expect swaying palms, brilliant white sands and coral reefs teeming with colourful marine life. The ‘Soft Coral Capital of the World’, this magnificent archipelago is entirely surrounded by world-class reefs. But there’s also a whole world of green to discover. Lush jungle interiors conceal tumbling waterfalls, and fascinating eco treasures await discovery on the lesser frequented islands. With most of Fiji’s islands formed by ancient volcanic activity, the landscapes are dramatically beautiful, from underwater canyons and tunnels to lands that twist and turn into rocky cliffs and rolling mountains. From cruising along the Coral Coast in a car hire to exploring further afield via boat and air transfers, all of it is within reach.
Fiji’s main island is Viti Levu, where the nation’s two international airports are located. It’s possible to have an unforgettable time here without even leaving. As well as the bustling cities and towns, such as popular Nadi and Suva, there are many remote slices of jungle and beach to soak up, though many would claim the beaches are more beautiful on the outer islands. Vanua Levu is another popular spot, the second biggest island. But many travellers flee for the shores of the Yasawa Islands and the Mamanuca Islands, famed for their beauty and brimming with luxurious accommodation options. To get off the beaten track, head to beautiful Taveuni, nicknamed the Garden Island for its eco treasures. Or if you’re really adventurous, leave the obvious hotels and restaurants behind and experience true Fijian culture on the Lau Group islands or Kadavu. That’s just a taste – there’s plenty more!
Things to do
Fiji is where all of your tropical island dreams come to life. Start your holiday in Viti Levu. Aside from the obvious – lazing on the beach – don’t miss your chance to explore the island’s lush tropical heart. Take a dip in the gorgeous waterfalls, zip line through the jungle treetops, or kayak or raft down the gorgeous freshwater rivers snaking their way through. An unexpected highlight is the Sigatoka Sand Dunes, the largest in the South Pacific and an archaeological haven. Also fabulous is the view from the top of Mt Batilamu – but you’ll have to tackle the challenging hike first. If you’d prefer to explore the culture-laden cities and towns, hit the bustling markets, drop into a local village or take part in a traditional kava welcoming ceremony. Otherwise, admire the traditional Dravidian architecture of Nadi’s favourite Hindu temple, soak up the resort life on Denarau Island, or indulge in the cosmopolitan vibes of Suva, a modern city brimming with museums, landmarks and nightclubs.
Outside of Viti Levu, the pure bliss and tropical fun continues. From quad bike tours to scenic helicopter flights and jet ski safaris, there are so many ways to take in all the islands. Sail around the stunning waters of the Mamanuca Islands, venture into the ancient limestone Sawailau Caves on the hilly Yasawa Islands, and surf the world-class breaks of Namotu Island. True nature-lovers will revel in the nature reserves, wildlife and waterfalls of Taveuni, and keen fishers and kayakers will fall for the remote beauty of the Lau Group islands and Kadavu. Everywhere around Fiji, the snorkelling and diving is world-class. Come face to face with reef sharks, turtles and colourful tropical fish species, or swim with giant Manta Rays at Manta Ray Island between May and October. Once you’ve ticked off the local sights, don’t forget to relax, kick back and soak up a sunset from your private villa – it’s meant to be a holiday, after all.
Food & restaurants
Fiji is a tropical haven of flavours and smells. Thanks to its Pacific Island location, it’s famous for fresh seafood. Fish, prawn and lobster are typical menu options, prepared in numerous ways. A must-try seafood dish is the Fijian kokoda, where fresh fish is marinated in lime and lemon juice (which actually ‘cooks’ the raw meat) before coconut milk and other flavours are added. Coconut is a typical flavour, but you’ll also discover plenty of fabulous curries, home-grown chicken, and fresh vegetables and tubers. If you’re lucky, you may be invited to take part in a traditional feast where the food is cooked in a Fijian lovo, an underground oven. Another fond tradition is the kava ceremony, when the mildly narcotic national drink is served as part of the ceremony. Made from the pepper plant, it’s widely drunk at any time of day and can be found in many of the open-air markets.
Restaurants in Fiji reflect the island's rich cultural mix. As well as the typical local flavours, there’s a wide range of Chinese and Indian cuisine to be found infused into the menus and dishes. The widest variety of dining out options can be found in the bigger centres on Viti Levu, such as Nadi and Suva. But there are plenty of incredible authentic dishes and international culinary delights to be found in the resorts and towns across the islands. Resort restaurants range from the all-inclusive package dining options to chefs serving up top-notch sophisticated fare. Many resorts on the main island also include a lovo once a week, often with the added delights of traditional dance performances. Wherever you go, you can trust that the food is fresh and served with a warm and friendly smile.
Fiji is famous for its bounty of island resorts boasting world-class facilities, service and of course, breathtaking views. While the bulk of the accommodation options are scattered around Viti Levu, the smaller islands still have some fabulous choices ranging from homestays to exclusive 5-star resorts. From the Shangri-La to Rydges, many international chains also call the islands home, so if you prefer to stick to what you know, your options certainly won’t be limited. If you’re really looking to splurge, Fiji is a whole new world of private terraces, infinity pools and extravagantly styled rooms. Honeymoon or not, romance is guaranteed. Spend your nights sleeping in an overwater bungalow, keep the sand at your doorstep in a luxurious beachside villa, or go all out and book a boutique hotel with an onsite spa for pampering.
If affordability is more important to you than luxury, Fiji is still a great holiday destination. Budget bungalows, camping spots and apartment rentals mean that every type of traveller is catered to. A wide range of mid-range hotels are also easy to find, from the Best Western to 3-star beach club resorts. If you’re bringing the children, there’s a wide range of family-friendly resorts offering kids’ clubs, babysitting services, water slides and pools, as well as fun water sports out on the ocean. Another bonus of this destination’s popularity is that there’s a wide range of package holidays to choose from. This makes it easy to get great value for money and minimise fuss throughout the holiday booking process.
Shopping in Fiji does not make up a big part of the tourism. However, the islands offer an abundance of markets where you can enjoy the hustle-bustle and pick up anything from local produce to handcrafted souvenirs. There’s also a wide range of shops, boutiques and duty free outlets, where you can buy everything from designer clothes and perfumes to day spa products. The best place to find these is in Nadi Town, but they’re also dotted around Suva, Lautoka, Savusavu and the Coral Coast area. Most shops are open from 8am to 5pm from Monday to Friday, with many closing around 3pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday. Markets however have much more liberal opening hours. Unlike many other island destinations, bartering is generally not considered acceptable here and can be considered disrespectful.
If you’re wondering what to buy, Fiji is well known for its fabulous range of locally made handicrafts. Woven goods such as baskets and mats are iconic souvenirs, as are purses and fans made from the local reed. Carvings and pottery are also popular purchases, as are the intricate patterned artworks created on Fijian masi and tapa cloth. A great spot to browse for all of this is the Handicraft Market in Nadi, but you can also buy these special and unique pieces from some of the local villages and various markets. If you’re looking for some new tropical clothes to show off by the beach, swimmers, bula shirts and casual sportswear is easy to find, and local tailors are happy to help you get the perfect fit for a wide range of clothing. For the most expensive souvenir of all, don’t look past Fiji’s famous black pearls.