Seychelles is an amazing holiday destination. If you had to describe a perfect tropical island—turquoise sea, golden beaches, and coconut trees—you could be describing any one of the 115 islands in this scattered nation.
Because there are so many islands, you might think visiting Seychelles would be difficult. However, Seychelles International Airport is located on the largest island of Mahé, and the 2 next largest islands of Praslin and Silhouette are only 27 miles and 12 miles away respectively.
Many of the main attractions and national parks can be found on these 3 islands. The Seychelles government is dedicated to preserving the environment, and this is reflected in its efforts to protect the flora and fauna.
There are many attractions in Seychelles, but I’ve narrowed this down to the top 7 must-see landmarks.
#1. Mission Lodge
Like many places in Africa, the history of Seychelles often highlights the struggles of its people against oppression and slavery. While not an impressive monument, the Mission Lodge is an unforgettable reminder that not so long-ago slavery was a reality for many people.
The lodge was originally built in the 19th-century by a missionary society to educate the first slaves freed in the Seychelles. The ruins of that building are situated on the side of Mont Fleuri on Mahé Island and provide stunning views over the mountains and sea.
Mission Lodge building is a testament to both the negative and positive effects of Western imperialism on the citizens of this small island nation.
#2. State House
The State House, in the capital city of Victoria on Mahé Island, is the most famous building in Seychelles. The current building was built in 1910 and is a typical white-washed, colonial structure with an impressive colonial veranda and balcony.
Within the grounds is the tomb of Governor Jean Baptiste Quéau de Quincy, the last French governor who surrendered the island to the British in 1794. Today this grand building is the Seat of the President of Seychelles.
Historically, the State House is the focal point of power in the islands. It passed from the French to the British and is now used by the sovereign nation’s elected government as a symbol of their authority.
#3. The Old Courthouse & Supreme Court
When the British arrived in 1794, they brought their own notions of law and justice. The Old Courthouse is a tangible reminder of the imposition of European morality and rules on an African island nation.
You can find the Old Courthouse in the center of Victoria, close to the Natural History Museum and opposite the UK High Commission. Although it shares the colonnaded verandah and balcony basic plan of the State House, otherwise it’s a fantastic example of Creole architecture.
If you continue along Francis Rachel Street, you can see more typical colonial buildings that make this the historical center of Victoria.
#4. The Clock Tower (Lorloz)
Erected in 1903, this ornate tower in the centre of the busy intersection of Independence Avenue and Francis Rachel Street in Victoria is the most photographed landmark in Seychelles. It looks like a miniature version of the tower in London called “Big Ben”, leading to the affectionate nickname of “Little Ben”.
The Clock Tower marks the center of Victoria. It is a replica of the clock found on Vauxhall Bridge Road in London, and another reminder of the Seychelles Islands’ colonial past.
#5. Bicentennial Monument (To Zozo)
Also, on Independence Avenue is the Bicentennial Monument. In many ways, this monument is a break from the past. The first 4 landmarks in my list were historical structures built by the British colonists. This is an ultra-modern, monumental sculpture erected by the independent government in 1978, only 2 years after gaining independence.
But, essentially, this monument is a reminder of the past. It commemorates the bicentenary of the founding of Victoria by Charles Routier de Romainville in 1778. It was designed by an Italian resident of the islands, Lorenzo Appiani.
The 3 birds (To Zozo) of the sculpture symbolize the merging of African, European, and Indian heritage in the culture and population of the islands. It also recognizes that, until recently, birds were the only inhabitants of the islands, and still are for many of the smaller islands amongst the 115.
#6. Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple
I already mentioned that one of the main influences on the Seychelles’ culture and population is India. Given their location in the Indian Ocean between India and Africa, the reason for this should be clear. Also, the Seychelles government has grown closer to India since independence and even shares a joint military facility with India on Assumption Island.
Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple is a highly visible sign of the significant Indian influence on the local culture today. It is a beautiful Hindu temple built in 1992 and dedicated to the Hindu god of safety and prosperity, Lord Vinayagar.
