Boats in Cheung Chau harbour

Outlying Islands

Beyond the New Territories and the Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong is a province of islands — 261 of them to be precise — riddled with pirate caves, fishing villages, 3,000-year-old rock carvings and unexpected histories.

One of the most popular is Lamma, with its lovely harbour overflowing with seafood restaurants. Hop over in the morning to soak up its hippyish, expat vibe and gorge yourself on ultra-fresh prawns, squid and clams, then zip back across for evening in the city.

Tung Ping Chau is another favourite, drawing nature lovers with its UNESCO-listed cascading rock formations, excellent diving and snorkelling, and 1765 temple dedicated to the sea goddess Tin Hau. Dumbbell-shaped Cheung Chau is famous for its superb street food, 3,000-year-old rock carvings and pirate hideout, while Peng Chau offers delicious baked goods and picturesque ruins — including an abandoned matchstick factory, cinema and lime kiln.

For those who want to explore even further, there are islands for dolphin-watching and beach BBQs (the Soko Islands), rock climbing (Tung Lung Chau), Romanesque chapels (Yim Tin Tsai), pineapple-shaped rocks (Sharp Island) and rolling, grassy hills with wandering cows (Tap Mun). There’s an island for everything — the only limit is time.