Taiwan has carved itself a stable niche in the Asia tourism landscape and receives many visitors for its savvy city scene, gorgeous natural landscapes, and oodles of cultural treasures. However, lesser-known are Taiwan's surrounding islands. Though hard to access, they each have their own unique flavour and personality, offering their own draws. Why not give them a try? In this article, we'll list our 4 best options for tourists, but don't feel limited to only our islands–there are plenty of hidden gems not covered here, ready to be discovered with some adventurous research.

1. Kinmen Island

"Kinmen offshore island - fortification - Sanmin Zhuyi - DSCF9356" from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kinmen_offshore_island_-_fortification_-_Sanmin_Zhuyi_-_DSCF9356.JPG by Vmenkov. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Kinmen Island was a former battleground back in the day during the Chinese Civil War. Now, it offers not only rich military history, but because it was a military zone, development of the living quarters were prohibited, leaving many of its temples and old architecture still standing. Visit if you're interested in Oriental architecture, and to gain a different perspective of Taiwan's modern history. There is an airport with flights to Xiamen in China, as well as Taipei, Kaohsiung, and several other Taiwanese cities.

2. Penghu Island

"Jibei Beach" from https://www.flickr.com/photos/globetrotteri/3832644083 by Carrie Kellenberger. License: CC BY 2.0

Ah, Penghu Island. While technically many small islands close together, the largest city Magong is on the main island. However, there are many gems to other islands worth a day trip off Magong, such as Jibei's gorgeous coastline. Penghu has all of Taiwan's fabulous scenic trappings. From its famous basalt columns that line the cliffs to sparkling shoals, not to mention stunning beaches, it's the perfect place to kick back and enjoy. It is also an important place for the protection of the threatened sea turtle.

3. Matsu Islands

"Fuxing (Nioujiao) village" from https://www.flickr.com/photos/rutgervandermaar/47477375142 by Rutger van der Maar. License: CC BY 2.0

Matsu is an outlier. Taiwan's other islands are iconic for stunning natural beauty, but while Matsu is no slouch in that department, its true charms lie elsewhere. Being so close to China, it was used as a military outpost in the past, and much of that heritage is still visible today. Its distance from Taiwan means that it also have their own unique charm, hard to find on Taiwan proper. The Matsu Islands are in truth many separate islands, like Penghu, with the largest island being Nangan. Some of the islands' unique elements include ancient stone houses made by villagers from the stone age, and pretty coast towns reminiscent of a Mediterranean image.

4. Green Island

"Green Island Lighthouse 20030616b" from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Green_Island_Lighthouse_20030616b.jpg by lienyuan lee. License: CC BY 3.0

Though not bestowed with the most creative name, Green Island never fails to deliver. It carries natural wonders aplenty, including some of Taiwan's best-preserved coral reefs. Not only is it a sparkling gem of nature's splendour, its status as one of the most visited islands means that amenities have been well-developed. With convenience stores, hotels, and an airport to multiple large Taiwanese cities, say goodbye to rough days out backpacking. Enjoy both the luxuries of modern life and stunning natural scenery.