Seychelles travel guide
Clichéd or not, the Seychelles are about as close to paradise as you can get: once you’ve felt the sand between your toes here, beach holidays will never be the same again.
Made up of 115 topical islands in all, the Seychelles archipelago is a destination where white, sandy beaches are as pure as the driven snow; where frothy turquoise waters harbour colourful coral reefs and bountiful marine life; where secret coves allow you to have your very own Robinson Crusoe moment with only birds and tortoises for company.
Mahé may be the biggest – and the busiest – of the islands, but it has its fair share of secluded bays, which are accessible only by yacht, motorboat or on foot. Together with its sisters Praslin and La Digue, it attracts the lion’s share of tourists.
More adventurous travellers, on the other hand, may prefer to take a flying boat to more remote islands such as Fregate or Bird Island and enjoy secluded beaches all to themselves. These islands are especially popular with birdwatchers and nature lovers, due to their abundance of wildlife.
The absence of people on many of the islands means that rare plant life has thrived on this Indian Ocean archipelago. Tropical life abounds below the waves, too. This is best viewed by going scuba diving or snorkelling, experiences which are made all the more memorable here thanks to the crystalline seas.
It’s not all about nature, though. The Seychelles are a veritable melting pot of cultures: its inhabitants descend from African, Asian and European immigrants, who have brought their customs and traditions with them to the islands. This heady mix is particularly pleasing on the palate thanks to the archipelago's fabulous fusion food.
The Seychelles is a seductive destination all right, and one that’s guaranteed to whet your appetite for a return trip – assuming your bank balance can handle it.
455.3 sq km (176 sq miles).
97,026 (UN estimate 2016).
203.1 per sq km.
President James Michel since 2004.
President James Michel since 2004.
Last updated: 17 December 2018
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Seychelles experiences 2 seasonal changes during the year. The start and end of the seasons are less predictable than before, but generally the northwest monsoon season runs from December to March and the southeast trade winds make for a drier and slightly cooler season from May to September. Currents and waves are affected by this. Beaches which are safer at certain times of the year can be dangerous for swimming at other times. In general, the west coast is affected during the northwest monsoon and the east coast is affected during the southeast winds. Beaches at the southern tip are not recommended for swimming at any time. You should exercise caution when swimming, especially with children. Currents can be strong and drownings occur. Ask hotel staff about the conditions before you visit the beaches in Seychelles.
There is a problem with drugs in Seychelles, in particular heroin. Crime levels have risen as a result; there has been an increase in break-ins, robberies, burglaries and opportunist thefts against residents, expatriates and tourists.
There were robberies and attacks at, and around, Cote D’Or beach on the island of Praslin in late 2017. Police responded with increased foot patrols and lighting. They advise visitors to take care when walking in this area, particularly at night.
You should take sensible precautions to safeguard yourself and your possessions.
Piracy remains a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.
Some UK networks don’t allow roaming in Seychelles. You can buy local SIM cards in Victoria. You should check with your UK service provider to make sure that you can use a different SIM card in your phone before you travel.
Most visits to Seychelles are trouble-free.
Although there is no recent history of terrorism in the Seychelles, attacks can’t be ruled out.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Safety and security
Most visits to Seychelles are trouble free. However, there has been an increase in break-ins, robberies, burglaries and opportunist thefts against residents, expatriates and tourists. Crime is generally non-violent, but bags have been snatched, cars broken into and tourists robbed while walking at night. You should take sensible precautions to safeguard yourself and your possessions.
Parked cars, residential accommodation including guest houses and hotels, beaches, and marked and unmarked walking trails may be targeted. Don’t take valuables, and walk with organised groups.
You should maintain at least the same level of security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your living accommodation is secure. Use a hotel safe to store valuables, money and passports. Don’t leave valuables in cars or anywhere on display, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing eye-catching jewellery.
Accommodation, particularly in isolated areas, should have adequate security, including external security lighting, grilles and overnight security guards.
