A lush green island peppered with traditional fishing villages, mysterious colour-changing lakes, and coffee plantations, Flores is among the best undiscovered holiday destinations in Indonesia. Not as well known as the more frequented islands of Bali, Java or Lombok, holidays in Flores are gaining popularity with travellers searching for a less commercial and touristy experience.
The island's rugged topography is formed by a chain of volcanoes, which creates angular valleys and ridges that make getting around on Flores difficult. However, the imposing terrain has also allowed multiple cultures on Flores to flourish in relative isolation, retaining traditions unchanged for millennia. These cultures continue to thrive alongside a strong Catholic influence.
Labuan Bajo, in the west, is the most frequented town on the island, popular as a launching point for the islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar. Other villages, including Bajawa, Ruteng, and Ende are great places to see traditional culture and ethnic architecture.
Flores is a popular ecotourism destination, and the lush landscape offers many outdoor activities such as scuba diving, kayaking, hiking and swimming. Labuan Bajo and Maumere offer excellent scuba diving and snorkelling sites.
The most famous attraction in Flores is undoubtedly the crater lakes of Mt Kelimutu, three lakes that dramatically change colours from bright turquoise to chocolate brown, green, and even bright red. The lakes are most easily reached from Ende or Moni, where most mountain treks begin.