Maldives Holidays 2019/2020

You've never quite experienced a true patch of paradise until you've reached the Maldives. Secluded white sand beaches and warm waters making way for whole worlds of coral reef aren't just postcard pictures here, they're a reality.

A true island escape

Maldives holidays aren’t your average, for a lot of reasons. Formed around a string of 26 atolls – or coral reefs – and more than a thousand islands, the Maldives are so blindingly gorgeous you’ll wonder if they’re just a mirage. The Maldives are located just south of India and Sri Lanka and are little pinpricks stretching out over a wide swath of the Indian Ocean. You’ve probably seen pictures of huts suspended over the ocean and white sand beaches that effortlessly blend with the neon blue water – that’s the Maldives.

Maldives holiday packages are all about relaxation. Activities revolve around a laid-back beach lifestyle with luxurious waterfront resorts in Lhaviyani Atoll and epic snorkelling opportunities in North Ari Atoll. Couple this with the gorgeously warm weather and you’ll see why ‘paradise’ is the only word to describe this island destination.


Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa

Language: Dhivehi and English

Flight Time: Approx 10 hrs 30 mins

Time Difference: GMT +5

Regions

North Ari Atoll

A cluster of coral islands encircled by the Indian Ocean, North Ari Atoll is synonymous with turquoise lagoons, flawless beaches and pure relaxation. Holidays here offer a unique mix of luxury resorts and traditional Maldive culture and are popular among couples and families looking for an indulgent island getaway.

North Male Atoll

This cluster of islands in the Maldives is the perfect spot for a beach hotel. Not only will your upmarket hotel be surrounded by miles of white sand beaches and turquoise seas, but it'll also house exquisite restaurants to top off a luxurious holiday.

South Ari Atoll

Made up of 50-plus islands, South Ari Atoll is defined by sweeping white beaches, impossibly turquoise lagoons and jaw-dropping resorts. Families and couples looking for a luxury beach holiday head to this idyllic archipelago to spend lazy days relaxing on the sands and exploring the exotic sea life.

South Male Atoll

This cluster of the islands in the Maldives is a quieter alternative to the nearby North Male Atoll. With its cloudless skies, the clear waters of the Indian Ocean, and gorgeous white sands, you could mistake these islands for paradise.

Lhaviyani Atoll

Home to some of the world's best beaches and diving sites, Lhaviyani Atoll is all about barefoot luxury and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Its luxury hotels provide spa centres and top class restaurants that lay out dinner on the beaches.

Location

Map showing the location of Maldives View Maldives on the map

Above the surface

With more than a thousand islands to its name, the Maldives has no shortage of beaches for sun-thirsty holidaymakers. Each island is limited to only a couple of resorts, which means you’re treated to a bevy of wide open spaces. And we aren’t just talking any beaches, here. In the Maldives, the shores are virtually untouched, paved with white sands and aquamarine water as far as the eye can see.

With these resorts typically come exclusive watersports centres too, so getting active on the waves is always on the menu. Banana boats, kayaking and snorkelling are up for grabs, along with private boat tours, submarine rides and paddle boarding.

North Male Atoll is the top surfing destination in the Maldives, with its island Huraa having 15 breaks located around its shore. If it’s the opposite end of the spectrum you’re after on your cheap Maldives holidays, there are boats that’ll transport you to even more tranquil, uninhabited islands too.

Below the surface

The Maldives are renowned for their vast underwater ecosystems – a whopping 90% of the destination is beneath the ocean’s surface, after all. Many of the islands are partially comprised of coral reefs that act as private front gardens for a number of resorts.

In this patch of the Indian Ocean alone, there are more than 180 species of coral reef below the surface. Meemu Atoll, a group of islands in the centre of the Maldives has huge coral reefs on either side, making it an ideal diving opportunity.

Needless to say that the scuba diving and snorkelling potential here is massive. Gaagu Alifu Atoll is just one of the fantastic underwater diving hotspots, with water that hides hundreds of species of fish, as well as a variety of sea turtles, dolphins, whales, molluscs and crustaceans.

The low down

Stretching across nearly 300 square kilometres, the Maldives is one of the most geographically dispersed countries in the world. The atolls are made up of coral reefs and sand bars that seem to rise up from the Indian Ocean without rhyme or reason, creating an eerie, almost other-wordly effect.

To get between islands you’ll most likely need to take a sea plane or a traditional dhoni boat. However, each resort island is largely self-sufficient and, for the most part, holidaymakers tend to stay put and bask in the spas and snorkelling opportunities that are right at their fingertips..

Seafood supreme

Dining in the Maldives, you’d better be prepared for a whole lot of seafood. The Maldives enjoy a long and delicious history as a fishing hub, a tradition that the Maldives cuisine reflects. Tuna is the top fish here, served in curries or on its own and typically accompanied by starches like rice and potatoes. Coconut is another main ingredient, both for frying and providing coconut milk.

But the most impressive aspect of Maldivian dining is, without a doubt, the scenery. Not one to leave its best asset by the wayside, the Maldivians use the sea for setting the tone, with waterfront restaurants both on the sand or along the docks with the wave ripples just underneath your feet. There are even actual underwater restaurants with glass ceilings and walls, where your starter and main course swim overhead.