Desert islands are often the stuff of dreams for those seeking peace and tranquility. These abandoned islands are exactly that, though some of their dark pasts might put you off moving in any time soon...
Caroline Island, Kiribati
Robinson Crusoe's dream, this island is pretty much at world's end. Having been 'discovered' several times, the atoll is best known for its role in the millennium celebrations. A 1995 realignment of the International Date Line made Caroline Island one of the first points on Earth to reach January 1, 2000 on the calendar. Nowadays, it's designated as a wildlife sanctuary, with a 12-nautical-mile fishing exclusion zone around the island, and home to one of the largest coconut crab populations in the world.
Discovery Island, Florida, USA
The absolute dream for all Disney nerds, Walt Disney bought the island to become an attraction in 1974. But 42 years later, Discovery Island has still never opened to the public, and nobody knows why. The private island is now seemingly home to plenty of wildlife but, as far as we know, no mice couples called Mickey and Minnie!
The Greek islands have a reputation for being stunningly beautiful but this one has a darker history than most. Uninhabited since 1962, Spinalonga first belonged to the Venetians, then the Turkish, and finally the Greeks who turned the fortress into a quarantine for those with leprosy between 1903 and 1957. The modern day island is simply a beautiful tourist attraction surrounded by turquoise water, just off the coast of Crete.
Despite its paradisical looks, Daksa has a twisted history. In 1944, 53 men were executed without trial on the island, accused of being Nazi sympathisers. Most of the remains were left there until 2009, when the authorities finally gave permission for burials. Despite all that, the island on the Adriatic coast just off of Dubrovnik , is for sale for two million euros - a bargain if you can deal with living on a supposedly haunted island...
North Brother Island, New York, USA
New York City, Brooklyn, and Manhattan: three place names that scream noise and crowds. Not that far away, however, you'll find North Brother Island, once a hospital, a home for war veterans and even a centre for drug addicts. It might not have all the bells and whistles of the city but a private island in New York is still a pretty cool place to explore.