Summer is here and it’s time to take a vacation! But why settle for a mundane location when you could pitch your tent on one of the top five mythical islands of the Atlantic Ocean? Sally forth with your ancient map and your colonialist zeal—nothing can stand between you and an island adventure!
But first you have to pick a destination…
Getting there: Located just off the west coast of Ireland, Hy-Brasil is cloaked in impassable mist, except for one day every seven years. It was last sighted in 1872, so plan your trip for 2019 and hope you pick the right day.
Attractions: Be sure to visit the magician who lives in a stone tower at the center of the island. He will demand you leave immediately, but might give you a copy of an obscure medical text which he may have written, or may just want you to return to the library for him. Notable fauna includes black rabbits the size of ponies. They are probably not dangerous.
Be sure to pack: Carrots. Lots of carrots.
Saint Brendan’s Island
Getting there: Located off the coast of Northern Africa, this island was first discovered by Saint Brendon on his Evangelizing Tour of the North Atlantic in 512 AD. Fifteen days on the island are approximately equal to one year off shore, so do not take a day trip from your cruise ship and expect the boat will still be waiting for you. Two weeks on the beach should get you home just in time to thoroughly miss whatever it is you are vacationing to get away from.
Attractions: This is a very secluded area, best suited for tourists who enjoy the wilds of nature. Rumors of Water-Babies living in subterranean caves have been greatly exaggerated. Notable fauna includes over 100 species of birds and definitely not any Water-Babies.
Be sure to pack: A watch, binoculars, a strong sense of moral indignation.
The Blessed Isles
Getting there: Also located off the west coast of Ireland, which is apparently rotten with landmasses that keep appearing and disappearing, the Blessed Isles are traditionally only accessible by divine invitation or heroic death. You may be able to score a ride from a local fisherman if you can convince him you are dead, so don’t commit fully unless you have to.
Attractions: As an aspect of the Otherworld, the Blessed Isles are ruled by Manannan, God of the Sea, who throws really amazing parties. Expect to hear a lot of epic folk music, laughter like the ringing of bells, and very long stories about people who probably used to be famous.
Be sure to pack: Something flowy to wear in the evenings.
The Isle of Demons
Getting there: Located somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland, this island was first mapped in the 16th century and had vanished 150 years later, but don’t let that discourage you. It’s probably there somewhere.
Attractions: The only residents of this island are the ghosts of a marooned and impregnated captain’s daughter and her lover, who were possessed by demons and killed by wild beasts. They wail on the beach every day at lunchtime, which you won’t have time to enjoy because you’ll be too busy fleeing from demons and wild beasts.
Be sure to pack: Holy water, running shoes, bear spray.
Getting there: Located just to the west of Portugal, this island was first mapped in the 15th century and was the refuge of fleeing Visigoth bishops. It has since disappeared, along with the Visigoth bishops, though it seems like it ought to be hard to misplace an entire island full of Visigoths. The name Antilla may be derived from the Arabic word for dragon.
Attractions: Clearly this is an island full of misplaced Visigoths and dragons, which is everything you need for a relaxing vacation.
Be sure to pack: Visigoth Pageantry for Dummies, goats.
If you want to hear more about mythical islands and the modern works they have influenced, be sure to check out the latest episode of Fakelore, the folklore meets pop culture podcast!
Caitlyn Paxson is a writer and storyteller. She is an editor at Goblin Fruit, and can sometimes be found discussing folklore and pop culture on the Fakelore Podcast and performing with the Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours.