Just off the coast of France, there’s a sprinkling of granite islands where the pace of life slows. Medieval castles mingle with luxury resorts, colorful pubs and fresh fish restaurants dot an exquisite coastline, and uninhabited islets twinkle with mysteries to explore and a world to be enjoyed. The Channel Islands make for a European island getaway that truly feels like an escape. French and English influences blend to create a unique local culture—best enjoyed in a down-home restaurant, over fresh-caught crab and lobster. Glittering waters and a subtropical climate create ideal beach-going conditions. Big island Jersey bustles with finance, while colorful yachts bob in the up-and-coming harbors of Guernsey. More laid-back, car-free islands like Herm and Sark offer the chance to cycle through idyllic, flower-strewn countrysides. You can cross tidal causeways in Lihou to reach monastic ruins, and bird watch in Burhou’s sanctuary. Alderney lends a somber look into the legacy of WWII on the islands, while smaller islands let you forget the whole rest of the world. No wonder reclusive billionaires set up residence on the islands’ more remote spots: no one wants to go back to the mainland after a good long stay in the Channel Islands.