While there are over 330 different islands in the Fiji archipelago, the three biggest stand out in terms of size, biodiversity, and population. These islands are Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, and Taveuni.
Viti Levu is certainly the most influential and central island in Fiji. It is not only the largest island, but home to the only two international airports in the county and nearly 70% of Fiji’s population. While the rest of Fiji’s islands are developed by small villages and local communities, Viti Levu has actual cities with bustling centers. You won’t find this side of Fiji anywhere else on the islands, which makes it worth a visit.
Plus, Viti Levu has some of Fiji’s most diverse geographic features. The famous Sigatoka Sand Dunes are found on Viti Levu, as are the Namosi Highlands. However, if you want to truly understand the expanse and density of Fiji’s tropical jungle, you have to head to Taveuni.
Vanua Levu is Fiji’s second largest island. It is located east of Viti Levu and is roughly 40 square miles or 67 kilometers in size. The largest village on Vanua Levu is called Labasa, but it is a very different settlement from Suva and Nadi on nearby Viti Levu. Across all of Vanua Levu there are just over 135,000 people.
Finally, tropical and magical Taveuni is the third largest island in Fiji. This special island is still dominated by the jungle and the population lingers around 9,000 permanent residents. An important geographical point about Taveuni is the island’s proximity to the world famous Rainbow Reef. This large and extremely diverse coral reef is home to some of the world’s most beautiful soft corals and marine life. Taveuni is also far less touristy than Viti Levu, making it a unique destination in Fiji.
Other Important Fijian Islands
Of course, when it comes to tourism, there are other islands in Fiji that deserve some attention. Located just off the coast of Viti Levu, the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands have become top destinations. When you see photos of these smaller islands it becomes apparent what drives their popularity among tourists, as both sets of islands have incredibly beautiful beaches. Further, the Yasawa Islands are well-known for budget accommodation that appeals to backpackers and solo travelers coming to Fiji.
Further afield you can find the Lau Group of Islands. Brimming with beauty and minimally developed, the Lau Group requires some sacrifice in terms of amenities, but makes up for it in culture and natural landscapes. There are now a few restaurants and accommodation options in the Lau Group, and more people are making the trek to these island near Tonga each year. It’s a fantastic time to visit as the islands have retained many of the traditional Fijian customs and practices that you won’t find anywhere else in the archipelago.