Be vigilant and when outside hotel grounds, carry a mobile phone with roaming capability for use in an emergency. It’s worth checking roaming rates with your mobile phone service provider as they can be extremely high.
Take care in isolated areas and also in more popular places like Beau Vallon and the back streets of Victoria, especially after dark.
Mahé is mountainous, and roads are narrow and winding, often with sheer drops and hairpin bends. Not all such roads are equipped with safety barriers. Deep, uncovered storm drains flank many roads. Take care when driving. Drink-driving is a problem, so be aware of other road users who may behave erratically. Sudden heavy downpours can reduce visibility and road surface conditions quickly.
When returning hired vehicles, obtain an acknowledgement that the vehicle has not been damaged during the period of hire. Third party insurance is compulsory, and comprehensive insurance is also available locally. UK driving licences are valid for stays of up to three months.
Buses are cheap but infrequent on some routes (a timetable is available from the bus station in Victoria). Most public bus routes don’t operate after 8pm.
Taxis are generally of a good standard. Taxi meters are increasingly common but if a taxi is not equipped with one, you should agree a fare before starting your journey.
Recent piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, highlight that the threat of piracy related activity and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean remains. Reports of attacks on local fishing dhows in the area around the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa continue.
The combined threat assessment of the international Naval Counter Piracy Forces remains that all sailing yachts under their own passage should remain out of the designated High Risk Area or face the risk of being hijacked and held hostage for ransom.
For more information and advice, see our Piracy and armed robbery at sea page.
Most of the inner island resorts are accessible by ferry. You should pay attention to safety briefings when taking any boat trips and make sure life jackets are provided, especially on smaller excursion boats.
Take care when swimming or snorkelling, even on organised excursions, and particularly with children or the elderly; drowning does occur.
Beaches that offer safe swimming during the south east monsoon (May to September) may not be safe during the north east monsoon (November to March) and vice versa. Seek local advice, heed signage on beaches and stay within your depth. Dangerous rip currents can occur off the popular Beau Vallon beach (and some other beaches) when the sea is rough.
Beaches do not always show safety information and you shouldn’t assume they’re safe. Lifeguards are not numerous, though some are stationed on popular beaches. Ask hotel staff about conditions and safety on nearby beaches.
Presidential elections in December 2015 resulted in a narrow endorsement of the governing party (Parti Lepep). The opposition court challenge in May 2016 failed and President Michel’s victory was confirmed.
Legislative elections in September 2016 resulted in the opposition gaining a majority in the National Assembly for the first time. President Michel resigned in October and Vice President Danny Faure took office. As of late 2018, some peaceful demonstrations have taken place calling for fresh presidential elections.
Although there is no recent history of terrorism in the Seychelles, attacks can’t be ruled out. You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those visited by foreigners.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Local laws and customs
Drug taking and smuggling are serious offences in Seychelles.
Topless sunbathing is uncommon and not tolerated on some beaches. Nudism is not acceptable.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Seychelles. However, local attitudes vary, so public displays of affection may be best avoided or at least discreet. Same-sex marriage is not currently permitted by law. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Visas are not required for British passport holders.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Seychelles.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist are available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
Medical facilities in Seychelles are limited, especially on the more remote islands where doctors are often unavailable. The main hospital (including accident and emergency services) is in Victoria (telephone: + 248 4388000). Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Bring sun protection cream and insect repellents with you; local supplies can be expensive.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Goods and services are paid for in Seychelles rupees (SCR). It isn’t common to purchase goods or pay for services in any other currency, although some guesthouses and hotels may accept euros or US dollars. You should check before travelling.
Exchanging money can be done at travel agents, banks and bureau de changes. ATMs are common in Seychelles, most are found in Victoria but it can be difficult to find them in more remote areas. Most shops and restaurants accept credit and debit card payments. You should check with your hotel or guesthouse if you will be able to pay using your card.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.