Mahé is the archipelago's largest island at 27 km by 8 km (17 miles by 5 miles). Home to 90% of the country's population of 90,000, it displays an amazing ethnic diversity, with descendants of European colonists and African slaves living harmoniously with later settlers from Arabia, India, and China.
Mahé also displays the magnificent geology and verdant landscapes of the whole country with its own 3,200-foot granite peaks, virgin mist forests, and more than 65 exceptional beaches, making it the perfect one-stop island for a short visit. Mahé is the main transport hub for transfers to other islands in the archipelago, many of which can be visited on a long day trip. Tours of the capital Victoria or the whole island are enjoyable and educational, but many visitors may prefer to spend their time simply soaking in the tropical ambience on the sugar-white beaches. North Mahé, home to famous Beau Vallon Beach, is more populous than other parts of the island, though its wide range of hotels and restaurants remains discreet and tasteful. In contrast, the farther south you go, the quieter it gets, with some of the most beautiful beaches and Creole villages found around Anse Intendance and Anse Forbans.