The best islands in the Maldives
Choosing the best islands in the Maldives for your vacation can be challenging as the country is made up of over 1,190 islands spread across 26 atolls and it can seem like a daunting task to decide which one is the right paradise to suit your needs. This island nation nestled in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, has long been a favorite for honeymooners. Whether you're looking for an idyllic honeymoon destination or simply relaxing on idyllic beaches, you can never go wrong with a holiday in the Maldives.
Something to keep in mind when planning your trip is that most of the islands are privately owned by resorts. On the other hand, there are larger inhabited islands that offer a more rustic local experience and are a great option for those who enjoy immersing themselves in the local culture.
In general, the further you get from the capital Male, the more expensive accommodation will be. Thus, the Maldives is for all types of travelers, from luxurious overwater villas to dynamic island metropolises. Deciding which are the best islands depends on your tastes, but it doesn't matter where you go because a trip to the Maldives is sure to become the vacation of a lifetime!
- Ari Atoll: Best Maldives Islands for Marine Life
- Vaadhoo: Best Maldives Island for Natural Wonders
- Baa Atoll: The best islands in the Maldives for diving
- Malé: the capital of the Maldives
- Thoddoo Island - The best island in the Maldives to experience local life
- Adu Atoll: The Best Islands in the Maldives for a Little of Everything
Ari Atoll: Best Maldives Islands for Marine Life
Wherever you venture in the Maldives, you'll find impressive marine life, but South Ari Atoll is famous for its high concentration of whale sharks . It is one of the largest and is made up of 105 islands, of which 20 are private resorts, so you will have many accommodation options to choose from. Just 30 minutes by seaplane from Malé, Ari Atoll is a paradise for divers and snorkeling enthusiasts. The islands create a natural circular shape around a central lagoon, creating a unique marine environment. In fact, the South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area is one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks.
Vaadhoo: Best Maldives Island for Natural Wonders
One of the inhabited islands of Raa Atoll, Vaadhoo, is home to a little-known natural phenomenon. As the sun sets, the island's shoreline is illuminated with a mythical glow of blue hues. This natural wonder, known as bioluminescence, is the result of microorganisms in the water. Along the coastline, the water lapping against the shore is dotted with shimmering blue lights, making for an unforgettable sight. The best time to see this phenomenon is between July and February, especially during the New Moon, when the sky is darkest. If you need more reasons to visit Vaadhoo, the crystal clear waters around the island are perfect for underwater activities and the island has a great selection of accommodation to suit different budgets.
Baa Atoll: The best islands in the Maldives for diving
One of the most populated atolls in the Maldives, Baa Atoll is a UNESCO protected Biosphere Reserve. With a thriving coral reef, it has great appeal for diving enthusiasts. In fact, it is home to one of the largest concentrations of manta rays in the world. Larger species such as whale sharks and dolphins are also abundant in its waters. Additionally, sea turtles and hawksbills are frequently sighted around Baa Atoll, which is situated in the western Maldives and consists of 75 islands, eight of which are designated as private resorts.
Malé: the capital of the Maldives
In stark contrast to the sleepy atolls, the capital of Malé is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It is the gateway to the country's luxury resorts and is home to a population of more than 200,000 in an area of just 8,300 square kilometers. It offers all the amenities expected of a capital, such as high-rise offices, shopping malls, and museums. This may not sound like your idea of paradise, but it is one of the best islands to witness native life. You can find impressive Islamic architecture, discover the history and see the exotic products that are sold in the local markets. It is also an excellent starting point for exploring the different atolls, with boat and seaplane connections to almost any island in the country.
Thoddoo Island - The best island in the Maldives to experience local life
Thoddoo Island is unique in that it is one of the few that does not belong to an atoll. At 2 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide, it is one of the largest in the Maldives. If you prefer a simple vacation experience or are traveling on a budget, it's a great option. Home to beautiful white sand beaches, it is also known for its fruit plantations, especially watermelons and papayas. Visiting this inhabited island is a prime opportunity to experience true Maldivian culture. You can meet the locals, visit the farms and immerse yourself in the daily life of the locals. In addition, a variety of guest houses offer modest but comfortable accommodation.
Adu Atoll: The Best Islands in the Maldives for a Little of Everything
Adu Atoll is made up of the inhabited islands of Hulhudhoo, Meedhoo, Maradhoo, Feydhoo and Hithadhoo. It offers an authentic experience of life in the Maldives and incredible diving opportunities. In addition, it is the only atoll in the country that is located in the southern hemisphere. Although the journey from Malé can take more than 1.5 hours by seaplane, the opportunity to visit one of the less touristy areas is well worth it. You'll find a selection of luxury resorts, but these islands are also home to ordinary Maldivian people. This offers you the chance to get to know the local life and try the authentic Maldivian food.
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