Seychelles travel guide
Clichéd or not, the islands of Seychelles are about as close to paradise as you can get: once you have felt the sand between your toes and paddled in the crystal clear waters 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 all 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 a constant surge 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 throughout this Indian Ocean archipelago. Tropical life abounds below the waves too, and is best viewed by going scuba diving or snorkelling, experiences which are made all the more memorable here thanks to the crystalline seas.
Seychelles is more than just a natural sanctuary, though. The country is 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.
Seychelles is an extraordinarily alluring destination, and one that's guaranteed to whet your appetite for a return trip – assuming your bank balance can handle it.
452 sq km (175 sq miles).
95,850 (UN estimate 2019).
208 per sq km.
President Wavel Ramkalawan since 2020.
President Wavel Ramkalawan since 2020.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.
Before you travel
No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:
If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.
This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Seychelles set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Seychelles High Commission in the UK.
There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Seychelles.
Passport validity requirements
If you’re visiting Seychelles, your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay.
Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.
You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.
You do not need a visa to visit Seychelles, but you must get a travel authorisation before you travel.
When you arrive, you’ll get a visitor’s permit for 3 months. You can apply for 3-month extensions, up to a maximum period of 12 months in total, if you meet visitor permit extension requirements. You can apply to extend any time before your current visitor’s permit expires.
The visitor’s permit is free for the first 3 months, but there is a fee for each 3-month extension.
Applying for a travel authorisation
You must apply and pay for a travel authorisation online to enter Seychelles. You can apply up to 10 days before you arrive. In an emergency, you can pay an extra fee for an express application.
When you apply, you will need to show you meet Seychelles entry requirements. These include having:
- a valid return or onward ticket
- proof of confirmed accommodation
- sufficient funds for the duration of your stay
Checks at border control
When you arrive, you may need to show proof you have travel insurance and are covered for any potential health costs.
You must have a certificate to prove you’ve had a yellow fever vaccination if you’re coming from a country listed as a transmission risk.
For full details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Seychelles guide.
There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Seychelles. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.
Taking money into Seychelles
If you are taking cash with a value of 50,000 Seychellois rupees or more into Seychelles, declare this when you apply for your travel authorisation.
There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.
Terrorism in Seychelles
Although there is no recent history of terrorism in Seychelles, attacks cannot be ruled out.
Protecting yourself and your belongings
There is a risk of break-ins, robberies, burglaries and opportunistic thefts. Crime is generally non-violent, but people can have their bags snatched, cars broken into or be robbed while walking at night.
Criminals may target parked cars, residential accommodation including guest houses, hotels, beaches, and marked and unmarked walking trails.
To reduce the risk to yourself and your belongings:
- make sure your living accommodation has external security lighting, grilles and overnight security guards
- use a hotel safe or safety deposit box to store valuables, money and passports
- do not leave valuables in cars or anywhere on display
- avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive-looking jewellery or watches
- carry a mobile phone with roaming capability for use in an emergency
Be particularly alert in:
- Beau Vallon
- the back streets of Victoria
- any isolated area, especially at night
Call the Seychelles police on +248 428 8000 to report any incident.
Laws and cultural differences
Topless sunbathing is uncommon. Nudism is not accepted and is likely to cause offence.
Illegal drugs and prison sentences
Drug taking and smuggling are serious offences in Seychelles. Penalties are severe and may include fines and prison sentences, up to life imprisonment.
Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Seychelles, but attitudes vary. Same-sex marriage is not recognised.
Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.
Outdoor activities and adventure tourism
Beaches can be safe for swimming at some times of the year and dangerous at others. In general, the west coast is unsafe during the north-west monsoon (around December to March), and the east coast is unsafe during the south-east winds season (around May to September). Beaches at the southern tip are not suitable for swimming at any time.
Beaches do not always have safety information. You should not assume they’re safe. The popular Beau Vallon beach, and some other beaches, may have dangerous rip currents when the sea is rough.
There are not many lifeguards, though some are stationed on popular beaches. Ask for local advice about the conditions before you visit the beaches and follow any warning signs.
See water safety on holiday from the Royal Life Saving Society.
It is generally safe to hike in Seychelles. Visitors have sometimes got lost on nature walks or hiking on trails. You can plan a route and access online guides and safety tips from the Seychelles Tourism Department.
You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Seychelles for 3 months. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get a 1968 international driving permit (IDP) as well.
Hire car companies often have stricter requirements for their customers, such as a year of driving experience, a higher minimum age and holding an IDP.
Driving and road standards
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.
Drink-driving is a problem, so other road users may behave erratically.
Sudden heavy downpours can reduce visibility and road surface conditions quickly. Potholes can appear suddenly after heavy rains. Drivers sometimes veer sharply across lanes to avoid them.
Buses are cheap but infrequent on some routes. A timetable is available from the bus station in Victoria or from the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation. Most public buses do not operate after 8pm.
Taxis are generally of a good standard. Taxi meters are increasingly common but if a taxi is not equipped with one, agree a fare before starting your journey.
Piracy in the region has decreased but there is still some risk, especially off the coast of Somalia. You can check the latest situation with United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations and Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa).
For more information and advice, see piracy and armed robbery at sea.
Most of the inner island resorts are accessible by ferry. Pay attention to safety briefings when taking any boat trips. Make sure life jackets are provided, especially on smaller excursion boats.
Before you travel check that:
- your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
- you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation
This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.
Emergency medical number
Call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Vaccinations and health risks
At least 8 weeks before your trip check:
- the latest information on vaccination recommendations and health risks in TravelHealthPro’s Seychelles guide
- where to get vaccines and whether you have to pay on the NHS travel vaccinations page
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.
The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.
Healthcare facilities in Seychelles
As a tourist, you must pay for medical treatment.
Residents in Seychelles from overseas need to pay for some treatment, including medication and prescriptions.
The main hospital is at Mont Fleuri in Victoria on Mahé, and there are local health centres in most residential areas. Victoria Hospital has an accident and emergency department, and facilities such as scans. There are many private clinics in Seychelles, mostly offering GP services.
FCDO has a list of English-speaking doctors in Seychelles.
Travel and mental health
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.
Emergency services in Seychelles
Telephone: 999 (ambulance, fire, police)
Contact your travel provider and insurer
Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.
Refunds and changes to travel
For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.
Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:
- where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
- how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim
Support from FCDO
FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:
- finding English-speaking lawyers and funeral directors in Seychelles
- dealing with a death in Seychelles
- being arrested or imprisoned in Seychelles
- getting help if you’re a victim of crime
- what to do if you’re in hospital
- if you’re affected by a crisis, such as a terrorist attack
You can also contact FCDO online.
Help abroad in an emergency
If you’re in Seychelles and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British High Commission in Victoria.
FCDO in London
You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.
Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)
Risk information for British companies
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.