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Indian Ocean

Holidays in the Maldives

From above, the Maldives is like a gorgeous necklace of pearls floating in a bath of Indian Ocean blue. The pearls in question are over a thousand stunning coral atolls and tropical islands, like tiny drops of heaven.

It comes with such a blissful reputation and a holiday in the Maldives definitely doesn’t disappoint. In fact, we’d say it exceeds even the loftiest of expectations – the squeakiest of sands are lapped by impossibly turquoise waters and the service is impeccable. The palm-pocked white beaches are perfect for relaxing on and offshore, the snorkelling here is among the best in the world, each island and atoll fringed by incredible forests of vibrant coral teeming with kaleidoscopic marine life.

When it comes to dreamy places to stay, you’re spoilt for choice with Maldives resorts. But whether you choose a rustic jungle retreat, beachfront villa or overwater bungalow, you’re only ever mere steps away from curling your toes in the silken sands. You’ll never go hungry either, as the Maldives is renowned for its sumptuous spreads of food and drink.

Honeymooners have long lusted after the postcard-perfect beaches of the Maldives but its islands are so beautiful they’ll capture everyone’s heart. Be prepared to fall under the tropical spell of the Maldives on your luxury holiday to remember.

Experiences

Maldives Highlights

Overwater bungalows  

When you think of the Maldives, the vision of overwater villas isn’t far behind. They make for an iconic scene in the Indian Ocean, thatched villas snaking out from tropical islands like arms floating above the azure-blue coral reefs. Many Maldives overwater bungalows boast plunge pools and private decks so you can gaze out over the glittering ocean beyond, while hammock netting perched over the water can give you a great place to laze in the privacy of your villa while soaking up the rays. Some water bungalows in the Maldives have steps directly to the lagoon you’re hovering above, so you can grab your snorkelling gear and dive straight in to a magical marine world!

Diving and snorkelling  

No matter which island you’re staying on, you’re guaranteed to be just yards or a short boat trip away from amazing snorkelling and diving. Glide among vibrant forests of coral that pop with a whole spectrum of colours, swimming alongside schools of tropical fish and marvellous marine creatures like turtles and rays. The stars of the show are the magnificent manta rays, which you can see at Hanifaru Bay in the Baa Atoll between May and November, or in the Ari Atoll between October and April. Whale sharks can also be spotted in the Maldives throughout the year, with the South Ari Atoll one of the best places to see them. Guided whale shark tours afford you the chance to swim or snorkel alongside them. Shipwrecks offer an alternative sight under the surface, many now encrusted in coral themselves and have become artificial reefs home to a rich array of marine life. Best of all – you can often reach them from stairs directly into the sea from your water villa or they’re a few sandy steps from your beach villa on land.

Experience the Maldives  

While snorkelling and relaxing are two fantastic ways in which to indulge while holidaying in these drops of paradise, there’s plenty more things to do in the Maldives. Whether you’re a couple or a family, sandbank picnics are undeniably incredible experiences where you can savour fine food and drink with just you, your loved ones and a tiny sprinkling of sand. A range of water sports offer alternatives to snorkelling and diving, with non-motorised options like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding great for leisurely paddles around the lagoons. Maldives activities like deep-sea fishing and boat trips are also excellent alternatives. For a taste of traditional Maldivian life, a village visit on a nearly island will put you in touch with the locals and youngsters can often be seen playing football or basketball in among the palms!

Feel like Robinson Crusoe  

There’s nowhere else quite like the Maldives and if there was anywhere in the world we’d choose as a likely destination that fictional castaway Robinson Crusoe would’ve ended up on it would be here. You’ll find solitude and seclusion easy to come by in the Maldives, whether it’s on a sleepy stretch of beach or just relaxing in your villa. At one point or another on your holiday you’ll feel you’re the only ones around and that’s exactly how an island retreat should be.

Maldives hospitality is impeccable  

The standard of service in the Maldives is just as good as its views and nothing is too much trouble for any of the warm and friendly staff at any of the resorts. Attention to detail is of utmost importance and when it comes to hospitality, the Maldives really sets the bar. Food and drink in the Maldives is delicious and of an extremely high standard, and resorts always have a selection of different-themed restaurants for you to choose from, so you have plenty of choice. You’ll be treated like royalty and that’s really special whether you’re on your honeymoon or a family who just want to put their feet up.