This amazing structure stands in the center of Victoria against a backdrop of lush tropical greenery. I think it’s the most photogenic building on the islands.
#7. The Dauban Mausoleum
I don’t want to leave you with the impression the only worthwhile landmarks are on Mahé Island. Actually, the Dauban Mausoleum is undoubtedly the most impressive single structure in the whole of Seychelles, and it’s on Silhouette Island.
For a hundred years, Silhouette Island was owned by the Dauban family, who originated from France. Much like the great industrial barons of American history, they owned vast amounts of property and built stately homes. In fact, they were once called “the Rothschilds of the Indian Ocean”.
The Dauban Mausoleum was designed to resemble Eglise de la Madeleine in Paris. With its ornate portico, 6 monumental columns, and classical Greek architecture, it will leave you breathless. Surrounded by coconut trees and a lush jungle, it looks rather out of place.
The nearby Dauban Plantation House is now a museum and is also well worth a visit.
Tips for Visiting Seychelles Islands
Seychelles is a great holiday destination. I want you to enjoy your visit, so here are 7 tips to help you plan your journey.
#1. Take action to prevent crime
The Seychelles are peaceful islands with a low crime rate. However, people are people everywhere, so crime happens. Take a few routine precautions for self-protection. Don’t walk along isolated beaches or swim alone. Don’t leave bags unattended, and only fill them with what you need for that trip. And always lock your hotel room door, even if you’re in the room.
#2. Avoid unauthorized foreign currency dealers
Individuals may approach you in public places and offer to exchange your dollars for Seychellois rupees. The rupees they offer may be counterfeit. Politely refuse and move on.
#3. Dress appropriately on beaches
Regardless of your preconceived ideas of tranquil tropical islands, nudism is not allowed on any beach in the Seychelles. Topless sunbathing is tolerated on some, but not all, beaches.
#4. Talk to your hotel reception before going to the beach
Seaweed plagues the beaches of Mahé and Praslin and that makes it unpleasant if not impossible to swim, snorkel, or scuba dive. However, such plagues only usually affect one side of the island depending upon the tides and currents. Many hotels provide a free shuttle bus to the best beach for bathing on that day.
#5. Don’t collect seashells!
This might sound like a strange request. Collecting seashells is one of the most popular beach pastimes for kids. However, as part of the drive to preserve the unique environment of the Seychelles, visitors are asked to not feed the tortoises or birds, not to pick any flowers or plants, and not to collect the seashells. However, you can purchase such things from a licensed retailer that follows the government’s green policies for obtaining such items.
#6. The Seychelles are not just for adults
Many people have gained the impression that Seychelles is an adult-only destination. This is far from the truth. Many resorts and bigger hotels run children’s playgroups and nurseries so that parents can relax while their kids play with their new friends.
#7. Pamper yourself
If you’re staying in a small hotel or guesthouse, you probably won’t have access to spa facilities. Be aware that the larger hotels and resorts on the islands are more than happy to provide their spa services to walk-in day guests.
Visa Entry Requirements
You don’t need to apply for a visa before traveling to the Seychelles, but there are entry requirements. To enter Seychelles, you need 5 things: a passport, onward travel ticket, sufficient funds, confirmed accommodation, and a visitor’s permit.
Your passport must be valid beyond the length of your stay in the country.
Onward travel ticket
You must possess a return or onward travel ticket to prove you intend to leave the country at the end of your proposed visit.
You must be able to prove to the immigration officer you have sufficient money available to fund your visit to the islands. The required amount is a minimum of $150 per day for your proposed length of stay.
You must show proof you have booked a hotel room or guest house on the island.
If you have fulfilled the above 4 requirements, the immigration officer will provide you with a visitor’s permit with a set leaving date. If you overstay your visit or commit a crime on the island, you will become a prohibited immigrant and be deported from the island.
Before you travel, check the Department of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Seychelles website for the most up-to-date information on visa requirements.
Also, be aware that you are not allowed to bring the following items into Seychelles without a permit: alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, radio equipment, and fruits or vegetables.