Quick Guide to Maldives
Best for: exploring
Best for: diving
Best for: jewellery
Best for: surfing
Best for: local souvenirs
Best for: bargain hunting travellers
Best for: a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve
Haa Alifu Atoll
Best for: history and snorkelling day trip
Best for: postcard-perfect beaches
The Maldives are a collection of low-lying tropical islands in the Indian Ocean. They are set out in a double chain of 26 atolls, which are circular coral formations, each holding several separate islands. Tourists are able to visit 80 of these islands, so when it comes to booking your 2018 or 2019 holiday you'll find that there is plenty to choose from. Many of the islands are exclusively home to a luxury resort boasting dive spots and luxury spas - although there are also plenty of cheap deals to be found as well.
The combination of stunning beaches, beautiful clear waters and proliferation of secluded spots, means the Maldives are seen as one of the most romantic places on earth. This has made them one of the most sought-after honeymoon destinations, with all manner of companies lining up to offer tailor-made luxury trips.
Because a holiday to the Maldives is something truly special, particularly when it takes you from the cold and dark winter in the UK, we're always on the lookout for cheap deals, and great value resorts. And you can rest assured we'll feature them in our Real Deals newsletter when we do. Can't wait? Use our holiday search form above to find the best value package holidays from hundreds of travel agents for your travel dates.
Fab holidays for:
Honeymoons, Diving, Blissful beaches
Did you know?
If sea levels keep rising these idyllic islands could be lost beneath the waves within 100 years. Make sure you don't miss them.
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Top 5 Things To Do Beyond the Beach
As the Maldivian nation is more water than land, you can easily imagine that holidays here are usually all about the sea. The Indian Ocean is warm and clear, which means that fishing, snorkelling, scuba diving and water sports can all be virtually on your doorstep. Relaxing and enjoying the slower pace of life is one way to spend your hols, but if you do want to explore a little, then how about one of these?
- Friday Mosque
- The Friday Mosque is the colloquial name for the Hukuru Miskiy in Male. As a Muslim nation the islands have a fairly large number of mosques and churches, but this one stands out as the oldest, dating back to 1656. It's carved from coral stone and whilst some of the intricate designs on the outside have been covered to protect them, the interior is a feast for the eyes. It's best known for its fine lacquer work and intricate and elaborate woodcarvings, so make sure you're not in a hurry!
- Makunda and Muduka
- Premier dive sites, known for their amazing coral reefs and the beautiful underwater life that calls this area home. These are both in the Seenu Atoll and are popular with tourists and scientists who are still discovering new species here. If you're not quite sure you're up to the diving standards required then head to Umarus Plave, Kuda Hohola, and Kuda Kandu Corner instead.
- Male Fish Market
- Not just for fish! Head to this trading hub for all sorts of items you might want to buy as souvenirs from your Maldives holiday. Local fruit and veg as well as dried fish can be bought throughout the day. But just wait until the catch comes and the real fun begins. Restaurants, locals and travellers can all join in with the bartering and bargaining - but the best way to try some of the fish you like the look of is to follow it to a local restaurant!
- This might just be the island of your dreams. Thinadoo is known for being pollution-free so aside from its stunning beaches, the sea creatures are known for especially vibrant colours. Plenty of trees help to regulate the temperature on the land, so it's a lovely cool place to spend the day.
- Both a diving mecca and a cultural landmark. This island is dotted with mysterious mounds known as hawittas, which are the ruins of old temples - said to give spiritual meaning to the land. Head to the Old Mosque to see the masonry, as it's widely believed to be on a par with the Inca Walls in Peru, although the archaeologists have yet to get their teeth into this. Kudahuvadhoo is also where to go if you want to learn to dive in these most stunning of surroundings, as the dive centre here is among the best for beginners.
Best Beaches in the Maldives
At 15 hectares, Ayada, on the southern rim of the Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll and just 30 kilometres north of the Equator, is 15 hectares of an island just dying to be explored. Whale sharks and snorkelling beckons.
The Laamu Atoll keeps sunbathers busy with its surf break. There's also paddle-boarding and catamaran sailing and with inviting hammocks waiting in the wings for you to rest your head after a busy day.
The heart-shaped lagoon of Addu Atoll is just as inviting as its God-given shape. We could go through all the atolls in fact and you'd find beaches you would only discover on a postcard or a glossy-paged brochure. The Maldives encompass sugar-white sands, swaying palm trees and glassy, clear waters - you just never realised that somewhere could actually look like this.
Days are spent on the sands or underneath the waters, snorkelling alongside a crowded world of marine life - there's really no fault to this paradise.
When to Travel
Flights from the UK are available throughout the year, and you can expect an average journey time of around 10 - 13 hours. The flight prices are the highest between December and April as the Maldives is a popular winter sun holiday destination from the UK.
The temperature is pretty constant throughout the year, with daytime highs of around 30°C and nighttime highs of around 25°C. Winter in the UK falls firmly in the middle of the dry season, which means that prices are at a premium.
The rainy season runs from May to October, and although it will rain every day, you can also expect at least a few hours of sunshine. If the underwater attractions are what's calling you to book your Mauritius holiday deal, then try November and April. You may get a little rain but underwater visibility is higher, and everything is cheaper!
Where do you want to Stay?
While the majority of the islands are uninhabited, and plenty more inaccessible to tourists, there's still a bewildering number of islands to pick between. Lots of the resorts are located on islands close to the capital of Male - which is a boon as it really cuts down on travelling time after your flight.
When you're looking for somewhere to stay, the main question you need to ask yourself is - what sort of nightlife am I after? If you want a lively nightlife then you need to head to one of the larger islands where there are clusters of resorts. If you're on honeymoon or are just after an idyllic getaway then heading to a private island resort is a better bet.