Top resorts

Where to stay in the Maldives

A holiday in the Maldives guarantees white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters. However, with so many unique and luxurious islands and resorts to pick from, you are spoilt for choice in terms of where to stay. Let us help you choose the right one for you, whether that's narrowing down the best overwater villas, the tastiest restaurants or the most spectacular coral reefs. Our travel experts will help you find the perfect island.

Weather

Best time to visit the Maldives

The Maldives is a year-round destination, with temperatures hovering around 30°C throughout the year.

October to April is the best time to visit the Maldives. It has the perfect trio of minimal rainfall, low humidity and clear skies, while the waters are calm and clear, making it the optimum time for snorkelling and diving. For those interested in snorkelling with manta rays and whale sharks, then October to April is the best time to go to the Maldives, at the Ari Atoll in particular. They can be also be spotted in the plankton-rich waters at the Baa Atoll in Hanifaru Bay between May and October – for more information and advice, get in touch with one of our travel specialists.

May to September sees a little more tropical rainfall, but there’s still plenty of sunshine hours to enjoy. Storms can be a risk but they’re uncommon and water visibility can be slightly poorer due to the presence of plankton. With so much fine weather still to be had, cheaper hotel rates make this period of the year great value if you wish to visit then. We love May and September at either end of the ‘wet’ season, as they offer remarkable value with endless days of sunshine and a smaller price to pay!

Travel guide

Maldives travel essentials

Where is the Maldives?  

The Maldives is a chain of around 1,200 small islands in the Indian Ocean, located south-west of Sri Lanka and India.

How many islands are there in the Maldives?  

There are around 1,200 islands in the Maldives, grouped into several atolls consisting of tiny coral islands and sandbanks. Only around 200 of them are inhabited, plus another 100 which have resorts on them.

What is the capital of the Maldives?  

The capital of the Maldives is Malé, which is found in the southern reaches of the North Malé Atoll. It's also home to the country's international airport and where you will fly into before catching a connecting flight, seaplane or speedboat to your resort.

Do I need any vaccinations for the Maldives?  

No vaccinations are currently recommended for the Maldives. If you’re entering the Maldives from a Yellow Fever zone, possession of a valid Yellow Fever inoculation certificate is required. For any current travel health advice, you should seek guidance from your GP at least four to six weeks prior to travel.

What is the time difference between the Maldives and the UK?  

The time difference is GMT +5 hours.

How long is the flight to the Maldives?  

The direct flight time from London to Malé in the Maldives is 10 and a half hours.

What is the currency in the Maldives?  

The currency is the Maldivian rufiyaa, although US dollars and credit cards are widely accepted.

Do I need visa for a holiday in the Maldives?  

British passport holders need a visa to visit the Maldives and this is issued free of charge upon arrival. You also need six months validity on your passport from your departure date.

What should I pack for a holiday to the Maldives?  

The Maldives has a hot, tropical climate all year round, so light clothing is essential. Don't worry about smart evening attire, though. Most resorts actually encourage a relaxed dress code, such as tailored shorts and a short-sleeved shirt or t-shirt for men and summer dresses for women – some resorts don't even require you to wear shoes!

For a sunny destination like the Maldives, it goes without saying that a hat, sun cream (reef-safe sun cream if possible) and sunglasses are essential, while a camera is handy for capturing those blissful tropical memories. Even though malaria isn't a risk in the Maldives and the presence of mosquitoes isn't too bad, we'd also recommend packing some insect repellent, just to be sure.

Which destinations can I combine with the Maldives?  

There are plenty of places you can combine with the Maldives. Sri Lanka is one of the best options, as you can mix its wildlife, landscapes and culture with a relaxing stay in the Maldives. Thailand is another easy option with direct flights that offers a completely different experience, while direct flights also connect the Maldives with Middle Eastern destinations such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman.

Specialists

Meet our Maldives Specialists

Aerial view of overwater suites at Soneva Jani
Maldives inspiration
CANVAS
Head to our blog CANVAS for more inspiration, insider secrets and diaries from our team on the Maldives.
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Where to stay in the Maldives